Charting the future of the cannabis plant
When I consider the future of cannabis, I think less about the “industry” and more about the cannabis plant itself. How does it change peoples’ bodies, minds and souls, and how will we design it to change ourselves as human beings?
Each brand you will meet has its own answer to these questions, and a lot of money riding on it being the right one. Our preferred vision is a little old, a little new, of course – we wish to preserve and enhance the cannabis plant as we know it, because so much of the world we want to create with our products resembles the OG ethos of cannabis’s maverick pioneers. But the “little new” is crucial – that’s what will give you the precision and reliability your well-being requires. So here’s where we see the future of consciously constructed cannabis brands taking us. From where I’m standing, it’s looking quite bright indeed.
Cannabis dials in its consistency and effects
Even cultivators and brands embracing whole-plant medicine need access to clean, consistent product. That means mitigating against contamination and genetic drift which arise from cutting clones from the same mother plant. We’ve recently begun working with a lab in Sonoma County which serves as a storage locker for our prized cultivars. They take cuttings of the cultivar and extract tissue culture from the cuttings. They then store the tissue culture in climate-controlled settings, so any time we need a clone, we can order one up from the lab. Cultivators couldn’t get these services in the days of the unregulated market.
The dark side to this is the rise of GMO and proprietary genetics. The underground was built around an open-source, share-and-share-alike attitude towards proprietary genetics. Of course, if you own the genetics, you also own the by-products of the genetics, leading to greater monopolization and corporatization. It has led many of the OGs to clamp down on their genetics with patents to avoid the very real possibility of having them stolen right out from under them. Will there be collaboration in the future? If so, it will not be as open or as free-flowing as it once was.
Cannabinoids and terpene blends, rather than prerolls and potency, will dominate the market
Readers of our newsletter and blog space will know of my issues with the glut of adult-use product on the market. In particular, the emphasis on potency takes away from the synergy of terpenes and cannabinoids which truly elevate a plant and product above its peers. That unique combination of cannabinoids and terpenes will define more and more what brings people back to a cannabis product. They account for the flavor and unique effects, and as we all know by now, the whole is far greater than the sum of their parts. Precision dosing technology will be crucial in delivering this consistent effect, and this is only now getting off the ground. Currently, much of the technology being built around cannabis is designed around automation, efficiency and optimization, but there’s vast room for improvement with dosing.
Cannabis will be in every garden
Like Jack Herer, I would love to see cannabis grown in every garden on the planet. Matter of fact, I wouldn’t mind seeing it on other planets as well. Just last year, the R&D firm Space Tango spun off a hemp-research subsidiary and announced its interest in growing hemp on the International Space Station. If they succeed, I can only hope that Elon Musk will go them one better and terraform Mars or the moon with a landrace strain!
In the meantime, for both professional farmers and amateur home growers, I feel cannabis will prove its value once more people get into the game. People such as my good friend Siobhan Darwish from the Grow Sisters have worked tirelessly to bestow the skills she’s developed as a lifelong grower to a new audience, particularly women, and doubtless many new innovations and cultural developments will bloom forth from their endeavor. In addition, large-scale industrial agricultural operators can utilize hemp as a row crop alongside their staples, and it could break the reliance of Midwestern farmers on corn.
Of course, cannabis is more than corn. Not only does it have thousands of uses, but it can also bring us closer to nature. Ultimately, I believe cannabis will bring society closer to nature and towards a deeper realization of our interconnectedness. Of course, we aren’t there yet, but as it spreads, so will this realization. If there will be a better future for our species, cannabis will be a big part of it. That’s why I’m onboard.