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Feb 15

What Goes Into Testing Cannabis (Hemp)?

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Cannabis is a flowering plant native to Central and South Asia that has been appreciated for its numerous psychoactive and medicinal qualities since ancient times. It has been illegal in most nations since the early 1900s because of the potential for abuse, as well as social and political concerns. 

However, as the cannabis sector has grown, it has also developed from naive enthusiasm to a more staid and reliable approach that desires credibility. Lab testing is an essential aspect of the cannabis legal environment and ensures the health and safety of consumers. Any cannabis product purchased from a licensed facility must now pass a series of tests conducted by a state-accredited lab. These tests verify that products are safe to eat and use.

Who Sets The Standards For Cannabis Testing?

Because the FDA still classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 narcotic, the US federal government has mainly stayed out of cannabis legislation, leaving it to the states that have legalized it. The only exception is medical cannabis products, prohibited without prior FDA permission. Cannabis-based medications that claim therapeutic properties must go through the same lengthy FDA approval procedure as other drugs, including safety and efficacy clinical trials. These trials are often prohibitive and have stopped many cannabis-based drugs from being put out on the market.

Testing and labeling for potency (THC and CBD) and contaminants such as residual solvents, microbes, heavy metals, and pesticides varies by state. Still, most states require testing and labeling for potency (THC and CBD) and various contaminants such as residual solvents, microbes, heavy metals, and pesticides. All retail cannabis products in Michigan, for example, must be tested for cannabinoid and terpene strength, foreign matter, microbial and mycotoxin contamination, pesticide and chemical residue, fungicides, and the presence of residual solvents. In Montana, third-party lab testing focuses on the conventional contamination suspects, as well as a few others with more loosely defined quality standards, such as “mammalian excreta.”

What Is Cannabis Tested For? 

To be compliant with regulations, cannabis products must pass a series of tests. The following is a list of some of the things that most state regulatory authorities require:

  • Potency– The overall amount of cannabis content, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other phytocannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), and tetrahydrocannabivarin, is measured during potency testing (THCV). To calculate the level of main cannabinoids, potency testing is usually done using liquid chromatography with UV detectors. Mass spectrometry is becoming more popular for analyzing trace and minor cannabinoids. FTIR spectroscopy is commonly used in industrial and manufacturing situations to test the potency of oils, crude extracts, and distillates.
  • Contamination – Marijuana contamination testing frequently uses cutting-edge technology to identify recognized manufactured toxins. Pesticides, growth media, groundwater, bugs, and airborne pollutants are only some of the sources of contaminants detected in cannabis. Contamination can occur through either intentional or accidental reasons. Toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury from the soil or water used to cultivate the plants are examples of unintended contamination. Alternatively, the contaminant could have been intentionally introduced, such as a pesticide sprayed on cannabis to boost crop yield.
  • Terpenes – Terpenes are found in both hemp and cannabis plants, although their strength varies depending on climate, soil type, and crop age. Furthermore, terpene profiles can vary depending on whether they’re found in a flower or an extract. Terpenes found in flowers may produce more consistent potency results. The pharmacological advantages of a strain can be tailored for each patient’s symptoms by determining the types and amounts of different terpenes contained in the strain. Testing also aids in phytochemical composition standardization for consumer safety and medical efficacy.

Even though it might have had a difficult start, the cannabis testing sector has increased in a short time, and several professional, certified testing labs are already supplying growers and consumers with reliable quantitative data. Although there is no complete consensus on the medical use of cannabis or the consequences of legalizing adult recreational use, most people agree that cannabis products should be submitted to the same quality and safety checks as any other food or drug on the market. As always, more testing is necessary to ensure health and safety for all cannabis consumers.

Abundant Labs is proud to work with growers directly to secure unique biomass that serves the needs of CBD users and product developers nationwide. Please contact us or visit our website for more on our practices, techniques, and material acquisition process. We are always looking for inventive plants that produce superior quality distillate.