The Importance of GMPs (General Manufacturing Practices) in Cannabis Cultivation

Good manufacturing processes, known as GMPs, and good agricultural practices, known as GACPs, are strict sets of guidelines to which any manufacturer of food or drugs must adhere. Governed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), GMPs were implemented to prevent tainted, improperly dosed or mislabeled products from being distributed to the public. Following the passage of the 1938 Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the FDA enacted GMPs in all food and drug-related markets.

As marijuana legalization continues to roll out state by state and mounting pressure builds on each subsequent administration to federally decriminalize the plant, GMPs are becoming more important than ever in the world of cannabis cultivation. Increasingly stringent regulations can be expected as government involvement in the cannabis industry proliferates, so it’s best to plan ahead and prepare to meet GMPs at every step of the way. 

With GMPs already becoming a requirement for every legal marijuana operation, why not prepare for what is sure to come next?

GMP Standards in CannabisWhat are GMPs?

GMPs are requirements and regulations put into place by local, state or federal authorities to ensure that any food or drug product distributed to the public is safe, free from contamination, and properly labeled. In the US, GMPs are largely implemented and controlled by local and state regulatory agencies as well as the FDA. Elsewhere in the world, GMPs vary widely as many nations rely on different authorities and thus different guidelines to define GMPs. The WHO maintains its own set of GMPs, which are followed by many countries. 

By and large, GMPs consist of the following:

  • Facility maintenance - Facilities must be maintained in a clean and hygienic manner, must maintain controlled environmental conditions in order to prevent contamination, and must be ready for inspection at a moment’s notice.
  • Methods and processes - Methods for manufacturing products are predetermined and set in place, while processes are closely documented, repeatable, and unambiguously stated.
  • Operation - Operators and employees must be well-trained to follow and document GMPs.
  • Documentation - Clear, definitive documentation is necessary, especially where alterations to typical, outlined manufacturing methods and processes are made.
  • Accounting - Each step of the manufacturing process must be accounted for, including a complete batch history of all materials implemented, steps taken, and means of distribution from beginning to end.
  • Recall protocols - Clearly defined protocols to follow in the event of a recall must be predetermined and stated in clear, unambiguous language.
  • Handling of complaints - All complaints filed must be thoroughly investigated and appropriate measures taken to ensure the issues are not repeated.

Ensuring that your cannabis operation has these procedures and documents in place from the beginning can save a lot of energy and stress down the road and as cannabis legalization continues to gain momentum, regulations surrounding its cultivation will intensify, making preparation a decisive component in your operation’s success.

Why Will GMPs Be Important for the Future of Cannabis?

As more states and countries legalize cannabis and the economic benefit becomes undeniable, growers can be sure that regulators at all levels will expect their operation in first-class condition. Many predict that it will only be a matter of time before we see federal decriminalization in the US, leading to widespread adoption of GMPs by state and federal authorities.

Implementing and following GMPs for every aspect of the operation is imperative to ensure that you’re producing products of only the highest quality, documenting any changes or alterations, and creating replicable results. With high standards in place, recall situations can be mitigated or avoided altogether. 

Recalls can prove costly or even disastrous for any company, particularly those that are in their infancy. Unfortunately, many fledgling operations face the dilemma of lacking enough capital to implement GMPs from the beginning, leading to variation between harvests, poor documentation of methods and procedures, and, therefore, poor manufacturing processes. By employing GMPs from the very beginning of an operation, the likelihood of a recall, and thus significant damage to an operation’s reputation, is minimized. 

At TSRgrow, we work with our clients to design solutions from the ground up. When working with us to design a lighting solution or even an entire facility, you can rest assured that GMPs will be at the forefront of our strategies and discussions.

Why and How You Should Be Ready

Greater and more stringent regulations are undoubtedly on the way for controlled environment agriculture (CEA) facilities producing cannabis. As growers prepare to face this oncoming wave of red tape, preparation will certainly help to alleviate a bit of the strain.

By designing or retrofitting a facility with GMPs in mind, growers can reduce maintenance and associated costs, more efficiently control environmental conditions, and achieve an enhanced degree of consistency between cycles. 

TSRgrow’s years of dedicated research and development has allowed us to offer our clients the most cost-effective strategies for producing fantastic, replicable harvests with the lowest maintenance costs and bottom line while maintaining the records necessary to meet GMP best practices.

Remote Power Server Technology

The heart of our GMP-forward approach to lighting solutions is our remote power server technology. At TSRGrow, we’ve decoupled our full-spectrum LED grow lights from their power source. We’ve replaced onboard ballasts with remotely-located power servers, completely eliminating the issue of excess grow room heat generated by lighting and making ballast replacement a breeze. The result is a more consistent grow room environment, easily managed through our GROWHub environment monitoring software.  

In decoupling ballasts from grow lights, we’ve also eliminated much of the aggravation of maintenance. Locating our remote power servers in a cabinet outside of the grow room makes for easy replacement in case of a failure. Additionally, our plug and play technology, coupled with our advanced lightweight, ballast-free lighting, makes for simplified installation and replacement. 

