FluroTech Advances Cannabis Biomarker Technology
March 12th, 2019
Exclusive, News, Top Story
The cannabis industry is projected to exceed $146 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research, driven by the legalization of adult-use and medical cannabis around the world. With the breakneck pace, the industry has faced a number of growing pains along the way. Product recalls, counterfeit products, mislabeled products, and supply chain issues have introduced challenges for growers, dispensaries, consumers, and regulators.
FluroTech Ltd. (TSX-V: TEST) (OTCQB: FLURF) recently announced a new proof-of-concept for its advanced cannabis biomarker technology, which enables cultivators, dispensaries, and regulators to easily trace products across the supply chain.
Supply Chain Challenges
The cannabis industry has experienced rapid growth over the past several years, but there have been plenty of growing pains along the way. According to one study, 35 percent of more than 80 cultivars tested had genetics that didn’t match the cultivar being sold. Consumers were buying Sativa cultivars that were advertised as Indica and vice versa. California cannabis labs are also finding toxic metals in vape cartridges, which could cause serious health issues.
Counterfeit products have caused other problems. G Pen, a leading high-end portable vaporizer, was awarded $47 million in 2017 after suing more than 60 online retailers selling counterfeit versions of their products. Even worse, some dispensaries were found to be selling fake vape cartridges, which could introduce health risks since the contents of those cartridges is completely unknown and unregulated.
“Legal cannabis markets around the world continue to express concern about black market production entering regulated systems,” says FluroTech CEO Danny Dalla-Longa. “Regulators, responsible for consumer protection, have noted an increase in the number of these allegations. Legal growers need to protect their brands and reputation, which we believe creates an expanding market for our technology.”
Governments have also struggled to control the supply chain. Without a good way to track legal product, there’s no way for them to ensure that legal cannabis remains out of the black market and black market cannabis remains out of the legal market. Tracking solutions could also enable them to trace cannabis back to its origins for tax collection purposes, as well as to assist with any product recalls that may be issued.
DNA biomarkers, short for biological markers, have become a popular way to track everything from clothing to livestock. After applying a spray solution, the DNA acts as a molecule-sized encrypted barcode that can be used to track almost anything across a supply chain. The fashion industry, for example, has used the technology to verify the authenticity of high-end clothing and accessories to combat counterfeit products.
The same technology can be applied to the cannabis industry. By bonding to the plant, biomarker technologies can withstand processing and even show up in refined products, such as oils and edibles. Dispensaries, regulators, cultivators and other interested parties can feed the product into a reader to access the unique “encrypted barcode”. This information can be used to confirm the origin, strain, permit or other relevant information.
While most conventional biomarking technologies utilize sprays, FluroTech’s CTO Dr. Elmar Prenner doesn’t believe that these will be acceptable under future Health Canada regulations. The company recently announced a proof-of-concept technique that introduces water-based biomarkers through the root system of cannabis and hemp plants, so that the nanoparticles are absorbed throughout all of the plant.
Using the company’s cost-effective CompleTest™ equipped with biomarking scopes, these unique “encrypted barcodes” can be read by anyone that requires the information. It’s a more robust solution than sprays since there’s no risk of cross contamination of biomarkers or parts of the plant being missed in the spraying process. The company is also beta testing an cannabis extract oil soluble biomarker solution for non-flower applications.
Hemp Expands Addressable Market
The U.S. Farm Bill removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, which means that it’s no longer considered an illegal substance under federal law. Despite belonging to the same species as cannabis, hemp has no psychoactive effects. Analysts believe that the market for hemp products could expand from $5.7 billion next year to $22 billion by 2022, with applications ranging from nutraceuticals to clothing.
These trends could have a favorable effect on FluroTech by dramatically expanding its addressable market beyond just cannabis.
“With the U.S. Federal legalization of hemp, FluroTech is able to expand its addressable market in North America to the U.S. and progress its goal to be the preferred in-house precision testing device for hemp and cannabis growers globally,” says Danny Dalla-Longa. “Hemp is difficult to distinguish from cannabis with THC from appearance and scent. We anticipate that in addition to growers, law enforcement and other regulators will require devices that can accurately distinguish the two products.”
FluroTech Ltd. (TSX-V: TEST) (OTCQB: FLURF) is addressing key industry challenges with unique biotracking solutions. After developing a proof-of-concept, the company initiated the patent process to protect its innovation and has entered into discussions with government officials and potential joint venture partners to determine the best path toward commercialization—a development that investors should watch closely.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.flurotech.com.
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