Why Does Lab Testing Matter in Cannabis?
Lab testing of cannabis has two primary goals: to ensure that cannabis sold in dispensaries is in compliance with state law, and to inform the customer of how potent it is. Let’s take a closer look at how lab testing works.
How Does it Work?
When you buy cannabis in a dispensary, you are right to expect that product to be tested per state guidelines. Although the rules are a little different in every state, most states require some or all of the following tests for cannabis products:
Pesticides - many of the products used to control bugs are not safe to inhale. These tests look for a range of pesticides and fungicides.
Heavy metals - if cannabis is grown in soil with lead, mercury or arsenic, it may become contaminated. These tests ensure that high levels of heavy metals don’t make it into the cannabis products.
Microbial life - yeast, molds and bacteria like E. Coli can ruin your flower and make you ill.
Mycotoxins - some molds produce substances that can hurt you, even if you can’t see any mold.
Residual solvents - concentrates, like those found in PAX Era pods, are tested to ensure that they do not contain harmful levels of solvents.
To pass safety testing, each compound tested for must be below the limit set by the state. If it is higher than that limit, the product cannot be sold in a dispensary. In most states, the cannabis regulator is informed of all test results, and any batches that fail testing have to be destroyed.
Labs also routinely test the potency of cannabis products. By measuring the amount of THC, CBD and other cannabinoids in a product, these tests tell you how strong the product is. As you learn how your body responds to cannabis, knowing the potency of a product makes your experience more predictable.