Jump to content

Marijuana Quality Testing Going Mainstream‏


Recommended Posts

http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_27616995/marijuana-quality-testing-going-mainstream
Marijuana quality testing going mainstream

By Lisa M. Krieger

 

 

Cannabis used to be what moonshine is to alcohol, its content as murky as a cloud of smoke lingering over a Phish concert.

 
Now a cadre of Bay Area laboratories can tell you exactly what you're getting for your money -- creating reliability, safety and standardization in a business that long relied on the casual assurances of a skanky friend from Stonerville. Gone are the days of being ripped off with a nickel bag of dusty oregano.   (Ya know, pisss off ya skanky Ho of a sold out supposed reporter)  Or eating a cookie that delivers manic euphoria, when all you wanted was to ease a little nausea.
 
"We are providing quantifiable data on the safety and quality of the medicine," said Santa Cruz-based organic chemist Josh Wurzer, co-founder and lab director of SC Labs, which tests 8,000 samples a month, from Humboldt and Tahoe to inner city Los Angeles.
 
"Our integrity is critical," said Wurzer, a blonde and clean-cut Midwesterner. "It's all we have. If our numbers aren't reliable, then what is there?"
 
This new generation of science geeks -- with backgrounds from places like Samsung, Kraft Foods, UC Davis, the University of Southern California and Cisco -- stand at the nexus of growers, medical dispensaries and consumers, issuing certificates of analysis for commercial medical marijuana in an increasingly pot-friendly state. 
 
And if the campaign to legalize marijuana in California in 2016 succeeds, as expected, their role in this multibillion-dollar market will expand.
 
In this modern-day gold rush, they play the assayer who inspected the precious mineral and stamped each bar with weight, serial number, fineness and value.

Here's the catch: Their role is completely unofficial. Unlike food and drink, most medicinal cannabis can be sold in California without any testing. And their techniques and protocols vary.

 

But there is growing recognition that tests -- ranging in price from $120 to $250 -- can help legitimize the drug, protect patients, promote sales and improve breeding programs.

 

"Look at your sambuca, peanut butter or ibuprofen -- there's a label telling you what's in it. When you buy cannabis, you have no idea," (Ingredient Label:  MARIJUANA--- doesnt look too fricken difficult to me)said Los Altos Hills-based Randall Kruep, formerly of Cisco and now CEO of Sage Analytics, which just unveiled a new test device.

 

For instance, testing reveals why the "Sour Diesel" strain is so popular at parties: While it's low in therapeutic cannabidiol, it's high (24.05 percent average in posted SC Labs test) in psychoactive THC and packed (20.1 milligrams per gram) with terpene hydrocarbons -- especially limonene, beloved for its citrus fragrance.

 

It also explains why "Cannatonic" is preferred for children with epilepsy. Lower in THC (3.73 percent), it is high (12.56 percent) in seizure-reducing cannabidiol, with an earthy, pine-scented smell.

 

Legally, these labs navigate tricky waters. Although the state allows medical marijuana, the federal government still classifies it as a prohibited Schedule 1 drug -- so they're testing something they're not allowed to have. (They've put their faith in more permissive local authorities.)

 

Cannabis testing started years ago in what Wurzer calls "jokester labs," with untrained people running unreliable equipment in the back of VW vans. (O boy, here we go...)

 

Now labs compete on the sophistication of their analyses, using tools such as gas chromatography, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, petri film and plate counts and polymerase chain reaction for genetic analysis.

 

They also strive harder for customer service, through special courier services, Web-linked 2D bar codes, colorful websites, links to popular apps like WeedMaps.com and competitive pricing.

Innovative new niche tests are emerging, as well, offering greater speed and convenience.

 

In his grand house atop Los Altos Hills, ( Way to live Phat off of patients backs) Sage Analytics founder Kruep demonstrated his "Luminary Profiler," a desktop cannabis measurement device, made in Fremont, that enables quick, cost-effective potency and freshness testing. ( I call B.S.)

 

Commonly used by pharmaceutical laboratories, spectroscopy produces accurate results, but it has been too expensive and complicated for the cannabis market. His tool is small, portable and easy-to-use -- perfect for harvesters, dispensaries and the baking of cannabis-infused pastries.

 

On his dining room table, he gently rests a golden bud of "Girl Scout Cookies" on the device, covers it with a black cap, flicks on a light and -- presto! -- a digital reading of THC content appears: 26.3 percent.

 

"Boom -- done. Four seconds," crows Kruep, an entrepreneur who also helped launch Redback Networks, Stoke and other tech companies.

