Canadian Tech Companies Look to Cash in on Cannabis With Innovations and Apps

Article by Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press

Canadian tech companies look to cash in on cannabis with innovations and apps The Canadian Press Tara Deschamps

One of John Lem’s first hints that the technology behind his DNA testing company Spartan Bioscience could be a hit with cannabis users came years ago when an executive asked him if genetics could have caused a bad reaction to pot. The question intrigued Lem so much that he eventually applied Spartan’s technology to a new Toronto-based venture called Lobo Genetics. Through Lobo, he created a genetic testing device that fits in the palm of a hand and uses cells obtained through a cheek swab to measure a person’s ability to metabolize THC  the main psychoactive component in cannabis  and determine someone’s predisposition to short- and long-term side effects. Lobo believes it could be a hit with health-care practitioners and medical marijuana users, but has also recently experienced a flurry of interest from the recreational industry. “We thought the med pool was going to be first in terms of adoption, but dramatically on the rec side, there are a lot of potential opportunities,” Lem said. The boom Lem is seeing puts Lobo Genetics among a wave of tech companies benefiting from the Oct. 17 legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada. Already the pot tech industry has seen the debut of Toronto start-up Strainprint Technologies Inc., which makes it easy to track and manage the dosage and effects of pot, and California-founded Weedmaps, which helps users find locations throughout Canada where they can buy the substance. Also cashing in on the pot tech rush are Ottawa-based Shopify, which powers provincial and private marijuana e-commerce offerings, and cannabis companies like Lift & Co., which runs a reviews app.

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