The Cannabis Industry Goes High-Tech

June 10, 2016

9:48 am

Cannabis is one of humanity’s oldest crops and historians can trace the use of cannabis back 12,000 years. Today’s legalization of cannabis in many states have brought the pot industry into the forefront, but few considered it high-tech.

Most people think of smoking pot as an electronic-free activity, where all smokers need is a lighter and a bong. Nothing’s more low-tech than that.

But legalized marijuana is an industry like any other. While it may face stricter laws than other industries, it was worth $5.4 billion in 2015 and is expected to grow by 25 percent this year. Tech businesses of all sizes are trying to get in on the ground floor of the newest gold rush.

In What is the Connection between the Budding Cannabis Industry and Technology Start Ups?, Leslie Bocskor, a funds manager handling marijuana business for Electrum Partners, said:

“We're only at the very beginning, essentially like being at the very beginning of Sir Alexander Fleming discovering penicillin as mold in a petri dish. That's how it started, and now how broad are antibiotics as a category of medicine? In the same sense we're just looking at the very beginning of cannabis.”

With that in mind, it’s time to understand where the cannabis and tech industries connect. Here’s a few tech innovations that the pot industry is working on:

Cannabis Pipes

Pipes have come a long way from simple glass bongs. Today, smokers can buy marijuana buds or cannabis oils in varying forms. The Quickdraw 300 DLX 3 in 1 Vaporizer allows the user to choose between dry herb, wax, or juice.


Butane Hash Oil (BHO), also known as dabs, are heated on a metal surface with a torch.  Titanium nails, or “TI” nails, are the preferred metal for dabbing and come in different shapes, forms and sizes.



Pot Apps

The cliched “there’s an app for that” is also true in the cannabis industry. In the past, Apple restricted any marijuana social networking app from it’s App Store. However, they’ve since changed their policies and there are now apps that allow gamers to grow virtual marijuana crops. The Pot Bot, calls itself a “virtual budtender” and helps people with a medical marijuana card find the right strain for their health issues. As there are thousands of different types of pot, this helps direct users on cannabinoid levels, dosing, and consumption methods.

pot bot

The Marijuana Handbook has a strain library, dictionary, maps and also a cookbook. There is also a section called Legal Recreational with how-to’s and party games.

marijuana handbook

Growing Cannabis

If there is one aspect of the cannabis industry that has completely crossed into the tech world it’s growing. Growing pot is an exact science supported by the latest gadgets and tools. As in any farming industry, the quality and quantity of the crop has a direct impact on the bottom line. That’s why growers will invest in technology that helps them grow better crops faster.

The Under-sink Reverse Osmosis Filtration System strips 99% of unwanted material (chlorine, minerals and other toxins) out of water and creates a nutrient solution that hydroponic growers prefer.

filtration system

The Geatex GXMT38 Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer with Laser Targeting helps growers measure leaf-surface temperature. Along with measuring grow room air temperature, also measuring leaf surface allows growers to optimize plant growth through climate control.

infrared thermometer

Just the Beginning

As Leslie Bocskor says, we are just at the beginning of the cannabis industry. Legalization has opened doors not only to medical patients and recreational users, but also to various tech industries as well. These are just a few examples of how diverse the industry is and the possibilities that exist for businesses.

It’s time to think of the cannabis industry as a viable business opportunity that goes far beyond simple pot smoking. It’s a growing industry that's projected to grow as laws change. For the right businesses, the cannabis industry is an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a very lucrative movement.

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Liesha's a freelancer by day and Kyokushin Black Belt by night. A late-blooming academic, she's happiest teaching business and globalization at UoPeople. Her newest project is Work Mobly, an online magazine called which helps freelancers find freedom, happiness, and profit while working from anywhere. Get in touch with Liesha on Twitter.