Infographic: Read the Weed

Lab Equipment used in “high” level Cannabis testing

Cannabis testing is, and will continue to be a leading force behind the movement to legalize medicinal marijuana. Advocates of cannabis testing argue that quantifiable science is needed to demonstrate the effectiveness of treating medical conditions. A number of tests screen cannabis for attributes such as potency, safety, and quality assurance. Cannabinoid profile and fungal level screenings are just a few of the common measurements testing can provide. Regardless of the reason to test—quality assurance or scientific research—cannabis testing has become a growing industry in the past few years. The medical marijuana industry is reported to be the fastest growing industry, reported by Huffington Post.

None of these screenings can be successful unless the proper equipment is used by scientists in the lab. Most scientists agree that testing Cannabis with a HPLC (High Pressure Liquid Chromatograph) is the best method. Other methods include testing with Gas Chromatography, which requires the specimen to be heated, therefore altering the chemical make-up of the sample.

The following is a general overview of the equipment used for Cannabis HPLC testing:

High magnification microscope inspection
An inspection with a high powered microscope is necessary for detecting molds or visual contaminates. The sample is prepared for testing.

Sonic Bath
Pulsates in order to separate cannabinoids in sample.

Centrifuge
Spins at high speeds to separate remaining cannabis fiber.

HPLC – essential component
To separate cannabinoids in sample. Cannabinoids are extracted and captured through a UV photography.
The HPLC machine detects, captures the sample’s cannabinoids.

Mass Spectrometer
Mass Spectrometers (MS) are used for pesticide detection. Both HPLC and Mass Spectrometer testing apply no heat, making it ideal for testing.

Real-time PCR, or Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction Testing
Detects the molecules that are present in the sample. This machine is able to quantify levels of mold, yeast, or bacteria in a sample. PCR testing also renders the sample lineage or terpenes. This type of testing is fast—it only takes an hour.

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