Jessica Rosslee   |   December 10, 2020

Cannabis Testing Solutions for the Home Grower

Home growers need lab analysis, too.
Jessica Rosslee is a former journalist who has dedicated her writing skills and passion for communication to the cannabis industry. Jessica has spent her life in the field of wellness and communication, committed to allowing people access to…

While cannabis sales are booming across the United States, farmers and home growers are witnessing how the previously ostracized plant, once part of heavy stigmatization, is now a profitable and acceptable profession. The marijuana market has bloomed into an expansive industry that faces extensive regulations.

States have different regulations to adhere to, but most states with legalized recreational and medicinal marijuana require cannabis products to be screened for various compounds and substances. Before a cannabis product can be sold in California, for example, the product needs to be tested for the presence of pesticides, heavy metals, and microbes. But that’s not all, terpene and cannabinoid content also need to be checked, and growers are often left biting their nails waiting for outside sources to deliver results.

Third-party testing is essential for businesses to deliver reliable test results that customers can be secure with. But what about the small scale, at home grower?

The current market situation offers various third-party testing solutions but few options for the home grower. But this is changing. Let’s see how:

Cannabis Testing Solutions

There are two primary testing types:

  • Tests conducted by consumers at home
  • Third-party laboratory testing or on-site business testing

The latter is essential for a healthy market, but the consumer needs more solutions to verify the product at home. This not only holds businesses accountable, hopefully inspiring a truthful approach to their marketing and product, but also offers a window for consumers to become more educated about the product, promoting understanding, curiosity, and further destigmatization.

For the average consumer, sending purchased or homegrown cannabis products to laboratories for verification can be expensive and, for many, merely impossible due to prohibitive logistics. This is where home testing kits are becoming popular. There are various kits available, focusing on THC and other cannabinoids and others providing a varied analysis of compounds within the plant.

Home Cannabis Test Options

  • Although a recent entry into the market, home testing kits offer an affordable solution to expensive laboratory analysis
  • Small tests are available if only specific compounds need to be checked, for example, THC tests.
  • Time is money. The rapid results offered by the home testing kits cut the waiting period out, and it could help minimize any anxious waiting period. Home testing kits can let the consumer know within mere minutes if they contain THC or harmful substances.

Legal recreational cannabis users now have an arsenal of testing options at their fingertips. Let’s unpack the different options available.

Origo Labs: Laboratory Testing for Home Growers

From their website, “Origo Labs is determined to seek truth by revealing impurities in cannabis and hemp products.”

With statements like this and a mission slogan “Seek the Truth,” Origo Labs are clear about their mission in the cannabis industry. The company launched its testing products in May 2020 and are committed to offering a new era of transparency to the cannabis industry. To do this, the company provides the following:

  • Cannabinoid Profile and Potency
  • Terpene Profiling
  • Residual Solvents
  • Pesticides
  • Moisture Content
  • Homogeneity
  • Foreign Materials
  • Microbiological
  • Mycotoxins
  • Heavy Metals
  • Vitamin E (for vape oils)

According to Tim Cash, Co-founder of Origo Labs, “Origo Labs is in the forefront of hemp testing in Illinois and the nation. We use industry-leading instrumentation to ensure our customers receive accurate and reliable data.”

Cash conveys that Origo Labs is committed to quality assurances for the cannabis industry.

“Our staff has extensive experience in regulatory compliance and R&D, in both cannabis and hemp science. We offer the analytical capability you need to ensure your products are safe for consumption and are tested accurately.” Cash goes on to say.

But Origo labs is not the only company to bring tests to the public. Manufacturers such as HiGrade, tCheck, and MyDx are amongst the most popular test kit manufacturers. Easily accessible testing kits help people at home to test purchased products, discover the precise cannabinoid and terpene profiles, and test their own homegrown plants. Medical users, especially, can benefit greatly from this kind of testing.

Alpha-Cat

Another premium manufacturer is Alpha-Cat, a company that supplies the industry with some of the most popular cannabis test kits. Alpha-Cat provides cannabinoid tests and focuses on potency testing, primarily marketed towards medical patients seeking a precise potency and dose. Their tests are mobile kits and have made it easy for even the most science-averted individual to quickly and affordably test their cannabis.

CannaDx™

CannaDx™ is another popular cannabis testing kit. They allow you to test THC % and receive an answer in mere minutes. Their proprietary sensor picks up other cannabinoids, terpenes, and a complete analysis of the bud’s chemical composite. The data read from the cannabis product is then compared to the information on the database and offers consumer feedback (primarily crowdsourced) to explain what effects the specific cannabis may have. The analysis, dubbed the Canna Profile™ (TCP) combined with the feedback, offers an in-depth insight into marijuana, potentially instigating a deeper understanding of cannabis and its intricate strain-specific nature.

Home testing is a technology that can help home growers target specifics within their cultivation and help consumers have a personalized understanding of cannabis’s chemical compounds and how best to harness them.

How do Home Testing Kits Work?

Each company will have a unique testing kit to market, but the gist is that home testing kits allow you to use a small amount of cannabis (approximately 1gram) and apply a test fluid to it. The plant material is placed on a glass plate and put into another container with another testing fluid.

The cannabinoids are then separated from the plant material and get transported to the top of the plate. Most testing kits show different cannabinoids in different colors. A dye can be applied to the container to reveal the colored spots of cannabinoids.

The process is more straightforward than it sounds, especially with the introduction of home testing kits. Home test kits are a niche in the cannabis industry and can be used as an affordable way to merge the public’s understanding of the weed plant with the complex, and often beautiful, science behind the plant and all its vast effects. Many home testing kits also combine with a mobile app, simplifying the process even further.

Why Home Testing Kits?

National testing labs are usually accredited and can be relied on for consistent and pure results, so why the push for home testing kits? 

Many passionate home growers may believe their plants are contaminant-free, but many situations may prove otherwise. For example, if you're growing your plants outside and your neighbor uses Round-Up or some other pest-control chemical in their yard, chances are good your plants will be contaminated by the chemicals. Maybe you live in an apartment and have a small grow in a closet - do you know how your building sprays for insects? Do you know what chemicals they use? Unintentional contamination happens even if a grower is careful about how they grow their cannabis or hemp.

Legalizing cannabis in both recreational and medical aspects has increased the number of people using cannabis and the number of people growing their own. Accredited national testing laboratories are simply not an option for many people due to costs and accessibility.

We are witnessing a time in the developing cannabis industry where accountability should be at the forefront of the industry for both consumers and producers. With home testing kits, people can better understand cannabis, and companies will have to adhere to quality assurance.

Home testing kits offer a sophisticated yet straightforward way for those in both the medical and recreational market to forge a more accurate understanding of cannabis, potential toxins and the complexity of potency and effects.

 

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