Cannabis and Hemp Testing Breakdown
Just like every other supplement or drug, medical marijuana and hemp must be tested to regulate the amount of beneficial as well as potentially harmful effects. Making sure your medical cannabis and hemp is safe for consumption is essential when using marijuana as a supplement for treatment for conditions and symptoms. While good clean medication may aid in your quest for relief, unsafe and untested medication are out there, and you would never know until it’s too late.
So how do you know if the candy bar or strain you are about to consume is safe?
Make sure the grower or manufacturer regularly tests their products for safety and consistency. When at your dispensary, ask to see the test results. Many dispensaries now fully test all aspects of products and strains. This extra cost to them provides a great deal of relief to patients and consumers as they can feel more certain they are getting what they need. A full spectrum test analyzes the flowers or products for safety and efficacy.
Marijuana Strain, Concentrate and Infused Product Potency Testing
Cannabis and Hemp potency testing analyzes the actual amount of medicine, or cannabinoids, in a cannabis or hemp sample. This type of test will breakdown the cannabinoids into their respective groupings, THC (THCa, Delta-9-THC, Delta-8-THC, THCv) CBD (CBDa, CBD), CBN (CBNa, CBN), CBC (CBCa, CBC), CBG (CBGa, CBG), CBL(CBLa, CBL).
Marijuana Terpene Testing
Terpene testing is like the potency test, it will analyze the amount of terpenes within the sample. Terpenes have been widely shown to interact with cannabinoids in ways previously unknown. Where scientists once thought THC, CBD and other cannabinoids played the most crucial part in determining how a strain would react with an individual, it is now known that terpenes like Myrcene can actually increase the potential of cannabinoids and other terpenes through a process called the
Potency isn't the only type of test that you should be aware of. Safety is a major concern in newer industries and cannabis is no different.
Cannabis Safety Testing
Marijuana Microbiology Testing
Microbiology testing analyzes the amount of harmful and deadly pathogens, bacteria, molds and mildews within a given sample. This test is especially necessary for those with compromised immune systems who can place themselves in greater danger by consuming foreign matter that can help reduce a patients ability to heal or benefit. Adversely it can complicate current many conditions that require a healthy immune system to heal. The main factors tested for are Total Yeast and Mold, Pseudomonas, Total Aerobic Plate Count, E Coli, Coliforms and Salmonella.
Marijuana Pesticide and Additive Testing
A larger area of concern recently, pesticides are widely used in the agricultural industry to combat bugs and mildew and fungus as well as growth regulators which also can have adverse effects when consumed, impairing the bodies ability to stay healthy.
Marijuana Concentrate Residual Solvents Testing
Concentrates and infused products derived from concentrates require testing to show the residual solvents from extracting the concentrates are gone or below harmful levels. There are many different types of solvents used to extract the cannabinoids from cannabis and hemp plants and many are harmful if consumed at high levels. Commonly used and tested methods are: Propane, Ethanol, Methanol, Isopropanol, Isobutane, Mercaptan, 2,2-Dimethylbutane, 2-Methylpentane, 3-Methylpentane, Cyclohexane + Benzene, Isopentane, Neopentane, n-Butane, n-Heptane, n-Hexane and n-Pentane.
Problems with current cannabis lab testing
Marijuana remains on the Schedule 1 drug list making it much more difficult to get normal lab testing. Dedicated laboratories for cannabis and hemp testing have blossomed as a result. Without a baseline standard on which to calibrate the machines, labs often use slightly different baselines based on their own research and knowledge creating a wide array of varying results when taken from lab to lab.
Lab testing also relies on a consistency. When a grower brings in a samples from their dried plants, many factors can contribute to anonymous results ranging from different parts of the plant being tested to different plants yielding slightly to drastically different measurements in medicinal amounts. So if a grower tests 1 sample form the whole batch and uses that as the average, plants that did not grow as well or yield as much are mixed in without knowledge and the average goes down in reality, but not on record. When this material is then processed and distributed, the results will be off.
Mold, Mildew and Bacteria
Mold, mildew and bacteria can be found on nearly everything to varying degree. Plants grown outdoor are subject to bugs with bacteria, diseases and rot with rain spreading the goods all over and into the soil. Indoor plants are more susceptible to mildews but generally less bugs. To prevent these unwanted conditions, cannabis growers, much like their agricultural counterparts in the US, use pesticides and deterrents to control the conditions.
As stated above, pesticides are often used to keep unwanted pests at bay. Organic and natural deterrents are available on the market but generally yield weaker results. Pesticides like Pyrethrum and Myclobutinil (Eagle 20DE) are used widely.