A total of 36 states and 4 territories have so far legalized marijuana for medical purposes across the United States. The CBD industry, in general, has been growing at a rapid pace with sales increasing from USD 0.5 billion in 2018 to a predicted USD 1.9 billion by 2022. That is a massive 280% increase in CBD sales.
With USD 2.8 billion in valuation in 2020, the CBD market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.2% from 2021 to 2028. The continued legalization of medical marijuana and the increasing awareness regarding cannabis is opening up opportunities for businesses. Also, major innovators in the clinical, biotech, and pharmaceutical sectors are looking for ways to utilize the vast advantages associated with an early entry into the industry.
From monitoring the cultivation and harvesting of the cannabis plant, discovering and categorizing the various strains, overseeing the supply chain distribution processes, to online marketing, artificial intelligence can make each process more data-driven improving the output in each process. AI has successfully improved a myriad of different industries. The CBD and medical marijuana industries are no different.
In the last couple of decades, a lot of producers have opted for data-driven decision-making when it comes to choosing the right seeds and monitoring the environmental conditions for optimal growth of the crops. AI and machine learning have taken automation to a new level. With more advancements in technology, we would soon see robots doing human work and more importantly with more accuracy. AI-driven farm bots are not a science fiction imaginary idea anymore - they are a real thing today.
Robots, today, can map out for us the optimal spacing needed for proper plant growth, identify and remove the low-quality seeds, and also measure water, sunlight, temperature, and CO2 levels for optimizing yield. AI-enabled drones with cameras can calculate the growth rate of the plants by capturing and analyzing real-time images. Even harvesting can be automated.
AI-monitored packaging and labeling can prevent errors related to compliance. As these robots are taking care of the entire production process, they are able to provide better data-driven, precise recommendations related to the product component percentages and the various side-effects if any associated with the product. This is especially helpful as several products today fail to provide correct guidance related to the product. This is because the minute changes in conditions in the cultivation process can get a very different product than what is expected. Unable to track these through the right testing and other compliances can mislead consumers. AI-driven robots can examine more accurately these data points and hence avoid such mishaps. Technology can, hence, provide more realistic expectations about a CBD or MMJ product.
The last part of the production process is distribution. An effective production process is ineffective without an efficient supply chain. Often, a slow-moving distribution can increase the product’s overall costs and hence result in a higher selling price. Today, however, AI-powered SaaS platforms are making supply chain management more efficient. This is achieved by monitoring and tracking real-time data at each stage of the distribution network.
The distribution process is incomplete without consumer experience. The ability to meet demands consistently is a challenge due to the various restrictions in place when it comes to cannabis laws. Also, cannabis consumption varies from person to person depending on the different biochemical makeups of the consumer and the different compositions of each unique strain of cannabis. The tolerance level and even the food consumed can play a factor when it comes to the consumption levels. Today, we are capable of tackling such major issues with the help of artificial intelligence. Machine learning has made it possible to analyze a huge amount of consumer data related to their behavior, consumption, and reactions which in turn helps the manufacturing companies to improve on their products and thus providing a better consumer experience in the future.
Advertising digitally can be a challenge for most cannabis companies because of the restrictions that are still in place at the federal level. However, you are still allowed to advertise locally within the states through traditional channels. AI is helping companies find the right target audience through big data, machine learning, and other advanced processes. This is especially important in identifying consumer touchpoints.
The demand for MMJ and CBD products are increasing over the years due to their potential health benefits. While CBD can be used for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis, MMJ products are acting as a potential cure for PTSD. Meeting these demands is crucial for good business and it is clear that artificial intelligence is helping companies achieving the same.