Marijuana Testing labs are the mystery of the marijuana / cannabis industry. Marijuana Stocks / Cannabis Companies rely on these labs to determine the level of THC in their products or give them a pass with regards to mold, pests, or pesticides. The problem is that not all labs are created equal. The labs themselves aren’t inspected or graded by any agencies and customers have no idea whether products were tested at a reputable lab. Some believe that the problem is standardization, but there are plenty of state standards. The real problem is enforcement.
Marijuana consumers tend to equate THC levels with price. They believe if an edible has a low THC level, it should be cheaper and conversely, if it has a high THC level, it should cost more. They are looking for more bang for their buck. Can I get something with 25 mg of THC as cheaply as possible? The producers know this is just plain wrong. The process for extracting THC is the same whether the amount is small or not
Many customers prefer a smaller level of THC in order to go about their day without being extremely impaired. However, because of this developing value trend, some producers are incentivized to get their products listed with higher THC levels and some labs are willing to help them get there.
Dylan Hirsch, executive vice president of a lab corporation said, “Many of the labs will sometimes say they can get better results. It can be so subjective for results on THC.” Sometimes, it’s the growers who are unscrupulous. They may bring a different product than their own to the lab for testing, one that could have higher THC. He stated, “There is no assurance that what the lab tested and what they are now selling to someone else is the same product. Hirsch suggested that there needs to be a tighter supply chain.
Part of the challenge is that the lab’s business model makes it difficult to be profitable. The machinery is expensive and their staff scientists are well-paid professionals. For example, testing equipment may cost $600,000, but then they may only be testing 2 samples a day for maybe $100 each. Hirsch also pointed out that the lab may have expensive testing equipment, but then the testers might not be that great.
Garyn Angel, CEO an infuser machine company, said that different testers give different results. He believes that another part of the problem is that there are no standard operating procedures for testing marijuana and infused products. Angel said, “Everything in science works on standard operating procedures. True science is repeatable. Testing cannabinoids though is not like testing blood.” He believes the problem is that the labs don’t want to share their methods and feel it is proprietary because of the competition among labs.