Artificial intelligence (AI) demonstrates potential for precision drug discovery, how it could affect the cannabis industry

Artificial intelligence (AI) demonstrates potential for precision drug discovery, how it could affect the cannabis industry

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

The global cannabis industry, which was valued at USD $20.5 billion in 2020, has already started adopting artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, numerous cannabis companies are actively using social media, digital maps, chatbots, e-payment technologies, digital assistants and machine learning-based surveillance systems to enhance their overall operations.

Solutions of this kind can greatly maximize productivity, as well as reduce overheads, improve planning, and enhance the accuracy of sales and business forecasts. Moreover, AI is proving useful as a means of monitoring indoor and outdoor grow operations, analyzing seed-to-sale data and assessing patient enrolment.

AI in the cannabis industry has become particularly popular amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has imposed social distancing lockdowns on consumers; thus forcing them to purchase their goods online. 

Let’s take a look at some leading examples of cannabis companies that are harnessing the power of AI for a variety of motives:

  • Syngenta Crop Protection 

Leading agriculture company Syngenta Crop Production has acknowledged the fact that the cannabis industry is quickly melding with the high-tech agribusiness industry. Since AI can be employed to compute aggregated granular data, agricultural workers e.g. cannabis farmers can benefit from AI as a means of planning, automating, predicting and applying scientific analytics to all things cultivation-related.

The world market leader in crop protection products, which is based in Switzerland, is utilizing AI to shield cops from pests, weeds and diseases, all the while safeguarding the ecosystems in which they thrive. Adopting AI methods, company officials say, will aid cannabis farmers in achieving greater productivity in a high-demand marketplace. AI in the cannabis industry is also designed to lower overall overheads, according to Syngenta officials.

  • efficacyAI

Aside from cannabis farming practices, AI is also being employed at the molecular level. One prime example is the fresh collaboration between biotechnology consulting company efficacyAI and Georgia Tech Research Corporation. 

efficacyAI’s background in assisting cannabis industry stakeholders, drug discovery companies, and nutraceutical/supplement manufacturers/wholesalers is expected to help the newly-formed duo in the establishment of an AI software platform called MedicascyAI; through the use of efficacyAI’s licensed algorithms. 

The AI platform will input chemical structures that generate precise predictions about the safety and efficacy of cannabis molecules for the treatment of various ailments/diseases. 

“We are excited about making this new technology widely available to anyone who can benefit from it in today’s evolving drug discovery marketplace,” said the CEO of MedicascyAI, Tony Bellezza, in an official statement. “[The platform] provides a cost-effective methodology to quickly identify molecules with high value predictions to pursue, or invest in, at the very beginning of the drug discovery or product development lifecycle.”

Bellezza went on to say that his team intends to capitalize on MedicascyAI’s analytical capabilities as a means of accelerating “life-changing solutions and to transform the way pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, supplement, and cannabis companies develop their products.” 

  • Neptune Wellness Solutions

Headquartered in Jupiter, Florida, Neptune Wellness Solutions is a diversified wellness company that has proudly started scaling with AI. Neptune’s president and CEO, Michael Cammarata, recently told reporters that he thinks AI will stimulate innovation in the same way as (if not better than) predictive analytics.

“These applications are the next step for the industry. AI and cloud computing will allow all of the different attributes of a cannabis-based business to merge into one,” Cammarata told reporters. “Not only will production and logistics be revolutionized but it will reset the way the cannabis industry thinks about marketing and relationships with our customers.”

Cammarata made a point of noting that, with the rise of cloud-computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) products, the future of AI in the cannabis industry looks bright.. He emphasized the fact that machines can better adapt to fast-paced business operations than the human mind.

“The implementation of cloud-based applications, SaaS applications, and various AI, and data analytic platforms will fundamentally change the structure of the industry,” explained Cammarata. “It will create a flat cannabis company structure by eliminating the manager. These technologies will effectively become the managers. They will have the ability to tap into market data in real time.”

Specifically, Neptune’s AI cannabis solutions will help the company to assess the best-performing SKUs, in addition to understanding top-selling products.

“It will allow companies to find issues with third party suppliers before being notified or adjust to geopolitical events resulting in an automatic reroute of the shipped product. The ability to complete 40 different tasks simultaneously and shift strategy in real time is all within the latest science,” added Cammarata.


Three major business needs can be supported with AI, including customer and employee engagement, business process automation and insight data. However, business technology is constantly evolving and therefore it’s important to consider that every solution has a lifespan. 

With that being said, it’s essential that you select the right vendor, prepare a solid plan for measuring outcomes and identify how AI can augment an existing cannabis business’ operations before integrating software of this kind.