The Importance of High GMP Standards in the Cannabis Industry 

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Written by | December 14th, 2022

Good manufacturing practices (GMP) play a pivotal role in setting companies up for success. In the cannabis industry, establishing GMP standards now can help with the inevitable transition into legalization in the future. Cannabis is, after all, a consumer product, and currently, the federal government has not provided a clear pathway toward regulating and overseeing legal cannabis-derived products. However, current good manufacturing practices (cGMPs) do exist as the accepted standards for manufacturing with safety and reliability across industries, so how can manufacturers of infused cannabis products get ahead of the curve before legalization becomes a reality? 

Why is GMP Important? 

The top priority of GMP standards is to protect the safety of the consumer. In short, implementing GMP standards means continually assessing potential hazards and updating standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure all processes are current and in-line with regulations, safety protocols, and industry-wide standards. These programs include quality control, sanitary practices, preventative measures, supply chain control and supplier accountability. It’s a comprehensive framework meant to ensure the quality of  the product through every step of the manufacturing process.  

Although not required by many state regulatory bodies, many successful cannabis companies have voluntarily become GMP certified because they understand that it promotes efficiency and makes them more adaptable to change, likely charting the path to a smoother transition to full legalization. GMP standards lay the foundation for efficient and safe production processes and create a model for employees. By implementing formal SOPs, cannabis companies are gaining useful tools for complying with state laws. 

GMP Standards & Infused Cannabis Products

Whether you’re a cultivator, processor, or infused product manufacturer, GMPcertification will be a necessary part of compliance come legalization. In fact, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) requires GMP standards for food, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals – essentially, any product that’s meant for the human body needs to be manufactured following GMP guidelines. With the cannabis infused product category predicted to earn over $150B in sales by 2030, it’s wise for manufacturers to begin implementing GMP standards today, or at the very least, meet the FDA’s minimum requirements before  federal legalization. Those who fail to do so may risk losing products, funds, or business if they do not meet quality standards.

Furthermore, there are many cannabis-specific issues that infused product  manufacturers face which need to be incorporated into quality assurance and GMP standards. For example, cannabinoids degrade due to temperature and light exposure, and extracts produce resins which may interfere with sanitization processes; there are also the added concerns of pesticide contamination and mold growth. These must all be considered before assessing any additional food products being infused for QA and their own GMP standards. Even if companies are regularly testing their products, this is only performed at the end of the manufacturing cycle, leaving too much room for error and the risk of losing valuable product should they test for contaminants. This problem is preventable if SOPs are followed from the beginning to the end of the manufacturing life cycle. It’s important to note that brands determine shelf life based on stability studies to determine the degradation rate, because degradation is inevitable.  

The Risks of Not Having GMP Standards in Place 

In many states, GMP certification is not required for cannabis product manufacturers. Despite this regulatory oversight, it’s in every businesses’ best interest to maintain quality control throughout the manufacturing process to protect the consumer. These standards help greatly reduce the risk of costly problems such as recalls and the disposing of large quantities of products, and prevent developing a negative reputation that may be difficult to come back from. No company wants to risk public scrutiny or end up in court because a consumer suffered harm due to a contaminated product. 

The Takeaway 

There are a variety of reasons that infused product manufacturers need to be on top of their quality control measures and GMP standards. The cannabis industry is highly regulated and scrutinized, yet state lawmakers are unsure of how to apply safety measures to this burgeoning industry. Until recently, testing was the only solution. The downside? Most tests are conducted at the end of the manufacturing process, when it’s too late to save products from potential hazards. By not implementing GMP standards throughout the manufacturing life cycle, companies risk the loss of product, and the subsequent loss of funds, which could be devastating to cannabis companies that are already cash strapped. 

Plan for the future and begin implementing GMP standards now so your company is ready to make the transition to federal legalization without any obstacles. The team at SōRSE Technology has always prioritized high GMP standards and quality assurance throughout the manufacturing process for our water-soluble emulsions. By treating our emulsions the same as any other food ingredient, we focus our attention on regulations, sanitary practices, and quality control to ensure that any product that passes through our facilities are safe and compliant.

Partnering with a knowledgeable and trusted industry partner will give you peace of mind as you formulate your product while ensuring consumer safety. Contact us today to work with our team of experts combining 150+ years of experience in food, beverage, and product formulation.