We understand that lab testing can be confusing- here are some of the questions that we encounter most frequently.
Frequently Asked Questions:
+ What makes CW Analytical different from the other labs out there?
We are asked this question all the time, and it boils down to some key characterisitics that define our team, and that we strive to live and breathe by.
1.) Accuracy and Speed at an affordable price
We have some of the quickest turnaround times in the industry, but accuracy and scientific oversight are NEVER compromised. We have analyzed our process hundreds of times over and are continually making improvements to our efficiency. This constant improvement is mirrored in our financial strategy and allows us to provide testing services at a reasonable price.
2.) Unrivaled Customer Service
Our service goes far beyond the point of sale. We are extremely proud of our ability to retain customers without the use of binding contracts. Most of our clients have been with us for a long time, or plan on doing so!
3.) Our Team
We were co-founded by a PhD chemist and a PhD microbiologist who both have tremendous passion for the Cannabis industry. Our foundation and our excellence lies in our scientific ability, customer service, and the unity of our team. We live by the mantra "hire smart" and have built a solid but lean team of extremely intelligent and professional staff. We pride ourselves on low employee turnover, so you can count on working with the same people day in and day out.
We are currently pursuing ISO 17025 accreditation and aim to be fully compliant in 2016.
5.) Independently Owned and Third Party
As part of our low overhead approach, CW Analytical does not answer to any kind of investors, so the results we give to you are impartial and free of any kind of bias. No investors means we have no one looking to us for return on investment, which means we can transfer that savings to you.
+ How will state or city regulations of Cannabis affect me?
With the passage of the Medical Marijuana Regulation Act (MMRSA) in 2015, Cannabis businesses in California will be subject to a slew of requirements including liscensing, taxation, and mandatory laboratory Quality Assurance testing. While the details of the required analyses, and acceptable limits for things like pesticides and microbiological contaminants are still evolving, you can be sure that we will be prepared to handle every testing requirement. Our skilled customer service and technical teams will be here to help you navigate the regulatory landscape every step of the way.
To read more about how these regulations will affect you, click here.
+ What are Cannabinoids and how many do you test for?
While there are dozens of Cannabinoids naturally occurring in the Cannabis plant, d9-THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is typically the main psychoactive component. CBD (cannabidiol) is a separate and non-psychoactive Cannabinoid, and can be used medicinally to mitigate anxiety, inflammation, and pain without euphoria or other psychoactive effects. CBN is a less psychoactive cannabinoid and is a degradation of THC. While d9-THC, CBD, and CBN have been the focus of the majority of research on Cannabis, we also analyze for d8-THC, THCA, CBDA, CBDV, THCV, CBC, CBGA and CBG. We offer both HPLC and GC-FID methods for cannabinoid detection. For more information about CBD, check out Project CBD here
+ How Do You Report Results?
Results are delivered via email through our lab database. The email will provide a snapshot view of your results, but the full Certificate of Analysis (COA) can be viewed, downloaded as a pdf or shared through social media by logging into your account on our secure, online lab database. Additionally, stickers with a QR code linking to the COA can be printed from the results page. If you plan on printing these stickers, we reccommend purchasing an inexpensive label printer. The CW lab database is extremely user-friendly and allows our clients to access any sample they've ever submitted through their account. This secure database is accessible via our website using a unique username and password that will be assigned once you've set up an account with us.
+ How Can I Submit A Sample?
Clients are welcome to drop off samples in person by visiting our lab in Oakland. We also have several partner dispensaries throughout California that will accept samples for submittal to CW. Give us a call, and we'll be happy to walk you through the process! Each different test that we offer has unique sample-size requirements, so our customer service team will let you know what sample size we'll need based on the product type and the tests requested.
+ What is the required Sample Size?
As a general rule, if you're submitting a sample for all of our tests we require:
Flowers - 2.5 grams
Hash, Wax, Oil or other concentrate - 2 grams
Tinctures - 5ml
Infused butters or vegetable oils - 2.5 grams
Edibles - submit a full package, whatever the patient would end up receiving (at least 2.5 grams).
Capsules - 2.5 grams (not including weight of capsule itself)
The container in which you submit a sample can play a role in the sample size we need - for instance, we will need more than 2 grams if the sample is a pre-filled vapor pen cartridge, as it is extremely hard to extract the required amount from the cartridge itself. For capsules, bringing along an empty capsule is very helpful, as it allows us to gather a more accurate total weight of the sample without having to empty the original container.
