Dog taking essential oil from dropper. Nutritional supplements, calming products, cbd or thd oils for pets

Pet CBD May Not be as Safe as We Thought

Dog taking essential oil from dropper. Nutritional supplements, calming products, cbd or thd oils for pets

As discussed in a previous article, using CBD products to treat pets is growing in popularity. But it may not be as safe as many owners believe. Recent research has shown that CBD products marketed to pets are often labeled inaccurately, and consumers mistake unregulated products for reputably sourced brands.

In early July, the FDA Center for Veterinary medicine sent out its annual tweet warning pet owners to beware of unregulated CBD products. This time of year sees pet sales rise as dog owners attempt to reduce firework-related anxiety, and the FDA’s warning is an attempt to get pet owners to be more aware of what they are giving their pets.

Inaccurate Labelling

Although all cannabis products approved by the FDA are heavily regulated, pet products can sometimes fall through the cracks. Inaccurate labeling is already a huge issue the cannabis industry faces. A recent study done by Leafreport uncovered that 56% of the pet CBD products sampled were wrongly labeled. The study consisted of a sampling of 55 pet CBD products which were tested independently in laboratories. Out of the original samples, 31 were inaccurately labeled, and the amount of CBD actually contained in the product was misrepresented.  Some products contained minute levels of CBD, much lower than indicated on the label, which may raise doubts of the product’s efficacy (especially when administered to heavier pets). 

How to Protect Your Pet

This data is alarming for pet owners looking to provide their pets with relief. So how can pet owners ensure that the product they are giving their pet is both reputably sourced and effective?

The first thing you should do is consult your licensed veterinarian. Once you have decided to provide CBD to your pet, then do your homework. Look for brands that provide certificates of analysis showing precisely what is in their product and how much is in it. Additionally, pet owners should only buy products for their pets sold in reputable stores such as state-regulated dispensaries or CBD stores that investigate their vendors and prioritize their consumer’s safety.

The Danger to Pets

When choosing products for your pets, use the same caution you would when getting products for yourself. Researching the company’s history and reputation is only the first step. The second step is educating yourself on the effects of cannabis products’ compounds on your pets.

Different animals may be affected differently by CBD, and pets react differently to humans. For example, the contaminants found in unregulated products such as microbial products, toxins, heavy metals, and pesticides often affect animals more severely than humans. Additionally, research has shown that dogs are susceptible to THC and so extra caution should be exercised when ensuring that any products you give your dog are THC-free.

Testing is the Only Guarantee

With a scourge of inaccurate labels and the risk of analysis certificates being forged or inaccurate, consumers are reluctant to place blind trust in labels or retailers.  Therefore, companies producing and marketing CBD products for pets should adopt comprehensive in-house testing protocols, such as those enabled by GemmaCert, to ensure accurate labels on products which are safe and effective. 


Cannabis Sativa blossom stored in a glass jar.

Five Easy Ways Cannabis Brands Can Boost Customer Loyalty

Cannabis Sativa blossom stored in a glass jar.

Cannabis retailers interested in long-term success must look for ways to improve customer satisfaction and increase loyalty. 

Loyalty programs and special offerings, along with a quality product and a friendly company culture, will ensure new customers become returning customers. Customer rewards and referral programs, in particular, are attractive marketing strategies for cannabis brands looking to break into this emerging market.

The cannabis industry is mainstream. After generations in the shadows, the industry is projected to light up profits to the tune of $90.4 billion by 2026. 

But, like any colossal business with high ambitions, brands in this newly minted industry must make significant marketing efforts to create new relationships while turning past purchasers into repeat customers. 

However, at the present moment, the cannabis industry does not have the freedom to utilize traditional advertising like other instantly recognizable industries. It’s true—even with more and more states legalizing cannabis every year, there’s still a harsh stigma attached to the plant. 

As a relatively new marketplace dogged by advertising constraints, the best way to succeed for cannabis dispensaries is to increase customer loyalty constantly. 

It’s a formula that eschews the difficulties surrounding traditional advertising and presents unique opportunities for customer retention in the cannabis industry. 

To help you get started, here are five ways cannabis brands can boost customer loyalty.

But first …

What Is Cannabis Customer Loyalty?

Customer loyalty is the same in the cannabis realm as it is in all other retail industry sectors. It’s all about developing an ongoing relationship between you and your customer. 

Motivated by emotion, your customer is encouraged to engage with you and repeatedly purchase from you rather than your competitors. Loyalty is the result of trust created through positive experiences at every point in the buyer’s journey

Here are some of the main characteristics of loyal cannabis customers:

  • Repeats purchases
  • Knows a lot about products
  • Interacts through a variety of channels
  • Sends others to you via word-of-mouth
  • Provides positive feedback

Cannabis customer loyalty sees individuals consciously choose your dispensary or purchase your products over others. 

