PharmCloud Changing the Cannabis Growing with Precision Horticulture and IoT


Roughly a decade ago, Colorado and Washington became the first two states in America to fully legalize recreational cannabis. Fast forward to today, and what was once demonized as a vile drug that the US waged war against is not only recreationally legalized in a variety of states but is now recognized globally for its plethora of medicinal capabilities, which were some of the biggest factors driving legalization.

Overall, as cannabis continues to become commonplace, both medically and recreationally, more businesses are looking to add cannabis-based products to their offerings. However, with the cultivation of the drug enough as it is, before factoring in the cost and technological know-how required for connected horticulture, organizations are more likely to look for partners that can handle the growing process and offer optimized cannabis through connected cultivation.

This week, a new company was unveiled in the cannabis horticulture tech space.

PharmCloud formally introduced its commercial state-of-the-art indoor cultivation facility, which leverages the most advanced and automated horticulture technologies and science to deliver consistently pure, customizable cannabis crops available in small to large quantities for a variety of applications.

"We are applying industry 4.0 revolution technologies to the global cannabis industry using automated and autonomous cultivation techniques," said Dr. Yaron Penn, Co-Founder and Board member, PharmCloud. "Our proprietary technology includes full stack edge computing that is connected to dozens of sensors that control small or large batches of uniquely grown plants within a closed loop vertical farming operation. This enables consistently superior cannabis with chemical profiles, which our AI platform monitors and controls 24/7."

Located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with the support of local investors, PharmCloud's operation includes a propagation lab, vertical cultivation space, automated precision horticulture capabilities, sensor-based closed-loop management, and more.

With a fundamental commitment to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), the company is bringing clean, green, and high-tech job opportunities to the community as "Cloud One," the first in a planned series of similar facilities in the US and globally.

Led by a team of highly experienced horticulture experts, cannabis researchers, and scientists, PharmCloud believes diversity is the key to perfection. Rooted in academia and pharma, PharmCloud was built from the top down to comply with the requirements necessary for clinical trials and disease or patient personalization.

The first facility in Tulsa is driven to become the first FDA GMP grow facility in the US. The disruptive technology, which drives the PharmCloud facility, enables the company to offer an endless variety of profiles in consistent, repeatable, safe, "Beyond Organic," stable, and traceable small batches.

“Every human being is unique, born with different genetics, in different locations, with different ethnic origins,” Dr. Penn said. “More people are adopting personalized diets and lifestyles and choosing different medical options. The same goes for cannabis plants and the broad repertoire of genotypes, phenotypes, and phytochemical profiles."

The company also launched the world's first “Grow as a Service” offering, which gives cannabis consumer brands, academic and pharmaceutical researchers, and supplement, food, and beverages companies in the nutraceutical industry access to their own bespoke crops, which are cultivated, grown, and harvested within the PharmCloud operation.

With studies today stockpiling evidence of cannabis's medicinal properties and growing recreational popularity across the world, cannabis has become one of the fastest-growing industries. A recent BDSA report projects global cannabis sales to grow from $30 billion in 2021 to $55 billion in 2026, a CAGR of almost 13 percent. In the US alone, cannabis sales are expected to grow from $25 billion in 2021 to $40 billion in 2026, a 73 percent share of total global cannabis sales at that time.

While research on cannabis is still in the relatively early stage, the promising medical benefits have helped the drug shed some of the stigma surrounding it since the 60s. It's been found that drugs containing cannabinoids may be helpful in treating certain rare forms of epilepsy, nausea, and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy, loss of appetite, and weight loss associated with HIV/AIDS.

In addition, some evidence suggests modest benefits of cannabis or cannabinoids for chronic pain and multiple sclerosis symptoms.

Amidst the growing demand for both medicinal and recreational cannabis, cultivators are finding both old challenges exacerbated due to increased demand, as well as new challenges,” Dr. Penn explained. “Combating insects, pests, and diseases, meeting new cannabinoid/THC content preferences, and expensive growing methods are just some of the more notable hurdles associated with large-scale cannabis cultivation. We are proud to pioneer new technologies that optimize and enhance the growing process.”

Connected horticulture involves the use of innovative technologies, such as data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), connected devices such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, automation, and more,  to improve the cultivation process and quality and predictability of the flowers.

“Our precision edge networking and automation solution allow cultivators to monitor the conditions and their products in real-time carefully and collect crucial data,” Dr. Penn said. “The real-time collection of data allows cultivators to get insights fast and predict issues even before they happen, so they can make informed decisions and find ways to avoid the problems."

As horticulture trends, such as the growth of cannabis, continue to trend upward, the industry is finding just how beneficial technology can be. The American Society for Horticulture Science concludes that, “Greater than 40 percent of production costs are labor costs, totaling nearly $40 billion per year in the US alone. Mechanization of an operation can provide mechanical power, speed, repetition, safety, and a greater potential for consistency and quality control.”

For purveyors of cannabis products to consumers, PharmCloud also enables the development and consistent production of cannabis-supporting unique blends, which are branded and brought to the market with premium aroma and experiences.

“Brands can market uniquely packaged products to attract consumers just as fashion, cosmetics, food, supplements, whisky, wine, and cigar brands do,” Dr. Penn said. “We ensure the purest, safest, and most effective  cannabis crops grown for medical and recreational use.”

Hinting at a future announcement, the company said it is working with select beta customers to develop their own range of cannabis products, "Tailored by Experience."

PharmCloud can simultaneously customize, manufacture, and supply dozens of consistent, repeatable, and fully traceable small batches of different strains, which has been found to be extremely valuable to Medical cannabis developers in the pharmaceutical industry.

“Our factory in Tulsa is the first of many,” Dr. Penn said. “PharmCloud provides the cleanest, most consistent cannabis as an ingredient for nutraceutical companies who are creating supplements including cannabis, food that includes cannabis, and beverages infused with cannabis. Rather than having to build their own labs and facilities, nutraceutical brands simply tap into our GaaS to power up new products and to accelerate time to market for those products.”

This first facility in the US uses no pesticides in their system because there is no need – not even pesticides that are allowed and organic.

“Our state-of-the-art facility upholds the ultimate in security standards, both outside and inside the location, and our commitment to the highest standards for cleanliness and worker safety is unmatched in the cannabis cultivation industry,” said David Lechner, Director of Operations and Safety.

By leveraging automated monitoring using hundreds of sensors that track everything from moisture to nutrients and can predict when plants are ready for harvesting and drying, PharmCloud is able to offer the world's first personalized, pure, chemical-free, consumer grow service for legal recreational and medical cannabis users.

Continuous research and development efforts are focused on PharmCloud's goal to deliver universal, predictable, and profitable crops, enhanced through sensors and software systems which include artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous actions, and natural genetic reproduction.

Massive amounts of valuable data generated by every implementation, including a range of very small sensors, are processed at the edge, then routed to applications generating operational information, alerts, notifications, and real-time visual images.

PharmCloud has partnered with Hortica cloud and has adopted the Hortica Environment Within an Environment (EwE) cultivation system, which includes AI and automation and is the most advanced in the precision cultivation industry.

“Whether you are seeking one artisanal quality, flavor, and experience for your product, or you wish to offer a range of completely unique and 100% pure and consistent cannabis-based products, PharmCloud's operation can help you develop and grow your own,” Dr. Penn said. “Our operation is carbon-neutral, sustainably operated, and run with expertise, transparency at all levels, and exclusive analytic methods. We provide consistently superior quality control and assurance and a new level of partnership with our customers who have been instrumental in the development of our mission and roadmap.”

Edited by Erik Linask
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