What You Need to Know About CBD Testing
Whether it’s cannabis containing high levels of THC or industrial hemp grown for CBD extraction, cannabis laboratory testing is of vital importance to the health of the industry, its consumers, and its patients. Wondering what cannabis labs test? Explore the importance of third-party testing with Digipath Labs and myCBD.org.
Learn About Cannabis and Hemp Testing with Digipath Labs
Based in Las Vegas, Digipath Labs is a “service-oriented independent testing laboratory…focused on the developing cannabis and hemp markets.” Recently recognized on as one of the “Top Leading Market Players” by Insight Partners, an independent firm specializing in market research, the team at Digipath has been testing cannabis, hemp, and CBD products for four years.
“Do you like to know what’s in your food, and your gasoline, and your water and your milk? Well you should also know what’s in your CBD products as well,” said Digipath’s President, CEO, and founder, Todd Denkin. “Everything that we ingest and everything that we consume is tested…because there’s not a lot of education on CBD and because CBD is the new craze, it’s even more important to get a CBD product tested so you know exactly what is in it and what is not.”
Like any agricultural product, both hemp and cannabis can be exposed to anything from bacteria and mold to pests. When it comes to CBD products derived from hemp, however, some states only require potency testing.
“In the state of Nevada, you’re only required to get only potency testing but we’re seeing a lot of companies that are going above and beyond getting that cannabis testing,” said Shelby Stanley, Digipath’s Operations Manager.
Cannabis testing, Stanley and Denkin explained, provides companies and consumers with an in-depth analysis of heavy metals, pesticides, microbes, and more. Testing, they said empowers companies when presenting their products to a dispensary or even a CBD store near you while also protecting consumers by certifying a product as safe to consume.
Potency, Terpene, and Safety Testing for Cannabis and Hemp Products
While safety testing is the norm for mainstream industries, the CBD industry exists in a gray area, putting the onus on companies, as opposed to regulators, to set the bar.
“The industry really needs to come together and really focus on safety, consumer safety,” said Denkin. “The minute something goes wrong, the minute someone gets sick or the minute something is nefariously done, it really puts a bruise and big black eye on the entire industry…we really need to self-regulate amongst ourselves.”
In Nevada, where requirements for cannabis products are the most stringent, testing is required anytime a new product is created. For a laboratory like Digipath, that means testing everything from soil and nutrients to flower, topicals, and every product in-between.
“We test [cannabis, hemp, and CBD] every step of the way,” Denkin said. “The most efficient way to go is to test your flower or your trim right off the plant…and then when you make something from [the plant] whether it’s an oil, a distillate, or an isolate, that also has to be tested to make sure your process is working,” he said. “Then, if you take that isolate or that distillate or that oil and you make it into a third product, you put it into a capsule or a vape pen…that should also be tested.”
So how do consumers get their hands on lab results? The answer is surprisingly simple: just ask.
“Always ask for a certificate of analysis,” said Stanley. “If you’re in a dispensary and they purchased that [CBD product] legally; if that product is safe to be on the shelves; that product will come with a certificate of analysis.”
In addition to containing potency and terpene results, which are important for both patients and regulators to know, a COA is also an ingredient’s list said Denkin. “Every piece of food that you buy, everything that’s on a shelf in every part of the world, has an ingredients list but not cannabis or hemp products,” he said.
Until recently, the FDA and USDA have not regulated cannabis or hemp products. However, due to mandates included in the 2018 Farm Bill, all that is about to change, at least when it comes to hemp products. “When the FDA does come on and start doing that you bet your bottom dollar that there’s going to be nutritional facts not only on every edible that’s made, but also on every pill that’s made, on every isolate that’s made, on every tincture that’s made,” said Denkin. “All of that will happen.”
CBD Shopping Tips for the Cannabis Curious Consumer
Considering the medicinal nature of both cannabis and CBD use, it is particularly important to know what is and isn’t in the CBD and cannabis products consumers have access to.
“If we’re going to call it medicine, especially CBD and hemp products, you have to treat it as such,” said Stanley. “That’s what most of [these CBD and hemp companies] are marketing. It’s CBD, and health, and wellness, and ‘make yourself feel better,’’ she said. “In order do so, you have to make sure that [you CBD product] comes with a pretty little certificate to make sure that it’s not riddled with some type of toxin.”
As CBD and hemp get embraced by mainstream culture and consumer markets, Digipath is committed to providing consumers with the information they need about the products they’re using.
“We just signed an agreement with a company called Hemp Inc. and we are going to open up potency testing laboratories at Hemp Inc.’s processing centers in Oregon, in Arizona and in North Carolina,” he said. “We’re now committing ourselves as a company to really embrace the hemp side of the industry because hemp is now legal because CBD is now more mainstream.”
As one of the cannabis laboratories working to embrace cannabis and hemp markets, Digipath’s efforts not only span the country but the world. In January, Digipath announced its intent to open a cannabis testing facility in Colombia. “Clearly, international expansion presents a tremendous opportunity for Digipath and its shareholders,” stated Denkin in a company release. “We expect Colombia to be one of the market leaders in cannabis, hemp and CBD production and are excited about the possibilities,” he said.
Stay Smart while Embracing the Future of the Cannabis Industry
Especially for the new consumer, the presence of independent, accredited labs operated by scientists who are held accountable for the validity of their results is critical to the overall success and health of the cannabis industry. While cannabis lab testing regulations vary greatly from state to state, laboratories like Digipath Labs are helping conscientious cannabis and hemp companies to better serve their consumers and communities.