It’s a decision they come to not on their own but with a gentle nudge from your strategy to boost loyalty. 

Now, onto the five steps! 

1. Loyalty Program

Reward repeat customers with special discounts, deals, and incentives when they frequent your shop. 

Loyalty programs typically involve having your customers sign up with a phone number or email address, which allows you to market to customers that already know you and have a connection to your products and services.

The better the discounts, deals, and incentives, the more likely your customers will come back for more and bring their friends. 

Successful dispensaries deploy various loyalty programs, all of which present a unique set of strategies for customer acquisition and retention. 

Examples of loyalty programs include:

  • Cash Back Points: With every dollar spent, a customer receives a set of points that they can redeem in-store when making their purchase.
  • Referral Programs: Rewards customers for spreading your company’s name among their network of friends.
  • Check-In Bonus: Customers earn bonuses every time they “check-in” at the dispensary, collecting rewards they can redeem at checkout. 
  • Loyalty Cards: The dispensary records a customer’s visit or purchase with a punch card or on the computer. Accruing loyalty points often leads to free merch or some other incentive.

2. Special Deals

Cannabis customer loyalty is built when you show an appreciation for your customer’s patronage. Nothing makes a customer feel more special than a deal on their favorite products. 

Offering specials boosts your customer’s experience, making their purchase a pleasant, memorable exchange. 

Create BOGOs (Buy-One-Get-One), daily deals, and conditional promotions. 

These and other strategies can draw in customers and increase sales figures. 

You can also offer free merchandise to customers who spend up to or over a certain dollar amount. This is not only a sweet deal for the customer, but it also gets your branding out on the street—it’s free advertising!

3. Quality Product

It all starts with cannabis. 

If your product doesn’t meet the standards of today’s cannabis consumers, your venture will flame out in a hurry. 

Growing and dispensing a quality cannabis product promotes trust and loyalty among your customer base. 

There are many other cannabis companies out there, with more cropping up every day—stay ahead of the pack with the best products in the area.

Ensure a top-notch product with quality control efforts. Know where your cannabis comes from and who cultivated it. Also, make sure you have comprehensive knowledge surrounding all aspects of cannabis. 

When you sound like an expert, your customers are more likely to trust you and your product. 

Here’s a pro tip: find out exactly what you’re growing and selling before you send your products to a third-party lab with our line of in-house cannabis testing solutions. Click here to learn more. 

4. Company Culture

Your company’s character can significantly influence customer loyalty. This is not only how you treat your customers and employees but also how you present your image. 

As stated earlier, there’s still a stigma attached to cannabis. 

The misconception that it’s an illegitimate business stops people from reaching into their wallets to purchase at your dispensary. 

The best way to confront this issue is to be open, honest, and knowledgeable. 

Every customer concern should be met with a serious answer by someone who knows the product inside and out. 

Get to know your customers and attempt to understand their problems on a personal level. Having a suitable bedside manner can go a long way in building trust and increasing loyalty. 

5. Marketing with Personalization

Customer loyalty in the cannabis industry is made possible through the human connections established between the dispensary and the consumer. 

Interacting with your customers in a way that feels personal and human is a time-honored way for brands to boost customer loyalty. This happens by going where your customers are and interacting with them in a way that feels natural.

The entire purchasing world exists on social media these days—and this includes customers who purchase cannabis from recreational and medicinal dispensaries. 

A social media presence is crucial in establishing a conversation with current customers and potential customers. It gets your product out there in a fun and interactive way while giving customers a window into your dispensary and the products you offer. 

Are you doing everything you can to boost customer loyalty? There’s a good chance you’re not. But we can help – get in touch today. 


Chemical scientists examine composition of hemp extract under microscope in chemical laboratory closeup.

Quality Control in Your Cannabis Grow: A Starter’s Guide

Chemical scientists examine composition of hemp extract under microscope in chemical laboratory closeup.

Professional cannabis cultivators must follow testing guidelines to maintain quality control and provide consistent products.

Cannabis is no longer a shadowy plant with a notoriously hazy history of misdirected criticism and outright criminalization. It’s now a major consumer product, rapidly budding in both the recreational and medicinal markets, driving a seismic economic boom to the tune of $90.4 billion by 2026.

With great success comes a hefty regulatory price to pay. As more states legalize cannabis and a growing number of consumers seek to partake in its many benefits, federal and state agencies are swooping in with a litany of rules and regulations to standardize quality control practices. 

And cannabis cultivators are charged with following these guidelines, even as the parameters continue to shift. Since the industry is relatively young, the standards for testing cannabis and hemp for cannabinoid potency, terpene levels, and possible impurities are constantly evolving. So what’s a professional grower to do? 

The best place to start is with the basics. Learning the bedrock ins and outs of cannabis testing gives you a strong foundation of knowledge and informs the success you’ll see in your growing endeavor. 

In-House Testing Is Within Reach For Professional Growers

External testing conducted by verified laboratories is crucial and required in many states, but in-house quality testing brings another layer of benefits to pro cultivators. Growers can utilize in-house testing to monitor overall plant development, measure cannabinoid levels, and ensure the safety and quality of raw materials. 

Cannabis and cannabis products can face many in-house tests, including screenings for harsh impurities like pesticides, herbicides, or heavy metals. There are also tests to detect molds and harmful bacteria and for more positive attributes such as flavor profiling. 

Perhaps the most common—and most sought-after—test results involve identifying the two lead cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), while measuring the potency of both compounds. Recreational and medicinal cannabis markets place a lot of importance on THC and CBD potency. It factors significantly into the effect of each dose and which sector of consumers the product will target once it hits the market. 

And thanks to advancements in technology and the burgeoning market of in-house testing, much of the quality control begins right in your growing operation.

Internal Quality Control For Cannabis

The first step to ensuring a high-quality product doesn’t even involve testing cannabis. Instead, it starts with a baseline of internal quality control efforts that oversee all testing procedures and equipment, as well as personnel. 

Equipment & Procedure Monitoring. Diagnostic checkups ensure all equipment runs smoothly when it matters most, while regular reviews of your testing procedure guard against any inefficiencies that could potentially slow your product’s appearance on the market. 

Personnel Monitoring. Proper staff supervision establishes a professional standard while testing cannabis samples. This involves initial training and follow-up performance reviews to avoid invalidated test results due to broken protocol. 

Once those pillars of quality control are in place, you can begin to test the actual quality of your cannabis product. 

How GemmaCert Can Help You Grow Quality Cannabis

As we mentioned earlier, state-mandated testing by third-party laboratories is unavoidable in the cannabis industry. Unfortunately, the lack of FDA oversight on such testing means these labs can be uneven in quality and often downright suspicious with a dubious track record. In-house testing gives you the power to take control and know the precise quality of your product before you deliver it into the hands of some unknown lab worker. 

But testing can be an expensive process. Some in-house testing units are priced at ridiculous heights, often ringing up totals in the $50,000-$100,000 range. That’s too much for any grower, no matter how professional. So to make in-house testing more accessible to professional growers, we developed an affordable solution that’s simple, reliable, and easy to use. 

Our in-house testing products are explicitly built to be a precursor to the formal testing process, enabling you to test dry flower buds, trim, and crude extracts in a completely non-destructive manner—this means there’s no loss of product through grinding and homogenization. THC and CBD levels are measured accurately in both cannabis and hemp materials, so you know exactly what you’re sending off to the third-party lab. 

This is all in the name of improving your product and reaching an optimal level of quality and consistency—which inevitably boosts customer confidence and brand loyalty, leading to increased profitability in both the recreational and medicinal markets. 

It’s time to take the guesswork out of cannabis testing. Click here to sign up for a FREE GemmaCert Demo.


Teenage girl curled up on a couch

Marijuana Potency May Pose Risks to Young People

Teenage girl curled up on a couch

For several years, researchers and medical personnel have noticed a disturbing trend. More cases have been documented of teenagers and young adults in their early twenties experiencing severe psychiatric and physical symptoms attributed to cannabis use.

The Origin of the Condition

The phenomenon was first reported in the scientific literature in 2004 but only gained notoriety when doctors in Washington and Colorado, two of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, began reporting an increase of cases. In the years that followed, doctors began expressing their concerns over the health risks the increasing potency of marijuana may pose young users.

Doctors have officially termed the condition “cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome.” However, it is better known among medical professionals by the informal term “scromiting”- a combination of the words screaming and vomiting, which are two of the most common symptoms associated with the condition.

Doctors in Colorado, in particular, have noticed the increasing frequency of cases, with one medical center reporting only five cases in 2009, but by 2018 that number had risen to over 120. In addition, two other emergency rooms in the state reported that cases of the condition had doubled shortly after legalization.

The increasing influx of cases puts a strain on hospitals and requires the use of many hospital resources. In addition, patients suffering from uncontrollable vomiting must often take a variety of diagnostic tests to rule out any other disease or injury they may potentially suffer from.

What We Know

Even though humans have been ingesting cannabis for thousands of years, very little is known about cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. Although several studies were conducted, the findings were inconclusive.

Despite this, the studies did find that 97 percent of patients suffering from the condition reported using marijuana at least once a week. In addition, about 75 percent said they had regularly consumed cannabis for over a year. From the research currently available to them, doctors feel safe in assuming that the condition is caused by chronic use of, particularly potent cannabis.

It is still unknown what causes some patients to develop the syndrome while others don’t. What is known is that while symptoms can be managed with hot baths or showers, episodes of vomiting, screaming, and psychiatric outbursts often continue until marijuana use is stopped entirely.

How Potency Ties in

Doctors have noted that as marijuana becomes increasingly potent, cases increase. Industry experts state that the cannabis of 20 years ago was not the cannabis of today. Twenty years ago, cannabis had levels of THC ranging around 2% or 3%, but since then potency levels have gradually risen to double figures. A study conducted in 2019 indicated that ingesting cannabis with THC levels of over 10% increases the chances of a psychotic episode.

Is it Possible to Avoid the Risk?

With new potential dangers of extremely potent cannabis coming to light, how can we ensure young cannabis users remain safe and still gain the many benefits associated with cannabis? Potency testing has become essential to guarantee that only safe products make their way to young consumers and avoid the many risks of cannabis with high levels of THC.


Various glass bottles with CBD oil, THC tincture and hemp leaves on a marble background. Flat lay, minimalism. Cosmetics CBD oil.

What are The Differences- Marijuana, Hemp, and CBD

Various glass bottles with CBD oil, THC tincture and hemp leaves on a marble background. Flat lay, minimalism. Cosmetics CBD oil.

Although studies show that 67% of US adults are for marijuana legalization, public knowledge about weed is surprisingly low. An estimated third of Americans think hemp and marijuana are interchangeable, and Google searches about cannabis and cannabis derivatives are higher than ever.

Many people find it challenging to understand the distinctions between hemp, marijuana, and CBD (cannabinoids). The truth is that while the three are all related, there are significant differences that set them apart. Here’s what you need to know to understand what distinguishes hemp, marijuana, and CBD.

Difference in Composition

Hemp and cannabis both belong to the same plant species, Cannabis sativa, and share many visual similarities. Despite this, there is still substantial variation between the species. The defining difference that sets hemp and marijuana apart is their psychoactive component- THC. Hemp has extremely small concentrations of THC, containing 0.3% or less. This is far from enough THC to create the “high” generally associated with marijuana.

CBD, on the other hand, is a compound found in cannabis. Hundreds of these compounds, termed cannabinoids exist, including THC. Clinical research has shown that these active ingredients have potential medical benefits. For example, marijuana, which contains more THC and CBD than hemp, has proven to have therapeutic benefits and ease the symptoms of patients who have epilepsy, nausea, glaucoma, and more.

Legal Differences

Another significant disparity that sets apart hemp, marijuana, and CBD is how they are seen in the eyes of the law. Fifteen states, with New York being the most recent, have legalized recreational marijuana. Despite this, weed remains illegal on a federal level. Those caught with marijuana in their possession, even in a legal weed state, can still be technically punished under federal law, and crossing state borders in possession of cannabis is still prohibited.

In contrast, hemp was legalized for growing and selling in the US in the Farm Bill, passed in 2018. Therefore the assumption that hemp-derived CBD is federally legal in every state is logical, especially since the THC levels don’t surpass 0.3%. However, CBD is caught in a legally gray position. Several states still regulate CBD products as a Schedule 1 substance on the same level as marijuana.

Public Perception

In the public eye, studies show that Americans view hemp and CBD as mild drugs, such as over-the-counter medication. At the same time, THC is considered more similar to prescription medication. The average US citizen still doesn’t view hemp, CBD, THC, or even marijuana in a comparable light to heavier drugs such as meth or cocaine, despite the fact that both are classified as a lower risk for abuse than marijuana by the DEA.

The federal stance on cannabis doesn’t align with the public perception of this substance or its derivatives. Despite this, state-based legalization does show progress and a move by the government towards embracing the public’s view. Whether federal legalization will be swayed by public perception is yet unsure. Still, with a Democratic majority in Congress, the chances for federal legalization are higher than before.


Medical marijuana background with cannabis leaves and THC hand written on dark board

What is Delta-8 THC?

Medical marijuana background with cannabis leaves and THC hand written on dark board

Recently a new compound has been trending in the cannabis industry. The rise in popularity of Delta-8 opened new discussions in the industry around the importance of potency and the properties of various compounds. But what exactly is Delta-8?

Delta-8 is a cannabis compound that has been recently gaining popularity due to its similarities to delta-9 THC. This cannabis compound causes the feeling of being high and can lead to euphoria, happiness, symptom relief, sedation, and much more. A majority of cannabis strains contain high levels of THC.

What Links THC to Delta-8?

The link between the two cannabinoids lies in both their chemical structure and their names. THC is known scientifically as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-9 THC, or just delta-9, while Delta-8 is short for delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-8 THC. Chemically, both compounds have a double bond in their structure. Both are forms of THC, although in common usage when people discuss THC, they refer to delta-9 THC. (In this article, when the term “THC” is used without a modifier, it refers to delta-9 THC.)

What are the Differences: Delta-8 vs. Delta-9

Like regular THC (delta-9), delta-8 binds to the body’s endocannabinoid system and creates a feeling of being high. The double bond found in the structure of both compounds is the attribute thought to produce the intoxicating effects that cause users to feel high.

