We thought we had a great biomass supplier lined up the other day for a special project, it really seemed promising, but then we asked them one simple question.
Their answer was shocking… and the road forked. We weren't surprised though; we’d seen this before.
We know what to do when we hear this answer. It’s become a pattern to watch out for. Every time it happens, we’re more grateful than ever that we also have our own fully controllable grow operations, so we can cultivate premium flower to the highest standards available.
In fact, there seems to be a real opportunity for NuSachi to SET the standard.
Hemp is often described as a “miracle plant” for its therapeutic and healing properties. It generates a truly stunning amount of different outputs, in a variety of useful categories.
Every part of the plant has a clear, useful purpose.
2019 saw a massive boom in hemp farming, with record breaking amounts of available biomass across a wide variety of different strains.
As a result, more people than ever wanted documented proof of potency, especially with the “biomass bubble” popping and prices dropping significantly.
With so much available supply, it’s easy for questionable and unsafe products to enter the supply chain. This creates the need for gatekeepers, inspections, and proof points… or, in a word, transparency.
Enter the COA, or “Certificate of Analysis”. A COA basically creates a written, reliable report of what’s in your product. Assuming the COA is legit, everyone can clearly see a truthful and microscopic picture of the plant's profile and potency.
Potency is all about how many milligrams of which molecules are in the product.
For the most part, the concept of a COA or certificate of analysis is driven by this. And most outside products that we have had tested are generally pretty accurate.
Formulation at its core is relatively simple, especially from a chef's viewpoint. It's mixing an extract with a carrier oil (MTC or similar) at specific ratios.
Generally, products range from 300 to 3,000 milligrams per fluid ounce. This gives you a potency per ml. Generally a tincture has a one milliliter dose, and this gives you a prospective “potency” and recommended dosage.
It’s great to keep an eye on potency, but there's a lot more to this plant than meets the eye.
The story continues past the roots, in the soil itself. This is where the #poweroftheplant goes beyond its effect on people, and has an amazing effect on the environment.
Hemp is notorious for being an excellent soil remediator, extracting and removing toxins from the soil.
Everywhere it’s planted, this process is happening under the farmer’s feet.
If your goal is to heal the soil, to remove toxins, pesticides, and heavy metals, planting hemp is one of the best things you can do.
But what happens to all those things when hemp is harvested, processed, and turned into any number of different products?
It turns out, all those substances that were cleaned out of the soil end up in the plant. This means that anything dangerous in the soil has now passed to the plant.
For us, that’s not ok. When we think “purity”, our focus is always on safety.
Depending on the extraction process, and depending on the inputs or initial starting conditions, it’s even possible for lead, arsenic, cadmium, yeast, mold, aerobic bacteria, mycotoxins, and a variety of other pollutants and heavy metals to end up present in the final outputs.
And when you process hemp into a more concentrated extract, you concentrate those materials as well.
So when we look at biomass, we are looking at more than just the potency; we’re also looking at the purity and the safety of the plant. Everything has to pass an array of tests for us to consider it safe enough to get into our supply chain.
As the market evolves, more and more customers at every point in the chain will begin to expect full panel analyses for the ingredients they are putting into their product formulations, which are eventually landing on their customer’s skin and in their bodies. And as or more importantly, the FDA is going to eventually require it.
For NuSachi, its core to who we are to care about this. We always test everything, and we actively prevent these contaminants from appearing in our extracts in harmful or unsafe amounts.
As a processor, when you concentrate, you're potentially concentrating contaminants as well. So it makes sense that maybe there should be some guidelines, right? Well, there aren’t any federal guidelines.
When we use a lab in Tennessee, for example, they'll give us a report, but we’re given no information on how much arsenic is allowed. They literally just tell us how much is in the biomass, and that's that.
And this isn't a new thing. Every bag of weed anyone has ever bought or smoked is also likely to have had some major contaminants in it. And there's a booming black market in recreational states for flower that fails testing for medical use.
In theory, this material gets “destroyed”. That’s great as long as the definition of “destroyed” is changed to “grows legs, walks out the back door, and reappears on the black market.
Of course it makes sense for farmers to focus on potency, and then set prices based on percentage points of CBD in the biomass. It’s what the market is asking them for. But we’re asking for more than that.
When extractors and processors look at potency and then convert plant material into an extract, get a COA, and then dilute the extract, the contaminants are included. Soil amendments, fertilizers, and pesticides continue to pass through to the end user unnoticed.
We believe we can all do better than this, and in the process, prove the #poweroftheplant with full traceability and transparency. That’s why we only use labs that hold our flower tests to the medical standard.
Our formula is simple: Potency + Purity = #PlantPower, and we are proving the #poweroftheplant by doing the hard things first:
With all this in mind, it’s easy to guess what we asked the potential biomass supplier the other day on the phone.
“Listen, I understand why it’s tough for you to share this much information with your customers… but we can only process high quality biomass. Do you have anything that’s passed a full panel of lab tests that we can look at?”
Their answer caused a long pause on the call: “What difference does it make if we send the customer what they want or not? They don’t know!”
Let’s be clear, we always assume positive intent. These folks probably didn’t get into this business to rip people off, and if you asked them, they might say they simply didn’t have a choice.
At NuSachi, we aren’t satisfied with that answer. We know we can do better.
If we don’t have a choice?
If there isn’t a high enough standard?
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is actually pretty simple.
The hemp/cannabis world is full of incredible stories of survival. It takes patience and fortitude to build this kind of business, at any level. It’s tempting to settle for less and assume the customer won’t know or care… but we have too much respect and appreciation for our clients and customers to do that to them.
So we politely asked this supplier to come back when they were able to prove they were hitting the quality and safety standards we require.
Are you looking for a higher level of quality and safety for your hemp or CBD product formulations to grow your business?
Are you tired of having to trust suppliers who can’t provide 3rd party verification, extensive COA’s and full lab panels?
Fill out the form below and a NuSachi Growth Advisor will be in touch to discuss how we can help you grow your business with premium organic hemp outputs.