Two potency results from the same product tested in different Alaska labs have conflicting results, causing an audit by the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Environmental Health Laboratory.
Last month, the Alaska Marijuana Control Office (AMCO) bought separately packaged four-gram lots of two types cannabis flowers from the same dispensary. They then brought the samples directly to Alaska’s two operating cannabis testing labs. Steep Hill Alaska and Canntest revealed very different potency results, revealing a larger problem with testing in the most northwestern of the United States.
The audit was recommended by the director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office Erika McConnell. Before the audit, a public service announcement was distributed throughout Alaska by The Marijuana Control Board. The announcement warned citizens about the testing discrepancies, urging them to use caution when dosing out medical cannabis products until the audit is complete.
When it comes to the deviating potency results both testing labs were given two samples which were purchased from the same store, from the same lot. Steep Hill Alaska brought back 16.2% THC and CannTest revealed 21.73% THC on the Eskimo Bubble Gum. When testing Paradise Nebula cannabis strain reported 12.1% THC from Steep Hill and Canntest brought back 11.28% THC.
These varying results, which have been deemed a “significant deviation” by McConnell, could be due to their potency testing methods or even equipment calibration and maintenance. Also, cannabis is an exceptionally complex organic plant. The flower that buds from the top of the plant is thought to have a higher potency than the buds growing on the bottom of the main stalk. Therefore, two samples tested from the same plant could have varying potency levels.
Each state has dealt with their own batch of issues when it comes to setting up testing labs. The silver lining in this story is that Alaska is that the governing bodies in the state are aware and learning how to solve the complicated problem at hand.