6 Lessons Processors and CBD Manufacturers Should Know
During a presentation at MjBizCon 2018, Dr. Sharma shared six lessons that processors and manufacturers of CBD products should know from her past experience in purification and current role deep inside the manufacturing and processing side of CBD.
1. The Importance of supply chain
We learned early in this business the importance of supply chain so we developed a segment of our organization around feedstock procurement that has visited every major farm in Colorado. This helped Kazmira develop long-term partnerships with the crucial farmer network in Colorado and grow our own Industrial Hemp.
2. Feedstock CBD percentage varies significantly
Processors should always expect that what they were promised or what they were told at the beginning in terms of whether they were going to get pounds of industrial hemp, or specifically, the percentage of CBD on each of those pounds, will not be the case by the time harvest comes around. It’s very difficult to grow many acres of industrial hemp especially if you’re using both seeds and the clone approach of growing. So, you should always be prepared with alternate sources of feedstock so you know what you’re going to be processing for that calendar year.
3. It’s important to track feedstock throughout the growing cycle
We provide farmers in Colorado free testing for their feedstock to know when they should harvest their plants. We have an in-house analytical lab which enables us to track the feedstock throughout the growing cycle. This is further complicated when you have different varieties of hemp grown in different parts of the state with varying climates.
4. Manufacturers and Processors should test for microbial or mold content before their process begins
You should know what you’re putting into your process. It’s important as a processor to test for microbial or mold content before you process hemp. If you don’t, there will be problems in the process downstream. When you test your final product you will see microbes, pesticides, and contaminants show up.
5. Automated Processes and farming equipment is vital for seed planting as the hemp industry grows
As the industry grows, farmers are going to have to figure out how to do seed planting which is less expensive on a larger number of acres. This is going to include having professional farm equipment and having automated processes to harvest the hemp at the right time. What we saw last year  in Colorado – folks tried to grow significantly more acres than they did the previous year. There was an early frost last year  in Colorado and some farmers didn’t get to harvest their field quickly enough because they were doing things like hand harvesting. Moving to an automated process will be the only sustainable way to grow the hemp industry.
6. Genetics is the next frontier
Understanding genetics is probably the next step that’s going to happen in this industry and making sure we’re able to get feedstock with high percentages of CBD.
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About Dr. Sharma
Dr. Priyanka Sharma is co-CEO of Kazmira LLC, a manufacturing company which focuses on industrial scale production of botanical extracts from industrial hemp. Together, Dr. Sharma and her co-CEO Pulak Sharma, manage a team of engineers and scientists at their 200,000 sq ft facility in Watkins, CO. Prior to her role at Kazmira LLC, Dr. Sharma completed her doctorate in chemical engineering under the supervision of Dr. Sohail Murad at the University of Illinois at Chicago. During this time, Dr. Sharma published three journal articles, one review article, and one book chapter all focusing on her work in molecular modeling of functionalized gold nanoparticles with various ligands and their behavior in biological systems. Towards the end of her graduate degree, Dr. Sharma worked closely with Orochem Technologies, Inc. to secure an SBIR (small business innovation research) grant from the National Science Foundation focusing on developing a predictive model to understand chiral separations of orphan drugs. Even after completing her graduate studies, she continues to be passionate about the use of molecular modeling in industrial applications in the biotechnology field. She maintains her role as an adjunct scientist at Orochem Technologies, Inc. while managing Kazmira LLC and mentoring other post-docs and undergraduate students involved in the SBIR program. At Kazmira LLC, Dr. Sharma is enthusiastic towards mentoring young engineers and operators and building a strong manufacturing team. For Dr. Sharma, a strong team is the foundation of a successful manufacturing company, one that she hopes to replicate around the world to provide international markets with botanical extracts from industrial hemp.