Genetic tracking of cannabis and how your ERP choice can help

Hand with cannabis buds.
Advances in genomics make it easier to map the effects of various cannabis strains.

Business management software in the cannabis industry has focused largely on seed-to-sale tracking, allowing companies to manage inventory, operating costs and pricing.

However, in the next few years, cannabis genomics is likely to become more critical for companies producing and selling cannabis products. Having the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that can track and map those functions is essential.

Business leaders need to understand genetic testing of cannabis and how your ERP choice can help.

What cannabis genetic testing offers

Genetic testing has advanced greatly in the past two decades. Scientists are beginning to build a cannabinoid genome using advances in bioinformatics and DNA sequencing. Until recently, for example, little was known about which genes produced THC and CBD.

That has changed as we understand more about how the plant’s genetics work.

George Weiblen, a biology professor at the University of Minnesota, was one of the pioneers in cannabis genome mapping, starting in 2002. However, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency limited him to 25 plants at a time, and he had to establish the proper research environment and high-level security for the lab.

Weiblen’s work has paved the way for growers and sellers to leverage new potential.

Choosing for cause and effect

While breeders over the years have come to understand what different varieties can do to the mind and body, there has been classification system with scientifically proven and documented characteristics.

Better classification would allow consumers to find products with the genetic traits that are likely to produce the desired physical effects.

Customers looking for pain relief, for example, would no longer need to seek out varieties that only anecdotally are known for having analgesic properties. Companies very soon could begin developing products – including teas, snacks and other consumables – that could be used for sleep disorders, anxiety or sexual disorders.

Genome mapping can have other benefits for growers too. Flowering time, nitrogen use, drought tolerance and other characteristics could also be charted by strain to allow for better resource allocation and pricing decisions.

There may be other applications for the technology on the horizon, including the use of breeds for industrial hemp production, which is used in clothing, food and building materials.

Cannabis bud.
Businesses are now offering services that allow companies to better understand the genetic makeup of cannabis plants.

Business, the law and cannabis

Today, companies like Sunrise Genetics, a Colorado-based firm, are providing genetic testing services for cannabis companies for both personal and commercial use. Its services include plant identification, DNA marker screening and genomic-based breeding.

Growers also face a murky legal landscape with laws and regulations that vary by state. Some are looking to patent new breeding processes, breeds, products and production methods. As of December 2018, there were 61 patents issued with “cannabis” in the title. That number is surely to grow.

U.S. law allows for patents to be issued to plants. Whether the patents are enforceable remains to be seen.

Patent law is a federal issue. However, the DEA still classifies cannabis as an illegal controlled substance. In a lawsuit about patent infringement, a defendant could argue that federal law does not apply to an illegal substance.

On the other hand, patents could prevent anyone from growing patented plants anywhere.

Sorting it out with ERP

Your enterprise resource planning software should be one designed for the cannabis industry. Your ERP solution needs functionality that tracks seed-to-sale expenses and revenue, patient and customer management, inventory management. It also needs genetic tracking functions, allowing for the tracking of mother plants, clones, strains and genetic markers, with an easy correlation to sales information.

If you ever want to patent your work, having this documentation is essential.

At NexTec Group, we help cannabis companies select the right industry-specific ERP that helps manage and assess business operations.  Learn more about technology that runs your CannaBusiness and how NexTec can help.

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