As most of you already know, there’s going to be a lot of talk about a certain certification that’s passed by the US Hemp Authority. This certification has become the first quality certification program made for products made from CBD and the creation of this program brings about a new era of transparency of CBD products.
In January 2019, the U.S. Hemp Authority debuted its certification program for both companies and also products which are made from hemp. This organization was first created in 2018 to create standardization across the whole hemp industry. Additionally, the Authority is funded by the Hemp Roundtable. David Bossman helped to develop it along with founding members of the AgWin Group and also collaborators that include Hemp Industries Association, industry-leading firms, stop top-tier testing laboratories, state pilot project participants, and other quality assessors.
This certification is designed for food made from hemp, wellness products, and even cosmetic products made from hemp. Examples of companies that can be certified by the authority include manufacturers, processors, home growers, and even brand owners.
This certification program is primarily intended to help assure consumers that the products they are purchasing are safe, legal, and of high quality. For CBD products, this has become the first certification program out there. This is beneficial as it’s going to help verify a product’s integrity allowing consumers to purchase these products in confidence.
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What’s the Importance of the US Hemp Authority?
Supporters of CBD oil and cannabis were jumping for joy when the Farm Bill passed in 2018, but there have been some logistical obstacles that have shown their head. Specifically, customers are lacking protection from those fly-by-night companies that sell hemp oil. These companies look to take advantage of the peak trends of the market. We as a nation are lacking standardization and consistency of packaging, hemp products, consistency, marketing, potency, and manufacturing processes. The Hemp Authority was launched because of this decrease in consistency and regulation. It aims to bring about order and increased consistency to the current chaotic situation and obstacles.
What Does the Hemp Authority Plan on Doing?
There’s a rigorous certification program by the US Hemp Authority that’s in place for hemp producers and manufacturers. This program was put in place to support self-regulation all across the industry while offering assurance for those customers who are still wary. Companies can apply for their certification, and this requires a thorough inspection and they will review manufacturers and growers’:
- Agricultural processes
- Quality standards
- Quality control systems
- Manufacturing processes
- Employee training
This audit was designed to ensure companies are operating appropriately and safely through all manufacturing stages and distribution all the way to the end customer. Consistency and quality assurance are what’s really important with this audit. Throughout this whole process the US Hemp Authority not only educated growers but manufacturers in the following:
- Labeling products appropriately
- FDA Current Good Measure Practices
- FDA regulations for cosmetics, food, dietary supplements, and beverages
- The definition of some commonly misunderstood terms including CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD oil
How’s the Hemp Authority Going to Impact the CBD Industry?
Any company that’s passed this intensive audit is certified and awarded the Certified seal. Consumers who buy certified hemp items can rest assured that they are getting items that are sourced from hemp and follow both GAP and cGMP standards. They have appropriate recordkeeping in case there are any recalls or concerns.
So, What’s the Difference with Weed and Hemp?
In December 2018, there was a U.S. Farm Bill passed launching several shifts all across the cannabis industry, and this federally legalized “industrial hemp.” There are several products which are derived from the cannabis plant.
However, this Bill created distinction with specific lines of demarcation regarding just how much THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, was contained in just about any strain of cannabis-derived or cannabis products. THC is what’s found in products that give you the feeling of being “high,” and is what’s associated with weed.
According to this Bill, cannabis products that have at least 0.3% THC or more are going to be classified as marijuana. This keeps it as a Schedule I class drug and has regulations as such. However, products and cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3% THC, which is only considered to be a trace amount, are now being referred to as “industrial hemp” which is considered to be legal to have at federal levels.
Since this Bill has passed, there are some states which have created some additional regulations regarding industrial hemp. Keep in mind that you should always check with state and local laws to help research and find what the current regulations are and how they pertain to the area you live in.
Are CBD Oil and Hemp Oil the Same?
CBD oil and hemp oil are two other things people get confused about. So, what actually differentiates these two?
CBD and hemp oil come from different parts of a cannabis plant. While CBD uses the entire plant, hemp oil comes from the seeds. However, because of the new and increasing CBD market and its growth, hemp oil that’s derived from the seed is commonly known as hemp seed oil now.
During extraction, useful areas of a hemp plant are pelletized, and a solvent similar to ethanol or gases such as CO2 are then used to extract the CBD as well as other nutrients. This results in an oil with a CBD content that’s high. Afterwards, it’s tested to ensure there’s nothing unwanted substance wise in it, and that essential compound levels are where they need to be.
Hemp oil is now called hemp seed oil and is made only from hemp seeds. It’s created by a process known as cold pressing. It’s similar to how other carrier oils are made such as jojoba oil and sunflower seed oil. This is how nutritious contents of the seeds is preserved. The hemp seeds are then de-shelled, chilled and finally squeezed for content.