The removal of ballasts from our grow lights boasts numerous other advantages as well, namely enhanced environmental control. The maintenance of steady conditions eliminates the need for excessive HVACD usage, helping to maintain other environmental factors such as relative humidity, vapor pressure deficit, and consistent CO₂ levels. Our remote power servers make it easier than ever to fine tune the proper conditions for any stage of any plant growth cycle. 

Coupled with our other proprietary technology, our remote power servers make for the simplest installation and maintenance on the market. By incorporating our GROWHub software, growers gain control over their lighting like never before. Now, growers can tune their lighting to achieve their maximum potential harvests and easily replicate these conditions again and again. Never has it been easier to maintain consistent lighting GMPs in your CEA environment.

Advanced LED Lighting

Advanced spectrums, high efficiency and tunable power make TSRgrow LED lighting solutions some of the most advanced on the market.  Using the highest performing and best diodes on the market helps deliver the highest yields, terpene profiles and cannabinoids. Coupled with TSRgrow remote power servers, which eliminate all local ballasts from the fixture, growers now have infinite ability to fine tune photon energy delivery to their plants based on the cultivar and the various stages of growth.

Environmental Control and Monitoring

As important as lighting is a grower’s ability to maintain consistent environmental conditions within their grow room. Consistent environmental monitoring and control has traditionally been a difficult factor for growers to overcome, especially for those growing under HPS lighting. As the market has largely shifted toward LED lighting, however, it has become apparent that many of these same issues remain. 

Drastic temperature fluctuations are not uncommon in many grow rooms, at lights off or partial room loading. Along with operating grow lights, HVACD usage can drive energy costs through the roof. 

Temperature control is only part of the story, though. Other factors that can significantly influence a grow room’s environment include relative humidity (RH), vapor pressure deficit (VPD), and costly supplementary CO₂.

Relative humidity (RH) is the proportion of water vapor in the air to how much water vapor the air can hold at that temperature. Vapor pressure deficit (VPD), on the other hand, is a measure of how much more water vapor the air can hold at a specific temperature before it begins to condensate. Both measures directly affect the ability of plants to open stomata, thus allowing for CO₂ uptake and transpiration, as well as the uptake of nutrients from the growing medium. 

HVACD 

HVACD usage, particularly the lights off cycle, has long been associated with problematic environmental control. Lights off cycles require rapid exchange of air within a grow room, altering temperatures and RH, thus directly affecting VPD. 

By eliminating ballast heat in the grow rooms, we have effectively put total control of grow room conditions back in the grower’s hands. Without the additional heat, steady temperatures are much easier to maintain, thus reducing the need for excessive changes in the grow room. 

Active Monitoring with GROWHub

Most significantly, all of these parameters can now be actively monitored and automated with the use of our GROWHub software. Carefully placed sensors detect measurement levels in every part of the grow room, helping to avoid the development of microclimates. In addition, real-time monitoring allows growers to keep track of their grow room conditions even when they’re not nearby via their smartphone or computer, as well as make adjustments on the fly. 

Our GROWHub software also tracks conditions between grow cycles, enabling side-by-side comparisons, matching, and recreation of certain parameters. GROWHub accounts for all aspects of environmental monitoring and allows growers to track growth and harvests for optimal conditions. 

The result is a system fine-tuned to match your specific needs, allowing for peak efficiency. Fully integrated, our ballast-free LED grow lights and GROWHub monitoring software creates our TOTALGrow Solution, maximizing energy usage and reducing waste to the absolute lowest cost structure. 

Consistency in Every Cycle

Even more important than reducing cost structure, our TOTALGrow Solution allows growers to produce consistently viable crops with each cycle. By recording and logging full grow room metrics for every stage of every cycle, our GROWHub software can learn exactly which settings create the most favorable conditions for your plants. GROWHub can then recreate these conditions time and again, leading to commercially-viable consistency in your operation. 

Consistency is key to following GMPs, and with GROWHub’s intuitive tracking capabilities, growers can now discover, recreate, and consistently incorporate the absolute best practices into their operation. 

TSRgrow Knows GMPs 

At TSRgrow, we pride ourselves on not only our own good manufacturing processes but offering that same degree of consistency to our customers. Creating the perfect conditions in your grow room, maintaining them, and recreating them for future grows can prove costly, time-consuming, and wasteful, but our GROWHub software and TOTALGrow Solution take the guesswork out of the entire process. Real-time analytics allow growers to compare notes between runs, monitor current environmental conditions, and even make adjustments remotely through their smartphone or computer. 

This enhanced control over every aspect of the grow room means the grower can focus on what’s important: quality and consistency. We know that quality and consistency are key to creating a thriving, flourishing brand, and our TOTALGrow Solution makes it easy for you to make these aspects your top priority. 

Additionally, our TOTALGrow Solution is designed from the ground up with GMPs in mind. Our designs make it easy for growers to create, implement, and follow not only regulatory GMPs but those necessary to build their brand into a reliable provider of quality cannabis.  

At TSRgrow, we know that following good manufacturing processes can help your plants to achieve their maximum potential, and we make it as easy as possible to do just that. Contact us today to see what kind of solution we can develop to fit your business. 

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