It’s the holiday season and all through the state, cannabis is being tested, including your vape. You know by now that cannabis testing plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety, quality, and compliance of cannabis products. But what are the steps involved in completing testing? As the cannabis industry continues to evolve, the need for thorough testing becomes increasingly apparent. We here at Encore Labs wanted to give you a little treat for the holidays and walk through the 12 essential stages of cannabis testing, shedding light on each step’s significance in guaranteeing a reliable and safe end product for you and your loved ones as you share the holiday blaze. 

The 12 Stages

  1. Sample Prep: The journey begins with sample preparation, a critical stage where cannabis samples are collected and carefully prepared for analysis. Proper sample preparation requires homogenization which ensures that subsequent testing stages yield accurate and representative results. 
  1. Foreign Material: The first test conducted is to check the presence of foreign material, which can significantly impact the quality and safety of cannabis products. This stage involves visually screening for any unwanted elements, such as dirt, debris, or other foreign substances that may have found their way into the product. 
  1. Cannabinoid Profile: Understanding the cannabinoid profile is essential for both consumers and producers. This stage involves analyzing the concentration of cannabinoids, including THC, CBD, and others, providing valuable information on the product’s cannabinoid potency. 
  1. Residual Solvents: In the extraction process, solvents are often used to isolate cannabinoids. This stage focuses on detecting any residual solvents that may remain in the final product, ensuring compliance with legal safety limits. 
  1. Heavy Metals: Heavy metals pose a serious health risk, and their presence in cannabis products is strictly regulated. This stage involves testing for metals like lead, mercury, and cadmium, ensuring that the product is safe for consumption. 
  1. Pesticides: Pesticide use in cultivation can have detrimental effects to consumers when cannabis is ingested or smoked. This stage screens for the presence of pesticides, confirming that levels are within acceptable limits and adhering to state regulations. 
  1. Water Activity: Water activity is a critical parameter that influences the potential for microbial growth and stability of cannabis products. This stage assesses water activity levels, contributing to product safety and shelf-life determination. 
  1. Moisture Content: Maintaining the right moisture content is crucial for the quality and preservation of flower cannabis products. This stage involves measuring moisture levels to prevent mold and other issues that can arise from improper curing and storage conditions. 
  1. Microbials: Microbial contaminants, including bacteria and molds, can compromise the safety of cannabis products. This stage focuses on screening for these microorganisms, ensuring that the product is free from harmful pathogens. 
  1. Mycotoxins: Mold-produced mycotoxins can be harmful if consumed. This stage assesses the presence of mycotoxins, toxic compounds that are naturally generated by molds, safeguarding consumers from potential health risks. 
  1. Terpenes: Terpenes contribute to the taste, aroma, and effects of cannabis but are usually not a required test. This stage involves analyzing the terpene concentrations, providing valuable profiling information for consumers seeking specific sensory and therapeutic experiences from their cannabis products. 
  1. COA Report: The Certificate of Analysis (COA) is the culmination of the testing process. It consolidates all the data from the previous stages into a comprehensive report, offering a transparent overview of the product’s quality and compliance with regulatory standards. 


In the rapidly growing cannabis industry, a commitment to rigorous testing is paramount. Each of the 12 stages of cannabis testing outlined here contributes to the overall safety, quality, and transparency of cannabis products, empowering consumers to make informed choices and ensuring the industry’s responsible growth. As regulations continue to evolve, staying informed about these testing stages becomes not just a necessity but a cornerstone of a thriving and trustworthy cannabis market. If you have products that need testing, then contact us today to get started.