What are cannabis testing labs, what do they do, why do people use them, what do they test for, and can anyone use the services of a cannabis testing lab? A cannabis testing lab isn’t a dog that smokes doobies and munches down medicated dog treats all day. It’s a facility that conducts scientific tests on cannabis and cannabis products. The testing of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products is required for legal cannabis operations in order to show cannabinoid and terpene profiles and to prove that their product/products are free from contaminants and safe for consumption.
Every day, more people are choosing to become a medical cannabis patient. In part, this is because, in many places, only medical cannabis is legal. Being a medical cannabis patient gives people access to benefits that recreational or retail consumers don’t have. Benefits like access to more potent cannabis products, higher purchasing limits, the ability to grow their own medical cannabis in some states, and medical cannabis patients pay less tax on purchases than retail or recreational customers.
Becoming a medical cannabis patient is relatively easy to do. First, you have to set up an appointment with an MMJ doctor to get your medical cannabis recommendation. Upon receiving this recommendation, an individual must submit their application to become a medical cannabis patient to the state. Once the state approves the request, that individual becomes a valid medical cannabis patient in the state they live.
Patients are using medical cannabis to help them control the symptoms of chronic pain, insomnia, stress, nausea, migraine headaches, loss of appetite, anxiety, arthritis, and more. Legal access to medical cannabis offers consumers peace of mind. Cannabis sold through medical cannabis dispensaries to patients comes with certified lab testing results. These results let us know things like what cannabinoids are in our cannabis or cannabis products and how much and more.
How Does a Cannabis testing Lab Work?
A customer brings cannabis or cannabis products to the testing facility, and the lab analyzes the product providing test results. This is pretty much how a cannabis testing lab works, however, how they work and what they test for is where it gets interesting. When cannabis is brought to a lab to be tested, one or more techniques of testing are used to see what it’s made of.
A lab that offers cannabis testing must have the proper accreditation or certification. Testing requirements vary from state to state. A certain amount of product is required in order to conduct these tests. The price for cannabis testing depends on the type of testing required, where you live, and some other factors like the lab being used, frequency of testing, etc.
Cannabis testing is required in order to sell medical cannabis. It’s important to know the medicine being consumed is clean and of quality. Consuming cannabis with contaminants could lead to unwanted adverse side effects, effectively taking away from the therapeutic attributes of medical cannabis.
What Do Cannabis Testing Labs Test For?
Cannabis testing labs don’t hand A’s, B’s, C’s, D’s, or F’s. Instead, they test for levels and percentages. Cannabis testing labs run tests to determine what cannabinoids are present and their levels. They also test to see what terpenes are in cannabis, their perspective levels, and the presence of contaminants, heavy metals, pesticides, and more.
According to information on the web, “The two most widely used analytical chromatography methods are gas chromatography (GC) and liquid chromatography (LC), and more particularly, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).”
· Potency tests use high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to detect the presence and amounts of cannabinoids like THC, CBD, CBG, CBN, and others.
· Terpene tests use gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GCMS) to identify terpenes and their levels.
· Heavy metals like Lead, Mercury, Arsenic, and Cadmium and their levels are most commonly detected using ion-coupled plasma with mass spectrometry (ICPMS)
Who Uses Cannabis Testing Labs?
Medical and recreational cannabis cultivators use cannabis testing labs to authenticate their products. A lot of growers shoot for high THC levels. They believe the higher the THC, the better the product, and that means they can charge more for it. It’s very common to be informed of the highest THC testing stain or product in a cannabis dispensary.
Cannabis dispensaries are required to provide certified lab testing results for customers. If you visit a cannabis dispensary that doesn’t have lab testing, leave. Chances are they’re operating illegally, meaning the product they’re selling most likely came from the illicit unregulated market.
It’s not just professional cultivators that use cannabis testing labs. Regular home growers can have their product tested too. For a fee and a certain amount of cannabis necessary to test the product, home growers can find out what their weed is made of too. This is especially beneficial for medical cannabis patients that grow their own cannabis and make edibles, tinctures, rosin, etc.
Are All Medical Testing Labs the Same?
We would like to assume that all state-certified cannabis testing labs are the same, but this is not the case. Unfortunately, there are dubious individuals in all forms of business, including cannabis testing labs. A cannabis testing lab is supposed to be a facility that provides reliable and accurate test results for cannabis and cannabis products. Not all labs do this, though, some lie.
Recently a Las Vegas Cannabis testing Lab was banned from conducting operations for ten years over falsifying cannabis testing results. Labs in other states have been accused of and caught altering test results as well. In most cases, labs lie about THC levels to make products seem like they are more potent than they are. They do this for money.
For the most part, cannabis testing labs do their jobs and do them well. They help keep cannabis consumers safe by preventing contaminated products from making their way to store shelves. Lab tests help us with dosage information. They let us know how strong cannabis is and what it will taste like through cannabinoid and terpene profiles. Accredited and certified cannabis testing labs are a very necessary part of today’s budding legal cannabis market.
Without them, the green market would be so shady you might as well call it grey. Dubious individuals will always try to cut corners to make a quick buck. Thankfully, cannabis testing labs are there to help protect cannabis consumers.
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