You need to know what is in your cannabis crops if you want to succeed. Not knowing can negatively affect your brand, customers, and the bottom line. In-house analytics provides an additional layer of security for cannabis entrepreneurs. Below are seven reasons to invest in in-house analytics.
1- Identifying Contaminants
Pesticides, bacteria, viruses, metal contaminants, and excess moisture have no place in cannabis. Investing in in-house analytics could prevent these contaminants from seeping into your crops, ruining product batches, and wreaking havoc on your customers’ health.
For example, when a high moisture content is present, microbial contamination might lead to consumers’ health risks. Additionally, pesticides can concentrate in cannabis extracts, so having a way to test before and after extraction can provide vital information.
2- Cannabinoid Identification
New minor cannabinoids have been identified, one of which is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP), a cannabinoid considered to be 33x more potent than delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and 63x stronger than tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV).  The novelty of the cannabinoid means that traditional testing will not uncover it, and THCP could sneak by undetected. While some people might be pleased to find a molecule 33x stronger than expected, a surprise like this could turn many consumers off to valuable alternative treatment. What’s more, hemp farmers can ensure their crops are compliant in real-time.
Automation takes menial tasks off your plate and assigns them to technology, meaning you can concentrate on tasks that require human completion. One way cannabis brands may automate in-house analytics is through drones that may identify (and remove) intruders from crops or survey the farm to assess plant health. Also, third-party analytical labs have turned to robotics for things like sample preparation, freeing up the human mind for important tasks like data interpretation.
The industry is still evolving, and so are the ever-changing regulations. Consider the moisture content of adequately dried cannabis requirement of California of 13% or lower. There are penalties for non-compliance, and they vary from regulation to regulation. Same goes for the aforementioned contaminants. Recognizing problems early on, before 3rd party testing is involved can ensure compliance across the seed-to-sale domain.
Product quality is essential for brand image. When improper testing occurs, you will receive inaccurate results, and your product might suffer. Consequently, you can expect poor reviews. This may be the case with consumers purchasing synthetic cannabinoid products that may or may not contain the cannabinoids listed on the label. There are options to help you ensure that your reactions were sound. By investing in some basic in-house instrumentation, you can monitor plant and product potency, identify vital terpenes in your crop’s bouquet, ensure process and product standardization, and test product batches before sending samples to 3rd party labs so there are no surprises.
6- Lab Accuracy & Validation
Spectroscopy and chromatography provide standard in-house analytical instruments and when the two are used in tandem, predictive models can screen samples in a high-throughput fashion, saving time and money. In-house analytics provide cannabis businesses excellent tools for validating lab results and some labs will help you match methods so that your in-house methods best mirror those of your lab of choice.
7- Reduce Costs
When you use in-house analytics, you gain a clearer picture of what is in your crops and products thereby protecting your business from excess costs related to lost crops or failed product batches. And while automation of things like sample prep might mean an initial investment, it pays off in reducing compensation for remedial tasks, and allowing you to maximize your staff’s time for more important things.
The bottom line is that if you have a brand, you need in-house analytics. Testing cannabis in-house protects your crops, products, customers, and business from negative consequences.
Reference Citti C, Linciano P, Russo F, et al. A novel phytocannabinoid isolated from Cannabis sativa L. with an in vivo cannabimimetic activity higher than Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol: Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabiphorol. Sci Rep. 2019;9(1):20335. [journal impact factor = 4.379; times cited = 98]