 

"There is no reason," he said, "that we can't give people a profile of their cannabis the same as we provide information about food, drink and medications -- a label that says, 'Here is what you're about to consume.' "

 

In Oakland, microbiologist Robert Martin cofounded CW Analytical Laboratories after three decades at Kraft Foods and research and development at Dreyer's Ice Cream.

 

His six-person team specializes in microbiological safety, especially in cannabis-based foods -- screening for mold, bacteria, fungus and other contamination that results from poor handling, lousy hygiene, improper storage and dirty instruments.

 

"I'm 63 -- an old guy -- who's smoked pot my whole life, but started seeing friends get seriously sick,"( Again I call B.S.) said Martin, who grew up in Huntsville, Alabama. "They asked me about the quality of cannabis, and I didn't know.

 

"Now, it's improved. I am really pleased with how much cleaner products are. Growers changed," he said. "It's a direct response to quality assurance being brought into an industry, raising awareness."( How self importantly stated. It is a direct response to a "legal" ish market and most marijuana being grown Stateside.)

 

SC Labs' Wurzer, 36, got his start synthesizing small molecules for pharmaceutical companies, then made silicon polymers for Samsung. But he enjoyed growing marijuana and yearned to work with safer chemicals, so he started SC

 

Labs with three friends, $120,000 and maxed-out credit cards.

 

With a focus on high-end analytics, one of their tests can detect one-trillionth of a gram of DNA for cannabis sex determination and strain verification.. "There is a connoisseur market of consumers who really know their compounds and know what they like," he said.

 

The company tested 300 to 400 samples in its first few months, and the owners didn't take a paycheck for three years. Now it has 32 employees and labs in Santa Cruz and Santa Ana that test 8,000 samples a month,( At $200/test = $1.6million/month)  with volume doubling annually. This month they'll open a lab in Seattle, where recreational pot is legal.

 

"We're small startups with big dreams," he said. "It's exciting, like being at IBM in the '80s."

 

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 650-492-4098.

Cannabis testing

 
 
1. A courier carries a sample to the lab in a locked ice chest.2. At the lab, it is photographed, assigned an ID number and logged into a database, ensuring "chain of custody" to prevent errors.
3. The sample is ground into a powder. 
4. For chromatography or spectrometry, the sample is diluted with a solvent. For microbial or fungal testing, it is plated directly into a petri dish.
5. Analysis by a $35,000-to-$45,000 (used) gas chromatograph with a flame ionization detector can detect the quantity of aromatic terpenes, which give cannabis its taste and smell. It can also identify unsafe solvents such as butane in hash oils and other extracts. 
6. Analysis by a $65,000 (used) liquid chromatograph to assess an assortment of cannabinoids by molecular weight.
7. Analysis by a $200,000 (used) mass spectrometer for pesticides.
8. Sample cultured in petri dishes to see if it contains yeast, mold, fungus or bacteria such as E. coli. 
9. Sample tested to identify its genetic strain using polymerase chain-reaction to amplify its DNA.
10. All samples are destroyed.
11. Client receives a certificate of analysis and bar code, which can be put on each product sold. Buyers can scan the code to learn about the product.


 
 
Some California Labs
 
 

SC Labs, Santa Cruz and Santa Ana: sclabs.com
CW Analytical Laboratories, Oakland: cwanalytical.com
Steep Hill-Halent Lab, Oakland: steephilllab.com
The Werc Shop, Los Angeles: thewercshop.com
For more information: California Cannabis Industry Association: www.cacannabisindustry.org

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_27616995/marijuana-quality-testing-going-mainstream

Marijuana quality testing going mainstream

 

By Lisa M. Krieger

 

 

Cannabis used to be what moonshine is to alcohol, its content as murky as a cloud of smoke lingering over a Phish concert.

 

Show me some quality control data that you would be comfortable submitting to a third party for validation. If you can't do that, then all you have is magic 8 ball.

 

 

 

 

Now a cadre of Bay Area laboratories can tell you exactly what you're getting for your money -- creating reliability, safety and standardization in a business that long relied on the casual assurances of a skanky friend from Stonerville. Gone are the days of being ripped off with a nickel bag of dusty oregano. (Ya know, pisss off ya skanky Ho of a sold out supposed reporter) Or eating a cookie that delivers manic euphoria, when all you wanted was to ease a little nausea.

