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How Cannabis Laboratory Testing Works

Medical cannabis is now legal in several countries. With this new legality comes a wave of interest in understanding how cannabis works. It also helps understand how it can treat various medical conditions. This article takes a closer look at what a cannabis testing laboratory does.

What Is Cannabis Lab Testing?

Scientists conduct cannabis lab testing to determine its potency and purity. They perform this type of testing on both recreational and medical cannabis products. 

The results can help consumers make informed decisions about the products. Manufacturers can also use lab results to improve their growing and processing methods.

Cannabis lab testing involves the use of specialized equipment and chemicals. Lab technicians will take a sample of the cannabis product and test it for different things. 

Potency tests measure the amount of THC (which is the main psychoactive ingredient) and other cannabinoids in the sample. Purity tests check for mold, pesticides, and heavy metals.

Cannabis lab results can vary from one product to the next. Consumers should know what to look for when reviewing lab results. Keep in mind that potency and purity results are only an estimate. 

Testing Steps

Once labeled, technicians deliver packaged samples to a quarantine location. They weigh the sample and take an appropriate aliquot. This provides the necessary amount of starting material for each test.

They store the sample in a temperature-controlled environment. The analyst weighs out the appropriate amount of sample for each test. For example, for moisture, the analyst will weigh 0.1g of the sample. For total THC, the analyst will weigh 2g of the sample.

Tests use validated methods that meet required standards and limits. The analyst calculates results based on the instrument response. They then apply the proper calculus to determine chemical concentrations.

Getting a Sample Ready for Testing

Properly preparing a cannabis sample for testing helps to get accurate and reliable results. There are a few key steps to follow to prepare the sample:

1. Weigh the cannabis sample. This helps to determine the precise amount of cannabinoids in the sample.
2. Grind the cannabis sample. This helps to improve the surface area exposed to the solvent. 
3. Extract the cannabinoids from the cannabis sample using a solvent such as ethanol or CO2.
4. Purify the extracted cannabinoids using a process called winterization. This removes plant waxes and lipids, which can interfere with testing accuracy.
5. Evaporate the solvent from the purified cannabinoids. This leaves behind a cannabinoid-rich concentrate that is ready for testing.

Why Is Cannabis Laboratory Testing Important? 

Cannabis laboratory testing confirms that the products are safe and free of contaminants. It also confirms that the THC and CBD levels in products are accurate. This benefits both medical and recreational users. 

Cannabis lab testing can also help to identify new strains and cannabinoid profiles. These strains can develop new products or improve existing ones.

Products Should Go Through A Cannabis Testing Laboratory

Use a reputable cannabis testing laboratory to get your products tested. The laboratory should adhere to high industry standards. It should also produce accurate and reliable test results. Whether you are selling cannabis or using it, you want to know your product is safe and up to standard.

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