The cultivation of cannabis produced by modern science and technology needs the secrets of the growers of the past
According to The Conversation, an independent, nonprofit source for news, analysis and commentary from academic experts; information on cannabis cultivation states that modern science and technology need the secrets of the past. Obviously, the cannabis industry is booming. A future alliance between growers and scientists seems necessary. This is what Dr. Youbin Zheng, Associate Professor, University of Guelph, and Deron Caplan, PhD candidate in environmental systems research, University of Guelph, report.
Cannabis faces many challenges
Ottawa Citizen reports to us that in Canada and around the world, legal cannabis growers face many challenges: varying government regulations, high safety requirements, and a lack of reliable information on how to grow their crops.
Growing cannabis has been illegal for many years. Scientific research on how best to produce this crop is limited ... Much of the knowledge on how to grow cannabis lacks validation, is obscured in secrecy. This is mainly related to hidden and illegal production facilities from the past.
A profitable advance to cannabis
In contrast, researchers have improved production practices for other crops. Including medicinal plants, for decades, creating a lot of scientifically validated information.
With changing government regulations in Canada and the many medicinal benefits of cannabis, it's time to shift the industry from legal production. That is to say, cannabis in the field of laboratories and advanced scientific practices. Evidence-based research will help producers produce with more consistency. Notably high-yielding, high-quality cannabis, which will help inform businesses.
Researchers are studying how to produce high value plants (medicinal, edible and ornamental plants) in controlled environments. Including medical cannabis inside. Ultimately, this will require collaborative research among cannabis growers and researchers. As recreational cannabis use is legalized in Canada, more licensed growers are seeking this kind of expertise.
Current state of cannabis production
Cannabis cultivation can be a lucrative business. Expenditures on legal cannabis in the North American medicinal and recreational markets are expected to reach 21,6 billion Americans by 2021.
In Canada, there is currently 73 Authorized Producers of Medical Cannabis , most of which are large-scale producers. With the recreational use and sale of cannabis slated for legalization in our country next year, it is foreseeable that many more large-scale producers will enter the market.
Knowledge of the past
In the past, indoor cannabis production was largely confined to smaller-scale operations. Under these conditions, producers have accumulatedenormous levels of knowledge and experience. But many have been kept as trade secrets and most have yet to be scientifically validated.
Even in modern medical cannabis production facilities, producers often rely on online sites and forums ... Without proper training, it can be hard to tell from fiction, for a scientist ...
Looking at decades of horticultural knowledge
Humans have been growing plants in controlled environments for hundreds of years. Over the past 50 years, billions of dollars have been invested in this area of research. A huge amount of knowledge has been accumulated. Cannabis producers can tap into this knowledge pool by working with qualified researchers.
The production challenges faced by large-scale cannabis growers will inevitably be like those growing other greenhouse crops, especially nutrient and disease management issues. For example, large-scale crop production facilities use large amounts of fertilizer and water. If they are not properly disposed of, they could pollute the environment ...
Growers can also decide to reuse their nutrient solution, but this risks spreading pathogens from an infected plant to the entire farm. Through collaboration with horticultural scientists, large-scale growers will have access to many different technologies and strategies for treating irrigation water for reuse or disposal. This will help combat potential problems.
Another example concerns artificial lighting for plants. In the past, most operations used high pressure sodium (HPS) lamps as grow lights. HPS is not efficient in converting electricity into light for plant growth, and lighting is one of the main costs for the production of indoor plants.
Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology is developing rapidly, with dramatic increases in energy efficiency and decreases in prices. LEDs can provide different light colors and spectral combinations as needed. Research tells us that we can use the color and intensity of light to direct plants to produce the desired characteristics and chemicals.
However, there is hardly any published scientific research on how to use this modern technology. Especially for producing high-quality cannabis - information that cannabis growers certainly need.
Develop government policy
Public policy on cannabis has focused on public health issues, the illegal market and taxation. As the leisure market opens up and production increases, the regulation of production will also be important.
In the Canadian medical cannabis market, regulations on the quality and safety of products distributed to patients are strictly enforced. However, there is little indication of production except to meet these standards. Governments will need to regulate production practices, taking into account both the interests of the producer and the public.
A science related to governments
Unfortunately, reliable factual research is lacking. As mentioned, most of the production knowledge is anecdotal and even secret. This makes it difficult for decision makers responsible for setting standards and policies.
Research efforts to scientifically improve, verify and document valuable knowledge about cannabis production will not only help producers, but also governments seeking to regulate and support this industry.