Shoppers Drug Mart is partnering with TruTrace Technologies Inc. on a pilot blockchain program that will be identifying, verifying and tracking medical cannabis – is this the future of cannabis tech?
A unit of Loblaw Cos., Shoppers Drug Mart, with about 1,300 pharmacies across Canada, is partnering with TruTrace Technologies Inc. creating a blockchain program to identify, track and verify the source and genetics of cannabis used by medical patients. The goal is to not only introduce a new era of cannabis tech, but to also make medical cannabis more like traditional medicine in order to reassure physicians and patients that the plant is a safe treatment – could tracking medical cannabis be an effective method to convince doctors and patients to be more open to using cannabis as a medicine?
Tracking medical cannabis with cannabis tech
Ken Weisbrod, Vice President of pharmacy business development and initiatives at Shoppers Drug Mart said: “This is the future for medical cannabis in the world.”
“I know the U.S. is looking at what we’re doing here, and it’s really important that we take this leadership stance.”
Los Angeles-based TruTrace sees big opportunities for its track-and-trace software in the U.S. CBD market. The U.S. legalised cannabidiol derived from hemp late last year, but some products have been found to contain less CBD than advertised, or even none at all. CVS and Walgreens, along with other major pharmacy chains across the U.S, have begun selling CBD lotions and balms at some of their stores.
“We think this push with Shoppers will hopefully lead into a similar relationship with the Walgreens and CVS’s of the world,” said TruTrace Chief Executive Officer Robert.
“There’s scepticism right now from the medical industry and we’re trying to help breach that; it all boils down to information. Information is power, data is power.”
The existing stigma of cannabis
At the World Cannabis Congress, hosted in Canada, Weisbrod explained: “There are about 85,000 physicians in the country and the majority have not embraced this drug yet.”
“Quite frankly, they need more information and more data about the drugs they’re putting their patients on.”
The healthcare industry is beginning to embrace and adopt blockchain technology into its systems, and the world of cannabis has also been introduced, now it’s time for standardised data to help doctors prescribe the right strains to their patients and contribute to the clinical trials that are underway in many parts of the industry.