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Cannabis Lab testing

Third-Party Lab Testing and Cannabis – Why It’s Important

The cannabis industry is filled with a large number of unscrupulous vendors right now.

That is because, after the 2018 farm bill, the cannabis world started booming. 

When you have an exponentially growing, *largely unregulated* industry, with a lot of money to be involved, there are inevitably going to be some sketch manufacturers involved.

That being said, inexperienced customers are being taken advantage of by brands that sell lower-quality products or mislabeled goods in order to make more profit.

When it comes to newer cannabinoids like Delta-8 THC, even experienced users can have trouble finding a reliable source for D8 THC. This is primarily because It’s difficult to determine a vendor’s quality and standards without actually trying their products.

Fortunately, there are a lot of credible sources online that use third-party lab testing to verify the quality and ensure their customers that their products are genuinely what they say they are.

Below you will find a brief overview that explains the basics of third-party testing and why it is so important.

Photo by Tinnakorn/Adobe stock photo

What even is third-party lab testing?

Basically, when a company creates a new batch of products, be it CBD or Delta-8 THC, they *should* send out a sample to an independent and disinterested third-party lab to analyze the product. 

These labs usually test for cannabinoid content, terpene content, heavy metals, and other contaminants.

Typically they run a number of tests on the products received, sometimes without knowing where the samples even came from. This is to ensure that there is no bias or conflict of interest.

High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) is the most widely used method of testing. Because it doesn’t require any high temperatures, HPLC gives you the most accurate breakdown and analysis of a product’s cannabinoid levels.

After the HPLC is completed, the laboratory sends a detailed report to the company. The testing report provides a wealth of information about the cannabinoid content as well as other compounds. This section is essential for accurately labeling product potency.

A separate section of the report also covers contaminants that could cause a product to be tainted or unsafe. (More on this later).

Ultimately, what leads to a number of issues is that, it’s primarily up to the manufacturer to decide if the report gets published or not. 

If the results show a lower concentration of cannabinoids or that the product has dangerous contaminants, some companies may not publish that information. This is unethical and frankly, wrong.

This gives the cannabis industry a bad name and puts consumers in at great risk and danger.

third-party lab testing

Why Is Lab Testing So Important?

Reputable cannabis companies always use third-party testing. This proves that the product is potent and shows that no contaminants were introduced during production.

Third-party lab testing is the only way to find out what’s really in the cannabis products you’re purchasing. Sometimes, in-house testing is inaccurate or misleading. 

Additionally, some companies do not publish testing results at all and leave their potential customers completely in the dark.

It is better to only buy products with published test results than to overpay for low-quality delta-8 THC products, or to run the risk of ingesting dangerous chemicals.

#1 Safety and Contamination

Without quantitative testing results, it’s impossible to know what a cannabis product contains. Even the best-intentioned companies occasionally run into quality issues and can end up selling unsafely contaminated products.

In order to cut costs, other companies may have neglected safety guidelines, which could expose the customer to potential dangers and harmful chemicals.

Contamination can occur in many different ways, that is why lab testing is crucial for identifying any foreign substances.

Third-party lab test results

Hemp Plant Contamination

Hemp plants are soil remediators. This means that they are able to absorb heavy metals and harmful chemicals from the soils they grow in. 

Moreover, if hemp is grown in toxic and highly contaminated soil, it can quickly become unsafe for production. 

Due to the immense harm that heavy metals can cause and their potential side effects, the legal limits for intake are extremely low. 

Even small amounts can cause serious side effects.

Below is a list of common heavy metal contaminants:

  • Lead
  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Copper
  • Mercury

Contamination Processing

Additionally, some production lines use solvents or hydrocarbons to aid in the extraction process. If not taken care of, these harmful chemicals end up in the final product.

A majority of lab reports include a section that indicates if the product passes or fails according to the levels of harmful substances found in the sample.

For your knowledge, here are some potential processing contaminants:

  • Butane
  • Propane
  • Ether
  • Ethanol
  • Heptane
  • Hexane

Third-Party Lab Testing: Microbiological Contamination

Last but not least, biological contaminants such as yeast, mold, and salmonella are also a concern. Because they are generally destroyed during processing, these contaminants pose less of an issue than solvents and heavy metals.

In addition, the majority of laboratory reports include a separate section that describes microbiological contaminants and whether or not they are at unsafe levels.

#2 Product Potency

Lab testing can also verify that a product’s potency matches what is stated on its label. As a consumer, it can be difficult to know whether you are getting played by a manufacturer or not. To help with this, you may want to compare different products based on their cost per milligram.

This can still be confusing and misleading, though. Beware of shady vendors selling their products for very cheap prices with no lab reports.

To ensure your safety when purchasing cannabis products, never purchase a product without viewing the lab reports beforehand. 

Furthermore, looking at the lab results or Certificate of Analysis (COA) is the only way to know the true potency of a product.

Cannabis products

#3 Delta 9 THC Compliance

It is also important to consider the federal and local laws that regulate delta-9 THC concentrations. The Federal Farm Bill of 2018 states that hemp and its constituents are legal, provided that by weight, the delta-9 THC content is less than 0.3%.

Third-party lab tests are the only way to guarantee that cannabis products are in compliance with federal or state laws. Keep in mind that while hemp is federally legal, states have the authority to create their own legislation around it. 

So, be sure to check the legality in your state for the specific cannabinoid you are purchasing.

For example, Delta-8 is a cannabinoid that has been outlawed in some states throughout the US. To read about the legality of D8 in Florida, click here.

#4 Transparency

Apart from safety, third-party testing can be a great way to show that a company has integrity and transparency about its operations. This shows that a company is trustworthy enough to be completely transparent and open about its products.

These tests are both costly and tedious. The cost of one test can reach thousands of dollars and can take up to months to complete.

Ultimately, testing demonstrates that a company takes initiative and cares about the quality and integrity of the products it’s selling.

Across the board, it’s safe to assume that companies who don’t go through the testing process also put little effort into other important aspects of their company. This is a bad sign.

Poor branding and website design, insufficient product information. etc. Who knows what else they may be doing to cut corners.

Third-party lab testing and cannabis

Closing thoughts: Third-Party Lab Testing and Cannabis – Is It Important?


Third-party lab testing is essential.

There are far too many ways that cannabis products can be contaminated or even dangerous. This goes for all stages of the plant’s life, from seed to shelf.

The presence of pesticides and or chemicals can sometimes make products falsely appear to be more potent, and can contaminate the entire product. This goes for all cannabis products, but especially be wary of the newer cannabinoids on the market such as Delta-8 THC, Delta-10 THC, HHC, THC-O, etc.

Third-party lab testing is the only way to ensure safety. Shoot us an email at infor@chronicguru.com anytime to view our COA for any product.

Who wants to spend money on delta 8 that’s not potent? Use reliable online sellers that provide transparent lab results and quality products.

What are your thoughts on third-party lab testing and cannabis?

Let us know!

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