Thanks to the legalization of cannabis, buying and using marijuana is no longer a hush-hush affair in Canada and many parts of the United States. While the cannabis sector is booming with companies cropping up every other day, most of the stakeholders, including consumers and industry experts, are unaware of the potential of big data in changing the landscape of the industry. Big data has already turned out to be a game changer in banking, education, retail, social media, and entertainment sectors.
What is Big Data?
Big data is enormous volumes of structured and unstructured data that often cannot be processed by conventional database software. Big data, collected from multiple sources such as consumers, production units, distributors, etc., changes swiftly and can’t be analyzed without converting it into smart data.
Smart data is refining and formatting the big data at the collection point so that it can be processed and analyzed. In the context of the cannabis industry, examples of big data can be a) consumer information like demographics, popular strains, the reason for using cannabis, etc. b) grower’s information such as conditions and time required to grow a particular strain. c) distribution data such as the quantity and pricing of multiple cannabis products. In layman terms, big data is nothing but a data overload (that holds useful information) that has the power of impacting cannabis businesses all over the world.
Impact of Big Data on Cannabis Industry
Identifies patterns through consumer behavior and their experiences
Post legalization, there has been a sudden influx in consumer data with people willing to share their experiences through blogs, videos, podcasts, apps, and research surveys. When analyzed carefully, consumer data weighs its worth in gold as it allows businesses to identify patterns and trends from consumer experiences. For example, It helps in identifying the demographics of users who use medical cannabis. Further, it can be used to pinpoint what strains do people prefer to treat a particular ailment. By scrutinizing the big data, one can not just identify consumer patterns but can also understand why that pattern exists in the first place.
Guides Clinical Research
Since cannabis is still illegal in some parts of the world, there is a lack of clinical research data to support the efficacy of medical cannabis on different ailments. While clinical data can be crucial to promote the use of medical cannabis to consumers, it can be done vice-versa. The big data collected from the existing medical marijuana users can be converted into smart data, which can be used for conducting clinical research. The more clinical data we collate from research, the more are the chances of legitimizing medical cannabis as a form of treatment.
Streamlines the demand and supply cycle
A balanced supply and demand cycle is essential for the sustainability of any business, and the cannabis industry is no different. Instead of farms producing the supply that may or may not match the demands of consumers, a demand-driven cycle can prove to be more profitable for both producers and consumers. The analysis of big data customer information can help determine what cannabis strains and products are in demand, and this can then guide the producers to grow more supply to meet the demand.
Helps medical practitioners in treating patients
The legalization of cannabis has led to some medical practitioners prescribing medical marijuana to their patients. While the lack of clinical research makes it difficult for doctors to prescribe the right strain and right dosage of medical cannabis, this can be addressed by scrutinizing consumer-collected data. Consumer experiences, generally, talk about what products or strains work best for treating a particular medical condition. By dissecting the big data, we can help doctors be aware of what strains are popular among the consumers for treating different ailments.
Marketing the product to the right audience
Knowing your target audience is the key to market any business. Thankfully, big data makes the job much easier for cannabis companies by helping them find the right demographics of consumers who would lap up their product. An immersive study of big data will let you find the age, gender, geographic location, specific ailments, etc. of your target audience. And half the marketing battle is won once you know your target audience.
Improves overall user experiences
Last, but not least, the big data gives big insights to cannabis companies, doctors, and producers on what the end-users are looking for from their cannabis experience. In a nutshell, adopting big data would lead to an overall improvement of user experience.
A data-driven approach holds the key to the future of the cannabis industry. A few medical cannabis apps like Strainprint have already started exploring the realms of big data to understand the needs of end-user. It is high time for cannabis companies to wake up to the benefits of incorporating big data into their big picture.