Marijuana goes via rigorous checks in the Silver State


Steve Marcus

Johnny Chan, an analytical chemist, checks cannabinoid levels in a sample at DigiPath Labs, a cannabis testing facility, Wednesday, June six, 2018.

Prior to marijuana is prepared for sale in Nevada dispensaries, it ought to initial go via a laboratory screening method for a wide variety of pesticides and contaminants, as properly as tests to establish potency levels.

There are situations when the Nevada Division of Taxation difficulties well being advisory warnings for solutions that fail microbial testing. To critique the most current advisories, pay a visit to

Recreational marijuana is not legal at the federal level, which means there are no federal requirements or regulations for approving cannabis solutions for sale. That leaves policymaking up to every state. Nevada—which fancies itself a leader in the booming, new industry—has “very stringent policies” that influence every single aspect of the testing method, guaranteeing cannabis solutions outsourced from cultivators are protected to consume, neighborhood cannabis lawyer Amanda Connor mentioned.

There are 11 independent labs licensed via the state, mentioned Eden Larson, a spokeswoman for the Division of Taxation.

“When Nevada created the laboratory regulations, they looked at other states and adopted some of the very best practices from about the nation,” she mentioned.


Nevada law calls for that testing facilities employ a scientific director with a doctorate in chemical or biological sciences.

All labs ought to stick to requirements published by the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia as properly as suggestions from the American Herbal Solutions Association, the law states. These requirements assure cannabis samples are as no cost from foreign matter as “practically feasible,” as properly as possessing constant coloring with no indicators of gray or black, each indicators of fungal infection.

Larson mentioned lab inspections are scheduled consistently all through the year, and every lab ought to go via an accreditation method, pursuant to the International Organization for Standardization, by an impartial entity.

And labs ought to be independent from all other parties involved in the cannabis sector. The law states: “No individual with a direct or indirect interest in the laboratory has a direct or indirect economic interest in: A health-related marijuana dispensary, a facility for the production of edible marijuana solutions or marijuana-infused.”

Testing method

Labs gather raw samples of flower, edibles and concentrates from cultivators to test for contaminants, pesticides, fungi, toxic metals and moisture.

The division has an acceptable test-level on every sample, Connor mentioned. If a sample fails any of these tests, the cultivator ought to destroy the whole batch of that item.

Potency levels are also measured so buyers will know what effects the item will have on them.

Cannabis chemistry includes much more than 400 chemical entities, with 80 exclusive to the plant itself, according to the National Institutes of Overall health. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the most active element.

The most frequent way to test for potency is via a method known as Higher Functionality Liquid Chromatography, or HPLC, which separates and quantifies the chemical compound. By way of this method a sample is combined with solvent, such as ethanol, and placed into a higher-stress tube containing a material that attracts specific molecules.

Cannabinoids which includes THC and CBD will move at diverse speeds via the tube, which then attracts specific molecules. The varying speeds permit lab technicians to label the samples. Cannabinoid worth labeling observed on packaging comes from these measurements.

Labs will also test for terpene levels, which are aromatic oils that give cannabis solutions their distinctive tastes and smells, such as berry, lavender or mint. Terpenes also interact with other compounds in the cannabis plant, which can in portion manipulate the effects of varying strains.

This story initially appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly.


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