TCheck Puts High Tech in Small PackageA Tech Moment interview with the makers of tCheck, a handheld spectrometer for cannabis potency testing.
It's no secret that the cannabis sector has an ongoing problem with accuracy. As several recent studies have pointed out, a significant portion of cannabis products on the market today are either underlabled or overlabeled with their cannabinoid contents. So, it's a bold move to claim a precision of +/- 1.5 mg/ml. Yet, that is precisely what the team behind tCheck are celebrating in their portable cannabinoid tester. With a tCheck device, retailers, patients, producers, and cultivators now have a handheld, affordable means to determine potency: no more guesswork, no more inaccuracies.
In this episode of A Tech Moment, Kristina Etter, of Cannabis Tech, spoke with Peichen Chang, co-founder of tCheck and Kelly Maynard, Director of Sales, about the roots of this revolutionary cannabinoid testing device and their plans for the future. What is immediately apparent from their conversation is the overwhelming response from their customers - both from patients and now, producers.
The Origins of tCheck
A revolutionary tool with very humble beginnings, tCheck was designed in response to a genuine need. According to Chang, a longtime friend of the company (before there even was a company) was using cannabis to treat the symptoms of her Parkinson's Disease. At the time, she made her own edibles and tested potency through the only means available - starting with a small dose, and seeing how it felt.
Every batch of edibles would lead to a range of effects, which required constant adjustments on dose size. This self-experimentation lead to serious consequence one day when her husband found her couch locked with acute marijuana intoxication. When the crisis had passed, both husband and wife sought safe ways to test cannabis products at home.
While this was an unfortunate accident, it eventually led to the development of the first tCheck device. This prototype, which Chang likens to a shoebox, did the trick. It reduced all the guesswork and solved many of the most common challenges of using cannabis at home.
The benefits for patients were immediately evident. Chang grabbed the shoebox and started marketing to dispensaries. As he explains, he "Literally took the shoebox and stood on a street corner in front of a dispensary." The response was overwhelming.
tCheck 2 and a New Era of Accuracy in the Industry
Today the tCheck device is nothing like its original shoebox prototype. Its sleek, palm-sized design, which links to a mobile app is user-friendly and extremely portable. The small device quickly determines potency using a process called spectroscopy, which is the interaction of matter with light.
tCheck and Smartphone App
The built-in UV light system can accurately perform cannabinoid testing for levels of THC, THCa, and CBD. The base model can read clarified butter, olive oil, coconut oil, and MCT infusions. With the expansion pack, it can also accurately test dried flower and concentrates.
As a reminder, tCheck is accurate to a degree of +/- 1.5 mg per ml. This device is the first of its kind, giving patients a means to determine potency before consumption. No more complicated calculations, guesswork, or winging it required.
Moving Forward, from the Patient to the Producer
As Chang and Maynard both admit, tCheck was not expecting the magnitude of positive response. Very clearly, there was an unmet need in the sector. Interestingly, it's not just patients who have found a use for an affordable, small scale cannabinoid testing tool. Producers and cultivators are finding applications for the tCheck well beyond the original intent.
For producers, the tCheck reduces the costs and time associated with new product development. During recipe and production design, potency testing is vital to ensure the final product meets consumer demands and product goals. However, testing is expensive, slow, and typically performed off-site at a third-party facility. The tCheck immediately reduces the development time, and resources needed to take a new product to market.
Cultivators are also taking advantage of the tCheck system as a way to refine processes, help with strain selection, improve cultivation techniques, and guide breeding programs. Chang and Maynard also speak to the usefulness for edible producers, who need to guarantee batch homogenization under Californian regulation. When you need to test a batch multiple times, ease of use and speed are top priorities. Price point user experience and portability make tCheck a no brainer for commercial operations.
Soon, the team at tCheck will launch several updates for the device geared specifically towards industry customers. First, they will issue a firmware update which gives edible producers the ability to check decarboxylation rates. Knowing the levels of activated versus non-activated cannabinoids in an infusion improves the final product, customer satisfaction, and ultimately leads to improvements within the production process.
In the second round of updates, at the request of concentrate producers, tCheck is developing a barcode component. Adding a batch-specific barcode allows companies to track potency, quality, and original input material (not to mention the proficiency of the technician behind the batch). Tagging and tracking batches via barcode is an added layer of compliance.
Add-On Flower & Concentrates Testing Kit
Cannabinoid Testing Revolution in Your Pocket
The evolution of the tCheck portable cannabinoid testing device has taken the company from the homes of patients into the laboratories of producers. It's solved the problem of dosing, consistency, and accuracy. Although medicinal cannabis patients were the original target market, the team at tCheck is now setting its sights on all areas of production.
The possible applications for handheld cannabinoid testing span the production process, from seed to sale. It's a device which easily overcomes many of the current hurdles within cultivation and cannabis product development by saving human resources, time commitments, and financial costs. It puts the power back into the hands of whoever holds the product.
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