The cannabis industry can be best described as the perfect marriage between pharma and horticulture. However, just like every marriage that lives up to its name, also the pharma and horticulture union can be the source of many troubles. Horticulture’s main goal is to achieve efficiency in a profitable and sustainable way, while pharma’s objective is to have reliable consistency in the full extent of its operation. Combining these two aspects is like putting two lions in the same cage: expect some fight, that is. Yet, these two lions don’t have to fight each other necessarily. What if they become friends?
“There is a number of growers struggling with this pharma and horticulture combination,” Jaap Koster with PCS-NL explains. “I think that this has mainly to do with the fact that the cannabis industry is still young and its history never had any ties with the pharma world. A production site is a production site, and it is necessary to implement a genetics manufacturing industry thinking: it doesn’t matter if you produce a vaccine, just molecules, or plants. The same pharma principles apply: you need to show that you are clean, that products have no impurities left on.” PCS-NL was one of the first companies in the world to introduce the GMP standards on the production of medicine, and they were equally among the first to introduce that to the cannabis world. “Bluntly put, if you produce medicines, you need to be compliant.”
GMP cannabis drying
Thus, PCS-NL is one of those companies that can rely on the expertise that is very much sought after in the cannabis industry, as of now. That is why Cannabis-drying.com, a Dutch company specialized in cannabis drying solutions, has partnered up with them to develop a new drying unit based on GMP principles. “Uniformity of drying is of the utmost importance,” Jaap points out. “As well as the control over the drying itself, as you need to be able to control the temperature, the relative humidity. At the same time, to comply with pharma standards means that you have to rely on a drying unit that can be cleaned easily. In the medical cannabis space, all of this is crucial as you need to prove that you always comply with very strict standards, but also you need to be able to prove that.” This is exactly what the collaboration between PCS-NL and Cannabis-drying.com is all about: developing a drying unit that allows utter control over the whole process, and that can be sanitized with ease. “The machine is qualified to pharma standards,” Jaap explains. “Our solution allows all of the above, plus a better control over the airflow. Usually, growers dry their cannabis in a room, where they have little to no control over the airflow. This is a big aspect of this new machine, as it works as an isolator where you have almost a close system to dry your flowers, compared to big drying rooms. Contamination by particles is way better controlled, in this way.”
Thus, the top priorities of any growers that want to comply with GMP standards should be hygiene, cleanability, and consistency in the output. “Growers should really focus on the control over those points,” Jaap says. “That also means that you have to start documenting how you do those things. That’s also why we have a system that can be connected to the machine to help a GMP approved recording system. Adhering to the strictest standards, even though you are not growing medical, would allow you to easily pass all inspections, and to make products of an exceptionally high quality.”
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