Article by High! Canada
The marijuana industry is full of buzz these days. With the Canadian government’s commitment of a recreational market by summer 2018, and Health Canada ramping up approvals for cultivation and grow, there is a lot to be excited about. Certainly, this is good news for commercial licensed producers under the Canadian ACMPR program. In the last 12 months, we have seen the number of licensed producers grow from around 30 to 50 and consumer choice has never been better for medical users. Canada’s cannabis industry could reach a value of $22.6 billion over the coming years, according to Deloitte, with a recreational retail market worth up to $8.7 billion.
Obviously forecast growth numbers like the ones proposed by Deloitte have many entrepreneurs from outside the industry looking to get in on the green rush. While most have visions of growing seas of green, others are looking at supportive infrastructure as a way to enter the market. Canada leads the way in terms of medical grade cannabis production using biotechnology approaches and extreme controlled environments to assure consistency, quality and safety for patients. This approach has resulted in the modernization of cannabis growth across the country. Cannabis grown by commercial producers is done with a great deal of automation. Technologies deployed by ACMPR growers track the production of Cannabis from seed-to sale and track everything from plant height and weight to the amount of fertilizer each plant receives, how much water and what the end yield was. Product is then ordered and fulfilled over the web with licensed producers before it arrives at your door via Canada Post. Canadian’s have always been good at building supportive infrastructure.
Many patients are no longer interested in smoking cannabis are looking for new ingestion methods. Innovation and technology certainly play a role here. New vaporizers, atomizers and electronic delivery methods are emerging daily. Today’s patients have a lot of choice for how they want to ingest cannabis.
While automation is improving the way, we grow cannabis and the way we ingest cannabis, we still know very little about the plant and the way it works with the human body. Technology companies are developing tools for clinics and doctors but the overall knowledge base is quite limited. In fact, a large majority of doctors are still uncomfortable prescribing cannabis or endorsing its use because there is little clinical data available. Those patients that are able to obtain a prescription for cannabis are often left to their own devices to figure out what works and what does not for their condition. With over 800 different ACMPR strains grown across Canada selection is even more daunting for patients. Each plant can interact with you in different ways depending on a variety of factors. A Canadian company called Strainprint Technologies (www.strainprint.ca) has taken an innovative approach towards filling this knowledge gap. They have built a free medical cannabis journal for a patient that runs on popular Android and Apple devices.
The application enables patients to track their cannabis treatment as it pertains to over 300 pre-loaded medical conditions. The solution also provides a real-time listing of available Cannabis strains from licensed producers and provides chemical composition data as well. Setting up the software is surprising simple and takes only about a minute. Once patients start using the free application, it provides them with information about what is working for the patient and what is not. Patients can share this data with their physician or healthcare provider for further consultation.
David Berg, is the President and CTO of Strainprint Technologies and has been developing the solution along with his team for the last year and a half, “Strainprint really started off as a passion project for me. All of us at Strainprint are patients that treat for a variety of different reasons and had similar experiences when trying to onboard into the legal system. The reality was that there was really no patient side data available. The research that I did ind was very limited in scope and offered little information. The more I looked into it, the more I realized that this data set didn’t exist. We set out as a company to change this.”
“Strainprint provides real value to patients that are looking to take control of their cannabis related treatments. The company already has thousands of people using the application to use cannabis better and to improve quality of life,” said Berg, “we are learning about the way cannabis interacts with the human body based on gender, age range, medical condition, symptom, strain, symptom and its relative effectiveness.” Strainprint’s goal is to become the world’s largest longitudinal study on cannabis. This data will help improve doctor knowledge, patient knowledge and also provide advanced understanding for future research.
The company provides customers with a HIPPA, PIPEDA and PHIPA compliant solution and all data is stored in Canada. “We are very serious about the protection of our patient data and take every measure possible to provide this protection,” explains Berg, “all of our data is fully anonymized for analysis and our goal is to drive research.” The company provides a version of its software for researchers and commercial producers that will enable them to run research studies with clients. David explains, “We have built a turn-key cannabis research platform that also provides huge value for patients; it is fully customizable and even has a built-in loyalty program to reward patients for interacting with the system.” Strainprint has plans to deliver a clinical research solution later this summer that will provide researchers with a view into the anonymous trend data.
Strainprint is one of many next generation innovations for the growing cannabis industry. With an estimated 4 million recreational patients’ coming online in 2018 there will be lots of room for innovation and growth in an exciting new Canadian led industry.