How Cannabis Is a Multi-Industry Disruptive Technology

Louis O’Neill
Jul 27, 2020 · 7 min read
Image for post
Image for post

Legal cannabis has the ability to disrupt a handful of industries simultaneously, and many people are becoming aware of this fact. But where will the industry go?

As cannabis continues to be legalized on both a recreational and medicinal level throughout the world, the global cannabis industry is beginning to take shape and new utilizations for the plant are being discovered constantly. Whether it be new ways to consume cannabis, new cannabinoids that are isolated, new conditions that cannabis can treat or new products that hemp can create, the potentials surrounding cannabis continue to grow. Because of this, the cannabis plant is unlike virtually every other product on the planet due to the diversity of its uses.

What Does it Mean to be Disruptive?

Netflix, Uber, and Airbnb are some of the most popular brands in today’s society. Someone might get an Uber after work, get home, and put on Netflix while they prepare for a weekend away at an Airbnb.

Paper & Textiles

The global paper and pulp market is estimated by Statista to have been worth $63.3 billion U.S. dollars as of 2019. While most people don’t think of ‘Big Paper’ as one of the dominant industries, it was actually both the paper and textiles markets which sought to prevent hemp from being used as a substitute to wood pulp for paper and nylon products. The War on Drugs began to take its earliest form in the 1930s, led by Harry Anslinger, the Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Anslinger was helped predominantly by William Randolph Hearst, and the DuPont family, who leveraged their own resources to help propel Anslinger’s message about the dangers of cannabis.

Big Pharma

It will likely come as no surprise that cannabis poses a threat to Big Pharma in many ways. While federal illegality has made it difficult to research cannabis, there remains new evidence emerging surrounding the medicinal benefits of cannabis for a growing range of conditions. Epilepsy, chronic pain, insomnia and a host of other medical conditions can be greatly aided through the use of cannabinoid medicines, oftentimes without the negative side effects that come with existing medications. This is why cannabis poses a great threat to the pharmaceutical industry.

Big Agriculture

For a cannabis industry to exist, cannabis must first be grown, placing the cultivation of the plant neatly within the agricultural industry. However, there have been many vocal concerns raised about cannabis potentially becoming a part of ‘Big Agriculture’ instead of being a truly disruptive force for the industry.

Where is Cannabis Headed?

One way to think about cannabis’s potential to be disruptive is through the lens of displacement. Displacement is the process of putting an object in a full cup of fluid, and figuring out how large the object is by seeing how much fluid spills out due to the object displacing it.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +754K people. Follow to join our community.

Louis O’Neill

Written by

Hello! My name is Louis. I write about the growing cannabis industry, politics, religion, and philosophy. Co-founder of Australians.news

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +754K people. Follow to join our community.

Louis O’Neill

Written by

Hello! My name is Louis. I write about the growing cannabis industry, politics, religion, and philosophy. Co-founder of Australians.news

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +754K people. Follow to join our community.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store