With recreational cannabis now legalized in California, the state has enacted a clear set of rules for the industry. These rules include requirements for quality assurance cannabis testing. Cannabis testing ensures that products sold legally in California meet a certain standard for quality, consistency, and safety. But what about the testing labs themselves?
Consistent and accurate cannabis testing helps consumers know what to expect when they read the label of a product, whether its flower or an edible. However, some growers and producers have reported discrepancies in results after sending samples to more than one lab for testing.
That’s because there is currently no method standardization across cannabis testing labs in California. As a result, each lab has a slightly different way of running their tests. For example, different labs may use different instruments. Or they may calibrate and maintain their instruments differently. Additionally, the skill of cannabis lab analysts can also vary.
This makes data between different testing labs variable. Moving forward, the industry would benefit hugely from across the board method standardization.
Until this happens, it’s important that each testing lab performs its own method validation. Method validation is a rigorous process that demonstrates the accuracy and reproducibility of a procedure like testing cannabis potency. It’s not an easy process, but all good testing labs validate their methods.
Another source of variation in testing consistency and accuracy is the actual sample. To get the most accurate testing results, cannabis producers must provide the testing lab with a representative sample. This means the sample must be representative of the entire batch of the product.
Homogeneity is key. While it’s fairly simple to get a representative sample of a homogenous liquid like an extract, it gets a little more tricky when it comes to cannabis flower. Cannabis buds from the top, middle, and bottom sections of the plant can have varying levels of cannabinoid potency. Therefore, it’s important to choose a sample that represents the plant overall instead of cherry-picking the buds most likely to have the highest potency.
Consistent and accurate testing is important for the legitimacy of the growing legal cannabis industry in California. But currently, there seem to be some discrepancies in results between testing labs using slightly different methods. Moving forward, the state may enact new regulations to standardize testing methods.
When it comes to testing your cannabis products, it’s important to choose a lab you trust. At Encore Labs, our highly trained staff has over 25 years of combined laboratory experience. We use validated methods to offer a full range of cannabis testing that gives consistent and accurate results.