Every day, millions of North Americans rely on painkillers to manage everything from temporary injuries to chronic conditions. The medication they take comes in many forms, but every pill that crosses a pharmacy counter has been manufactured somewhere, using ingredients that were cultivated or synthesized. Ensuring that these powerful pharmaceuticals are being produced and distributed in responsible and transparent ways is a major challenge for the entire industry.
As the opioid epidemic has spread across North America (driven in large part by the ready availability of prescription drugs like OxyContin) the failure of the industry to adequately track where drugs are ending up has been thrown into sharp relief.
Curiously enough, one of the areas of the pharmaceutical industry that has the best track record for transparency is the medicinal cannabis sector. Thanks in large part to Canadian innovation in cannabis cultivation that makes it possible for cannabis producers to track their products from seed to sale and beyond, cannabis has become an industry leader in providing accessible, responsible care.
Green Tech: The Rise of Cannabis Seed-to-Sale Platforms
When cannabis was made legal for medical purposes in Canada, the law required producers to track every plant from planting and cultivation to harvest, packaging, and sale.
A cannabis producer that wanted to sell their product to licensed medical cannabis users needed to be able to provide documentation on the life of every single plant that went into their medical cannabis products.
In order to handle the vast quantities of data needed to meet this requirement, cannabis producers turned to software solutions from cutting edge cannabis tech companies. Seed-to-sale platforms provided a seamless way for cannabis producers to track and record the growth of each of their plants, and to generate reports for government inspectors.
Not only do seed-to-sale platforms make it easier for cannabis producers to stay compliant they also provide a powerful database for producers who want to pinpoint exactly where every one of their cannabis products originated and ended up.
How Seed-to-Sale Makes the Cannabis Industry More Transparent
This has had huge implications for transparency. One of the challenges law enforcement encounters when tracking down opioids is in determining where the pills actually came from. Cannabis products are much easier to track — if someone is selling their medical cannabis on to the black market, law enforcement can work with the cannabis producer to determine exactly who is responsible.
The transparency in cannabis also makes it easier for product recalls in the case of a production error. Because the cannabis producer can quickly call up a contact list of everyone who received products from the flawed batch, product recalls can be targeted to the individuals who actually received the medication.
One of the most significant challenges in dealing with the opioid crisis has been balancing the necessity of restricting access to potentially dangerous medication with the duty to provide care to those who legitimately need it. Medical cannabis is increasingly becoming a desirable alternative not only because it is less addictive than OxyContin or Fentanyl, but also because it is more transparent and easier for producers and authorities alike to keep track of.