Testing, Testing, 1,2,3: A Breakdown of Cannabis Lab Testing

Written by BlackbirdGo August 15, 2018
The Plant

Disclaimer: Keep out of reach of children. For use only by adults 21 years of age and older.

One of the benefits of buying cannabis on the legal market as opposed to the black market is that you can be certain the products purchased through licensed growers and dispensaries have been lab tested and are safe to consume. State-licensed labs test for potency and terpene content, which allows you to make more informed choices on what you’re consuming as different terpene and cannabinoid levels can have different effects on your high. Lab testing is critical for quality control of cannabis products, making sure strains have a consistent potency from batch to batch, as well as to ensure cannabis products are safe for consumption. Some of the processing for making cannabis products, like making concentrates, can require chemical processing to refine the product into a more concentrated form; testing these samples ensures they are safe for human consumption. Here’s a breakdown of the most common tests your favorite weed products go through and what they’re looking for.

Potency Analysis

A Potency Analysis tests a cannabis product specifically for the cannabinoids THC and CBD as they are the most important indicators of the physical effects cannabis has on someone. The amount of THC and CBD in a sample can range even in the same strain of flower. Testing for potency gives growers the insight they need to produce consistent bud and consumers the information they need to choose their preferred level of stoned. For more information on cannabinoids and how they can affect your high, take a look at our earlier post in our WeEdu Series.

Terpene Analysis

While a potency analysis measures the cannabinoids in a sample, a terpene analysis measures the terpenes. Terpenes determine the smells associated with a strain and are also known to have medicinal benefits of their own. Read more on terpenes in our WeEdu Series.

Microbial Screening

In microbial testing, lab analysts look for the presence of harmful bacteria like E. Coli or bacterias that can cause mold like yeast. Smoking contaminated cannabis can cause serious injury, particularly for people with compromised immune systems.

Residual Solvent Test

Using chemical solvents are necessary in making some cannabis products like dabs or other concentrates. In licensed production centers, these processes are strictly monitored at every step of the supply chain. The residual solvent test checks for harmful levels of left-over solvent that could remain in the finished product.

Filth and Foreign Matter Testing

Filth and foreign matter testing tests for things that could come in contact with the plant either through the growing or packaging process. These things include bugs, lint, feces, soil, and anything else you wouldn’t want to smoke that could come in contact with the cannabis plant.

Mycotoxin Screening

Mycotoxin screening checks for the presence of fungi in your bud. Fungi grow in warm and damp environments, like that of a nice nug of weed before it’s trimmed from a plant. Fungi can destroy a cannabis crop and can be very dangerous if smoked, causing chest pains and even a severe cough.

Heavy Metal Screening

Heavy metals like lead and mercury are present in any kind of soil, but too much in a plant can cause health problems if consumed. Cannabis samples are tested for their heavy metal content ensuring the products are safe for consumption.

Pesticide Residue Analysis

Pesticides are an inevitable part of growing any agricultural product for sale in the United States. There is not a lot of information available on the effects of smoking pesticides, but there are requirements and regulations around the amount of pesticides allowed for use on cannabis. The pesticide residue analysis measures the amount of pesticide left on a sample of cannabis, whether it is dry flower or concentrates. Most states that have legalized cannabis have a list of approved pesticides and how much is allowed per gram of product.

If you order your weed through blackbirdgo.com, you can guarantee your bud has been grown, stored, and processed to pass all of these tests.