In the last decades or two, innovations such as feminized seeds and autoflower seeds has meant that cannabis has undergone some dramatic changes to the way the genetics are used and grown. But the decade from the 2020’s to the 2030’s should see some even more dramatic changes. Cannabis is becoming a multi billion dollar legal business. Many expect it to eventually challenge alcohol for overall supremacy as the recreational drug of choice. And for that reason, some serious investors are looking to put large amounts of cash into cannabis research. Cannabis may only just be edging it’s way towards legality, but in the future cannabis will be radically different to the cannabis we know now.
The creation of feminized cannabis seeds by Dutch Passion in the late 1990’s was one innovation which changed indoor cannabis seed cultivation forever. Marijuana seeds could be grown into feminized plants. This saved the average home grower speed, time and space. In the last 10-20 years we have also seen the emergence of CBD rich cannabis seeds and autoflowering cannabis seeds. All these innovations from the cannabis seed companies has made cannabis growing easier and more convenient. The last decade or two have seen some remarkable changes to cannabis seeds and cannabis cultivation. Expect much more in the next decade.
Cannabis seed specialists such as Dutch Passion are hoping to release the worlds first cannabis varieties rich in CBG and THCV. Previously, only THC-rich or CBD-rich cannabis seed varieties were available. Release of CBG and THCV rich varieties will open the door to a new era of cannabis evolution where new cannabinoids are selectively bred for specific purposes and effects.
Perhaps the biggest story for future cannabis varieties will be the arrival of more and more ‘new’ cannabinoids. This will allow some subtle effects. Perhaps cannabis varieties which will suit your own unique endo cannabinoid system could be bred just for you. You may be able to choose from varieties which will be exceptionally calming, invigorating, anti-anxiety or perhaps pure euphoria. Medical cannabis users will be able to grow cannabis seeds which will have specific benefits for particular medical problems. This will take serious commitments in both time and money. But there has never been as much investment coming into the cannabis industry. The legal cannabis industry in places like USA, Canada and elsewhere is currently driving some fascinating research projects.
The coming decade could allow an era of cannabis evolution where cannabis varieties will be bred to deliver much more than just THC and CBD. Dutch Passion aim to be at the forefront of this research. There are dozens of minor cannabinoids and relatively little is still known about them. In the coming years many of these minor cannabinoids will be available as feminized cannabis seeds with enriched, higher concentrations.
Spending on cannabis is increasing each year, both by consumers and by business investors. High growth markets attract lots of inward investment. As cannabis becomes mainstream, there will be increased demand for precise ways to deliver exact cannabis doses. Current methods such as vaping will be deemed too inaccurate. Instead there will be new delivery methods. Medical users may be able to get their medical cannabis delivered by skin patches. Nano technology may be able to help control exact doses which reach the blood stream. Edible and drinkable forms of cannabis will be available in different concentrations, allowing users to know exactly what they are getting and what the effect will be. Cannabis inhalers, similar to current asthma inhalers, will start to become available. These will deliver an instant dose of cannabinoids tailored for the optimum recreational or medical experience.
One of the big improvements for cannabis lovers will be the opportunity for future technology to map your own endo cannabinoid system. The human endo cannabinoid system has a network of receptors. The CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors were discovered in the 1990’s and are involved in many physiological processes including pain, appetite, memory and mood. Many expect that there are other undiscovered cannabinoid receptors. It is thought that our endo cannabinoid system is unique, meaning that each of us may get a slightly different experience from the same variety of cannabis. When we can fully understand the endo cannabinoid system, then we can start to fine-tune our cannabis varieties to suit our precise needs. Whether that is a recreational need for the happiest and most euphoric strain ever. Or whether that is a medical variety required to meet a highly specific requirement.
Perhaps people will find that certain combinations of cannabinoids will have a unique effect for their personal endo cannabinoid system. With $Billions more going into cannabis purchases each year, you can be sure that one day someone will be able to completely unwrap the mysteries of how the cannabinoids and terpenes work for each one of us. Cannabis contains dozens of cannabinoids and terpenes. Some of these are thought to amplify the effects of others. There is still so much still to learn about the numerous effects of the cannabis plants. The combined forces of legalization and financial potential will illuminate many of the cannabis mysteries which have remained hidden under the veil of prohibition.
Patenting cannabis may not be quite as easy as many cannabis purists fear. Pharmaceutical companies will already be excited by the prospect of rich financial rewards from cannabinoid based pharmaceutical medicines. However a patent, even if it is granted, only lasts 20 years. A patent doesn’t last forever. And getting a patent which will withstand a legal challenge could be particularly difficult for cannabis. That’s mainly because the plant grows naturally, many people have already made so many different products from the plant. This means that there is a great deal of ‘prior art’, or previous work. This makes it difficult for people to claim that they have a completely novel use which is worthy of patent protection.
But plenty of people will try to patent anything they can in the hope of future riches. However, the large pharmaceutical companies have big budgets for litigation. If any of them make a cheeky attempt to patent a large chunk of cannabis genetics or cannabis technology, the rest will be ready to challenge the patent in court. Cannabis home growers are unlikely to be too worried about any theoretical cannabis patents. Home growers always have been, and always will be, able to grow whichever cannabis varieties they please. If the patents ever affect anyone, it is likely to be other cannabis companies rather than home growers.
In many respects, cannabis in the future may seem similar to the cannabis of today. People will be enjoying vaping, eating or smoking their cannabis. But there may be some interesting new cannabinoids and new ways of understanding how they will affect and please each one of us in slightly different ways.
July 9th 2019