MIPs: Marijuana Infused Products
What is an Infused Product?
An infused product 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 cannabis plant and can be anything from full spectrum oils, kief, pressed rosin, live resin, cured 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, “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 vape, flower, concentrates and edibles. The simplest form of infused products are made with kief, a powdery substance gathered from the marijuana flower trichomes. The way the kief is infused is — first the materials must be decarbed, then mixed with coconut oil and then added into the product. In many cases the concentrate mix is called “peanut butter”. In order to fully enjoy the end product, additional processing is required, otherwise the concentrate will be difficult to consume. This is why infused products have been created, not to mention they 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 to the high level of chlorophyll and wax, it does not provide the best experience when used in infused products. This is the primary reason why cannabis oil is used to create infused products, and the primary reason why utilizing such a selective extraction process is critical in obtaining high levels of purity.
The next step of purity is using rosin pressed extraction. The rosin press is a mechanical extraction that embraces brute force, however, the produced extract still containing high volumes of waxes and lipids that tint the taste of the extract. Higher levels of purity can only be achieved by carefully selected extraction and purification processes that usually involve some form of solvent extraction, or an extraction medium that embraces liquified gases that act as a solvent under certain temperature and pressure variables.
It is true that the experience with different infused products is different. This comes as a result of the extraction process. Different extraction processes deliver different values from the cannabis plant. Since quality is of the utmost importance, it is critical that we discuss the infusion based being used, and the type of preferred concentrate. We must observe our customer base and what the market wants. Consider how much dab, vape, injectable, edible or flower customers and prospects will be looking for, consult the market player for current costs. For example, a hydrocarbon extraction will bring enough wax and base terpenes certain to please hardcore cannabis users, while CO2 and ethanol will bring mostly a base for a distillate, and R134a Pure Botanical Extraction will bring the full terpene and strain specific profile. Nobody does it better than us, and we invite you to taste the experience.
Before you begin to create your infused products, you must embrace a solid plan in order to avoid any problems downstream in production. Murphy’s Law is always in effect and budgets are always tight. This reality points to our need to develop a kitchen that comes with limited processing capabilities, but something that can harness speed and efficiency. One cannot do everything in the beginning well, so let’s focus on a few core products, and it’s important to note, to make MIPs, you do not have to be an extraction expert. All that we need to begin is raw flower for biomass and we’re off.
Starting an extraction lab is a strategic business that can bring you to the market very quickly. We should know because we’re doing this strategically right now. It is critical that you select the best extraction method and then understand how that impacts your mission and plan, but most importantly, know that it is the process that is the difference maker here. You could begin with kief or other plant components, or you can create that lab we’ve been hinting at. The real versatility in production comes with the ability to make cannabis concentrates from extract. This will allow the user to experience and benefit from strain specific terpenes (not botanicals), full spectrum oil, live resin or even a distillate. The appropriate extraction method will give you all the correct ingredients with the least amount of time and energy injected into the process.
When you build a lab, always be ready to scale. Here are a few things you may consider when doing so.
Hydrocarbon extraction processes like hexane, butane and propane are costly to build and operate due to flammability and combustibility issues. Immediately, these extraction processes require special C1D1 construction, licensing and permits, and are difficult to scale due to the same reasons, but this process does produce nice waxes and resins that are very much established within the current market.
CO2 has become known as a premier solventless method. However, what is not known by the public is that these extracts & concentrates are not tested for the presence of CO2 in the end products, nor are they verifying the acidity levels. Additionally, in order to utilize CO2 extraction, you will not need C1D1 construction, but you will have to provide heavy ventilation and air monitoring since CO2 is dangerous over 8% concentration. Moreover, the extracts obtained have a high wax content and need to go through ethanol dewaxing post-process. This will require that your CO2 extraction lab have both pressurized, ventilated and controlled environments for both solvents, and this only increases CAPEX and OPEX.
Ethanol extraction is also very popular in some markets, and is a class IB flammable liquid that requires the operator to meet certain 29 CFT OSHA, NFPA 30 and IBC guidelines in order to implement this process safely. Also, a handling registration from your local state liquor commission will be required.
The last of the 4 cannabis extraction technologies developed by PURE5 in cannabis is the modified hydrocarbon, R134a, are Botanical Extraction Process. This process is non flammable, non pressurized and non toxic that does not require any of the above registrations, and provides ready to use live resin and concentrate for the market in 24 hours. This is also true of the products in their distilled form as isolated cannabis terpenes and distillates.
There are multiple methods, processes and avenues to outsource raw materials and processes that ultimately make excellent products. It always starts like this: one person doing everything and then scales into a full blown organization. That is why starting with a plan that embraces correct internal controls is vital; a simple example is with the restrictions of banking, traceability and quality control in the cannabis industry. Be mindful of what process you are using to meet your goals, and understand if this is making your customers happy. Having the pulse of the market is critical! Coupled with our Pure Botanical Extraction, you gain consistency, automation and precision. This in turn delivers you the ability to create the most consistent product offering time and time again.
Vertical integration is a good position to be in, but the challenges are even bigger. If you work under a vertical license, you will have more challenges to go through as this lends to a larger organization and operation. That is why starting small, understanding the restriction of the industry and growing organically is the most risk free approach. It’s important to also consider that this industry is developing regulatory as we go, and this can create a mess for some operators. If you choose to outsource, you can realize simplicity. Whatever the case, it is important to have a process for whatever you are buying, flower – how it is grown, extract – how it is extracted, what is the COA, etc. Even if we acquire products, we should require controls at every stage. Are you doing this today?
Another key point to creating an efficient process is documenting the process at the time of order. Ensure you have guaranteed access to all raw materials, that you are prequalified, and that your process fits within established lead times. Customers demand repeatability and consistency, fixed costs and good results. Conserve cash by keeping a low inventory and institute an easy tracking system for regulatory, SOP, products and mixes on station. Lab and testing requirements should be in place as well. The use of external labs affects turn time, so maintain visibility here to ensure an agile process from seed to shelf.
Selecting your facility is key. The ideal site would have to have a big kitchen/lab that will take into account your budget. It’s paramount that you plan for expansion from the beginning, so that 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 shouldn’t be difficult. Find a brand that you like and dive into their background. Go to the industry sources and read the articles, contact the authors, ask questions. Even people don’t tell you what exactly they do; you must ask. Find the people that create 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 with. We’re here to serve you!
Purblend Science has embraced the PURE5 line of extraction, distillation and remediation technology. You can too! PURE5 offers a complete process for creating unique raw materials for your MIPs business within 24 hours in order to fulfill your orders with minimum time to market. Due the extremely safe and low cost 3-in-1 process you can setup your lab with minimum compliance required. In doing so, you can begin making 6 exceptional raw products without delay: 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.
The cannabis industry is very new and constantly changing, however, there is much that can be learned from the centuries of history. While much of the industry remains undefined, it is prudent to maintain a vigilant watch over your clients, regulations and their performance. If we are determined to make cutting edge products, we will arrive at our desired destination by improving on our commitment to quality for the people following us.
Combining various herbal remedies with cannabis is one innovative way to get there. Making MIPs is like preparing gourmet food and high end cosmetics. There are many developed MIPs globally that offer a unique approach to product manufacturing and the use of extracts and concentrates. Learning internationally and bringing those goods home while adapting them for our customer base is very important. Isn’t that what happened with cuisine?