In Canada and around the world, legal cannabis makers face many problems: Numerous government regulations, high security demands and an absence of reliable information on how to grow their crops.
Growing cannabis has become illegal for a lot of years that scientific research regarding how to best produce this crop has limitations. A lot of the knowledge concerning how to grow cannabis lacks validation, is clouded in secrecy and is mostly connected to hidden and illegal production facilities of the past.
In comparison, researchers have been improving production practices for other crops, including medicinal plants, for many years, developing a large body of scientificaly-validated information.
With changing government regulations in Canada, and the many medicinal benefits of cannabis grow expert, it really is time to move the legal cannabis plant production industry into the realm of high-tech laboratories and scientific practices.
We should search through accumulated grower knowledge, while publicly documenting and improving production practices. Evidence-based research will help growers produce more consistent, high-yielding and high-quality products and help inform policy makers since 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 know this will require collaborative research among cannabis growers and researchers.
Our lab at the University of Guelph is among the best on the planet for horticulture research, particularly for controlled-environment plant production. In recent years, we now have been applying this data to our collaborations with legal cannabis growers. With legalized recreational cannabis use on the horizon in Canada, more licensed growers are searching for 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 achieve US$21.6 billion by 2021.
In Canada, there are currently 73 authorized licensed medical cannabis producers, many of them large-scale producers. Using 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 enter in the market.
Before, 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 many still has to be scientifically validated.
Even just in today’s modern medicinal cannabis production facilities, growers tend to be reliant on online forums – so-called “grow guides” – and advice from salespeople for info on crop production. Without the right training, it may be tough to tell fact from fiction.