Though cannabis was one of the first plants domesticated by humans more than 12,000 years ago, today’s cannabis industry feels like a new frontier for innovation. New laws and loosening regulations are allowing a great deal of experimentation and improvement in a largely outdated and underfunded cannabis culture, to the result that every year brings new discoveries and inventions to the market.
While much of new cannabis tech is designed to capture the heart and mind of the cannabis consumer, some cannabis devices have important applications within healthcare. Here are a few examples of cannabis tech healthcare providers should know about and how they might use them to improve their practice.
A Smart Inhaler With Cannabis Pods
Smart technology in general is set to revolutionize healthcare, giving patients and their providers more insight than ever into treatments and leading directly to more personalized and ultimately more effective care. Smart inhalers are devices just as they sound: inhalers that have sensor technology to record data about frequency of use and medicine consumption. Many healthcare professionals swear by the importance of smart inhalers, which allow them to verify that patients are taking their medicines on the proper schedule and thus receiving the proper type and amount of treatment.
Resolve Digital Health has developed another smart inhaler — with a cannabis twist. This inhaler has specially designed Smartpods to make medicine refills simpler, and the company has created cannabis pods to assist those looking for a clean and straightforward way to engage with cannabis-based treatments. Even better, because their inhaler device collects data and connects to an app, caregivers and healthcare providers can track cannabis consumption and catch potential abuse before it becomes dangerous.
A DNA Scanner With Tolerance Testing
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to overdose on the psychoactive compounds within cannabis. Though THC overdoses are not nearly as dangerous as overdoses of other narcotics — i.e. never has a THC overdose directly resulted in death or long-term disability — they can be supremely uncomfortable for the user, and they can affect how the user’s body reacts to cannabis going forward. Thus, medical cannabis patients want to be careful with their dosage, to ensure they receive the medical benefits of the drug without risking overdose.
Enter: Lobo Genetics’ DNA analysis. With nothing more intrusive than a mouth swab, this company can test a patient’s THC tolerance and provide recommendations for safe dosages. If the tech seems ahead of its time, that’s because it is; researchers aren’t confident they fully understand the genetic markers that identify THC tolerance as yet, and tolerance can shift with increased cannabis use. Still, Lobo has the tech in place and can shift its analysis as we uncover more about the genes behind THC tolerance.
A Handheld Cannabis Potency Analyzer
Another concern for medical cannabis users nervous about overdose is the potency of their products. Cannabis can come with a range of cannabinoid content. Hemp legally must have less than .3 percent THC, but all other cannabis varieties can have THC content anywhere above that; some concentrates easily exceed 80 percent THC. Many store-bought products must be tested for their THC content, but when patients make their own cannabis products at home, especially edibles, understanding dosage is all but impossible.
Until now, thanks to tCheck’s cannabis potency analysis device. This simple, sleek, handheld device utilizes UV spectrometry — i.e. views and analyzes the wavelength of compounds — to identify cannabinoids and provide insights into the potency of homemade cannabis products. This gives patients more freedom to experiment with cannabis without jeopardizing the success of their treatment. It also allows healthcare providers to better understand individuals’ dosages and make personalized recommendations for cannabis treatments going forward.
A Cannabis Breathalyzer
Driving under the influence of cannabis is strictly illegal, even in states that allow medical and recreational cannabis consumption. However, what many cannabis consumers don’t realize is that police have no reliable method of detecting cannabis use in drivers — and, likewise, healthcare providers don’t have a reliable method of detecting cannabis use in patients who need emergency care.
Fortunately, Hound Labs is working to develop a cannabis breathalyzer device, which should be able to detect cannabinoid levels through breath samples. While the applications in law enforcement are clear, these devices will aid the healthcare community by giving emergency responders and providers information about cannabinoid levels before they engage in treatments that could have contraindications with cannabis.
Innovation in cannabis tech is ramping up, and the healthcare community is benefiting significantly from it. The next few years should see outstanding opportunities for those relying on cannabis for care and treatment.
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay