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VTCNA Health Tips: The Importance Of Third Party Testing

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Susan Trombley 10 Jun 2019

With a market that is growing by the minute, the best way to distinguish high quality cannabis from the ones that are out there to make a quick buck in the green rush, is to have it tested.  Test results can easily be added to any label or website for a consumer to see, and shows transparency, helps keep consumers safe, and helps a company build a reputation that consumers can trust.  

Testing can ensure consumers are getting a clean, top quality product. As a cannabis nurse, I encourage you to ask for, and demand, third party transparent testing.

Even more important for your safety is testing for pesticides, heavy metals, mycotoxins and microbial contamination, and residual solvents from processing.

Third party testing is when products are tested in an independent laboratory that has no connection with the grower, manufacturer, company or consumer, and which has no financial stake in the test results.

Test results should include cannabinoid profile potency – most commonly THC and CBD – but should also include other cannabinoids like CBG, CBC, and CBN, and the terpene profile. Full testing can determine not only what the THC percentages are, but what terpenes and other cannabinoids are working synergistically and best for you, which can in turn help you consume more efficiently and effectively.

Even more important for your safety is testing for pesticides, heavy metals, mycotoxins and microbial contamination, and residual solvents from processing. Remember, it isn’t just important to know where or how your cannabis was grown, but how was it dried and processed into product. We encourage consumers to be looking for Clean Green or organic certifications on their product purchases.

Current Vermont Medical Marijuana Program regulations allow for in-house rather than third party testing, and test for THC only, doing nothing to ensure consumer safety.

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture is currently developing rules and regulations regarding over-the-counter VT hemp and CBD products, which look to include this testing and support consumer safety through product regulation.

Current Vermont Medical Marijuana Program regulations allow for in-house rather than third party testing, and test for THC only, doing nothing to ensure consumer safety. This isn’t just an issue of theoretical concern. Vermont’s Champlain Valley Dispensary made headlines in a VT Digger article from December 2018 highlighting concerns about mold in their cannabis due to the lack of state regulations.  

It’s important that the cannabis community – and medical patients who are the most at-risk population – ask for and demand third party testing. Ask that our medical program mandate testing, and look for the details in the new hemp regulations, which will be coming soon.

Susan Trombley, RN, is a member of the Vermont Cannabis Nurses Association.

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