In Canada and around the world, legal cannabis manufacturers face many issues: Numerous government regulations, high security demands and a lack of reliable information about how to grow their crops.
Growing cannabis has been illegal for a lot of years that scientific research on how to best produce this crop has limitations. Much of the knowledge regarding how to grow cannabis lacks validation, is clouded in secrecy and is mostly connected to hidden and illegal production facilities of history.
On the other hand, 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, as well as the many medicinal benefits associated with cannabis grow expert, it is time and energy to move the legal cannabis plant production industry to the realm of high-tech laboratories and scientific practices.
We must 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 as they regulate this industry.
As researchers who study how to produce high-value plants (e.g. medicinal, nutraceutical, edible and ornamental plants) under controlled environments – including indoor medical cannabis – we know this may require collaborative research among cannabis growers and researchers.
Our lab in the University of Guelph is among the best on earth for horticulture research, particularly for controlled-environment plant production. Recently, we have been applying this knowledge 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 could 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, most of them large-scale producers. With all the recreational use and sale of cannabis scheduled for legalization within our country next year, it ymfaab foreseeable that lots of more large-scale producers will go into the market.
Previously, indoor cannabis production was largely limited to smaller-scale operations. Under these conditions, growers accumulated enormous levels of experience and knowledge. But much was kept as trade secrets and many still must be scientifically validated.
Even during 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 the right training, it may be difficult to tell fact from fiction.