One aspect of the growing cannabis industry that many overlook is cannabis testing. But why does cannabis need to be lab tested, and what must it get tested for? We answer those questions and more in our helpful explainer below!
Meet Government Regulations
The first and primary reason for testing cannabis is to meet state governments’ strict regulations and standards. While cannabis may be legal for medicinal and recreational purposes in many states, it’s not exactly a free-for-all of marijuana on the streets.
Each state that has legalized or decriminalized cannabis still has strict regulations for cannabis growers if they want to legally sell their product like any other plant or produce seller. The primary government regulations that cannabis needs to be lab tested for are for consumer safety and potency labels.
Like any food or drug product grown and sold commercially, cannabis must get tested to ensure it is contaminant-free and safe for public consumption. Cannabis, like any other plant product, is grown in nutrient-rich soil using chemicals to facilitate its growth and protect it from insects and pests.
So, cannabis growers must thoroughly test their cannabis crop for any harmful contaminants that may still reside on the flower, like:
- Heavy metals (cadmium, arsenic, mercury, etc.)
- Residual solvents
Commercial cannabis cultivators must show quantifiable proof that their product is free of these contaminants if they want to sell it legally to the public.
Another reason for scientific lab testing of cannabis is to quantify its potency for labels and warnings. While cannabis is a relatively safe drug, high-potency cannabis can still be dangerous, especially for those unaccustomed to its psychoactive effects.
Cannabis growers are legally required to provide accurate labels of their products like any other food or drug processor, especially the product’s potency in the form of a THC label. Like any other commercial food or drug processor, an inaccurate product label could expose cannabis growers to strict penalties, fines, or a retraction of their license to sell cannabis. Better to invest in lab testing than run the risk of such punishments!
If you’re a commercial cannabis grower, following regulations strictly regarding contaminant and potency testing for your product is paramount. Consider investing in lab equipment or outsourcing the work to a certified testing lab.