Cannabis vape manufacturers are often left in the dark when it comes to manufacturing requirements. That’s why we follow the NCIA Safe Vaping recommendations. Read on and discover what that means for our terpenes and for your products.
Whether you’re a veteran manufacturer or designing your first cannabis vape product, you’ve probably run into the same thing--confusing safety regulations. The information can vary from state to state, sometimes there’s not enough information, and there are currently NO federal requirements for the grade of ingredients. This is a big problem.
That’s why organizations like NCIA (National Cannabis Industry Association) are so important. Read on to discover why we follow the NCIA Safe Vaping recommendations, what that means for our terpenes, and what it means for your products.
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Why Abstrax Tech Follows NCIA Safe Vaping Recommendations
If you’re anxious to get to the facts, here’s a quick breakdown of what we’re covering today.
- The NCIA is the largest trade association in the cannabis sector and they actively work to promote a responsible and legitimate legal cannabis industry. That means advocating for policy changes at the highest level, promoting responsible business practices and manufacturing regulations, and more.
- We follow the NCIA Safe Vaping Recommendations so our terpenes can play a key role in the future of safe vaping. That means using safe manufacturing practices to create safe products and explaining how to use them safely.
- The NCIA recommends manufacturers only use U.S. pharmacopeia FCC grade ingredients produced in cGMP compliant facilities. That’s why we’re ISO 9001:2015 certified and in the process of becoming HACCP certified as well.
- Currently, the use of cannabis-derived terpenes involves too many problematic variables to make them safe or cost effective. That’s why NCIA recommends the use of botanically derived terpenes (Hint: our terpenes are 100% botanically derived and free of cannabinoids).
- Even the purest of terpenes can be dangerous if used incorrectly or in the wrong concentrations. Through education and collaboration efforts, we work diligently to ensure our consumers are fully informed about how to safely use our terpenes.
- The NCIA recommends only using terpenes that come with COA and SDS documentation. We’re proud of the purity in our high-potency, filler-free terpenes, so we make this information readily available for every lot.
What is the NCIA?
In the simplest sense, the NCIA is paving the way for a safer, more successful cannabis industry. Their mission is “To promote the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and work for a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.” If you’ve been part of the Abstrax family for a while, you’ll know statements like those make us very happy. That’s why we’re a member of the NCIA.
Plus, those aren’t just pretty words to them. They provide support so the industry can be an active part of discussions surrounding marijuana policy in Washington, D.C. As the largest trade association in the cannabis sector, they advocate for responsible business practices and manufacturing regulations while promoting laws to legitimize the legal cannabis market.
And if we weren’t already big enough fans, they understand how terpenes do and don’t fit into the cannabis industry (insert fangirl scream).
Why Do We Follow the NCIA Safe Vaping Recommendations?
We follow the NCIA Safe Vaping recommendations because we want our terpenes to play a key role in the future of safe vaping. Plain and simple.
Before terpene science was a legitimate field of research, people had to use terms like “couchlock,” “body high,” and “buzzed” to describe their cannabis experiences. While those terms have cemented themselves into consumer cannabis culture, terpene science lives at the intersection between hard data and the previously indescribable psychoactive experience.
Now, we understand that strains with specific terpene ratios will give users “cerebral,” “anxiolytic,” or even “mood-enhancing” effects. Our research has helped us understand the subtle nuances of the cannabis experience through quantifiable data. We don’t know about you, but we think that’s freaking amazing!
However, like the NCIA, we understand that we have responsibilities. For us, that means using safe manufacturing practices to create safe products and explaining how to use them safely. Are you seeing the trend here?
The NCIA’s Safe Vaping Recommendations aim to clarify myths surrounding cannabis vape products while analyzing potential dangers. The part that we’re the most concerned with, however, are their ideas for minimizing risks. If safety is one of our top priorities, and if the current regulations surrounding cannabis vape oil are convoluted and/or lacking, we see it as our responsibility to minimize those risks in every way possible.
That’s why we adhere to the NCIA Safety Recommendations.
How Abstrax Follows NCIA Safety Recommendations
You might be wondering exactly how our terpenes fit into the conversation surrounding cannabis vape products. It’s true, our terpenes are botanically derived and don’t contain any cannabis whatsoever. However, manufacturers use our terpenes to enhance the flavor, aroma, and/or effects of their cannabis vape products. Plus, we want to promote a safe and successful cannabis industry. That means doing our part by offering safe and effective ingredients for manufacturers to use.
Currently, there are no federal requirements in regard to the grade of ingredients used in cannabis vape oils. That’s why NCIA recommends consumers exclusively purchase legal products that have been properly tested for safety. To make sure our terpenes contribute to safe vaping products, we’ve made sure to take the following NCIA Safety Recommendations into consideration...
Use U.S. Pharmacopeia FCC Grade Ingredients Produced in cGMP Compliant Facilities
We pride ourselves on our state-of-the-art research and manufacturing facility. That’s what makes it possible for us to create terpenes that are of food-grade quality. Our terpenes are allowed to be used as a flavor or fragrance ingredient intended for human consumption, or as an indirect additive according to the FDA 21 CFR. They also comply with the European 88/388EEC and 1334/2008/CE Flavorings directive.
Plus, we take cGMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) very seriously. Currently, we are ISO 9001:2015 certified and we’re in the process of becoming HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) certified. When it comes to analyzing the raw materials for our finished products, we follow the strictest limits possible across all 50 states.
HACCP certification is a preventative food and safety system where every step (manufacturing, storage, and distribution of products) is analyzed for microbiological, physical, and chemical hazards. To us, preventative measures like these are non-negotiable.
