What is an Infused Product?
Usually that can be any smokable, vape product, edible, beverage, botanical, tincture, brownie, syrup, shake and more to which a concentrate of any cannabis can be added. The concentrates are mainly from the marijuana plant and can be anything from full spectrum oils, kief, pressed rosin, live resin, terpenes or distillates obtained from properly processing the cannabis plant.
Edibles are the most common form of infused products and if not carefully controlled could easily result in consumption beyond the normal levels. Infused products are also called MIPs short for “marijuana-infused products.” All MIPs are subject to different labeling requirements as an example list of ingredients, their profiles, directions for use and a disclaimer showing that the product has not been analyzed or approved by the FDA.
The Various MIPs
The top 4 infused products that come to mind are vapes, flowers, concentrates and edibles. The simplest infused products are made with kief. The kief is a powdery substance gathered from the marijuana flower trichomes. The way the kief is infused is when mixed with coconut oil and then added into the product. In many cases the concentrate mix is called “peanut butter”. In such form the concentrate will be difficult to consume that is why by itself it is infused in various end products. Thay help the concentrate to be dosed properly and formulated in various end products as tinctures, cookies, vapes, etc.
Even very concentrated by itself the kief due the high level of chlorophyll and wax does not provide the best experience when used in induced products. That is why the cannabis oil has to be processed and refined to a high level of purity before used for infusion. The next step of purity is using rosin pressed extraction. The rosin press is a mechanical extraction that even minimizes the amount of plant matter it still has high volume of waxes and lipids that are giving a tint to a taste. The higher level of purity can only be achieved by carefully selected extraction and purification processes. That is usually dove via solvent extraction.
It is true that the experience with different infused products is different. And the reason for that is that the concentrate base used for the infusion is obtained via a different processing path. In this case very often we discuss various extraction technologies since they certainly deliver different values from the cannabis plant. Since it is very important the quality of our infused product we will need to discuss what infusion base we will use.
In order to make our best infused product we should first look at our customer base and how much dab, vape, injectable, edible or flower they will be looking for. Ask what everyone likes and how much would pay for it, talk to patients, bartenders, etc. As example a hydrocarbon extraction will bring enough waxy and base terpene base that a lot of teh hardcore cannabis users will like, the CO2 and ethanol will bring mostly a base for a distillate and R134a will bring the full terpene and strain specific profile.
Before starting to make infused products we have to have a good plan in order to avoid any further problems we run into the future. As always happens most often we will have to start on a stringent budget and select the quickest time to market on a tight budget is to make a kitchen with limited processing. One cannot do everything in the beginning well, so let’s focus on a few core products. For sure to make MIPs products you do not have to be an extraction expert. All that we need is to purchase raw flower biomass and make an extract.
Starting an extraction lab is a strategic business that can bring you to the market very quickly. For which is also very important to select the right extraction methods you will use and how that will impact your plan of action. Put all against the wall and see what are your chances. You can always start with kief and take a chance, then secure a lab to make the concentrates but the real infused product will like versatility. Presence of the strain specific terpenes (not botanicals), full spectrum oil, live resin or a distillate when no flavor is required are must to have starting ingredients. What extraction method will give you all those ingredients with at least time and energy into the process is the right question.
When you build a lab, always be ready to scale. Here are a few things you may consider when you build a lab. The hydrocarbon process due its flammability requires special C1D1 construction, licensing and permits and it is difficult to scale due the same reasons but it produces nice waxes and resins that are very much established on the market. The CO2 has been voted as a solventless method due the fact that nobody tests for the presence of CO2 in the end products and verifies the acidity level of the extracts. You will not need C1D1 rooms but you have to provide heavy ventilation and CO2 testing since the CO2 is dangerous ober 8% concentration. Although the extracts obtained have high wax content and need to go through ethanol dewaxing so both pressurized, ventilated and controlled environments for both solvents must be met.
Using ethanol you will not need the C1D1 facility rating, but it is a class IB flammable liquid and requires to meet certain 29 CFT OSHA, NFPA 30 and IBC guidelines in order to implement it safely. Also a handling registration from your local state liquor commission will be required. And last of the 4 used extraction technologies developed by PURE5 in cannabis is the modified hydrocarbon or R134a. Non flammable, non pressurized and non toxic solvent that does not require any of the above registrations and provides ready to use in products live resin and concentrate that are ready to market in 24 hours even in their distilled form as isolated cannabis terpenes and distillates.
There are multiple methods and results to outsource raw materials and make good products. It always starts like that, one person doing everything and then scales into full blown organization. That is why starting with a plan and correct internal controls are very important. Simple example is with the restrictions of banking, traceability, quality control in the cannabis industry. Although it is very important what the product is and how well you want to make it. Be mindful of what you are using to meet your goals and have happy customers. Need to have a finger on the pulse of your customer and know what they want. In order to do that consistency is very important in the product you are making.
Complete vertical integration is a good position to be in but the challenges are bigger. If you work under a vertical license you will have more challenges to go through and that is not a small organization plan. That is why starting small, understanding the restriction of the industry and growing organically is the most risk free approach in industry that is developing regulatory as we go. When you outsource the process is simpler. It is important to have a process for whatever you are buying, flower – how that is grown, extract – how it is extracted, what is the COA, etc. Even if we acquire products we should require control at every stage.
Another key point to creating an efficient process is make it when it is ordered. Be sure you have guaranteed access to all raw materials you already prequalified and you need in your process and keep in mind their lead time. Customers want repeatability and consistency, fixed costs and good results. Conserve cash by keeping a low inventory and easy tracking system for regulatory and SOP for all products and mixes you have. Lab and testing requirements should be in place as well. The use of external labs affects the turn time, there are low cost first cut testing solutions that may be available qo maintain the process agile.
Selecting your facility is a key. The ideal site would have to have a big kitchen/lab that will make your money, plan for expansion from the beginning so later when integrating other verticals there are no restrictions. Consider the 3P-s when you start: Power, Product and People to be available.
Selecting your products is not difficult either. Find a brand that you like and look for some background on it. Go to the industry sires and read the articles, contact the authors, ask questions. Even people do not tell you what exactly they do, ask. Find the people that created the products, talk to them and learn. The cannabis industry is a territory that is uncharted and you may find a lot of untested ground that you can explore and create new products.
PURE5 offers a complete process for creating unique raw materials for your MIPs business within 24 hours in order to fulfill your preorders with minimum Time To Market. Due the extremely safe and low cost 3 in 1 process you can setup your lab with minimum compliance allowing very little to start making exceptional 6 raw products: Isolated terpenes, high-terpene Live Resin, high-terpene Full Spectrum Oil, Broad Spectrum oil, high-terpene Distillate, high-terpene Dab Wax (diamonds). Along with our machines we offer complete SOPs and consulting for making strain specific MIPs.
There is a lot you can pickup from the history of cannabis and this all to be brought over from centuries that have values. The industry is yang and it is constantly changing while is still little undefined. So watch your clients, regulations and perform. If we are determined to make cutting edge products we need to get there by improving our commitment to the people following us.
Combining various herbal remedies with cannabis is one innovative way to go. Making MIPs is like preparing gourmet food and high end cosmetics. There are many worldwide developed MIPs that are different in various regions in the world. Learning internationally and bringing those home while adapting them for our customer base is very important. Isn’t that what happened with the food?
Special thanks to MITA Arizona for their support!
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