Have you paused to take into consideration that quality assurance is a moving target as opposed to a destination? It is culture within a company that needs constant improvement and alter, as opposed to the work of a select few to achieve 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 those within the cannabis industry and specifically cannabis testing labs, quality assurance is critical to having an effective and thriving business in the rapidly evolving industry. Dr. Kim Ross, who earned her Ph.D. in the University of Colorado in Molecular Biology, and also has worked with multiple cannabis labs, says, “It is not that often that you get a brand new testing industry born these days and folks are scrambling to borrow processes off their industries and apply those to the cannabiscultivationconsulting.com.” Those within cannabis testing labs are looking towards established industries like water and food testing labs to function as a quality assurance beacon. Ross elaborates:
The cannabis market is operating in the lack of federal oversight. If you believe about it, this type of water, food, and pharmaceutical industries have federal oversight. In lieu of that, it is perfectly up to states to adopt regulatory practices and enforcement techniques to uphold a level of compliance and data defensibility that these types of regulators have witnessed in their careers doing work in the FDA, EPS, NELAC or ISO.
For cannabis testing labs, the stakes are high. First, there is the need to keep up with the rapidly evolving industry climate as more 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 even be a late adopter towards the increasingly regulatory compliance environment.
Additionally, untrustworthy data sets can have detrimental impacts on people and patients. Medical applications of cannabis require specific results to make sure the security of patients, many of which are immunocompromised. Beyond damage to people and patients, businesses themselves can 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 for microbiology based upon false-good results then it incurs damages to the client because now their product can’t go to market. Additionally, falsely inflated THC outcomes are also a huge problem in the industry, and can lead to downstream issues with edible dosing or consumer satisfaction.
A top quality assurance system can minimize risk and maximize adherences to proper procedure, leading to reliable data. Recalls, product issues and lawsuits cost organizations tremendous levels of time and money, both to handle the problem available and prevent future incidents. Not forgetting, the immeasurable damage completed to the company & industry by being considered untrustworthy-especially being a consumable product. “Ensuring data defensibility and data integrity protects the laboratory from lawsuits,” says Ross. “That is a very important bit of a quality assurance system for a laboratory.”
One common misconception is viewing quality assurance being a cost center as opposed to a profitability maximizer. A strong quality assurance system is a competitive advantage-especially if you are not even mandated to be compliant to particular standard, like ISO/IEC 17025, but decide to pursue that accreditation realizing it reflects reliability. In many ways, quality assurance may be summarized as “say what you do, and do whatever you say”, having a willingness to allow third-party confirmation of your own commitment and rehearse. “Accreditation gives a neutral stamp of approval that can help 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 may appear to be simple to buy expensive instrumentation, accept samples, and produce data. There are numerous ways to achieve that, some of which are incorrect, and therefore accreditation is actually the opportunity to have professionals evaluate methodology and post-analytical data processing to ensure it really is scientifically sound. It is really an chance for a laboratory to get certain that their processes and reporting procedures are robust and error free.
Remember: it is a new industry. There aren’t firmly established methods and procedures like other legacy industries. “We are operating in a some time and space where there is absolutely no standard methodology which makes oversight by a third party even more important,” shares Ross. Whenever a company opts to pursue accreditation they are indicating a willingness in all honesty and transparent making use of their business processes, procedures, outcomes and data. Accreditation, therefore, is important for this emerging industry. Having a robust, inclusive quality assurance system set up will ease and quicken their quest for accreditation.The stress on an audit day should there be a digitized system is vastly lower than a process which is printed and physically maintained.
Not every quality assurance systems are the same. There are still 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 sophisticated excel spreadsheets are not a scalable backbone for a quality system.
Past the accessibility and traceability which a digital system creates, additionally, it protects. “We can safeguard that data with credentialed logins for key personnel and have information at our fingertips to reduce the regulatory stress on all personnel,” says Ross. The stress on an audit day when there is a digitized product is vastly lower than a system that is certainly printed and physically maintained.
For anyone within the cannabis industry, specifically cannabis testing labs, it comes with an unequivocal advantage to implementing a process that supports continuous improvement, reliable data sets and the very best in business practices. Doing so can help sustain and grow the business, and could be pivotal in transforming the development, market and research of cannabis.