Lab shopping in Florida is hazardous for cannabis users

Published Nov 26, 2020 10:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Ivan-balvan

Stress and anxiety often accompany many of the health concerns that people today are living with, and cannabis has proven to help those living with such circumstances to live a better quality of life. So, should lab testing and lab shopping be an added concern that patients need to be aware of? Medical cannabis patients should never have to worry about whether or not their medication is contaminated or safe to use.

Sellers of marijuana are required to test all of the products sold in the U.S. The test is conducted to measure the levels of contaminants and cannabinoids. The Florida Office of Medical Marijuana Use and the Florida Department of Agriculture require that the tests be completed before the sale of hemp and cannabis.

Unfortunately, not all testing labs are created equally, and sometimes errors result in the patient suffering severe consequences. The majority of the time, when this happens, it is from a mistake. However, when the mistake is overlooked or even ignored, it is to the product seller's advantage. An example of this type of behaviour is one medical cannabis company that tested and passed a full flower and gave it a passing grade. The strain was then dispersed to different dispensaries who sold the contaminated flower for weeks before the error was noticed.

Booming business

The cannabis business is in full budding motion, and testing laboratories are poised to capitalize on the demand for third-party marijuana testing. Sadly, many of the testing labs are not meeting the requirements necessary to protect public safety and human health. Today contaminated herb on the legal market is unacceptable. For health reasons, the smokable bud is especially dangerous to one’s health when the contaminants are:

  • Mildew
  • Mycotoxins
  • Mould
  • Heavy metals

These contaminants and toxins will travel straight to the bloodstream and the lungs. Ill-equipped testing labs risk public health and do no justice for the cannabis industry, which stands by much higher demands of quality.

The bottom line

Some cannabis companies are not focused on selling sanitary products because they are more motivated by the bottom line. These are companies that want to be ensured that their product will pass compliance testing.  These companies will seek out labs that will help them, and this practice is known as lab shopping. They are looking for testing labs that have a reputation for being easy. This is unsafe for the medical cannabis consumer.

How to be proactive

To help ensure that a patient receives safe medication, they should ask their dispensary who the third-party lab testing facility is. This information then needs to be followed up with by investigating the lab's reputation for both accuracy and quality. Sometimes this information is not available, which forces consumers to be dependent on the seller to provide only safe products.

The certificate of analysis is to be made available to the consumer when purchasing a cannabis product. Check out pertinent info like:

  • How long the business has been established and operational

  • How large is the business facility?

  • How are the reviews on the product?

Final words

Cannabis products and marijuana testing are an essential part of the medical cannabis industry. Most of the dispensaries, manufacturers, and testing labs out there care about providing an excellent safe product. For standards to be upheld in the industry, the bar must continue to be raised, as it will help to provide a safe experience for cannabis patients everywhere.

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