Why does cannabis need to be lab tested?
Do you know what’s in your cannabis? It’s not always easy to tell. It would be nice if things like toxins, molds, and microorganisms were visible to the naked eye, but that’s not the case. And what about the potency and cannabinoid profile eg. THC and CBD? From getting the correct dosage to avoiding toxic residues, everyone has the right to know exactly what they are putting in their body when they consume cannabis products.
Cannabis has many medicinal benefits, and as all medicinal products have information regarding their strength and dosage information, cannabis products are starting to be held to the same standards. Regulations and standards for acceptable limits of specific compounds are currently being developed by international organizations to ensure cannabis products do not compromise a person’s immune system. The two major reasons dagga products are tested in cannabis testing labs are: to verify the products are safe for human consumption, and to give consumers an idea of the potency of the product they are using.
In terms of test equipment, cannabis oil suppliers might only need a device that can be calibrated to test for known standards of THC, CBD and/or other cannabinoids. In which case we suggest you buy the tcheck 2 cannabis cbd thc testing kit and we will ship it to your door anywhere in South Africa.
But sooner or later in the supply chain, much more extensive testing will be required to show that the cannabis product is safe to add to edibles and beverages. Fortunately, analytical instrumentation equipment that is well-known for testing contaminants and impurities in food and beverage products already exists and can be applied to cannabis testing.
Fortunately the cannabis industry in South Africa is developing at a fast pace and we now have the benefit of access to reputable and qualified cannabis/dagga testing labs. It’s now possible to send your cannabis flowers or the dagga oil you’ve made to one of these laboratories in South Africa and have it tested for potency and to make sure there is no residual solvent left in your cannabis oil.
If you are wanting to send off multiple cannabis samples and have a full test performed then consider:
Cannabis plants act as a sponge during cultivation and absorb everything to which they’re exposed, from the nutrients and heavy metals in the soil to the pesticides that may have found their way into a greenhouse from a neighboring farm. For this reason, cannabis products are now tested for any materials that can remain present in the final flower.
Which is why maximum quantity limits for residual solvents, pesticides, heavy metals, microbes, and mycotoxins in cannabis test results have been in put in place.
The use of pesticides, fungicides, and plant growth regulators on cannabis has been documented. These residual chemicals create potentially dangerous safety issues for patients when consumed. Mold and fungal contaminants can harm anyone who consumes medical cannabis, especially patients prone to asthma, allergies, or immune-system-compromised.
Lab tests primarily screen for potency and levels of THC and CBD, residual pesticides, unwanted contaminants, and the presence of mycotoxins like mold and mildew. Additional tests can also be performed to measure terpene content.
Commercial Cannabis products go through a few tests in order to meet compliance.
Accurate potency labeling on cannabis products is imperative, especially when it comes to dosing. Potency tests tell how much THC and CBD exist in a given product, and these metrics can be provided in a number of ways:
- Cannabinoid per weight (e.g. 18% THC)
- Total cannabinoids present (e.g. 100mg THC)
- A ratio of THC:CBD (e.g. 3:1 CBD:THC)
Cannabis products go through many hands during cultivation and processing before they reach the retail shelf, and contaminants can be introduced from a variety of sources.
Screening for contamination falls under three major categories:
- Chemical contaminants. During cultivation, plants can be exposed to a range of pesticides and other chemicals, like artificial growth hormones, that can be dangerous for a consumer to ingest. State regulatory bodies have lists of banned pesticides and products must be free of these in order to meet compliance and make it to the dispensary. For some concentrates and extracts, solvents are introduced during the extraction process, so they require testing for residual solvents like butane, xylene, and ethanol. Small quantities of residual solvents are allowed in a product, but not too much.
- Microbial contaminants. Water and microbial contaminants go hand in hand. The presence of mycotoxins such as fungi, mold, and mildew in cannabis can be dangerous if ingested, especially for people who suffer from existing medical conditions or have a compromised immune system. Microbial contamination is mainly a risk during cultivation, but it can also occur during handling and packaging, due to poor hygiene practices from staff. Although mold and fungus are the main concerns, bacteria like Salmonella and E. Coli can also be present and are dangerous if ingested.
- Physical contaminants & heavy metals. Physical contaminants like dust, dirt, hair, and even fecal matter can make their way into cannabis products due to poor cultivation or packaging practices. Heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and even cadmium can also make their way into cannabis products. These substances can be present in soils and nutrients and can be absorbed by plant roots, and carried through to harvesting and processing. Many people are unaware just how much mining activity has taken place in Joburg and how left over heavy metals has leached into the soil and in some areas even the ground water. Even if your cannabis has been grown in a field where previously corn was grown and the farmer used glyphosates there is a good chance your plant material may be contaminated with potentially harmful chemicals.
Terpenes are also worth testing. Terpenes are oily substances in cannabis plants that produce each plant’s distinctive aromas, flavors and mental and physical effects. Terpene testing is not required in most states, but it is recommended, especially when the product is being used for medicinal purposes, because terpene characteristics are key components for determining medicinal benefits and choosing optimal treatments based on patient symptoms.
Cannabis testing lets you know your products are free form unhealthy contaminants so that you can enjoy cannabis with peace of mind.
- Have grown your own cannabis at home?
- Are you 100% sure your soil is clean and you’ve been using filtered RO3 water?
- Only looking to test for potency eg. CBD and THC of your dagga plants or cannabis oil product?
Then we recommend buying our tcheck 2 DIY cannabis test kit which you can use at home to test your dagga flowers or cannabis oil.
If you are selling cannabis oil or other cannabis products on a larger scale then you may want to have a full test done and use one the reputable cannabis testing laboratories we mentioned above.