How Does a Product Receive Hemp Oil Certification?
Hemp companies that are able to become help oil certified and receive the Certification Seal become recognized for both safety measures and overall quality.
Verification and experienced assurance professionals, from industry leading agricultural and food companies, are in charge of administering the Hemp Authority Program certificate. To receive this seal, there are a few different stringent standards that are laid out for both safety and quality.
Audits are completed by a company known as Where Food Comes From. It comprehensively analyzes facets of the farm to decide whether GAP and/or cGMP standards are met or not. Audits are completed on an annual basis.
The market for CBD products has become overly saturated these days, however the US Hemp Authority presently has presented 27 seals to CBD businesses and hemp. A company has to pass all third-party audits that are executed by the Hemp Authority Licensing Agreement. Once they do so, they can use the Certification Seal.
Steps to Earing the US Hemp Authority Certification
The Hemp Authority Certification can be applied for in a few simple steps. This allows you to display the seal on your hemp products and mention it in your advertising efforts, too. You can also use it for marketing purposes. Most companies are eligible to apply for this certification including growers, brand owners, and manufacturers/processors. Here are the three steps to becoming certified:
- Apply. Apply for certification by answering a few short questions to get started filling out the application.
- Pass your audit. Once the technical review is done of your application, your operations will be inspected.
- Licensing and Renewal. You will need to renew your license annually. As long as you are in good standing, renewal is only going to require reporting any recent changes.
GMP Certification Hemp
GMP is vital to manufacturing businesses. But what exactly is it and how does it apply to the cannabis industry? In short, GMP stands for Good Manufacturing Practices. As you can tell by the name, GMP refers to correct procedures for storing, transporting, and packaging hemp and cannabis products for customers.
GMP is important to the cannabis and hemp world as well as food and medicine production. While it’s served as being a golden standard, the cannabis industry hasn’t entirely been legislated under any of the same procedures. While the manufacturing and selling of cannabis might require it to be GMP certified, another location could potentially operate differently. However, GMP still remains as being one of the highest quality assurances for the cannabis industry.
GMP Guideline Principles
GMP can help cover all aspects of production from starting materials to the personal hygiene of staff and the equipment used and training. There are detailed, written procedures which are important for each process that affects the finished product quality.
There are also guidelines that offer guidance for testing, manufacturing, and the quality assurance to help ensure drug or food products are safe for humans to consume. Each state has its own GMP guidelines which can contain the following basic principles:
- Hygiene guidelines that state pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities must keep a hygienic and clean manufacturing area
- Environmental conditions are controlled to prevent any cross contamination of drug product from anything that could make the product unsafe
- Growers need to ensure hygiene of products and other equipment are handled carefully
Benefits of GMP Certification
One of the major benefits of being GMP certified is that customers get the peace of mind that they products are sold and manufactured by GMP-certified growers. Without this certification, some sales can really take a hit as customers are curious as to what type of products they are buying. Soon enough, anyone manufacturing and selling cannabis and hemp products will be required to be GMP certified. By getting certified, not only can companies promote the overall quality of their product, but they can save themselves from possible licensing obstacles and challenges later down the road.
Some people aren’t sure why they should get hemp oil certification. For one, you’ll be able to add credibility through a third-party certification. You can instill confidence in your customers that you are using farming and industry practices that are best. This assures your customers that you are following applicable regulations of the CBD industry as well. Some other benefits that come with certification include:
- Ensuring your product doesn’t contain unsafe contaminants
- Verifying the quantity and identity of the ingredients on your product label
- Demonstrating conformance to the industry’s recommended GMPs for products
Why GMP Standards Exist
Being GMP certified allows manufacturers and other companies to operate within certain measures to protect buyers. GMP standards are essential and as stated by the FDA that a consumer can’t tell by touch, smell, or sight if a product is safe or not.
This is where being GMP certified comes into play. The standards that GMP puts forward are in place to identify products that are contaminated, unsafe or are mislabeled, and to ensure that these products don’t get into consumers’ hands.
If a manufacturer or company doesn’t follow GMP standards, they risk their products being recalled, seized, or even removed from the marketplace. These GMP standards keep people safe and contribute to the reason American products are synonymous with a higher quality.
Hemp and CBD have become one of the buzziest products and have come to the world’s main stage. When you buy a GMP certified product you can rest assured you can rely and trust that the product you are using is pure, safe and effective.
These days, we live in exciting times within the hemp and cannabis industry with more exciting things lying ahead for us. The US Hemp Authority has worked hard to pave the way to empower customers and to further help them understand just what standards are required for all of their hemp products. These certifications ensure that all products consumers buy are legit and meet rules and regulations.