What are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant.  These compounds have been shown to have medicinal properties that interact with our CB1 and CB2 receptors.  There are at least 113 different cannabinoids isolated from cannabis, exhibiting different effects.  The most notable cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).  THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis and CBD, though non-psychotopic, has shown many medicinal properties as well.  The combination of cannabinoids and terpenes, have been studied for many different neurological disorders, illnesses, cancer treatments, chronic pain and more.

What Are Terpenes?

Produced by a wide variety of plants, terpenes are organic compounds reposible for the strong odors and flavors produced by many different strains of cannabis.  Terpenes and terpenoids are the primary constituents of the essential oils of many types of medicinal plants and flowers.  Essential oils are widely used in medicine and alternative medicine such as aromatherapy.

What are cannabis strains?

Either pure or hybrid varieties of the cannabis plant create the different genetic strains.  The purpose of developing and cultivating different strains of cannabis is to primarily intensify specific characteristics of the plant.  With the different combination of characteristics, we can cultivate strains for medicinal purposes based off of how certain combinations of terpenes and cannabinoids react with different conditions, disorders, or illnesses.  Also, the combination of these different characteristics, create different effects when consumed.

Why test cannabis?

There are many reasons why states require testing for medical and recreational cannabis programs.  For the medical community, people with compromised immune systems cannot be subjected to chemicals that could further hinder their recovery.

What are cannabis samples?

Cultivators and Processors of cannabis that are required to test their products must provide a sample from each batch of cannabis or cannabis products they produce. These samples are taken randomly to ensure there is no foul play in testing results. The samples are then used for all required or requested testing and then destroyed.

How long does cannabis testing take?

NCTL can do all required and requested testing in a three-day period.

What measures are taking to prevent sample contamination?

All samples are taken from a cultivator or processor, sealed in a new, unopened, sterilized container which is then sealed in a new, unopened, sterilized bag at the cultivator or processor’s facility. Those bags are then stored in a clean storage vault within our secure transport vehicles. The vehicles make a direct route to our facility and the sample bags are taken from the vehicle vaults, through an air shower receiving room, and then into our clean room facility where it is either opened for sample prep or stored within our compartmentalized vault until ready for sample prep. Each area of the facility is compartmentalized to avoid any cross contamination. After the sample is prepped, it is then tested, and then destroyed.

NCTL processes and standards are beyond the stringency of most state requirements. This is to provide customers with the confidence that each cannabis product tested is free of any outside contaminants or tampering.

How accurate are test results?

The rigorous testing standards NCTL has for the cannabis industry are unmatched by the competition. Each test is fully validated and verified through daily quality assurance procedures. With the standardized methods NCTL has in place, test results are consistent and provide the most reliable data available.

Can tested cannabis be resold?

The process of testing cannabis renders the product unusable and additional cannabis products are destroyed. NCTL uses the process of grinding tested cannabis, cannabis products, and additional cannabis samples with organic materials and sand to render the product totally unusable. Cannabis product that enters NCTL is never reused or leaves the facility in a usable form for resale or consumption.

What equipment is used for cannabis testing?

We use only state of the art machines in our testing. Visual inspection is done with a high-powered stereo microscope with camera. Moisture testing is done via the aqualab. All plant material is ground using a tissue homogenizer and for more difficult to grind samples a Spex Geno-grinder is used with liquid nitrogen. For cannabinoids our HPLC with diode array detector will quantify most all of the target compounds with the LC-MS/MS used to quantify the minor cannabinoids. The LC-MS/MS will also be used for the bulk of pesticide residue testing as well as mycotoxin testing. GC-MS/MS will be used for the remaining pesticide screen. GC-MS will be used for residual solvent and terpene concentration testing. For heavy metals determination an ICP-MS will be used along with microwave digestion of the material.