The Marijuana Connoisseur’s Guide to Cannabis Tech in 2021
If “cannabis” as a broad concept had a universal mantra, “it’s a plant” might be it. Simple, clean, effective — a slogan that both the legalization movement and the billion-dollar industry could agree on. And, as more states and the federal government grapple still with ending prohibition, it’s also relevant. Why not legalize, yesterday? It’s just a plant, after all!
But reducing cannabis to a natural creation neglects the fact that this plant is a commodity in the digital era — and that cannabis technology has made an enormous contribution to elevate its many uses.
Humans are rediscovering cannabis and reclaiming the plant as a medicinal remedy and balm of life at the same time that information flows freely via the internet. The timing is no accident. And in 2021, the golden age of the “internet of things” and smart devices, consumers will rightly expect technology to bring out the very best in their cannabis experience.
But how, exactly? And how can you, the cannabis technology-curious consumer, apply algorithms, machine learning and other marvels of the digital age to the otherwise simple ritual of consuming cannabis? From precision cannabinoid dosing, to smart vaporizers that give consumers ultimate control, to applications making use of consumer data to provide you a bespoke experience (and one that could be consistently repeated), here are some advances we expect to feature prominently in cannabis technology in 2021.
Smart Vaporizers: Devices That Know You, and the Plant
Most tools are “dumb” — they need to be told what to do. A smart tool knows what to do to achieve optimal results. Maybe this is because it can remember how you utilized it previously. Or, better yet, a really smart tool can anticipate orders, and is already ready before you can say, “3 milligrams THC, please.”
DaVinci Tech’s line of portable, pocket-sized vaporizers for dry herb and concentrates can’t predict the future — yet — but the DAVINCI IQ2 and the MIQRO have plenty of smarts. It’s no longer enough to have precise temperature settings; a smart vaporizer adjusts the temperature to match the desired result, be it release of just the right amount of cannabinoids, a consistent vapor stream throughout a session, or top flavor. DaVinci’s Smart Path technology covers all three aspects of a perfect sesh, providing a temperature range that releases the desired cannabinoid blend without toasting what’s in the chamber.
About those temperature ranges: You will notice that the DaVinci’s four Smart Path settings are all ranges, rather than single-digit temperatures, and the temperature increases slowly over eight-minute sessions for optimal cannabinoid release and vapor flow. You can take over and switch to manual mode at any time. That said, when the gradual range engages automatically, it’s like the autopilot on a Tesla. It’s got this.
How Consumers Can Utilize Their Own Cannabis Data
That’s all nice, but in order for a device to be truly smart, it must be able to learn. A smart device (like everything else in the digital age) needs to collect data to function at the highest level.
Here’s where the Bluetooth-connected DaVinci app, available on the Google Play store for the IQ2 and the IQ, comes in handy.
After inputting your strain potency and the amount loaded, the IQ2 will track and report back approximately how much cannabinoids were inhaled per draw and over the course of a session. Was that perfect draw four seconds, or six? And what temperature was it, exactly? All that precise data is there for you on the screen. The option’s also there for you to customize the Smart Path, in case the range wasn’t quite what you wanted.
Going forward, the universe of data available — strains consumed, potencies hit, session times and so on — can be used to assist your cannabis acquisition experience as well. This is because your cannabis experience will soon include — digital drumroll — artificial intelligence.
AI-Assisted Cannabis Tech
For now, AI’s application in cannabis is mostly on the business side — to use algorithms and machine learning in order to predict behavior patterns, and find efficiencies — but on the consumer side, AI will likely be used by businesses to predict customer behavior. And, hopefully, make your cannabis shopping experience more efficient (if eerily predicted).
In the same way that your clicking habits and browser history summons relevant ads, dispensaries and e-commerce platforms may enlist your data to present you with a custom menu that’s all strains you like. They may also get real wise and use AI-assisted tools to decide what they’re going to grow this cycle, what terpene profiles they’ll try to focus on, what to extract, and more.
Nanoencapsulation and Bioavailability
Typically, fat-soluble THC and the cannabis plant’s other constituent parts don’t mix well with water-based products, like drinks. That’s changing fast, as product manufacturers have made significant advances in containing cannabinoid molecules in “capsules,” which are smaller emulsions that allow them to be combined more easily with water-based products, while also increasing the amount that the body can absorb without ending up as waste.
Some of these emulsifications are created in the product, while others are formulated so that the emulsifying process happens inside the human body. Why do you want this?
Think fast-acting edibles as well as truly integrated cannabis beverages. It’s food, and not a computer circuit board, but techniques to make precise and fast-acting edibles absolutely require a sophisticated, machine-assisted methodology.
All of this cannabis tech is available to a growing number of consumers, and will likely become more standard as the year goes on.