April 14, 2024

Project Vega

Journey to Health and Wellness

Cannabis Testing Labs: The Fundamentals

3 min read

Marijuana usage has brought an unfavorable connotation for quite some time. As mindsets shift and medical marijuana gain approval, this bias is progressively being challenged. Laboratories understand this, and they are the institutions that will offer superior insight into the chemistry of cannabis.

Lots of procedures within the marijuana sector require to be standardized to grow in the future. Approaches, materials, and tools used in information preparation and analysis are all part of this.

The Purpose of Cannabis Testing Facilities

Lab testing services like BelCosta Lab dedicated only to cannabis, are called marijuana testing labs. These products might primarily contain THC or CBD. There is a cooperative relationship between cannabis testing labs and the market’s supply chain.

As a result, they are essential to the item’s compliance with regulations and to ensure that it is safe for human consumption. They also need to ensure that the info printed on the item’s final bundle is accurate. Clients, consumers, and the government all gain confidence in the product’s security in this way.

How and what sort of tests do marijuana testing labs provide?

Evaluating for effectiveness and terpene profiles through cannabis lab testing are the two most normal types of analysis. Cannabinoid material in a marijuana sample is measured utilizing high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) for the effectiveness test.

Typical cannabinoids analysis consists of THC, THCA, CBD, CBDA, CBN, CBG, and CBC. Terpene testing labs that do Tests for terpenes are likewise frequently performed. Terpenes are natural substances discovered in cannabis that add to the plant’s unique scents, tastes, and even shades.

Harmful chemicals and toxins are looked for alongside the product’s strength and terpene content. Toxic metals, including:

  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Mercury

Ion-coupled plasma mass spectrometry is used to determine and quantify these metals. There is more than one reason why metals are so critically important. Metals in the environment can be damaging if swallowed or breathed.

This is a problem considering that marijuana is an accumulator plant, meaning it takes in and utilizes everything in its growing medium. Soil, nutrients, and water are all part of its instant environment.

After trying to find drugs and metals, the next thing to look for is pesticides. Analytes of commonly used pesticides in the home are included on a controlled list that labs must inspect. 2 separate instruments have validated their presence.

The first piece of equipment is an LCMS-MS or liquid chromatography-mass spectrometer. The 2nd piece of equipment is a GCMS-MS or gas chromatography-mass spectrometer. Because different pesticide analytes respond differently to heat, both tools are needed to ensure precise outcomes.

In addition, fungi are evaluated for the presence of hazardous secondary metabolites. Molds and fungi produce naturally happening substances called mycotoxins. Utilizing LCMS-MS, mycotoxins may be determined and determined with accuracy.

Microorganisms, likewise checked for, are comparable to mycotoxins because not all microbial types are dangerous. Microbial DNA is enhanced before being extracted and separated.

In marijuana testing, recurring solvents are the last contaminants checked for. Various types of plant matter, including (but not limited to), have been examined and revealed to be devoid of recurring solvents.

  • Flower
  • Pre-rolls
  • Trim
  • Shake
  • Kief

Instead, edibles and cannabis derivatives are tested for the presence of solvents. Some examples are:

  • Vapes
  • Wax
  • Casts
  • Lotion
  • Extracts
  • Gummies
  • Chocolate

Composites might be residual products from the marijuana extraction or distillation process used in these goods. The headspace autosampler heats and presses the sample within its vial using a total evaporation method to transform any staying solvents in a sample into a gas. 

After the vial is pierced, the leftover solvent gas is released and moves toward the mass spec detector.

To End

The procedures, tools, and criteria labs commonly utilize to prepare samples and evaluate results differ. This results in a substantial disparity between the techniques utilized and the outcomes’ fundamental dependability. Requirement approaches should be produced and carried out in lab operations to verify the difference.

It is essential to mandate that labs utilize a verified technique. In addition, the market must impose quality control steps. Technique blanks, spiked lab samples, and matrix samples may be utilized for quality control throughout batch processing. 

This checks the accuracy of the devices and assures that the analytical procedure is unaffected by any specific analytes.