The importance of testing cannabis before consuming it
As cannabis has medical features, it must meet certain medical standards. These standards are regulated by international organizations to make cannabis consumption safe for people. To use cannabis in the right way, one must be aware of its strength and dosage. Besides, cannabis testing allows us to determine the potency of strains that will be used. Guys from Askgrowers share a lot of info about laboratories and cannabis testing on their platform.
Especially if you grow cannabis, you need to have information on how your product will affect consumers’ health. You must know that a plant of marijuana is like a sponge absorbing everything that it’s exposed to, that’s why you have to examine its cannabinoid profile before selling it. Obviously, people buying cannabis must be confident about the quality of strains, so you need to check if it contains potentially dangerous chemicals. Moreover, you need to have all the information about cannabinoid components contained in a strain to label it accurately. This way, if you are a manufacturer, you need to meet the standards and limits of weed compounds to provide your clients with a high-quality product.
All licensed dealers are required to go through testing procedures because it’s crucial for the final quality of the product. A testing process must be done in special facilities that have accreditation for that. It is usually held by trained technicians who are able to execute the testing procedure carefully using special equipment. Thus, it significantly decreases any unwanted effects of using strains and doesn’t compromise someone’s immune system.
As you may already understand, cannabis testing is an essential phase of its production and consumption. It must be done using one of the following tests:
- The simple analytical technique of thin-layer chromatography (TLC) with specific thin-layers and developing fluid. Thanks to this new protocol the main active ingredients of the cannabis plant parts can be visualised due to a highly specific colouring reaction which represents the cannabinoids present in the sample of cannabis or cannabis product. Alpha-cat‘s method enables the detection and identification of six (6) of the main cannabinoids present in cannabis. (Which is the basis of Alpha-cat test kit). As various compounds go through the absorbent at a different rate and leave certain colors on it, it becomes possible to determine the concentration of different compounds due to color separation.
- Mass Spectrometry. This testing method allows us to measure the masses of chemical compounds in a strain. These chemicals are ionized and then exposed to an electrical or magnetic field. This way their deflection rate gets displayed in a spectrum and can be examined. After that, they are classified by the ratio of mass-to-charge.
- Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. It’s a less time-consuming technique as it doesn’t need solvents. In this case, the magnetic field around atomic nuclei is measured. A technician places a sample of marijuana in a magnetic field and excites its nuclei with radio waves. Radio receivers show the frequency of the magnetic fields and consequently the structure of molecules and chemicals.
Typically cannabis test results provide the information about THC and CBD levels, as well as unwanted contaminants. They may be pesticides, heavy metals, or mycotoxins, such as mold and mildew.
If you grow marijuana, you have to be aware of its compound. To distribute your product, you must be sure that it meets compliance – the state’s standards of various chemicals contained in cannabis. Cannabis labs have to stick to protocols provided by a certain state when doing marijuana tests. After testing procedures, they provide compliance data to the state’s regulatory body, so the product that was tested can be legally approved for sale. Compliance data includes the following information:
- Potency. Checking potency allows us to make accurate labeling on strains. As a result of checking potency, you will learn how much THC and CBD are contained in a cannabis sample. The results can be given in a few ways:
- as a total amount of cannabinoids in a strain (e.g. 50 mg CBD);
- percentage of cannabinoid per weight (e.g. 10% THC);
- ratio of cannabinoids (e.g. 1:2 THC:CBD)
- Contamination. There are different types of contaminants that may be present in cannabis. As marijuana plants may be exposed to various chemicals or pesticides during cultivation, they may get dangerous for consumers. That’s why regulatory bodies create lists of banned pesticides. All the products sold in the market must be free of these chemical compounds and meet compliance. Although some residual solvents are allowed in cannabis, they are also restricted to small amounts. Another type of contaminant is mycotoxins. These microbial contaminants can be really dangerous for health, especially if one suffers from a medical condition or has a damaged immune system. Microbial contamination can occur during weed cultivation or other stages of product delivery due to poor hygiene. After cannabis testing, you get the results of microbial contamination which must meet legal requirements. Physical contaminants must be also checked in the laboratory. You have to be sure that your product doesn’t contain dust, dirt, or heavy metals. These substances can cause a lot of harm to cannabis consumers.
- Cannabinoid and terpene profiling is an additional test that can be done to understand what kind of strains were cultivated ( THC, CBD, THCA, CBG, or others).
Cannabis testing is an essential step in marijuana cultivation and consumption. It is needed to find out whether strains are safe for health and what ratio of cannabinoids they contain. In the case you don’t have access to a lab, we recommend you to use the TLC test kit offered by Alpha-cat Cannabinoid testing is done to choose the right strain according to your needs. It allows you to find a kind of cannabis that will help to solve your personal problems. For instance, if you have anxiety issues, you should buy marijuana with high CBD levels. In case you struggle with depression you need to choose THC – dominant weed. As you may see, cannabis testing is an important stage of using it.
This article was a collaboration with Tia Moskalenko from Askgrowers.