Any business that’s involved in the cultivation, processing, and distribution of cannabis is subject to strict regulations. As with any sector of the pharmaceutical industry, Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) must be followed to ensure the quality and validity of activities. This covers testing, calibration, and sampling using laboratory methods. The goal is to verify that results are compatible with the cannabis product specification.
From a business standpoint, taking precautions to control the quality of cannabis products will save you time and money in the long run. If quality is sacrificed at any stage of production, businesses may suffer from a poor product that jeopardizes consumer trust and the health of the patient. Not to mention, as compliance around the cannabis industry continues to evolve, the legality of your cannabis business depends upon adherence to safe practices. Here’s a closer look at some Good Laboratory Practices to bear in mind for a career in the cannabis industry.
1. Develop Clear Standard Operating Procedures
Good Laboratory Practices are put in place to protect the quality of laboratory data. In any pharmaceutical lab, Good Laboratory Practice is based on written documentation of the work being done. These are Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). SOPs detail the different practices to follow for the purpose of cannabis quality assurance. Important areas to cover include:
- Sampling and testing of cannabis
- Labelling of materials
- Equipment maintenance
- Storage of ingredients
- Employee hygiene
The main goal is to promote consistency across all practices in a laboratory setting. SOPs should cover the purpose of a procedure, the responsible personnel, and the step-by-step actions that need to be taken. With clear written guidelines, labs can ensure transparency and accountability in the event of any production errors.
2. Pay Attention to the Facilities
A cannabis laboratory must be prepared in accordance with health and safety regulations. The cannabis industry in Canada requires that any building where cannabis is produced or stored must have a system for filtration and ventilation, as well as a clear maintenance program. More specifically, all cannabis facilities must be able to:
- Filter air to prevent the escape of cannabis odours to the outdoors
- Maintain air quality indoors to prevent the contamination of the product
- Be accessible for cleaning, maintenance, and inspection
- Withstand regular cleaning procedures
At the same time, cannabis labs should have suitable temperature, humidity, and lighting controls for the storage of any materials and products. Although Good Laboratory Practice demands significant resources, by paying close attention to the facilities, you can limit the risks of product quarantine, invalid test results, and patient side effects.
3. Equipment Requirements for Cannabis Quality Assurance
As well as the surrounding facilities, professionals must pay attention to the equipment they use. With functional equipment, you can ensure the validity of test results and reduce the need for repeat tests that can delay production. All equipment in a cannabis laboratory should be routinely maintained and calibrated. At the same time, it should work efficiently to meet the demands of production rates. Since you’ll be relying on equipment at every stage of production, taking the time to clean and sanitize all surfaces will prevent any contamination of the cannabis product. Likewise, investing in modern equipment will improve the efficiency of production practices. By demonstrating clear knowledge of Good Production Practices, graduates of a cannabis course can take on positions in quality assurance, product control, and laboratory supervision.
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