Cannabis dispensaries should always have their products tested in a cannabis analysis lab to ensure safety and quality. Aside from obtaining state licenses and permits, this is the most important step a dispensary can take to protect its customers.
What Do Testing Labs Measure in Cannabis Products?
Testing laboratories are testing cannabis for potency, contaminants, and adulterants. Here are the most common tests run on cannabis products:
- THC potency. The percentage of THC is the most commonly reported number on cannabis product labels. The higher the THC percentage, the more potent the product. The maximum THC potency in cannabis products in California is 10% per serving.
- CBD potency. Like THC, CBD potency is also measured and reported as a percentage. While it doesn’t make consumers high, it is mandatory to list it on the label.
- Pesticide testing. Pesticides are commonly used in cannabis cultivation to protect plants from bugs, mold, and mildew. However, some of these pesticides can be transferred to the final product, posing a consumer risk. All cannabis products should be tested for pesticides before they can be sold in dispensaries. See BelCosta Labs pesticide testing services for more information.
- Contaminant testing. Cannabis products can also be contaminated with heavy metals, such as lead and mercury. These contaminants can come from the soil where the plants are grown or from the water used to grow them.
- Residual solvents. Cannabis extractions are commonly done using solvents, such as butane, propane, and hexane. These solvents must be removed from the final product to avoid health risks.
Is It Expensive to Have My Products Tested?
The cost of testing varies depending on the tests performed and the number of samples tested. However, most testing labs offer discounts to dispensaries that send them large volumes of samples.
Moreover, you cannot operate a dispensary without state-mandated testing. Therefore, the cost of testing is a necessary part of doing business. Overall, the cost of testing is a small price to pay to ensure the safety and quality of your products and not end up on the wrong side of the law.
What Other Ways Can Dispensaries Ensure the Quality of Their Products?
Along with lab testing, dispensaries can take other steps to ensure the quality of their products, including:
- Buy cannabis plants from reputable growers. Get to know the farmers growing your dispensary’s cannabis. Ask about their cultivation methods and whether they use pesticides.
- Conduct in-house testing of products. In addition to having products lab-tested, some dispensaries also test products in-house. This can be done using portable testing devices, such as a trichome scope or a hand-held microscope.
- Regularly inspect the grow facilities. If possible, visit the farms and greenhouses where your dispensary’s cannabis is grown. Look for signs of pests or mold and ensure the plants are properly cared for.
- Educate employees on quality control procedures. Dispensary employees should be familiar with their dispensary’s steps to ensure product quality. They should also know how to spot poor-quality products, such as mold or discoloration.
The quality of cannabis products is vital for both dispensaries and consumers. Dispensaries can protect their customers and themselves by taking steps to ensure product quality.