10 Cannabis Tech Tools Shaping the Industry

From artificial intelligence (AI) tools to sophisticated supply chain management systems, the cannabis industry relies on some advanced technology to keep growing. Here’s a look at some of the technological systems shaping the cannabis industry, how they’re used, and the trends they’re driving as legal cannabis businesses expand nationwide. 


1. Seed-to-sale tracking and compliance systems


One tech platform every cannabis operator is familiar with is the seed-to-sale tracking system, which handles the complex task of monitoring the entire plant-touching supply chain for quality assurance and regulatory compliance. Seed-to-sale tracking systems catalog every cannabis product back to the source, from breeding to cultivation to manufacturing to the dispensary.


Popular seed to sale tracking systems include names like Metrc, Distru, GrowFlow, and Canix, though some states require the use of particular platforms. In New York, operators can use any software they want; the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) uses BioTrack THC. Generally, these systems rely on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology and software to track the flow of seeds, plants, flower, and manufactured products through the cannabis supply chain. 


2. AI budtenders


As the foremost touchpoint between customer and brand, budtenders shape consumer experience and influence brand loyalty to a significant degree. Some dispensaries are capitalizing on the rise of AI to improve the budtender-customer interaction, delivering accurate information in an easily understandable way.


A leading name in this new space is Pluggi, a platform that integrates with ecommerce platforms and offers customers the same type of personalized service they’ve come to expect from your human budtenders on-site. Pluggi relies on customers’ answers to questions to generate relevant product recommendations. Pluggi also delivers data-driven reports that can help you better understand shopper preferences, giving you all the information you need to enhance your marketing and customer service.


3. Extraction equipment


Extraction technology is not new; it’s been used in the food and beverage industry and the petrochemical industry for quite some time. However, their use in cannabis is relatively new, dating back to the 1970s with the advent of Butane Hash Oil (BHO). Today, extraction tech is widely applied in the cannabis industry and includes both solvent-based and solventless extraction equipment. It also includes devices like rosin presses, which are used to refine bubble hash into a thick oil known as rosin. 


Companies like Delta Separations, Precision Extraction, and Root Sciences produce extraction equipment from closed loop extraction systems to individual elements like short path distillation equipment or falling film evaporators. This machinery is essential to the cannabis extraction process, which is used in the production of concentrates as well as infused edibles, topicals, and other types of cannabis products. There are also simpler pieces of equipment from companies like Bubble Magic, which sells ice water extraction machines that don’t require as much engineering expertise to operate.


4. Menu providers


The menu is the dispensary’s focus, whether customers place pickup orders online or do in-store shopping. Ecommerce software companies have emerged to support dispensaries who want to offer their customers a familiar and convenient way to shop for cannabis, even if customers can’t have products shipped to their door. These services offer digital dispensary menus that integrate with other key software needed to manage a dispensary’s operations. They’re focused on providing a high level of ease of use for both customer and dispensary staff, queuing up orders so they can be filled quickly, accurately, and efficiently.


5. Personal consumption devices


The way we consume cannabis is also changing thanks to technological innovation. Among the more high-tech of these innovations are portable vaporizers, electronic dab pens and dabbing devices, and desktop vaporizers. These items eliminate the need for pipes and paper and use apps and other electronic means to create a truly customized consumption experience. 


Puffco is one such innovator in the personal consumption space. The company, which engineers its products in Brooklyn, is known for the Puffco Peak, an electronic dab rig that became seriously popular by making dabbing easy and accessible to every consumer. The company also offers accessories like the Hot Knife, an electronic dab tool that makes loading dab rigs an easier experience.


6. Cannabis security software 


Security is critical in cannabis. Whether you’re a cultivator with a sizable grow, a manufacturing operation producing seriously valuable extracts, or a dispensary with inventory and cash on hand, cannabis businesses are prime targets for burglary. In addition, state regulations usually include strict security requirements for cannabis facilities. That’s where cannabis security software comes in, helping operators manage their facilities and demonstrate full compliance with their state’s requirements.