Despite all the similarities mentioned above, the compounds differ in the placement of the double bond. Both THCs contain a chain of carbon atoms, but in delta-9, the double bond is found on the ninth carbon, whereas in delta-8, it is located in the eighth.

This causes delta-8 to attach to the endocannabinoid system slightly differently and is likely the reason that delta-8’s effects are far less potent than those of delta-9. However, delta-8 is still primarily an unknown, and more research needs to be done on the compound and its effects on the body.

What Are Delta-8’s Effects?

Delta-8 has remarkably similar effects to THC, including mild euphoria, increased happiness, uplifting feelings, and relief from certain symptoms such as pain, although to a far less powerful degree. Delta-8 has also reportedly helped decrease insomnia.

Adverse side effects are often similar to THC’s, such as red eyes, dry mouth, short-term memory, increased appetite (the munchies), paranoia, or anxiety. However, due to the lack of research, it is impossible to state conclusively what potential effects it may have on the body and mind.

Is it Legal?

The current legal status of delta-8 remains unclear. The compound can be extracted from both hemp and cannabis. Under the 2018 farm bill, hemp can legally be grown and used for extractions throughout the United States, meaning that delta-8 is legal in states that have legalized delta-9 THC- generally.

Almost all the delta-8 THC available on the market today is manufactured from hemp-derived CBD, making it technically an extraction from a legal point of origin. This has led those in states where THC remains illegal and craving cannabis products to view delta-8 as a viable solution.

Despite not being as potent as regular THC, it often passes legal muster. Due to this growing demand, many hemp-based extractors are increasing delta-8 production and shipping their products throughout the U.S.


Environmentally controlled cannabis cultivation research laboratories are ready for the growth of economic and scientific crops. Use artificial sunlight through UV lamps to illuminate a closed room.

Sustainability in Cannabis Cultivation: How To Begin & Why Professional Growers Should Start Now

Environmentally controlled cannabis cultivation research laboratories are ready for the growth of economic and scientific crops. Use artificial sunlight through UV lamps to illuminate a closed room.

Cannabis cultivation consumes high rates of energy and water and produces plenty of waste. Minimize your environmental impact by responsibly managing your harvest.

The cannabis movement has come a long way. Far removed from its origin as a seedling-sized network of like-minded cultivators and fringe believers, it has since sprouted to industrial proportions through accelerated acceptance and legalization. 

And this growth has been a fantastic thing for an untold number of people. From consumers who have discovered the plant’s incredible benefits to individuals who have found a career in cultivation or any number of related occupations, cannabis continues to enlighten and inspire. But there’s a dark side of the plant—one that’s hidden just beneath the surface but simultaneously staring us in the face. 

The environmental impact of cannabis cultivation is anything but mellow. Research has linked cannabis plant production to a host of alarming issues, ranging from water waste and degradation of land to wildlife disruption and pollution. The cannabis carbon footprint is not exactly befitting of a culture so connected to the color green. 

The Current Environmental Impact of Cannabis

While much of the damage inflicted on the environment comes from illegal growing outfits, legal cannabis cultivation bears some responsibility. 

Cannabis cultivation contributes to air pollution, as large outdoor operations can emit volatile compounds that pollute the air. However, some states are taking steps to mitigate this impact, with Washington state requiring growers to submit plans to offset the smog and Colorado tracking the pollution created by cultivation. 

Meanwhile, transforming any patch of land so that it’s suitable for farming often means clearing forests, diverting rivers, and even destabilizing entire ecosystems. What’s more, many of the pesticides and harsh chemicals used to protect the plants—including rat poison and some types of fertilizers—are deadly to the animals around grow sites. 

Indoor growing facilities face their own reckoning with the natural world. Growing indoors—in a greenhouse, for example—requires high-intensity lights, temperature/humidity control, and ventilation. All of which contributes to a staggering amount of energy consumption.

Research suggests that cannabis production in the U.S. accounts for 1 percent of the entire nation’s electrical output. While that doesn’t sound like a “staggering amount” (after all, one is almost zero), that’s the equivalent of the electricity used by 1.7 million homes with a price tag of $6 billion each year. 

Then there’s indoor facility water usage. Cannabis is a thirsty plant, and according to some reports, each plant requires close to six gallons of water per day. This can lead to waves of wasted water. 

There’s also packaging to consider, as many cannabis cultivators inevitably send their products into the market encased in petroleum-based plastic packaging. 

The Transition To Sustainable Cannabis Cultivation

Professional cannabis cultivation is not the only industry contributing to pollution, water shortages, and other negative environmental impacts—not by a long shot. Nearly every manufacturer could stand to be more conscious about how their actions are potentially damaging the planet. 

What’s different about the cannabis industry is its age. As a relatively young industry that’s just beginning to bloom, the pivot to sustainable practices might not be subject to the same bureaucratic red tape that slows progress in other sectors. In fact, many cannabis cultivators are already searching for ways to improve sustainability and reduce waste.

