Have you paused to consider that quality assurance is actually a moving target instead of a destination? It is culture in a company that will require constant improvement and change, rather than the work of a select few to arrive at one defined end goal. Quality, therefore, is not a box that must simply be checked but an overarching and driving force propelling organizations forward.
For all those within the cannabis industry and specifically cannabis testing labs, quality assurance is essential to getting an excellent and thriving business in the rapidly evolving industry. Dr. Kim Ross, who earned her Ph.D. at the University of Colorado in Molecular Biology, and has worked with multiple cannabis labs, says, “It will not be that often that you get a whole new testing industry born nowadays and folks are scrambling to borrow processes from other industries and apply those to the cannabiscultivationconsulting.com.” Those within cannabis testing labs are searching towards established industries like water and food testing labs to serve as a quality assurance beacon. Ross elaborates:
The cannabis industry is operating in the lack of federal oversight. If you feel about this, this type of water, food, and pharmaceutical industries have federal oversight. Rather than that, it is up to states to adopt regulatory practices and enforcement approaches to uphold a level of compliance and data defensibility that these types of regulators have experienced in their careers employed in the FDA, EPS, NELAC or ISO.
For cannabis testing labs, the stakes are high. First, there is a need to keep up with the rapidly evolving industry climate as increasing numbers of states and governing bodies are setting requirements and expectations for quality and compliance. It is actually in nobody’s best interest to fall behind or perhaps be a late adopter towards the increasingly regulatory compliance environment.
Additionally, untrustworthy data sets may have detrimental impacts on people and patients. Medical uses of cannabis require specific results to guarantee the safety of patients, many of which are immunocompromised. Beyond harm to people and patients, businesses themselves could be hurt when a cannabis testing lab would present inaccurate or flawed data sets. Ross shared hypothetical samples of potential negative impacts:
If, for example, you fail a product or service for microbiology according to false-good results this incurs damages for the client because now their product can’t head to market. Additionally, falsely inflated THC outcomes are another huge problem in the business, and may result in downstream problems with edible dosing or consumer satisfaction.
An excellent assurance system can minimize risk and maximize adherences to proper procedure, causing reliable data. Recalls, product issues and lawsuits cost organizations tremendous quantities of money and time, both to handle the issue available and prevent future incidents. In addition to, the immeasurable damage done to the manufacturer & industry because they are considered untrustworthy-especially as being a consumable product. “Ensuring data defensibility and data integrity protects the laboratory from lawsuits,” says Ross. “That is a really important part of an excellent assurance system for a laboratory.”
One common misconception is viewing quality assurance as being a cost center instead of a profitability maximizer. A strong quality assurance system is a competitive advantage-especially for those who are not mandated to be compliant to a particular standard, like ISO/IEC 17025, but choose to pursue that accreditation knowing it reflects reliability. In several ways, quality assurance may be summarized as “say what you do, and do whatever you say”, having a willingness to enable third-party confirmation of the commitment and practice. “Accreditation gives an unbiased stamp of approval that helps ensure data defensibility in the laboratory,” affirms Ross.
Accreditation as a result of quality assurance ultimately leads to reliable and trustworthy data sets. Ross shared: It might look like very easy to buy expensive instrumentation, accept samples, and provide data. There are so many ways to achieve that, a few of which are incorrect, and for that reason accreditation is actually a chance to have professionals evaluate methodology and post-analytical data processing to make sure that it really is scientifically sound. It is really an opportunity for a laboratory to get positive that their processes and reporting procedures are robust and error free.
Remember: this is a new industry. There aren’t firmly established methods and operations like other legacy industries. “We are operating in a time as well as space where there is no standard methodology and that makes oversight by a 3rd party a lot more important,” shares Ross. Each time a company opts to pursue accreditation they are indicating a willingness in all honesty and transparent with their business processes, procedures, outcomes and data. Accreditation, therefore, is necessary for this emerging industry. Having a robust, inclusive quality assurance system in position will ease and quicken their pursuit of accreditation.The stress on an audit day when there is a digitized method is vastly below a system that is certainly printed and physically maintained.
Not every quality assurance systems are the same. You may still find some companies seeking to implement systems that lack the modernization essential to truly propel them forward towards continuous improvement pxordk scalability. Quality assurance software with widespread use and adaptation across organizations is both scalable and then in support of continuous improvements. Binders, rows of filing cabinets and complex excel spreadsheets usually are not a scalable backbone for any quality system.
Beyond the accessibility and traceability which a digital system creates, additionally, it protects. “We can safeguard that data with credentialed logins for key personnel and also have information at our fingertips to reduce the regulatory stress on all personnel,” says Ross. The stress with an audit day when there is a digitized system is vastly less than a method that is certainly printed and physically maintained.
For anyone inside the cannabis industry, specifically cannabis testing labs, it comes with an unequivocal advantage to implementing a system that supports continuous improvement, reliable data sets and the most effective in business practices. Doing so will help sustain and grow the business, and may be pivotal in transforming the production, market and research of cannabis.