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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Cannabis companies use AI to create purer, stronger weed as marijuana industry booms

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Artificial intelligence is being used to create stronger strains of cannabis in a bid to find the most effective medical marijuana.

Firms across Europe and the US are currently producing a raft of cannabis products – with the industry expected to be worth £32 billion by 2024.

Cultivators are utilising AI to monitor conditions like plant temperature and to prevent crop failure – with some of the processes almost entirely automated.

Stephen Murphy, Co-Founder & Managing Director at Prohibition Partners, believes the approach could revolutionise the industry and the applications of the drug.

Mr Murphy, whose firm advises cannabis companies and government bodies, told the Daily Star: “The industry is at the forefront of developing personalised medicines and being able to engineer those medicines based on the individual’s health history and how they’re reacting to different formulations.

Cultivators are utilising AI to monitor conditions like plant temperature and to prevent crop failure
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“That’s going to have a wider ramification on the rest of the pharmaceutical industry.”

Part of AI’s incorporation into cannabis production is its use in monitoring “seed to sale” – the production chain of a cannabis company.

Mr Murphy explained: “There’s a lot of technology going in to tracking, from the point of seed all the way through to the supply chain, and how patients and governments can understand and measure and track the industry.

“That impacts not only ensuring that you’ve got a very safe supply chain, but it also provides you data from a mass perspective as to what is responding well within patients.”

AI has also been widely utilised in the cultivation side of the business.

Part of AI’s incorporation into cannabis production is its use in monitoring companies’ production chains
(Image: Getty Images)

Mr Murphy added: “This is the first time in around 20 years that significant capital has been put into cultivation because you have crops that have worth.

“So you’re seeing…AI cultivation and automated cultivation where it’s pretty much all done through machines.

“You’re seeing that technology now being rolled out for other formats of cultivation…where cultivation can take place we’re looking at indoor urban cultivation that can facilitate and cater for quite a sizeable user base because of the formats and the technology that are utilised.”

This kind of cannabis cultivation can better ensure tighter crop circles and fewer instances of crop failure.

AI has also been widely utilised in the cultivation side of the business
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Meanwhile, a cannabis company has vowed to roll out medical marijuana in the UK at a price that “hasn’t been possible” until now.

Back in 2018, weed became legal to patients in the UK on NHS prescription in the wake of mounting pressure on the government.

Earlier this year, access to cannabis was also eased during the pandemic and users were able to get deliveries through the post.

However, private prescriptions can cost several hundred pounds a month if users can’t get the drug on the NHS .

EMMAC, Europe’s largest independent cannabis company, says medical cannabis will now be more affordable for patients in the UK.

Rokshaw Laboratories, an EMMAC lab based in Sunderland, received the “Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient” of medical cannabis last month.

The plant is grown in Portugal and the THC – the ingredient that gets people high – is extracted in Spain, the BBC reported.

It is then exported to the UK laboratory where it is turned into cannabis oil.

Co-founder and managing director Ed McDermott called it “a ground-breaking moment for the UK medical cannabis industry”.

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