And the solutions being uncovered are sparking an all-new green revolution in the industry. In January 2021, a diverse group of leading cannabis cultivation and manufacturing experts formed the Sustainable Cannabis Coalition (SCC). The coalition seeks to change the industry from the inside, educating their peers and proliferating best practices.

“The SCC is uniquely poised to impact the industry as it continues to rapidly evolve,” co-founder Peter Dougherty said in a press release. “As leaders in this space, it is our responsibility to provide data-driven sustainability guidance to the industry while protecting both consumers and the environment.”

Sustainable Growth Practices You Can Start Right Now

Professional cultivators don’t have to wait for legislation to clean up their act. Achieving sustainability hinges on a company’s willingness to change right now. Here are a few immediate steps to set the course for total sustainability. 

Green Packaging

First things first, ditch the plastic. The planet is overrun with plastic packaging, which contributes to irreversible environmental damage and human health. Only use plastic when necessary. When you can avoid petroleum-based plastics, opt instead for recyclable materials like durable glass bottles. It protects purity without destroying the planet. 

Organic Pest Control

Pest-control chemicals can be especially brutal on the environment, decimating wildlife and even seeping into groundwater. Instead, consider natural defenses like organic sprays featuring essential oils. You can also fight bugs with bugs by employing critters like ladybugs and lacewings to guard your buds against plant-munching pests. 

LED Lighting

Lighting is one of the most energy-intensive aspects of the cannabis cultivation process. The answer shines through with LED lighting, which is far more energy-efficient than lower efficiency grow lights, such as metal halide or high-pressure sodium (HPS). 

Water Conservation

As we mentioned earlier, cannabis is a thirsty plant. Not only does using all that water go against all sustainability best practices, but it’s also bad for your bottom line. On the other hand, efficient water usage minimizes waste, which can help lower operating costs. Here are some ways to maximize your water usage:

  • Measure PPM and pH. A parts-per-million (PPM) test using a typical water pH meter determines if you’re operating at optimum levels. If PPM is running high, nutrient lockout is inevitable, which will waste valuable water. 
  • Use a pH booster or reducer. Better-quality water filtration—or liquid nutrient supplements—can get your PPM and pH to optimal levels. 
  • Observe runoff. Take note of how much water exits the growth area. Some water runoff is acceptable, but too much runoff indicates water usage could be more efficient. 
  • Reclaim water. Collect runoff, condensation, and even rainwater to recycle directly back into the watering system. In water conservation, every drop counts.
  • Practice drip irrigation. This system provides a more precise way of watering your plants. It’s the exact opposite of blasting plants with a hose, which immediately leads to wasted water. Drip irrigation, done at a steady rate, can easily conserve water. 

Takeaway

To truly make a difference, sustainability must move beyond mere buzzword and into actual practice. In this regard, the world of cannabis can be a proving ground for farming, cultivation, production, and distribution techniques that center on sustainability. 

It’s time to take the guesswork out of cannabis testing. Click here to sign up for a FREE GemmaCert Demo.


Cannabis business with marijuana leaves and stock graph charts on market

Marketing Trends Reveals Which Demographic is the Largest Cannabis Consumer - and The Answer May Surprise You

Cannabis business with marijuana leaves and stock graph charts on market

The new trend of well-designed packaging, clear and regulated information labels, lab-tested ingredients, standardized dosing, and modern branding takes its marketing cues from traditional retailers and brings it to the cannabis world.

Marketing and packaging trends from the ‘90s traditionally included ubiquitous plastic bags marked with an X for potency or jars illustrated with cannabis leaves, or sexually suggestive imagery are being exchanged for a cleaner, more retail-friendly look. This shift in cannabis product marketing and branding indicates the deeper changes taking place with market demographics. 

As legalization continues to become more widespread, a greater number of businesses and individuals are eager to invest in the industry- especially in companies that are focusing on releasing professionalized products.

What The Trend Reveals

While the trend towards clearer, safer, and regulated products benefits all consumers, women cannabis users seem to have been particularly appreciative of this new approach. 

Women feel more secure ingesting cannabis now that they no longer have to put themselves in a vulnerable position and trust dubious vendors to get a gram of cannabis- with unknown and untested ingredients inside. Instead, they can now go to a licensed café and know precisely what they’re getting in their product.

The Data

Data supports the claims that the market has shifted more towards encouraging and supporting women consumers. For example, studies during lockdowns in 2020 revealed that legal cannabis sales grew 46 percent during the pandemic.

Particular growth was noted among the younger female demographic, especially Gen Z (defined as those born in 1997 or later). Year-over-year sales for Gen Z women grew 151 percent in 2020, according to data gathered by Headset, a cannabis analytics firm.

