Medical Cannabis potency can vary widely based on plant strain and environmental growing conditions. Non-uniform lighting, inconsistent water and nutrient intervals and external stressors such as heat or cold will markedly affect potency. We use advanced HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) instruments and validated methodologies to quantify up to 15+ cannabinoids including Delta-9-THC, THC-A, CBD, CBN, CBG and many more.
Like cannabinoids, terpenes bind to receptors in the brain and give rise to various effects. Different harvests may demonstrate dramatically different terpenoid profiles due to variances in growing and curing techniques. Lab-tested products are the only guaranteed way of knowing terpene potency. We use High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and Liquid Chromatography / Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS) to isolate and quantify up to 20+ terpenoids present in medical cannabis samples.
Pesticides can enter medical cannabis by means of direct application to the plant or by nutrient and water uptake. These pesticides are then present in the flowers and potentially consumed by the patient. Pesticides are especially harmful when found in concentrated cannabis samples. Many states adopt FDA pesticide safety guidelines; thus some farmers will use pesticide to treat their crops. Unregulated hemp-derived products are especially prone to pesticide contamination due to the large amounts of plant material required to extract hemp-derived byproducts. Our pesticide screening is performed by sensitive Gas Chromatography (GC) and Liquid Chromatography / Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS) which detect unsafe levels of pesticides in medical cannabis samples. Clients can know exactly how much pesticide is present, down to the part per million.
Cann-A-Lab offers comprehensive solvent screening for medical cannabis. We use Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) methods to quantify residual solvents down to 20 parts per million. Our methodology and instrumentation are some of the most advanced used in the medical cannabis industry. We currently screen for the following solvents: acetone, butane, ethane, ethanol, isobutane, isopropanol, methane, methylbutane, propane, pentane, and hexane.
Heavy Metals Testing
Heavy metals are absorbed and stored in medical cannabis plants through contaminated land, soil and water. These toxins are then passed on to humans and are responsible for causing acute and chronic diseases including cancer. Unregulated hemp-derived products are especially prone to heavy metals contamination due to the large amounts of plant material required to extract hemp-derived byproducts. We utilize Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Adsorption Spectroscopy (ICP-AAS) and X-Ray Fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) to test for heavy meal contamination at concentrations as low as one part per billion.
Moisture Content and Weighing
Freshly harvested medical cannabis flowers can potentially have a moisture content of more than 70% by weight. Properly dried and cured medical cannabis flowers should have an ideal moisture content between 6% and 9%, and no more than 15%. Medical cannabis that has too much moisture can be prone to fungal, bacterial and insect contamination. We use industry leading moisture analysis apparatus to accurately determine residual moisture levels, vital for safe and high quality medicine.
Microbial Contamination Screening
The growing conditions for medical cannabis are also ideal for the growth of potentially harmful microbes such as bacteria, fungi, mold and yeast. We use advanced microbial analysis to detect the presence of any harmful microbes. Firstly, an ELISA screening methodology is used, then a detailed petri plate analysis is performed to determine the amount of colony-forming units, indicative of microbe infection. A few of the microbes we test for include: Salmonella, Yeast, E. coli, and total aerobic bacteria. Additionally toxic chemicals produced by microbes, called mycotoxins, are detected by the use of Liquid Chromatography / Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS).