Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation with cannabis-infused products

Speaker: Shehzad Hoosein (Cannabistry Labs)

R&D/Product Development and Commercialization in the Cannabis Industry presents a unique set of opportunities and challenges.  The most exciting opportunity within this space is the potential to create a whole range of innovations, leveraging existing technology from various industries to bring to life product offerings that truly meet the consumers’ needs.  And further, the potential to invent disruptive technologies and products that will change the way consumer’s interface with the product.  The unique element of PD within this industry is the confluence of extraction technology, formulation-stability, efficacy, bioavailability, flavor, delivery system, ergonomics, packaging and branding, which requires a new approach to product development. 

As the industry expands and matures, there are two key areas that we must focus on and improve.  Specifically, enforcing food safety standards, GMPs and best practices from food/bev and pharma industries, and bearing social responsibility to ensure packaging and branding is executed so as not to appeal to minors.  It is vital that we raise the standard and commitment towards safety and social responsibility not only to protect consumers, but also in to ensure that Regulators continuously gain confidence with on-going practices.  Finally, there are several institutional challenges that need to be navigated while commercializing products. 

This presentation will focus on three challenges. First, technical skill at operational/manufacturing level is improving but has significant additional room from growth. Second, volumes are still low compared to other industries resulting in challenges in equipment scoping and min. order quantities on raw materials.  Finally, varying and constantly evolving regulations, which require significant efforts behind brand renovation, redesigns.     

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