Consumer safety and product integrity are tied directly to lab testing in the cannabis industry: here is what to look for in a third party testing lab.
In California and similar legal cannabis states around the country, the legal cannabis industry is struggling to properly protect its consumers from dangerous or improperly labeled products. This issue is largely tied to the lab testing of legal cannabis products that takes place before these products can be legally sold.
A required step in the process of bringing cannabis products to market, third party lab testing is a pinch point in the cannabis industry, creating an enormous demand for testing labs. This demand has invited savvy entrepreneurs with no training in analytical chemistry to take advantage of this opportunity.
That means that not all third party testing labs are the same, and cannabis brands looking to guarantee the integrity of their products must find an honest, experienced, high quality lab in order to get consistent and accurate results.
Evaluating Cannabis Testing Labs
While many cannabis consumers picture testing labs as professional, sterile places with scientists in white lab coats, the truth is that a surprising number of “labs” are small, poorly equipped setups run by inexperienced technicians.
Looking to take advantage of the rising demand for cannabis testing, these hastily started labs are more likely to generate inaccurate results, or even worse, purposefully produce false results, putting cannabis consumers at risk and hurting the reputation of the legal cannabis industry.
What should cannabis brands look for when choosing a third party testing lab? Cashinbis sat down to speak with Josh Swider, CEO of Infinite Chemical Analysis Labs (InfiniteCAL), to learn more about why cannabis testing is so important and what companies need to know when selecting a testing lab with which to work.
“In the legal market, cultivators and manufacturers are required to do their due diligence to ensure their dosing is right and their products are safe. Analytical testing by an accredited third-party lab ensures businesses can stand by the quality and safety of their products,” said Swider.
To protect their customers and avoid the bad press and expense that comes from a state mandated recall, cannabis manufacturers need to put in the time and expense attached to finding and working with a top quality testing lab. This will guarantee that products are free of dangerous contaminants and dosed correctly, ultimately protecting the end user, whether they are medical patients or recreational consumers.
When cannabis manufacturers are searching for a lab, it is strongly recommended that they find one that is operated by knowledgeable professionals with an educational background specializing in chemistry.
“An analytical lab should only be operated by analytical chemists who put in the work to develop and validate their own methods that are unique to what they’re testing,” Swider told Cashinbis. “The employees you’re trusting to correctly prep your samples and analyze them on complicated instruments should all have science degrees.”
This will mean that they have the experience necessary to produce accurate results and adjust their methods based on different types of samples submitted, including a wide variety of cannabis edibles, tinctures, and topicals.
“Manufacturers should also pay attention to customer service. Do the account representatives know the most updated regulations? Can they guide you on what exact analyses you need for your products? Are they willing to work with you on your method formulations, or help you identify a possible source of contamination in your product? Your lab should be willing to guide you from cultivation and production to sale,” Swider revealed.
Protecting Your Customers
Cannabis consumers shop the legal cannabis market due to its perception as a safer source for cannabis products. That is because the products are tested by analytical labs and should be free of dangerous contaminants like pesticides, solvents, or cutting agents. It is this belief in its safety that separates the legal market from the black market.
“Like we’ve seen with the recent EVALI outbreak, most illicit manufacturers are using contaminated raw materials and further diluting their concentrates with dangerous additives to increase profit with complete disregard for consumer health,” remarked Swider.
However, variation in testing results from lab to lab due to a lack of standards and inexperienced technicians, as well as schemes like paying for falsified results or taking a failed product batch to another lab hoping to get better results, also puts consumers in danger and hurt the public’s perception of legal cannabis. Only using honest testing labs staffed by skilled technicians is an important step toward protecting your customers health and advancing the cannabis industry as a whole.
A Higher Class of Testing Lab
Infinite Chemical Analysis Labs was created to address what founders Josh Swider and David Marelius saw as a lack of consistency and transparency when it comes to cannabis testing labs that put consumers at risk.
This missing consumer safety in cannabis products was inviting bad press and giving the burgeoning cannabis industry a black eye in the view of the public. InfiniteCAL set out with public safety as its number one concern, bringing a background in chemistry to cannabis testing to ensure truly accurate testing results.
Unlike at other testing labs, the technicians at InfiniteCAL are trained scientists with bachelor’s degrees or higher. This foundation of education and experience gives their team the ability to produce accurate and reliable testing results time and again. The team is also able to answer any questions cannabis manufacturers may have about the testing process to encourage transparency and an investment in the testing process by cannabis business owners.
When looking for a cannabis testing lab, it’s important to choose one that is staffed by experienced scientists who are dedicated to producing accurate results. This will ultimately protect the integrity of your products, improve the reputation of your brand, and ensure the safety of your customers.
You can learn more about Infinite Chemical Analysis Labs here.
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