Update on New ASTM Methods for Cannabis Testing

Written by Sabine Downer

Cannabis standards are documents like standard operating procedures (SOPs) and methods for testing and validation. They aim to achieve better quality and safety by creating processes that are reproducible, accurate, and yield reliable results. Countries like Canada are already expanding cannabis production internationally, so it is becoming increasingly important to establish internationally accepted standards for cannabis. One organization that is capable of establishing and governing international standards is ASTM International.


What is ASTM International?

ASTM International is a global organization that publishes standards and methods for quality assurance, business operations, and laboratory methods. They are one of the largest and most widely recognized international standard developing organizations with members in over 140 countries. Importantly, ASTM has recognized the need for international cannabis standards by forming the ASTM Committee D37 on Cannabis.


Creating International Cannabis Standards

The ASTM cannabis standards have been on development since 2017. Cannabis standards aim to improve quality control and ensure safety for cannabis growers, processors, distributors, laboratories, and researchers. Currently, ASTM has over 35 published cannabis standards and more than 70 more in development! Standards fall under the following subcommittees:

  • Cannabis horticulture and agriculture
  • Quality management systems for cannabis
  • Cannabis laboratory standards
  • Processing and handling cannabis
  • Security and transportation of cannabis
  • Personnel training, assessment, and credentialing
  • Industrial hemp standards
  • Cannabis devices and appliances
  • Cannabis sustainability
  • Executive issues
  • Cannabis terminology
  • Government liaisons for the cannabis industry
  • Cannabis industry diversity, equity, and inclusion

Along with offering standards, ASTM provides training, sales and marketing services, plus proficiency testing and certification.


The Future of Cannabis Regulation

While acceptance and use of ASTM cannabis methods is voluntary, they provide a benchmark for what internationally acceptable standards should encompass. They also offer ready-to-use business solutions that ensure cannabis companies aren’t forgetting important quality assurance considerations like validating their methods. Finally, as cannabis legalization grows globally, ASTM standards could help regulators set the bar for what safe and legal cannabis production looks like.


Image: by aymane jdidi from Pixabay

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Sabine Downer

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