What is lab accreditation and what could it mean for your cannabis?

Growth op

This story first appeared in Weekend Dispensary, a new weekly newsletter from The GrowthOp. Signup now to get a story delivered to your inbox every Saturday.  For nearly a decade in the early 2000s, Flin Flon, Manitoba, was home to Canada’s “marijuana mine.” Saskatchewan company Prairie Plant Systems held an exclusive contract to produce cannabis deep within an unused section of the Trout Lake Mine, a location reportedly selected as a grow site for its security. Andrew Adams, the former director of Health Canada’s drug analysis service, oversaw the testing for the cannabis that was grown in the mine shaft. Beyond the cannabinoid content, the government tested for metals, fungal toxins, microbial and chemical contaminants, and other foreign matter. According to Adams, the data was freely accessible and posted on a Health Canada website. But when a media outlet ran their own tests and found the THC score to be lower than advertised (Adams recalls the number allegedly dropping from around 12 per cent per Health Canada’s tests to closer to 6 per cent), it set off a controversy. Adams had some questions about those results. Mainly, which lab performed the tests and where did that lab get their standards from? “At the time, it would have been illegal to buy standards, it’s a controlled substance,” Adams tells The GrowthOp . “They couldn’t have gone out and legally purchased a THC standard from a chemical company. So where did they get the standard from? What is the certification around that standard? How do you know that standard is accurate? Did you use a valid analytical method? Did you have proper controls in there?” Adams, now the president and CEO of the not-for-profit Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA), says some of those questions can still be asked of cannabis labs today. This…

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