What Created the Shift in Demographics

Some of the growth in sales among this demographic can be attributed to the fact that many members of Gen Z are simply turning 21, the age at which it becomes legal to purchase cannabis in the U.S. However, other factors contribute to the phenomenon.

Shifting public opinion and growing acceptance of cannabis use, especially among younger generations, is another possible driver leading to the growing popularity of cannabis among young women. In addition, the sexist stigma associated with cannabis use has greatly decreased.

New marketing tactics and packaging designs are also helping erase the public opposition to cannabis use. Several cannabis companies are taking their packaging design cues from cosmetic companies to encourage female patronage. Compact, feminine and professional packaging means that young women are more open to considering purchasing new products.

Additionally, the variety of products available for cannabis ingestion allows women more freedom to choose their preferred method of cannabis use and gives women the option of remaining discreet. Finally, the added convenience and ease of use mean that even inexperienced cannabis consumers have access to accredited and lab-tested products they can use.

Young women are also more open to using marijuana to self-medicate and manage mental conditions such as anxiety disorders and PTSD. But, it is essential to note that users should always consult their doctor or psychiatrist before trying any medication.

With women becoming an increasingly powerful force in the cannabis market, it’s clear that the future is also female. As a result, brands will need to shift their marketing to target a new and growing demographic.


Cannabis debris in the shape of the Canadian maple leaf

Canada’s Cannabis Crisis

Cannabis debris in the shape of the Canadian maple leaf

Canadian’s Cannabis Crisis

Canadian Cannabis producers are facing a crisis. Since Canada’s launch of adult-use sales in October 2018, an MJBizDaily analysis indicated that less than 20% of their production had been sold.

Data gathered into 2020 reveals that most of the cannabis produced from 2018 through 2020 has either been stored in inventory or destroyed, with less than one-fifth reaching retail stores.

This disparity has led Canada’s largest cannabis production companies to suffer a combined loss of over 11 billion Canadian dollars ($8.8 billion). These companies are the backbone of the industry and produce a majority of cannabis products, and their losses represent a significant blow to the cannabis industry as a whole.

The Crisis of Product Wastage

With most of the products produced over the two years not selling as expected, product wastage has exacerbated the crisis. Data collected by Health Canada reveals that out of the 2.7 billion grams of cannabis produced in the two years between 2018 and 2020, 1.1 billion grams of cannabis products had been placed in storage and at least 450 million grams destroyed by producers for various reasons.

In addition, 6 million packages of dried cannabis, edibles, and extracts were destroyed.

Experts state that most of the unpackaged inventory currently held in warehouses across Canada accounts for almost 40% of total production. Despite accounting for close to half of the total product, it will likely remain unsellable.

Reasons Behind the Crisis

Although various circumstances lie behind the crisis, a majority of industry experts claim that inferior quality product is to blame for the low sales. Out of the roughly 2.7 billion grams (2,976 tons) of cannabis produced in Canada between October 2018 and December 2020, only an estimated 450 million grams reached stores. 

Other pundits have attributed the low sales to a lack of experience. They claim that Canada’s producers didn’t have the expertise to produce cannabis at the scale they promised investors. While attempting to capture as much of the market as possible, producers compromised on quality, building sub-par facilities.

However, the blame can’t be placed solely on the shoulders of producers. Canada’s federal and provincial governments share the responsibility behind the issue. Cannabis experts have voiced their frustration in a government that has legalized cannabis without addressing the stigmas against it. Additionally, they claim that those keen to participate in the budding legal cannabis industry face obstacles placed in their way by a convoluted legal system.

Economic Fallout

With less than a fifth of the cannabis produced between 2018 and 2020 being sold successfully, many of the significant greenhouses that drove cannabis share prices up during the cannabis stock market hysteria of 2018-19 are being sold off for a fraction of their initial value. 

Leading companies have been forced to sell off their properties and facilities for prices far below market value. Canada’s two leading production companies have allegedly shuttered the highest number of facilities. Those same companies have also reported the steepest losses, and neither company has reported a profit.

Is There a Way Out?

In spite of the severe consequences of the crisis, and Canada’s cannabis industry has received a heavy blow, only time will tell if anything emerges from the ashes. Unfortunately, only time will tell if the Canadian cannabis industry will recover from this crisis and whether leading production companies make a successful recovery. For now, the future of the Canadian cannabis industry remains uncertain.


hand touches growing cannabis plant

A Master Grower’s Guide to Creating the Perfect Cannabis Crop

hand touches growing cannabis plant

Achieving the healthiest growth and the best quality cannabis depends entirely on maintaining an optimal growing environment.

With a nickname like “weed,” you’d think cannabis would be easier to grow. 

Alas, our all-time favorite bud doesn’t sprout from sidewalk cracks through sheer force of will. In fact, cultivating high-quality cannabis requires growers to possess agricultural knowledge, meticulous planning skills, and a diligent eye for detail. 

