Medical marijuana is one of the biggest healthcare stories out there right now.
We know that cannabis is a godsend for cancer patients, who use it to control their nausea and increase their appetite following chemotherapy.
Researchers are proving every day that cannabis-based drugs are effective against extreme pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and other ailments.
Plus, because of marijuana's effectiveness in the fight against pain, everyone from doctors to law enforcement leaders are looking to use weed to help end the ongoing – and devastating – opioid crisis.
All of that means medical marijuana is also one of the best investment opportunities out there.
But when it comes to medical marijuana, there's a big problem.
Marijuana is probably the least studied cash crop in the world.
Researchers working to discover and refine the medicinal properties of cannabis have been greatly hampered by the Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA) classification of the plant as a Schedule 1 drug. That means the federal government deems marijuana as having no accepted medical use, like meth or heroin.
That stance has cut down on the sort of well-funded research that's needed to usher in the next round of cannabis-based wonder drugs.
But that doesn't mean no research is happening. After all, GW Pharma and other biotech firms have produced a first round of weed-based drugs.
In fact, there's a small but growing cottage industry of tiny startups focused on the genetic testing of cannabis to help those biotechs.
Some marijuana analytics startups, like Steep Hill, are developing their own gene-sequencing systems – and that's something very exciting I plan to tell you more about soon.
But most, including Medicinal Genomics, are using state-of-the-art gene-sequencing equipment from the company I want to tell you about today.
This dynamic industry leader is a pioneer in the genetic testing equipment field. And now its equipment is crucial for medical marijuana pioneers.
If you got in when I first recommended this stock just a few months ago, you've already made nearly 19%.
But thanks to the medical marijuana sector's interest and several more catalysts I'll tell you about below, it's got a lot further to run.
Take a look…
A Dream Come True
With a well-studied cash crop, like corn, researchers can easily manipulate the plant's genetics to produce just about whatever they desire – better flavor, bigger kernels, disease resistance, etc. After all, the U.S. government and companies like Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) have spent billions studying corn and sequencing its genes.
But with marijuana, we're nowhere near there yet.
The dream of medical marijuana researchers is an overarching database that they can use to simply type in what trait they're looking for and it would spit out either the strain that exists or those that can be combined to provide that characteristic.
The profit motive to get there first is overwhelming for these researchers.
Pot Stock Profits: Top Three California Marijuana Stocks to Watch for the Biggest Gains – Learn How to Cash In Here
On the recreational side, they want the same thing. Those growing and selling recreational marijuana want to produce products that meet consumers' preferences for variations in taste, smell, precision dosing, and desired effects.
And companies like Medicinal Genomics are using genetic-sequencing machines from Illumina Inc. (Nasdaq: ILMN) to make that dream a reality.
Illumina's sequencing machines help cannabis analytics labs identify marijuana's 800 million base pairs and 10 chromosomes. That information will help pot breeders discover more markers for specific traits like potency, aroma, and, most importantly, medicinal properties.
And as more jurisdictions bring legal weed online, including full legalization in Canada and Massachusetts this summer, the market's desire for ever-refined and differentiated products will only grow.
That will keep Illumina's product line in steep demand by those marijuana testing labs' seeking to build out their knowledge of the plant's genome.
About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is a 35-year Silicon Valley veteran and one of the top technology financial analysts working today. He regularly delivers winning trade recommendations to the Members of his monthly tech investing newsletter, Nova-X Report, and small-cap tech service, Radical Technology Profits. In the past two years alone, his subscribers have seen over 100 double- and triple-digit gains from his recommendations.
As a consultant, senior adviser, and board member for Silicon Valley venture capital firms, Michael enjoys privileged access to pioneering CEOs and high-profile industry insiders. In fact, he was one of five people involved in early meetings for the $160 billion "cloud" computing phenomenon. And he was there as Lee Iacocca and Roger Smith, the CEOs of Chrysler and GM, led the robotics revolution that saved the U.S. automotive industry.
In addition to being a regular guest and panelist on CNBC and Fox Business Network, Michael is also a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter. His first book, "Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings" warned people about the coming financial collapse - years before "bailout" became a household word.
You can follow Michael's tech insight and product updates for free with his Strategic Tech Investor newsletter.