7. Curing and drying equipment


After harvesting, cannabis needs to be cured and dried to preserve it and prevent contamination while it awaits transportation and purchase. Historically, this process could take weeks or even months to complete, but thanks to technology developed specifically for cannabis cultivators that timeline can be significantly sped up. This gets products out the door faster.


Companies like Cryo Cure, Cannatrol, and Happy Hydro have all developed equipment and processes that support more efficient and higher quality drying and curing. Cryo Cure, for example, offers machinery that preserves cannabinoids and terpenes while quickly bringing flower to its optimal moisture content levels in under 24 hours. Happy Hydro offers more conventional accessories like hanging dry racks and storage containers that support and improve the conventional drying and curing process.


8. Decarboxylation equipment


When using cannabis as an ingredient to create edibles or topicals, it first needs to go through a process known as “decarboxylation.” Put simply, this involves heating cannabis flower at low temperatures for a long time. Decarboxylation is the conversion of cannabinoid acids, like THCA or CBDA, into their more familiar activated forms, like THC and CBD. When cannabis is smoked or vaped, this happens before inhalation. But for ingestion, decarboxylation needs to be done first.


Cannabis manufacturing equipment providers sell industrial-sized ovens built for this task. Often called “decarbing ovens,” they come with settings designed specifically for cannabis. There are also many at-home gadgets, like the Ardent and the Levo, that simplify at-home decarboxylation


9. Retail management platforms


When you run a retail business, you need a point-of-sale system for tracking dispensary sales and managing transactions. You also need an inventory management system that can track your current stock, monitor how quickly SKUs are selling, and enable you to order more proactively so you never run out of your most popular products. You’ll also want to be able to review data about your sales and your customers so you can improve your decision making when it comes to things like marketing, inventory, and customer service. Cannabis retail management platforms have brought all these functions into one useful system that keeps dispensaries organized and efficient. 



Flowhub is a major retail management platform serving cannabis dispensaries with its software called Maui. This software allows dispensaries to accept payments for cannabis transactions and offers useful tools like customer loyalty programs and online order management. It also offers built-in compliance tools, so dispensaries can track their compliance and demonstrate it to regulators. Sales reports, custom user dashboards, and all the data flowing through the system is available on mobile devices as well, so company leadership can make informed decisions anytime, anywhere. These platforms also play an important role when it comes to cybersecurity in cannabis, safeguarding sensitive customer data from cyberattacks.


10. Nanoemulsion technologies


When making infused products like edibles and cannabis beverages, it’s important to ensure consumers have consistent, reliable experiences with dosages they can depend on. That means each product needs to not only contain the same amounts of cannabinoids in the same proportions as the last, but each part of each product needs to be homogenous and contain the same amount as well. Otherwise, each bite could be different, and consumers won’t be able to expect a consistent experience. That’s where nanoemulsions come in, and it’s thanks to emulsification technology that manufacturers can create them.



SōRSE Technology, for example, uses a water-soluble emulsification process that works with any oil-based ingredient to create emulsion formulations for cannabis brands. Their services promise product stability that provides for accurate, consistent dosing in cannabis products and homogeneity in each product, so customers can trust the labeling every time. Technology and innovative processes like these enable cannabis businesses to create repeatable, branded products that consumers can count on for a consistent experience no matter where they buy them.


Emerging tech propels the cannabis industry forward


The cannabis industry is an innovative and rapidly evolving space, often out of necessity thanks to decades of prohibition and the emergence of state-by-state supply chains with their own sets of rules and regulations. As cannabis businesses grow and face new challenges, technology companies come to the fore to help them get more done and keep on expanding. To meet some of the leaders in cannabis tech and the businesses successfully using their tools and platforms, join us for the next Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo (CWBCExpo) June 5 – 6 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City

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