Testing Lab: Common Types of Potency Testing

testing lab
Written by Cara Wietstock

Potency testing is crucial in the testing lab when it comes to medical cannabis.

Every state has their own testing lab regulations. These regulations are the bare minimum that cannabis flowers and products must be tested before going to market. Some states require the full testing docket while others simply opt to test for potency. Potency testing is crucial to understanding how cannabis will affect us as patients. These three types of potency testing are the most popular in the cannabis testing lab.

Cannabinoid Profiles

Almost all cells in the body are regulated by the endocannabinoid system. One of the reasons that cannabis is known to heal is because it is made up of chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Cannabinoids treat endocannabinoid deficiencies that we may be suffering from. For that reason, having test results showing the exact cannabinoid profile of a strain can help a patient make an educated decision about their medicine. These analyses are generally completed using HPLC with DAD or GC-FID & Headspace.

Potency Analysis

While cannabinoid profiles let us know the makeup of the cannabis strain, potency analysis tells us the percentage of any specific cannabinoid we may be looking at. This is also imperative if we want to empower patients while they are choosing their medicine at a dispensary. For potency testing, a cannabis lab will generally use HPLC with DAD or GC-FID & Headspace.

Terpene Profile

We talk about terpenes quite often on the blog. Until recently, terpene analysis wasn’t a routine test at cannabis labs. The Werc Shop was the first testing lab to offer terpene profiling services. Now some cannabis testing labs, like Desert Valley Testing, are able to pinpoint up to 30 different terpenes in one strain. Steep Hill Labs currently test for 42 different terpenes. Some labs use GC-FID to test for terpene profiles.

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These are the three most common types of testing methods. Do you know better methodology for testing potency, cannabinoid, & terpene profiles? Let us know in the comments.



About the author

Cara Wietstock

Cara began working in the retail cannabis industry of San Francisco, CA in 2011 and continued in that sector for years. In 2015 she dedicated herself to writing full-time. Her passion for the written word and deep respect for the healing properties of the plant have brought her to Terpenes and Testing magazine. She now helps keep us on the cutting edge of scientific cannabis discovery as the Editor-in-Chief of the print publication.

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