Is cannabis finally hitting the mainstream? More and more states are legalizing the plant for both recreational and medicinal use. The FDA has even approved a CBD-based medication. As a result, cannabis laboratory testing has grown from an afterthought to a multimillion dollar industry in its own right. But with such quick growth, quality control in the cannabis industry and in testing labs themselves is now more important than ever.
Quality Control: Vital to the Cannabis Industry
In many ways, cannabis is just like anything else that we buy and consume. It needs to be rigorously tested to ensure that it’s safe and free from contamination. And like other drugs—both recreational and medicinal—it needs to be labeled with the correct potency to provide the right effects to consumers and patients.
This concept is called quality control. And for the food and pharmaceutical industries, it’s nothing new. Companies spend a significant amount of money each year putting processes into place so that the quality of their products is maintained or improved over time.
In California, the standards for quality control in the cannabis industry were relatively lax until quite recently. But in order for the burgeoning cannabis industry to thrive in the mainstream, quality control must be at the forefront.
Setting New Standards
The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) has set the bar in California for quality control. In January 2019, a new set of cannabis regulations went into effect that included additions to cannabis testing requirements. As a result, all cannabis products sold in California must now undergo analytical testing for the following:
- Cannabinoids testing
- Residual solvents
- Moisture content and Water Activity
- Foreign Material
- Heavy Metals
This sets a high standard for quality control in the industry. However, it may take some getting used to. Many growers, distributors, and dispensary owners have been in the industry since it was unregulated. It can be hard to face a new regulatory paradigm. But most business owners can understand the importance of such new requirements for ensuring consumer safety and product quality.
Cannabis Testing Labs: Key Players for Cannabis Quality Control
Independent cannabis testing labs are critical for helping businesses meet these new quality control requirements. They fill a key role for which most cannabis business owners don’t have the time or expertise.
Testing labs have the ability to specialize. They can focus on a single goal—testing the quality of cannabis samples—and do it well. They can hire highly trained personnel that have the scientific background and laboratory experience to run complex analytical instruments. Taken together, cannabis testing labs have the ability to bring high-level quality control experience from other industries into the cannabis industry.