Cannabis background with leaf, pre rolls and cannabis nug over medical prescription sheet isolated on white – medical marijuana concept

With a push toward global legalization, the worlds of technology and cannabis are colliding. Technological innovations are helping improve virtually every aspect of the cannabis industry, from growing to cultivation and regulation.

In an industry which is poised to reach $31.4 billion by 2021, these five technologies are driving things forward.

1. Terpene Isolation Technology

Terpenes have been called “the next chapter” in cannabis innovation, and for good reason. Terpene isolation technology was once only used by a niche market in the concentrates sector, but with the help of crossover technology from the fragrance and essential oil industries, we’re seeing it expand.

Terpenes that are both cannabis-derived and non-cannabis-derived can be used to infuse products. Some companies are blending terpenes into profiles that are similar to strain-specific fragrances.

Certain blends of terpenes can react with cannabinoids to create new synergistic properties, which can have powerful medical outcomes. A study from 2011 found that the entourage effect created by this synergy can be helpful in treating inflammation, pain, depression, addiction, anxiety, cancer, epilepsy, and bacterial and fungal infections.

Cannabis contains more than 100 different terpenes, and they each have their own medical profile. Some of these terpenes include:

  • Myrcene, which has demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, anti-cancer and pain-relieving properties.
  • Linalool, which has a soothing scent and offers anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory and anti-convulsant properties.
  • Pinene, which has demonstrated pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and anti-cancer properties. It may also improve memory retention and function as antioxidant.

Terpene isolation technology allows extracts to be used in a variety of ways. They can boost the flavor of a cannabinoid concentrate or edible, improve the therapeutic utility of a topical product, or be vaporized to enjoy the therapeutic benefits without psychoactive effects.

2. LED Lighting

One of the most rapidly-expanding sectors of the medical cannabis industry is lighting technology. LEDs are at the forefront of the market in terms of innovation.

LEDs offer lower costs over time, with many new fixtures offering longer-lasting diodes that use less power and produce more light. LED technology also allows growers to customize light spectrums, which gives the cultivator more control. This level of control is setting the groundwork for growers to develop light spectrums for certain species/strains of medical cannabis that maximizes phenotypic responses.

A study from the Wageningen University and Research Centre found that medicinal cannabis grows well in greenhouses under LED lighting. In fact, according to the study, some varieties of cannabis plants may produce even more medicinally-active substances when grown under LED lighting compared to other intensive lighting systems.

3. Solventless Extraction Technology

Solventless extraction technology is taking the concentrates market to new heights. Concentrate enthusiasts prefer to dab or vape, which increases the bioavailability of cannabinoids.

Solvent extracts, such as rosin oil, can be created in seconds. Other products, such as BHO, can take up to a week to produce.

Commercial-sized presses, which are used in rosin extraction, are found on trade show floors. Hydraulic and pneumatic presses can reach pressures exceeding 20 tons, which allows for lower extraction temperatures. Lower temperatures help to preserve terpenes.

Solventless technology has one major advantage over hydrocarbon extraction: users can safely produce concentrates from the comfort of their home.

4. Streamlined Edibles

Medical marijuana edibles offer patients an alternative to smoking or vaping their cannabis. A world of artisan edibles is now available, and new technologies is making it easier than ever to produce these products.

The Nova Decarboxylator, from Ardent Cannabis, takes the guesswork out of decarboxylation, which is the process of adding heat to cannabis to activate cannabinoids. Users simply add their material, press the start button, and wait for the process to finish. The finished product can be used to infuse oil and butter.

Another company, called Stillwater, has created water-soluble cannabinoids that can be introduced to any food environment. Their products include full-spectrum and isolated CBD.

5. Lab Testing

Now that cannabis is moving out of black-market territory in many parts of the world, safety and lab testing is becoming the norm. Along with ensuring that the product meets regulation standards, testing demonstrates the purity of medical cannabis and related products.

Laboratory testing can now test the levels of microbes, solvents, pesticides and cannabinoids. Lab tests can ensure that the cannabis is free of Salmonella, E.coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Aspergillus and more.

For concentrate products, testing ensures that the finished product meets acceptable limits for residual solvents, including butane, ethanol, propane and more.

Being able to test and measure the cannabinoids in the product will also give patients peace of mind that they’re getting what they paid for. Lab testing is the only way to know with certainty the THC and CBD levels in the cannabis product.

The world of medical cannabis technology is ever-changing, and it will continue to evolve as the push for global legalization moves forward. Keep yourself updated with the latest Cannabis news at Cannabis Wiki.

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