Today, the cannabis industry regulation is in its infancy stages, resulting in many unethical cannabinoid (CBD) manufacturers and suppliers who inflate or lie about the content in their hemp products. In other situations, the cannabis products contain elements such as heavy metals, pesticides, or bio-contaminants, which can be harmful to users.
For hemp product traders, even the most informed ones, finding the right product for their stores is a major challenge. This is where 3rd party laboratory testing comes in. The laboratories test your product samples so that only the best make it to your shelves. In this post, we took a closer look at third-party laboratory testing to determine why it is so important for your store.
What is a Third-Party Laboratory Testing?
This is the process of testing a cannabis product sample in a third-party laboratory to determine its contents. The laboratories are independent organizations that are not affiliated in any way to any arty in the cannabis products supply chain. This implies that they do not have an interest in the success or failure of any party, and they will relay the results as they find them.
To have your products tested in a third-party laboratory, you simply pick a few samples and send them to the selected laboratory. So, start by identifying a specific cannabis product category from a selected manufacturer or supplier and order one or two samples.
Then, have the samples tested in a third-party lab, and only order a bigger consignment from the manufacturer if the sample is of high-quality. The term "high-quality" in this context means the following:
- Product with correct information in the packaging.
- Product with no harmful components.
- The THC level does not surpass the legally allowed threshold of 0.3%.
What is tested in a 3rd Party Laboratory?
Before we can look at the main benefits of testing your CBD products in a third-party laboratory, you might want to know: "What exactly do these labs test?"
There are a number of things that third-party labs test in a cannabis product. Note that every test is done separately to determine the presence and quantity of a specific component accurately. Here are the commonest tests done by third-party laboratories.
The commonest test done by independent laboratories is checking the cannabinoid profile. Using advanced testing methods, such as the High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), your sample will be tested for the cannabinoid profile, which is the concentration of different cannabinoids in the sample.
Some of the cannabinoids checked include CBD, CBG, CBN, and CBC. The profile is used to confirm whether the quantities of the cannabinoid shown in the label or ads are accurate.
The cannabinoid profile also checks the quantity of Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component in a cannabis product. According to the Farm Bill Amendments of 2018, no cannabis product should have more than 0.3% THC.
One of the main characteristics of cannabis plants is that they are good bioaccumulators, which implies that they absorb nutrients from the soil and accumulate them in different tissues, such as leaves and stalk.
While being an effective bioaccumulator is good for fast plant growth, it also raises the risk of the cannabis plant absorbing and concentrating heavy metals. If heavy metals get into cannabis product and finally to the human body, they can cause problems such as cell damage, mutations, and cancer.
Third-party lab testing can help to check the presence and concentration of heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, and lead. If the heavy metals are in concentrations beyond the legally allowed threshold, you should not stock that product.
If a cannabis product contains bio-contaminants, such as salmonella, E-Coli, and molds, it should not be sold to consumers. Third-party laboratories use testing methods, such as polymerase chain reaction tests, to identify the type of bio-contaminants in a product sample.
If organic solvents, such as acetone and isobutene, were used when processing cannabis, there is a risk of some remnants being found in the final product. The selected third-party laboratory can help you to establish the presence of such organic solvents.
Note that this test will not be necessary if the cannabis product manufacturer used advanced extraction methods, such as the Super-Critical CO2 extraction.
These are only a few of the elements that are tested when you take a cannabis product sample to a third-party laboratory. Other tests that might be done include checking pesticides and terpene profiles.
Benefits of Third-Party Laboratory Testing
The main benefit of using third-party lab testing is that you are able to easily identify the right product to stock in your store. The tests help you separate the good products from the bad ones, meaning you can sell cannabis products with confidence that they are the best. Here are other benefits of working with a third-party lab.
- Lab tests help you to identify the manufacturers and suppliers who are committed to quality and customer value.
- By testing your cannabis products, you get the joy of knowing that your clients will consume high-quality cannabis products and get the anticipated therapeutic effects.
- You can identify and stock products that will not get you into conflict with the law.
- Testing your cannabis products can help your store to stand out in the highly competitive hemp industry.
- You are sure of building a strong brand from the commitment to quality and positive feedback from your clients.
- Testing your cannabis products is a great way to make the manufacturers shift to ethical production and marketing methods.
To get the best results, it is important to ensure you only work with the best laboratories. These are the labs that are approved by relevant authorities, have highly qualified staff, and use the latest cannabis testing technologies. Further, the labs should be able to test your product and give results quickly so that you can decide what to buy or avoid.
Whether you are new or have been in the cannabis industry for some time, the surest way to stand out and become successful is to ensure you stock and sell high-quality products. Third-party laboratory testing helps to check the actual content of a cannabis product, meaning that you are sure of stocking only the high-quality ones. So, do not simply trust what is written on the packaging because it can be deceptive - take the product for testing in a third-party laboratory.