The Cannabis Industry Is Putting Up A Fight Against COVID-19. Here's How
New tech and innovations in the cannabis industry are helping leaders fight COVID.
With cannabis prohibition on the decline and medical marijuana now legal in 33 states, it's a great time for innovators to create new and exciting technology to improve how people cultivate and consume cannabis.
However, it hasn't always been this way.
Bryan Buckley, who is the CEO and Founder of Helmand Valley Growers Company, explained the struggles of funding medical cannabis research during the early days of legalization on Episode 42 of the Cannabis Tech Talks podcast.
"We're playing a game as we're still making up the rules, and we're very comfortable being uncomfortable," said Buckley. "When you really believe in something…you'll figure out a way to make it work."
A lot of innovators could probably agree with Buckley's statement.
When the cannabis industry was first starting to gain momentum, entrepreneurs were forced to innovate new technologies, due to rapidly changing and expanding regulations.
It was an uncertain time but the industry learned to quickly adapt.
Funnily enough, the technology that was created is now being utilized in the modern era for purposes other than cannabis.
In a way, the technology founded to serve a greater good by promoting quality flower, is only continuing its purpose but on a larger scale.
Cultivating Positive Change
PathogenDx is one example of a company dedicated to cultivating positive change for the future.
Their DNA-based microarray testing technology delivers efficient, viral testing solutions and is at the forefront of bacterial and fungal testing.
PathogenDx promises "greater certainty at ultra-rapid speed."
Their pathogen detection technology can test for different microbes and fungi in a single well and deliver accurate results within six hours.
With their EnviroX swabbing regimen, it's as easy as swabbing your environment and sending the results to the lab.
PathogenDx has been incredibly important in the cannabis industry, as 23 states require pathogen regulatory testing to ensure the safety and quality of hemp.
An independent study conducted by a third-party on PathogenDx's behalf, found that end-point PCR technologies, such as sequencing and DNA microarray, are more accurate in determining the presence of pathogens in cannabis.
"When it comes to protecting the supply chain, quality and accuracy cannot be compromised," said Milan Patel, Co-Founder and CEO of PathogenDx. "This is one of the few instances where it is really a matter of life and death. In order to safeguard the legitimacy of the industry, cannabis stakeholders should demand labs use rigorous testing methods that pinpoint pathogens and protect consumers."
Shifting Gears For A Healthier Tomorrow
Currently, as cases of COVID-19 are steadily rising, many businesses are shifting gears to utilize their resources in order to help those in need.
PathogenDx is one of those businesses.
Throughout March and April, the 50-person team has been hard at work adapting their microarray to enable viral testing abilities to work with viruses, specifically COVID-19.
As of June 2020, PathogenDx announced that it was partnering with Bertin Instruments, combining Bertin's Coriolis Air Sampler with PathogenDx's EnviroX-Rv testing technology that will provide public facilities and buildings with rapid and accurate identifications of contaminants.
According to PathogenDx's website, where other COVID-19 detection tests are accurate only 50-85% of the time, EnviroX-Rv delivers 98% accuracy.
"As we work towards a vaccine, this innovative solution can help facility managers monitor buildings, confirm that the sanitation and remediation solutions they are using are effective and we can safely restart our economy," said Milan.
Similarly to how the cannabis industry was when it first started, our world is having to adjust to this uncertain way of life without guidance.
Many researchers are now turning to technologies developed for cannabis as potential COVID-19 remedies.
A study conducted to see whether a unique cannabis terpene formulation can help treat inflammatory conditions, including a life-threatening cytokine storm syndrome caused by COVID-19, showed promising results.
Many are also ditching their medical masks for masks made of hemp fiber, which is also a more sustainable option as hemp masks are biodegradable and compost-friendly.
PathogenDX, who was previously fighting to cultivate a cleaner hemp future through its mold-testing technology, has now created one of the most innovative ways to detect COVID-19 through its EnviroX-Rv testing technology.
Cannabis could, quite literally, help save the world.