What Do Cannabis Testing Laboratories Do?

What Do Cannabis Testing Laboratories Do?

Analytical testing by an independent third-party laboratory is essential in the emerging cannabis market to arm consumers with specific knowledge of products and to help meet regulations where they exist. A lab's role as an independent testing laboratory means that we are not affiliated with the cultivator, the manufacturer, the consumer, or the brand, and have no vested interest in the outcome of the testing. Labs generally test using known methods to offer transparency, quality control, and trust.

Labs can currently offer: potency, terpenes, residual solvents, pesticides, and microbial contamination.

Testing for Cannabis Potency

Knowing the concentration of a product is essential for consumers interested in using an exact amount of cannabinoids. In potency analysis, labs measure the amount of specific cannabinoids present in a sample, including THC, THCA, CBD, CBDA and CBN. These cannabinoid concentrations can help a consumer identify the type of product to use. Potency testing is especially important for infused products taken orally, which can take an hour or more to feel the effects of the product.

Testing for Cannabis Terpenes

Naturally-occurring compounds, terpenes and terpenoids, contribute to the variations in the scent of cannabis. Knowing the terpene content can help a consumer choose a product to match a desired smell or effect.

 Testing for Residual Solvents in Cannabis

Solvents are often used to extract cannabinoids and terpenoids from plant material, and vary from chemical-free CO2 to harsher chemicals. If a concentrate is prepared by chemical extraction (by using butane, for example), residual solvents may exist in the final product. By measuring the amounts of solvent in a cannabis concentrate, labs are able to provide manufacturers with the information they need to adjust their process and ensure that the highest quality of concentrates are being produced.

 Testing for Cannabis Pesticides

The presence of pesticides in a cannabis product indicates that pesticides were used when growing the cannabis or that pesticides contaminated the flower or final product after growing. Knowing about the presence of pesticides in a product allows a consumer to make informed decisions about whether to ingest that product. Labs can currently do pesticide analysis for the presence of 12 pesticides commonly used.

 Microbial Screening of Cannabis Products

All natural products contain varying amounts of natural micro-flora, and quantifying those amounts can help consumers, as well as producers, decide which products to use and how to use them. Labs can currently do microbial screening bacteria, yeasts, and molds.  and Total Viable Coliforms (including E. coli). We also use polymerase chain reactions (PCR) to screen for the presence or absence of Salmonella. and possible Shiga toxin producing strains of E. coli. Shiga toxin producing E. coli (STEC) and Salmonella. are considered opportunistic pathogens and carry a strict zero tolerance policy in food samples.

Lab Test Gives Confidence

Though Blue Crystal Cornucopia, Inc. cannot verify that these tests have been done by any lab, lab tests can provide consumers, producers, and retailers with accurate and essential information about the quality and safety of their cannabis and cannabis-derived products. The role of the independent laboratory in providing that information ensures the data’s accuracy and credibility. This is a fundamental relationship critical to the transparency and longevity of a rapidly growing cannabis industry.

Buying products from responsible growers and manufacturers who are dedicated to going the extra step to get their products independently tested should be a pillar in the process of choosing cannabis products. Credible companies will take note of this step and will be eager to share their test results.