As the cannabis market gets more mature and consumers get savvier, the demand for high-quality cannabis increases. “We are seeing that new patients are added on a monthly basis, and with that also the demand for higher quality cannabis has been growing,” says Shelley Barak with Ishence. “And customers are willing to pay a higher price for that.”

At the same time, growing high-quality cannabis can be particularly challenging. “The thing with agricultural commodities is that it can be difficult to get the same quality year-round,” Shelley continues. “There are environmental conditions, unexpected things, that might eventually affect the end-quality of the flowers.”

Growing according to science
“Yet, the combination of research and science is pushing growers to adopt new ways of farming,” says Joshua Finkelstein. “Legacy growers used to water plants by hand, and just wait and see if they got enough light. The issue with this approach starts when the scale of the cultivation increases exponentially. There is simply too much data for a person to process everything and make an accurate estimation of plant development.” That is exactly why Ishence has developed solutions that allow growers to utterly control the cultivation, and be constantly aware of what is happening to the crop.

“Our solution combines intensive LED lights that we created with the adjustable spectrum, together with an irrigation and fertigation system, and an environmental controller,” Shelley says. “We can pull different kinds of data from sensors,” says Joshua. “This, coupled with a machine learning aspect, can provide the preemptive analysis to detect possible changes or suggest to a grower if an action should be taken to stabilize the environment in terms of the conditions that plants need to thrive. “

Pushing the boundaries
Over time, Ishence has been improving their solution. “We have always and we will continue to heavily invest in research,” says Shelley. “For instance, we have improved the software, and growers can benefit from an advanced algorithm that gleans info on the data gathered by the sensors placed all over a cultivation facility.”

Shelley and Joshua point out how there is a need for holistic solutions in the cannabis industry, and Ishence technology addresses exactly that. “All of our solutions are connected to the cloud,” says Joshua. “Growers get a unified platform they can access everywhere from their phone. But since everything is connected, everything also changes according to different parameters. For instance, our LED lights increase their intensity if there is a cloudy day; additionally, growing recipes can be dialed in so that the lights adjust themselves automatically according to the stage of the growth. We have indeed made a recipe book based on 3 years of data collection, so to make it as cultivar-specific as humanly possible. These recipes work as a starting point for growers, as then everything can be tweaked and adjusted according to specific needs.”

Given the growing demand that Ishence has experienced over the last couple of years, the company is getting ready to expand in North America as well. “Cannabis growers are getting increasingly more knowledgeable and they are understanding how much necessary is to rely on holistic solutions like ours,” says Shelley. “Every new installation we do is imbued with the knowledge we have gained over time. This has allowed us to develop different lighting solutions for indoor, greenhouses, as well as vertical farming and tissue culture. The concept at the core of what we do is to provide plants with the optimal amount of light and the light distribution, according to the facility type.” 

For more information:
Kibuttz Ein Hahoresh, Israel