Study Up: What Is the Importance of Cannabis Testing?

Many people don’t think about what marijuana goes through before being sold.

Over the past several years, marijuana has become legalized in several states. Customers are now flocking to their nearest dispensaries more than ever. However, marijuana undergoes several procedures before it can hit the shelves.

The legal cannabis industry is full of rules that other industries also have to uphold. Cannabis is treated like any other product, so it must pass several tests to ensure that it won’t harm anyone.

Read on to learn about the importance of cannabis testing.

Compliance Data

The ultimate purpose of cannabis labs is to test for things that a state’s regulations call for. Before cannabis can be sold, it must be approved for distribution and sale by meeting the state’s standards.

Each state has its own testing procedures, and companies usually go through a program to be approved for marijuana testing. Marijuana producers then use the data from the lab to get their products approved.

Having laboratories do an acceptance program is important for the health and safety of all parties involved in the process. All lab facilities must have the proper equipment and the technicians must have proper education and training.

What is Cannabis Tested For

Because of regulations, scientists have to test several things to meet compliance. Here’s what lab technicians look for: 

Potency

Testing for potency is important because it allows for cannabis products to have labeling that states what the dosages are. With potency, a lab can find out how much THC and CBD are present in a cannabis product, along with other cannabinoids.

Standard labels will usually tell how much cannabinoids per weight there are, the total cannabinoids present, and a ratio of the THC to CBD.

Contamination

Cannabis, like any other plant, goes through a variety of steps before reaching the hands of a customer. Many things come in contact with it during cultivation and processing. This can introduce a variety of harmful things to a cannabis plant, potentially ruining it.

There are 3 major contaminants that labs will look for when screening cannabis. Chemicals, microbial contaminants, and physical contaminants are the most common ones.

Chemicals

When a place starts growing marijuana, there are several chemicals that can be exposed to a plant. Things like pesticide, which are harmful for human ingestion, might be used to prevent insects from messing with the plants.

There are regulations put in place that ban certain pesticides from being used. To pass the regulations, cannabis must completely be free of them.

Some other chemicals, like ethanol, are used during the growing process, as well, and are only allowed in a product if they’re in very small quantities.

Microbial Contaminants

Microbial contaminant is a fancy name for things like fungi, mold, and mildew. These mycotoxins are extremely dangerous to humans, and a cannabis product will not meet compliance if any of them are present.

This type of contamination can occur during cultivation, but it can also happen because of poor hygiene practices in the facility. Lab technicians will also look for bacteria that could be present, like Salmonella, because they’re also dangerous.

Physical Contaminants and Heavy Metals

Physical contaminants are things like dust and hair, and they can end up in cannabis products because of poor packaging practices. Heavy metals like lead and mercury come from soil and nutrients that get absorbed by the plant.

Cannabis Testing Methods

To find out what exactly is in a cannabis product, a lab will perform a variety of tests to receive accurate results. There are many things that can be in a cannabis product, so doing many tests let technicians see it all.

Analytical Chromatography (GC)

This procedure is a procedure to find the compounds that are in a cannabis sample. A technician will dissolve a sample and pour it through an absorbent. Every compound moves at a different rate and leaves behind colors within the absorbent.

Mass Spectrometry (MS)

Mass spectrometry (MS) takes a different approach because it measures molecules and chemicals. Technicians use MS to put different compounds into a magnetic field which then displays their deflection rate in a spectrum.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR)

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy lets a scientist study cannabis without using solvents. Like MS, NMR makes use of a magnetic field to measure molecules and chemical compounds.

During the procedure, a sample will be hit with radio waves which will be picked up by a radio receiver. Doing this measures the change in frequency within each magnetic field, giving a detailed structure of what’s inside a sample.

Contact Us to Learn More About Cannabis Testing

Cannabis is a natural drug that is currently making its way through the government’s laws. As the cannabis industry grows, more regulations will be made and more laboratories will open up to compensate for the demand.

Regulations exist because marijuana plants can come with several harmful contaminants. When a lab takes in cannabis plants, they do a variety of tests to ensure that the plants aren’t dangerous.

While future regulations may call for different procedures, today’s procedures are effective. These tests allow scientists to see what contents are inside the marijuana, be it contaminant or cannabinoid content.

If you’d like to learn more about the cannabis testing process, feel free to contact us today. We were the first lab to be accredited in cannabis. We dedicate our resources to ensure that cannabis meets compliance.

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