The legal cannabis industry has boomed into existence, creating a myriad of promising products and solutions, but also an array of issues and challenges. One of those issues is products being introduced to the market that haven’t been thoroughly tested or vetted. They can come with additives, cutting agents, inconsistencies, and incorrect labels. And unfortunately, they can sometimes even be harmful.
That’s one of the reasons we take our approach to medical cannabis so seriously. From growing our plants organically in our ACE conservatories to our continuous research and development within our Processing Facility, our focus is always on being clean, safe, and sustainable. After all, cannabis is meant to help, not harm!
Right now, we harvest about 3,000 plants per week and take them straight to our Processing Facility, where our staff of seasoned chemists, engineers, and manufacturers get to work to create and deliver fresh products to our dispensaries throughout the week. Turning those 3,000 weekly plants into the products on our shelves takes a team of professionals, and we take great pride in the lab and the process we’ve built to create our medicine for you.
Our Processing Facility
Our Processing Facility is a cGMP-certified facility, which is only one level below pharmaceutical. This certification is part of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) program that provides guidance on the current good manufacturing processes. Basically, it means we follow strict policies and procedures in order to maintain a specific flow of processes throughout our facility. This is important because only a sample of products go to third-party testing for final approval. By implementing and following a step-by-step flow of process, we can guarantee that the sample is representative of the whole, and therefore guarantee a consistent product every time.
To earn this certification, our Processing Facility had to undergo an in-depth review by an FDA-approved, third-party firm. The review process was thorough and included them going through every standard operating procedure and policy we have in place. They reviewed documents, toured the facility, interviewed our staff, and collected materials. They also physically witnessed each process set up in the lab to ensure everything was done and documented correctly before determining our cGMP certification.
While a cGMP certification is not required to manufacture cannabis—many medical marijuana treatment clinics (MMTCs) choose to stick with the lowest certification required—we worked for a cGMP certification so we could ensure we were producing the cleanest and best possible medicine for our patients. In fact, we’re the only MMTC in the state of Florida with that high level of certification.
The Processing Facility is operational 24/7, but it’s used for more than extracting cannabinoids and terpenes from our plants. We also use it for in-house analytical testing, manufacturing, and the packaging of all our products, and it has an on-site edibles kitchen ready to go for when the Florida Department of Health sets those rules.
Keeping all this under VidaCann’s roof was important to us because we wanted to handle every part of the business and process, from growing, to extracting, to packaging, to selling. By handling everything from start to finish, we know every aspect of our products and can guarantee their effectiveness.
Our Extraction Processes
Our Processing Facility and extraction processes give us a couple of distinct advantages over other medical cannabis producers. First, every product we have contains only natural terpenes—terpenes that are derived from the same plant the cannabinoids were extracted from, as opposed to extracting them from non-cannabis plants or buying them from a third party. (Terpenes are little flavor compounds found throughout nature, not just in cannabis. They work together with cannabinoids to enhance the effects of cannabis, which is why we always keep them natural.) Second, we can guarantee none of our vapes or concentrates contain any additives or harmful vitamin E acetate.
To create our clean products, we use three different types of extraction methods: alcohol, supercritical CO2, and solventless. We have three different methods because each gives us a different final result. For example, if we’re making kief, rosin, or bubble hash, we stick with the solventless extraction method.
Through the alcohol extraction method, we use ethanol as a solvent to extract the cannabinoids and trichomes from the plant matter. We use ethanol due to its extraction selectability and because it’s easier to remove ethanol—versus isopropyl alcohol, which some MMTCs use—from the extracted oils. The alcohol extraction method produces things like distillate, shadder, crumble, and badder.
The alcohol extraction method is pretty well known, but you may have also heard of the supercritical CO2 extraction method. It’s widely used in the cannabis industry because it gives the producer more control over the procedure, and CO2 can be recycled, making it more environmentally friendly. It also kills microbial bacteria, molds, and mildews, and there’s never any residue left in the final product because any extra CO2 simply evaporates at room temperature. Plus, this method doesn’t expose the plant to extreme temperatures, so there’s no degradation along the way. We use it to extract terpenes from our plants and to make distillates.
But, before any of those products are cleared for release to the customer, we analyze them using a high-pressure liquid chromatograph (HPLC) and triple quadrupole gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS). These machines allow us to separate, identify, and quantify each component of our extraction so we know exactly what we’re looking at. We use them to check for potency, pesticides, heavy metals, solvents, and contaminants. Samples are then sent out to third-party analytical labs for analysis to verify compliance with state regulations.
Our Quality Assurance/Quality Control Team verifies every product to make sure they’re consistent and meet our standards, right down to the hardware. All the bottles, jars, etc. that we use are researched, tested, sanitized, and certified to satisfy the FDA regulations to be used in contact with food.
While our methods have made us one of the largest and most advanced providers of medical cannabis in Florida, we’re still always looking for ways to improve. We have a dedicated Research and Development Team that’s constantly refining and improving our processes and methods, guaranteeing we stay up-to-date on the latest certifications, laws, and procedures.
They’re not the only one of our teams doing research, though. Each of our staff members at all our dispensaries throughout Florida are trained and kept current on our products, processes, and techniques, as well as cannabis uses and its relationship with the body.
Your VidaCann Experience
All of this detail and technical jargon aside, the bottom line is—we do what we do for you. Our certifications, our chemists, our QA/QC Team are all part of the effort we take to guarantee the cleanest, safest, and most effective products for you. And as we continue to expand throughout Florida, it will remain about you.
So, if you’re ready to experience a natural approach to medicine—from cultivation to manufacturing—join us at VidaCann. We promise you won’t be disappointed.