The Internet of Things and cannabis

Published May 14, 2023 09:00 a.m. ET
Unsplash / Leon Seibert 

The cannabis industry has evolved rapidly over these last few years, and technology has helped many companies to succeed in this fast-paced ever-shifting landscape.  The Internet of Things (IoT) is one component that has altered the game entirely by providing producers, retailers, and consumers with revolutionary solutions to a variety of different problems – solidifying a brighter future for all in this space for many years to come.

Here, we’ll highlight the important role of (IoT) in both the present and future of cannabis.

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

The (IoT) is a complex network of sensors, devices, programs, and other technology that are designed to communicate amongst each other and the internet. This network consists of many different components, including smartphones, tablets, smart home devices, vehicles, and even industrial machinery, and it allows all connected devices to collect and share integral data in real-time, making it easier to effectively monitor and analyze progress and movements.

How is the IoT being used in the cannabis industry?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is doing a whole lot of background work in the cannabis industry, and here you’ll find five ways it’s already driving the evolution of this space.

1. Smart sensors for growers

Smart sensors are now present in nearly every cannabis producer's setup, be it outdoors, in a warehouse, or greenhouse, and they do a lot to help growers more effectively manage those operations by monitoring things like humidity, temperatures, CO2 levels, and lighting patterns. These small pieces of tech make it possible for growers to receive real-time data on the environmental conditions surrounding any crop. This information allows producers to make swift adjustments to optimize yields, and it eliminates the need for humans to waste time and energy on taking those measurements.

2. Smart packaging for retailers

Traditional packaging offers security and safety, by securing the products within and keeping the elements out. Smart packaging does all that and it adds transparency to the equation, by tracking the temperature and location of each package as it travels through the supply chain. This data can be shared with all parties from retailers, producers, and processors to consumers, to let them know whether or not cannabis products are being transported or stored appropriately.

3. Smart vaporizers for consumers

Even cannabis enthusiasts are benefitting from (IoT) now that many smart vaporizers are connected directly to the internet, to make it easier for users to remotely control things like dose and temperature with complete precision. These devices can also help by keeping track of consumption habits and patterns and providing feedback, so consumers can better understand their relationship with cannabis.

4. Automated dispensing for retailers

Though they aren’t yet standard in the cannabis industry, some retailers are looking to automated dispensing systems as a way to cut down on wait times and overheard costs, since an employee is not required in this streamlined purchasing process. Aside from cost and time savings, this technology is also capable of connecting directly to systems that manage inventory, to guarantee the hottest-selling products always stay in stock.

5. Data analytics for producers

Smart sensors are excellent tools but they’re useless without the addition of data analytics platforms, which compile and analyze insights on things like crop performance, making it easier for producers to optimize yields. Cannabis companies also rely on this data to ensure facilities are compliant and products are meeting or exceeding current quality standards, that way any issues can be resolved as soon as possible to save time and money.


What are the benefits of using the IoT in the cannabis industry?

The Internet of Things offers many benefits to those who work and play in the cannabis industry, including:

1. Improve efficiency

Real-time monitoring made possible by the IoT makes it easier for retailers and growers to manage their facilities and operations in real-time which improves efficiency and often helps to eliminate or reduce unnecessary waste.

2. Increase transparency

Customers want to know the products they’re buying have been handled with the utmost care every step of the way, and that’s something IoT makes possible. A transparent supply chain is great for consumers, but it saves companies money by reducing the likelihood of fraud and mismanagement.

3. Enhance safety

Safety should always be a number one priority in every industry. Preventing leaks, fires, and other potential hazards isn’t always easy, but with help from smart sensors, controlling environmental risks like pests as well as any other issues that may arise is less stressful thanks to early detection systems and software.

4. Better quality control

Producers must constantly monitor all information related to an active grow, such as temperatures, soil conditions, humidity, growth, pest arrival, and every situation where contamination could occur like when employees enter the room all of which was nearly impossible to do in an effective manner before data analytics platforms, smart sensors, and other tools were offered as part of the IoT. Growers can now rest a little easier knowing these components are constantly working together to mitigate risk.

5. Increased productivity

Cultivators lean on the Internet of Things as a way to maximize potential, optimize operations, maintain control, and increase yield which ultimately translates to higher profits and improved employee productivity.

What does the future hold for the IoT and cannabis industry?

The future of the cannabis industry is bright, exciting, and promising and as technology like IoT continues to evolve there will be even more incredible new and effective solutions for everyone in the supply chain from cultivators and processors to retailers and consumers. Technologies potential is limitless, and the possibilities are endless, so as this space grows systems like IoT will very likely play an important role in transforming the way we produce, sell, and use cannabis.

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