The cannabis industry in Canada, especially in BC and Vancouver Island is taking off!

Dispensaries, medical marijuana, recreational … herb, oils, tinctures, creams, edibles! These are ground breaking and very exciting times for cannabis product manufacturers and consumers alike.

With a bounty of cannabis products to choose from, knowing what is in the product as far as cannabinoid potency can be overwhelming to figure out.

Thankfully, to accompany the booming cannabis industry, there are spin-off companies such as Phytatest Labs in Cobble Hill on Vancouver Island here to provide product testing services.

Phytatest Labs offers a cannabinoid profile test which includes acidic and neutral THC, CBD and CBG, as well as total CBN and CBC. The test also includes 7 major terpenes some of which, in addition to flavour and aroma, have been found to be medicinally beneficial and synergistic with cannabinoids.

Know Your Product Inside Out

Differentiating between acidic and neutral cannabinoids is especially important when manufacturing products derived from the cannabis plant. In the natural plant, most of the cannabinoids are in the acidic form and need to be “activated” or, technically speaking “decarboxylated” which happens during exposure to high heat. The heating process converts acidic cannabinoids to the neutral form which is the form utilized by the human body. Typically the dried herb is smoked or vaporized at high temperatures to activate the cannabinoids.

When attempting to manufacture cannabis-derived products such as topical creams, edible products, and tinctures for example, frequently not all of the cannabinoids present have been converted. For example, say one is attempting to make cannabis-infused olive oil to take in drop form or use as a food additive. A test result from the lab may reveal a total of 100mg/g of THC total. This would be equivalent to 10% which is a high result for an oil infusion.  However, the results also reveal only 25 mg has been activated while the other 75 mg remains in the acidic form.  This means only 25 mg/g or 2.5% of the THC in the product will be of medicinal value. A result such as this shouldn’t discourage but reveal valuable information to indicate that further processing time may be necessary, or higher heating temperatures required to unveil the full potential of the product. Rice cookers and pressure cookers are sometimes required to reach high enough temperatures, depending on the desired product.

Potency Testing for the Cannabis Naive Consumer

Cannabis product potency testing is also invaluable for the novice user, especially when it comes to edibles and orally taken extracts. Knowing exactly how much of a given cannabinoid is present per serving can avoid all too common overdosing or disappointment. A doctor or knowledgeable dispensary staff member can recommend an adequate dose based on the test results on the product label.

For example, if a product label claims 5% THC that means for every gram of the product you will ingest 50 mg of THC. If your doctor recommends you start with 100 mg, then you will know you need to ingest only 2g of the product (even if it weighs a total of 10g such as a cookie!). A scale may come in handy…

For more information on cannabis-product testing visit www.phytatest.com or email info@phytatest.com