In other words, you have to want to grow cannabis for it to appear—it has to be your expressed purpose, rather than a happy accident. 

But there’s a reason why marijuana is linked with the term “homegrown”: You don’t have to be a large corporation with heaps of cash to enjoy a successful harvest. Cannabis cultivators come from all walks of life. The leading characteristic growers share is a willingness to learn how to build the perfect environment to cultivate the healthiest plants possible.

Growing Indoors vs. Outdoors

The choice to grow cannabis indoors vs. outdoors is mostly personal. Some love the free sunlight and cheap land of the great outdoors, while others swear by the complete control and consistency of an indoor space. It all depends on your specific situation. If you’ve got the land, the warm climate, and the necessary legal parameters, then carry on under the blue sky. On the other hand, if you live in a city or worry about neighbors, then take your operation indoors. 

An indoor system takes weather out of the equation as a variable. This gives you full command over the environment and allows you to keep a watchful eye on temperature, lighting, and humidity. Of course, all that equipment costs money. Outdoor cannabis farms require less of a financial stake, as the money saved can offset a potentially smaller crop or shorter season. 

Whether you choose indoors or outdoors, many of the factors contributing to quality remain the same. However, because successful outdoor growth depends on shifting circumstances, our guide focuses on the tactics needed to achieve the best possible crop indoors.

How To Create the Ideal Growing Environment

When you nurture your cannabis, nature runs its course. This results in faster-growing, healthier plants, bigger yields, more vibrant hues of green, more intense aromas, higher potency, and more resilient plants that can fend off common cultivation issues (mold, pests, over/underwatering, etc.).

Here are the top six factors that contribute to a perfect growing situation. 

1. Light

Let there be light—but not too much light. Photosynthesis powers your cannabis plant’s transformation from seedling to full bloom. The light energy absorbed fuels growth and converts water into carbon dioxide while transforming any minerals gathered from the environment into potent sugars that help with development. Cannabis in the vegetative stage needs at least 13 hours of light per day. In the flowering stage, the standard is 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. This ensures the plants keep on a natural clock.

2. Temperature

The plant with a reputation for inspiring, relaxing vibes likes to bask in a comfortable climate. If the temperature is comfortable for you, it’s comfortable for your plants. Cannabis plants thrive in temperatures from 65 degrees to around 80-degrees Fahrenheit for both the vegetative and flowering stages. You can use various traditional heating options like electric heaters or even heat lamps and insulation to manage the temperature. You can also use heat mats to warm the soil. 

3. Air Circulation

Air circulation and exhaust keep a gentle breeze rolling through your leaves and buds. When air blows across cannabis plants, it helps to evaporate the moisture that’s released during the growing process. If that wetness wasn’t lifted off your plant, it could lead to various types of mold, like bud rot or powdery mildew. And trust us, you don’t want any of those significant bummers to devastate your crop!

4. Reflection

As we mentioned earlier in this article, light is the force that powers the growth of your cannabis. You don’t want to waste a single beam. Reflecting light at your plants helps you get the most out of your artificial lighting setup. Line the walls of your grow site with reflective material. This bounces the light back toward your plants instead of into the walls. Flat white latex paint is a cheap and easy way to create a reflective wall. 

5. Humidity

Cannabis plants desire a steady flow of moisture. The amount of water they need to flourish fluctuates based on the humidity levels of the grow room. Cannabis plants absorb moisture from the air when the humidity is high, causing them to drink less water from their roots. When humidity dips down, the plants need to pull more water from their roots. Optimal humidity levels are 40-60 percent in the vegetative stage, 40-50 percent in the flowering stage, and 40-45 percent in the final weeks of flowering. 

6. Water

You can’t rely on humidity alone to deliver all the necessary water to your cannabis plants. But be careful not to overwater, as a healthy cycle of wet and dry is needed for the roots to grow. To check if your cannabis plant needs a drink, stick your finger 1-2 inches into the soil. If the soil is wet, don’t water; if it’s dry, bottom’s up! The amount of water your plant requires depends on a few factors. Learn more here!

7. Testing

Regulators require cultivators to submit products for accredited third-party approval before hitting legal dispensary shelves. But without in-house testing, you’re flying blind when you send your precious crop out. Solutions like ours take the guesswork out of cannabis cultivation, so you know exactly what you’re breeding, growing, buying, selling, or consuming. We use cutting-edge technologies, like machine learning, imaging, and spectroscopy, to simplify in-house cannabis testing for breeders, growers, pharmacies, clinics, and cultivation enthusiasts. GemmaCert makes it easy for professionals and enthusiasts to ensure plant quality with sleek, straightforward, and intelligent solutions. 

Takeaway

While each plant is slightly different, taking care of the basics will ensure a comfortable growing environment and a cannabis product with the yield and potency you desire.

It’s time to get serious about cannabis cultivation with GemmaCert. Click here to browse our assortment.