+ Why is a Pesticide Screen Important?
Chemical pesticides are highly toxic and resilient. Many chemical pesticides kill insects on contact, but remain active on plants for weeks, months, and even years. Human exposure to pesticides may lead to acute health problems, such as abdominal pain, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, as well as skin and eye problems. Many serious diseases such as cancer, reporoductive dysfunction, and asthma have been linked to pesticide exposure. CW Analytical verifies the presence (or absence) of commonly known and used chemical pesticides using testing methods adapted from EPA protocols for environmental pesticide analysis.
+ Why is looking for Microbiological Contamination Important?
Spores of bacteria and fungi are omnipresent in our biosphere, and as a result, may grow anywhere there is water, suitable temperature, and some sort of nutrition source- such as the leaves, flowers, and roots of Cannabis. CW Analytical is the preeminent testing laboratory for microbiological contaminants in the industry, and the only Cannabis lab to be co-founded by a microbiologist. We believe that patient safety and health is of the utmost importance, and microbiological testing is one of the most important measures of quality assurance for medical Cannabis patients. CW Analytical strives to provide the most scientifically accurate data possible, and because of the integrity of our testing philosophy, we used stringent standards established by the AOAC (Associate of Analytical Communities).
Bacteria and many fungal spores are invisible to the human eye, necessitating the use of plate cultures to determine their presence of absence. Every sample we screen is plated and incubated to verify the presence or absence of mold, yeast and harmful bacteria in through separate tests. Tens of thousands of data points show that about 12% of flowers are contaminated with unacceptable levels of yeast and mold, and that over 70% of bubble hash has unacceptable levels of bacteria- sometimes even E. coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. While less than 10% of infused edible products are contaminated with high levels of bacteria, it is important that these ingestible products be subjected to stringent food quality assurance standards to assure patient safety.
+ What Solvents do you test for? Are they dangerous?
Our residual solvent analysis detects any residual flammable solvents contained in the concentrate. There is no established standard for a "safe" amount of solvent in Cannabis concentrates, and the dangers of exposure to solvents commonly used in concentrated Cannabis are unclear. Some states have chosen to establish acceptable limits (i.e. 500ppm). We are capable of testing these solvents at levels as low as 10ppm, and can adjust the detection limit as needed. We currently offer two types of residual solvent testing at two different price points - comprehensive (this method detects 14 different chemical solvents) and survey (flammable solvents only).
+ Can you test the Potency and Safety of Edibles?
Yes! CW Analytical's services help manufacturers of medical Cannabis edibles ensure consistent Cannabinoid content, while also providing microbiological testing for quality assurance. It is unacceptable to label an edible as being "one dose" or "two doses." A dose may be different for everyone, and subjective labelling is dangerous to consumers. It's also crucial to know that a cookie from batch one has the same potency as the one from batch two. Through both raw material and finished product testing, CW Analytical assists numerous producers in providing patients with an accurate quantification of a finished product's cannabinoid content (typically in mg).
Additionally, CW Analytical can formulate nutritional labels, and perform microbiological testing on finished edible products. Ask us for more information on services unique to edible producers.
+ What are Terpenes and how many do you test for?
Terpenes are naturally occurring compounds that contribute to the smell and flavor of Cannabis (and many other plants). Many of the terpenes present in Cannabis have been shown to have specific health benefits to humans. It is believed that terpenes work synergistically with Cannabinoids to benefit the user and moderate the "high" sometimes associated with Cannabis, although much more research is needed to investigate this relationship. CW currently semi-quantitatively tests for 33 terpenes: b-Myrcene, Nerol, Nerolidol, Ocimene, a-Bisbolol, Farnasene, Valencene, d3-Carene, d-Limonene, g-Terpinene, a-Pinene, Sabinene, b-Pinene, Camphene, Eucalyptol, (-)-Fenchone, Fenchol, Camphor, Borneol, Pulegone, Cedrol, b-Caryophyllene, Elemene, Phellandrene, Isopulegol, Linalool, (+)-Fenchone, a-Caryophyllene, Guaiol, Bergamotene, Terpineol, Terpinolene, and a-Terpinene.
- Please note that terpenes sometimes have two different names associated with them. If you don't see a terpene on this list, ask us if we test for it!