A Guide to Cannabis Standardization

How do you standardize the psychoactive effects of cannabis for commercial products? Cannabis Industry Journal recently published another article by Steven Burton, creator of the Icicle food & cannabis ERP system, on just this topic.

The truth is, many people in the world today take for granted how standardized food is. Whether we’re buying 2% milk or 42% proof whisky, we have come to expect that we know what we are getting when we buy a food or beverage product and – especially important with alcohol – that we have a way to anticipate how that product will affect our bodies. Alcohol is a useful analogy for the budding cannabis industry: percentages of THC (the main psychoactive component in cannabis) on packaging can help us control our levels of impairment or intoxication just as percentage of alcohol can on bottles or cans.

The Challenge of Standardizing THC in Edibles

The challenge is in the implementation of these kinds of standards in the legal industry, which is especially necessary as edibles enter into the Canadian market. Any consumer wants reasonable expectations about their consumption of edibles; you want one gummy or cookie to affect you in much the same way as another gummy or cookie in that package, or one that you consumed last month. This is especially true for medical or first time users.

But, as Burton explains, there are several reasons why it’s very difficult to standardize THC across edibles products. One approach to this problem is to apply a similar solution from the food and beverage industry that has dealt with many of the same problems over the years.

Many people don’t know that unlike homemade special brownies, commercial cannabis edibles are not made using the cannabis bud directly. Instead, manufacturers use cannabis extracts and oils that were produced in an earlier process step. This should make it easy for cannabis manufacturers to do the same thing that the food industry does: dilute or blend the product to achieve the desired concentration.

“The cannabis edibles industry is still immature and it will take time to bring all the necessary risk mitigation processes into place but one excellent place to start is to seriously consider standardizing concentrates to a THC marker. This strategy is cheap, easy and you’ll never be sorry.”

Steven Burton, CEO and President of Icicle Technologies Inc.

Why hasn’t this approach been implemented industry-wide? Burton wonders in the article. The current industry practice of tracking the strength of each batch of concentrate is prone to human error and would not be suitable for the food safety programs like HACCP that are the gold standard in the food industry and quickly becoming mandatory for the cannabis industry as well. It seems that the solution to standardizing cannabis strength is right there in the pudding.

Check out the full article in Cannabis Industry Journal >>

We are providing complimentary HACCP plans to cannabis facilities that are committed to creating and implementing a quality food safety program. Learn more and request a free HACCP plan here.

Steven Burton is a technology expert who, in addition to being the CEO and President of Icicle Technologies Inc., developed and continues to build Icicle, a comprehensive food production management platform offering the food industry creative and dynamic solutions for better production, better business, and better public health. Follow him on LinkedIn to hear more about the future of tech, or check out his other articles in leading industry publications.

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