As the war on drugs continues, the American medical and pharmaceutical industries are poised to benefit. However, this also produces a double-edged sword. By forcing the two industries into a tight alliance, we may be losing the ability to seek the evidence-based solutions that come from a scientific, but not political, view of the world.
Since the passing of the federal medical marijuana law in 2009, the US has had a series of laws regulating the use of marijuana. In 2012, the US passed the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (aka the Obamacare bill), which included a provision to allow those with “terminal” illnesses to use medical marijuana if they live in a state where it is legal.The year is 2021. Of the 50 states in the country, 48 have legalized marijuana for medical use and 15 for recreational use. 91% of Americans believe it should be legal for both medical and recreational use. Medical marijuana alone will be worth an estimated $66.3 billion by 2025. Despite these numbers, the substance is still considered federally banned. What will federal marijuana laws look like in 2021, and how will they encourage the industry to innovate again?
Federal marijuana list? Coming soon
Sources close to President Joe Biden believe he favors federal decriminalization of marijuana or even legalization, but he has not said either in so many words. We are already behind Canada and Uruguay, which have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Mexico could be the next country to join this exclusive club. That didn’t stop Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer from promising to file legislation in the Senate to legalize it at the federal level. It’s not the will that’s the problem, it’s the timing. Schumer has talked a lot about the Democratic caucus calling for legalization or at least an end to the substance’s ban, but when asked when that would happen, he simply said: I intend to introduce this bill in the near future. Currently, the lack of support at the federal level means that marijuana businesses that operate legally in multiple states cannot receive financial assistance, such as loans or wages. Many places can’t even accept credit or debit cards, they only work with cash. Only time will tell when this law will appear, but that hasn’t stopped technology companies from improving their respective technologies. It’s all about DNA We are interested in the marijuana plant, but there is so much more to it than just light. The cannabis plant is unique and complex, and its effects on the brain and body can vary greatly depending on the person and variety. In the end, it’s all about DNA. One company is working on – and has applied for a patent for – a method based on CRISPR genetic technology that will lead to varieties containing neither CBD nor THC. This technology can also help better match a person to the ideal race. Pharmacogenomics, the use of human genetic characteristics to determine the effects of drugs, is still in its infancy. Another company uses cheek swab DNA testing to identify specific markers and determine which cannabis strains are best for them.
The smaller the better
Other than smoking, products containing THC and CBD are usually suspended in an oil. This means that they are more difficult to mix with other liquids. You can put it in your tea or coffee, but no matter how many times you stir it, it always comes out. Nanocapsulation can make your CBD oil or THC emulsify better in your food or drink. Nanocapsulation works by splitting the oil into smaller and smaller particles that emulsify rather than separate. This technology is not only easy to use, but also makes it easier for the body to absorb the beneficial ingredients of the product. The industry is still developing a reliable method for nano encapsulation, but if successful, the cannabis market will change forever.
Improving the energy efficiency of commercial and residential properties is a topic that concerns everyone. If there’s one thing the cannabis industry has always needed, it’s power. Grow lights use a lot of energy and generate a lot of heat, but a new technology coming to market in 2021 could well revolutionize the world – by going into orbit. NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station are experimenting with full-spectrum LED lights to grow plants in space. This not only opens up the possibility of growing food on future space missions, but also provides useful tools for growing plants like cannabis on Earth. LED bulbs use less energy, are more efficient and convert more electricity into light instead of wasting it as heat. This makes it an ideal choice for cannabis growers who are dealing with excessive electricity bills or who want to reduce their carbon footprint by reducing their overall energy consumption.
Looking to the future
Emerging technologies are slowly making the marijuana industry competitive in the coming years. The biggest obstacle right now is the federal government and its insistence on remaining illegal. Let’s hope Mr. Schumer’s legislation moves in the right direction and we can look forward to a greener future.
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