On top of adhering to the requirements for these certifications, our comprehensive self-audit procedures ensure that every lot is tested for purity and potency. We also keep samples from each lot in a temperature-controlled environment for up to 1 year. If there were to be a problem, this type of record-keeping means we have all the information necessary to identify and resolve issues quickly.
Use Botanically Derived Terpenes
While the idea of cannabis-derived terpenes is fascinating, there are several reasons why botanically derived terpenes are safer and more cost effective.
Depending on the extraction method, cannabis oil extracts can retain some of the terpene content from the original plant matter (but not much). While some manufacturers attempt to recover these terpenes and add them back in at a later stage, this can be problematic.
The NCIA explains that “Because of poor process control, one potential safety concern from this procedure is that these cannabis-derived terpenes have an undefined molecular composition and the specific concentration of any terpene in the crude mixture likely varies from batch-to-batch due to numerous experimental variables.”
That means a cannabis oil made from several different strains (which is fairly common) might have varying terpene profiles for each batch. When it comes to creating and implementing safety regulations, consistency is key. So, if the terpene profiles in your products vary, that’s a big problem. Botanically derived terpenes, however, solve several of these issues.
The terpenes found in cannabis are present in other plants, often in far greater quantities (non-cannabis derived terpenes are called botanically derived terpenes). That means we can isolate terpenes with less plant matter than you’d need if you wanted cannabis-derived terpenes. That’s not necessarily a safety issue, however, saving time, money, and resources will naturally expedite the manufacturing process.
In addition to that, it’s actually far easier to mimic the terpene concentrations present in actual cannabis flowers by using botanical terpenes.
Mimic Terpene Concentrations Naturally Present in Cannabis Flower
Too much of a good thing (including pure, solvent-free botanically-derived terpenes) can be dangerous. That’s why it’s important that your products maintain a specific concentration of terpenes. Not only do botanically derived terpenes conserve resources and help ensure consistent terpene profiles, but they also give manufacturers more control over the overall terpene concentrations in their products.
“High purity terpenes (e.g. >99% pure) are sold by numerous retailers, which allows these terpenes to be re-introduced into cannabis vape products at defined and safe concentrations.” The key phrase there, however, is safe concentrations.
The FDA considers many terpenes GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe). However, if terpenes are used in high concentrations, they can become toxic when inhaled or ingested. Naturally, the cannabis flower has roughly 1-5% terpene content. Products that mimic those concentrations pose less risk. However, products that have high concentrations of terpenes can pose problems for chemically sensitive individuals.
While some states have regulations in place that require the testing and reporting of terpene concentrations, this isn’t a requirement everywhere. That’s why the NCIA recommends that vape manufacturers, “exercise caution and be required to analyze terpene profiles of products they make in order to begin to develop a better understanding of this subject. Adhering closely to terpene concentrations known to be present in cannabis flowers is a good practice.”
For us, that means taking steps to ensure our customers understand how to use our products. Our terpenes are highly concentrated and, as such, must be diluted or mixed properly before being inhaled or ingested. That’s why a big part of our job involves both education and collaboration.
We strive to keep our community informed with our comprehensive FAQ page, blog, Safety Data Sheets, Mixing Guide, and especially through direct partnerships with brands. We’re the only terpene supplier that provides custom formulations made specifically for our customers with exclusive rights.
We want to create terpenes that enhance the sensorial experience of a wide variety of products, but that only happens when ingredients are used correctly. We want manufacturers to feel confident when using our terpenes.
In addition to that, we want them to have confidence in the purity and safety of the terpenes themselves. That’s why we always provide a COA for each of our products.
Only Use Terpenes That Provide COA Documentation
Adequate testing in certified laboratories is the only way to ensure a product isn’t made with low-grade ingredients with potential impurities. Most states with a legal cannabis market require a certain amount of testing to protect consumers. Some of that testing includes:
- Potency (to determine the accuracy of THC, CBD, other cannabinoids, and terpene concentration)
- Residual solvent, pesticide, and heavy metal testing
- Microbial testing
For botanical terpenes, you’ll want to focus on purity, residual solvents, pesticide, heavy metal, and microbial testing. To ensure your terpenes are high-quality and safe for your products, you have to get your eyes on the COA (Certificate of Analysis). This document shows the purity, strength, and level of chemical and/or biological contamination for a specific lot.
You can find COA and SDS documentation for our products here, but we take the purity of our products one step further.
The raw material we use is sourced for its purity to ensure it’s free of contaminants. To make sure no heavy metals or pesticides get into our products, we test at multiple stages. They’re then refined via molecular distillation to ensure the highest purity possible and we never use solvents like propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, or polyethylene glycol. Our methods create solvent-free terpenes of the highest purity. In addition to that, our strict record-keeping and quality assurance testing ensure any unforeseen problems are identified and resolved before a product leaves our facility.
Join Our Efforts to Promote Safer Products
So, what does all this mean for you?
First, if you’re manufacturing a cannabis product, you should seriously consider joining the NCIA.
Second, you can confidently use our terpenes and know we’re going above and beyond the minimal safety requirements currently in place. We don’t cut corners when it comes to the quality of our terpenes. That means we adhere to uncompromising standards and look for creative solutions. Right now, that means being a supportive member of the NCIA.We hope this inspired you to take a hard look at your manufacturing practices. We love this industry, and we want cannabis innovators to have the necessary tools and information to continue growing and thriving. Contact us today if you have any questions about our products and don’t forget to follow us for all the latest updates.