Gone are the days when you had no idea what the strength of your marijuana was. With legalization of medical marijuana comes stringent testing to determine a myriad of different chemicals. Marijuana potency is no longer a mystery.
Now that medical marijuana laws have been passed in numerous states the demand for marijuana potency testing has increased. What is this testing and why is it so important though? Unlike most other medical drugs, each strain of marijuana may have differing THC levels, various CBDs in varying percentages, and different effects on the mind and body based on these factors.
How is Marijuana Potency Determined?
In order to assess the marijuana potency for any strain a sample of the cannabis must be submitted to a qualified lab so that the proper testing procedures can be performed. The sample submitted will usually undergo Ultra-Performance Liquid Chromatography to determine the exact chemical composition and the percentages of each compound in the marijuana.
Recently new developments in marijuana testing have made it possible for hand held devices to test marijuana outside of a lab. These new testing methods are not as reliable or conclusive as lab testing that is properly performed though. Sensitive testing equipment used by verified and certified labs can determine the specific percentage of THC and various CBDs.
In our recent Hemp Day Strain Review of Cherry Diesel, we found that the THC content was 26.82%.
The State of Nevada has instituted some of the strictest testing laws in the nation. NRS 453A.370 states, that, “Procedures pursuant to which medical marijuana dispensaries must use the services of an independent testing laboratory to ensure that any marijuana, edible marijuana products and marijuana-infused products sold by the dispensaries to end users are tested for content, quality and potency in accordance with standards established by the Division.”
Why is it so Important to Know the Potency of Marijuana?
Knowing the actual marijuana potency for the cannabis that you are using can be important. Since THC is a psychoactive compound, a strain that is high in this chemical may be very powerful and alter perception, especially for inexperienced users. Strains with plenty of CBDs offer health and medical benefits as well, without the high sensation that THC provides.
Testing for THC vs CBD vs Terpenes
Understanding marijuana potency means understanding that THC, CBDs, and terpenes all interact to provide benefits to the user. Marijuana contains dozens of compounds that can have beneficial medical benefits. Testing can be used to identify any of the compounds and identify the exact potency that a specific strain has so that the proper medical uses can be identified.
Consistent Dosing is Crucial for Medical Marijuana Use
One of the most important reasons for marijuana potency testing is to allow for consistent dosing. Medical patients need to know exactly what dose helps their symptoms, and then they need to be able to identify strains and products that can provide the specific dose and potency so that they get the desired effects from the drug. Without testing, it is almost impossible to tell how potent a strain is.
Some Medical Conditions may Require Specific THC Levels for the Best Results
If a patient uses a product with a marijuana potency that is too high then the user could end up experiencing unpleasant side effects as a result. Some conditions may require a THC or CBD percentage that is very specific. The goal of using the marijuana is to treat the medical conditions and symptoms so that you feel better. This is easier to do when you know the potency.
Not All Testing Labs are the Same
Labs that test marijuana potency are not all the same, so the lab used needs to be verified if the test results are extremely important. Some testing laboratories employ many workers and use only proven and certified methods while others may not meet the same standards. Before a lab is used for testing services it should be thoroughly vetted, researched, and reviewed.
What Other Marijuana Testing Services are Available?
In addition to potency, testing some medical marijuana businesses may have other types of testing done as well. Testing for mold, other contamination, pesticide residues, heavy metals, and other harmful compounds may also be done to ensure that medical marijuana is safe to use.