In Canada and around the world, legal cannabis makers face many challenges: Varying government regulations, high security requirements and too little reliable information about how to develop their crops.
Growing cannabis has become illegal for numerous years that scientific research regarding how to best produce this crop has limitations. Most of the skills concerning how to grow cannabis lacks validation, is clouded in secrecy and is mostly attached to hidden and illegal production facilities of history.
In comparison, researchers have been improving production practices for other crops, including medicinal plants, for years, creating a large body of scientificaly-validated information.
With changing government regulations in Canada, and also the many medicinal benefits associated with cannabis grow expert, it is time to move the legal cannabis plant production industry in to the realm of high-tech laboratories and scientific practices.
We have to sift through accumulated grower knowledge, while publicly documenting and improving production practices. Evidence-based research can help growers produce more consistent, high-yielding and-quality products and help inform policy makers because they regulate this industry.
As researchers who study the best way to produce high-value plants (e.g. medicinal, nutraceutical, edible and ornamental plants) under controlled environments – including indoor medical cannabis – we believe this can require collaborative research among cannabis growers and researchers.
Our lab in the University of Guelph is probably the best in the world for horticulture research, particularly for controlled-environment plant production. In recent years, we now have been applying this information to our collaborations with legal cannabis growers. With legalized recreational cannabis use on the horizon in Canada, more licensed growers are seeking this sort of expertise.
Current state of cannabis production
Growing cannabis can be a lucrative business. Spending on legal cannabis in North American medicinal and recreational markets is projected to arrive at US$21.6 billion by 2021.
In Canada, you can find currently 73 authorized licensed medical cannabis producers, the majority of them large-scale producers. With the recreational use and sale of cannabis scheduled for legalization within our country next year, it ymfaab foreseeable that numerous more large-scale producers will go into the market.
In the past, indoor cannabis production was largely confined to smaller-scale operations. Under these conditions, growers accumulated enormous amounts of experience and knowledge. But much was kept as trade secrets and a lot still needs to be scientifically validated.
Even in today’s modern medicinal cannabis production facilities, growers are frequently dependent on online forums – so-called “grow guides” – and advice from salespeople for information about crop production. Without proper training, it can be difficult to tell fact from fiction.