For better or worse, technology has changed things. In the past couple of centuries, the world has become unrecognizable from what it once was. From the introduction of the printing press, to the Internet, technology has played a central role in nearly every epochal transition. As technology advances our behaviour is altered. Transportation, commerce, relationships… Everything has changed. Not much has been spared by the wave of innovation, and the cannabis industry is no exception. So the question becomes not when, but rather how this convergence will shape the way we interact with cannabis.
One of the easier ways to see how technology has effected our relationship with cannabis is through the way we consume it. Slowly but surely we are seeing the rise of tech-assisted methods of smoking cannabis. The tried and true classic, the rolled joint, is being pushed aside by convenient, portable, and easy to use alternatives. Products such as the beautifully designed PAX vaporizer have eliminated the need for rolling papers, yet still relies on the physical plant matter, demonstrating just how easily technological advances can offer alternatives and shift the manner in which cannabis is consumed.
The PAX vaporizer and other similar products effect more than the method of consumption, they also force us to look at how behaviour around smoking is changed. One of the most common complaints leveled against cannabis is the scent, some love it, while others hate it. Regardless of your opinion it is objectively true that a heavily smoked in room will carry a scent long after the latest session has ended. Vaporizers and tech-assisted delivery methods eliminate the odor that has previously been unavoidable. Those worried about furniture being stained with the scent of cannabis can now smoke stress free in their homes. Furthermore, those worried about having their clothes smell after leaving a friend’s home have no need to worry. The convergence of technology and cannabis creates methods of consumption that are less intrusive, and thus more inclusive, making it easier for public spaces to be shared by both smokers and non-smokers alike.
Looking further into the future is even more interesting. With legalization sweeping the globe the attitude towards cannabis is shifting significantly. The years of anti-drug propaganda are eroding and cannabis is becoming increasingly accepted as both a medical and recreational drug. With continued technological innovation is it becoming easier to imagine a world where technology plays a larger role in the lives of smokers. The shift has already begun. Convenience will reign supreme as cannabis is commercialized and the most convenient and barrier free form of consuming will offer a convenient alternative to those who prefer not to deal with the more traditional plant matter. Pre-packaged, disposable, standardized, oil based methods that require nothing more than the product supplied will become a more visible portion of the marketplace. If you aren’t feeling up to it you won’t need to gather rolling papers, cannabis, filter tips, a lighter, grinder and whatever else you may require to roll that perfect joint. Convergence will put other options on the shelves for you.
And what about your dealer? If you don’t happen to live where it is possible to legally purchase cannabis you might wonder what their role will be in the future. There is no doubt that technology will drastically change the way people procure cannabis. It may be some entrepreneurial dealer or a company, but sooner than later there will be an app through which you can order exactly what you’re looking for, its inevitable. Think about it, how great would it be to order a couple grams of your favourite strain and have it delivered to your home within the next 20 minutes? Food is already delivered quicker, Uber Eats has proven the quick delivery method to be effective and there is no reason it couldn’t be utilized by forward looking dispensaries. This may all seem like a future fantasy but in fact, they already exist, apps such as Eaze (which promises a 10 minute or less delivery) or Grasp connect legal users with a reliable delivery service, and even doctors. The business around selling cannabis will also shift significantly as more information is collected and analysed. Data-driven decision-making will streamline businesses offering a smoother stress free customer experience, in some cases even predicting demand.
The traditional methods of consuming cannabis will remain; plant matter is never going to disappear entirely. Convergence will simply introduce a whole wealth of innovation that will make smoking up easier, less intrusive, and more elegant. The choice will be up to you.