 

 

 

"We are providing quantifiable data on the safety and quality of the medicine," said Santa Cruz-based organic chemist Josh Wurzer, co-founder and lab director of SC Labs, which tests 8,000 samples a month, from Humboldt and Tahoe to inner city Los Angeles.

 

 

 

"Our integrity is critical," said Wurzer, a blonde and clean-cut Midwesterner. "It's all we have. If our numbers aren't reliable, then what is there?"

 

 

 

This new generation of science geeks -- with backgrounds from places like Samsung, Kraft Foods, UC Davis, the University of Southern California and Cisco -- stand at the nexus of growers, medical dispensaries and consumers, issuing certificates of analysis for commercial medical marijuana in an increasingly pot-friendly state.

 

 

 

And if the campaign to legalize marijuana in California in 2016 succeeds, as expected, their role in this multibillion-dollar market will expand.

 

 

 

In this modern-day gold rush, they play the assayer who inspected the precious mineral and stamped each bar with weight, serial number, fineness and value.

Here's the catch: Their role is completely unofficial. Unlike food and drink, most medicinal cannabis can be sold in California without any testing. And their techniques and protocols vary.

 

But there is growing recognition that tests -- ranging in price from $120 to $250 -- can help legitimize the drug, protect patients, promote sales and improve breeding programs.

 

"Look at your sambuca, peanut butter or ibuprofen -- there's a label telling you what's in it. When you buy cannabis, you have no idea," (Ingredient Label: MARIJUANA--- doesnt look too fricken difficult to me)said Los Altos Hills-based Randall Kruep, formerly of Cisco and now CEO of Sage Analytics, which just unveiled a new test device.

 

For instance, testing reveals why the "Sour Diesel" strain is so popular at parties: While it's low in therapeutic cannabidiol, it's high (24.05 percent average in posted SC Labs test) in psychoactive THC and packed (20.1 milligrams per gram) with terpene hydrocarbons -- especially limonene, beloved for its citrus fragrance.

 

It also explains why "Cannatonic" is preferred for children with epilepsy. Lower in THC (3.73 percent), it is high (12.56 percent) in seizure-reducing cannabidiol, with an earthy, pine-scented smell.

 

Legally, these labs navigate tricky waters. Although the state allows medical marijuana, the federal government still classifies it as a prohibited Schedule 1 drug -- so they're testing something they're not allowed to have. (They've put their faith in more permissive local authorities.)

 

Cannabis testing started years ago in what Wurzer calls "jokester labs," with untrained people running unreliable equipment in the back of VW vans. (O boy, here we go...)

 

Now labs compete on the sophistication of their analyses, using tools such as gas chromatography, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, petri film and plate counts and polymerase chain reaction for genetic analysis.

 

They also strive harder for customer service, through special courier services, Web-linked 2D bar codes, colorful websites, links to popular apps like WeedMaps.com and competitive pricing.

Innovative new niche tests are emerging, as well, offering greater speed and convenience.

 

In his grand house atop Los Altos Hills, ( Way to live Phat off of patients backs) Sage Analytics founder Kruep demonstrated his "Luminary Profiler," a desktop cannabis measurement device, made in Fremont, that enables quick, cost-effective potency and freshness testing. ( I call B.S.)

 

Commonly used by pharmaceutical laboratories, spectroscopy produces accurate results, but it has been too expensive and complicated for the cannabis market. His tool is small, portable and easy-to-use -- perfect for harvesters, dispensaries and the baking of cannabis-infused pastries.

 

On his dining room table, he gently rests a golden bud of "Girl Scout Cookies" on the device, covers it with a black cap, flicks on a light and -- presto! -- a digital reading of THC content appears: 26.3 percent.

 

"Boom -- done. Four seconds," crows Kruep, an entrepreneur who also helped launch Redback Networks, Stoke and other tech companies.

 

"There is no reason," he said, "that we can't give people a profile of their cannabis the same as we provide information about food, drink and medications -- a label that says, 'Here is what you're about to consume.' "

 

In Oakland, microbiologist Robert Martin cofounded CW Analytical Laboratories after three decades at Kraft Foods and research and development at Dreyer's Ice Cream.

 

His six-person team specializes in microbiological safety, especially in cannabis-based foods -- screening for mold, bacteria, fungus and other contamination that results from poor handling, lousy hygiene, improper storage and dirty instruments.

 

"I'm 63 -- an old guy -- who's smoked pot my whole life, but started seeing friends get seriously sick,"( Again I call B.S.) said Martin, who grew up in Huntsville, Alabama. "They asked me about the quality of cannabis, and I didn't know.

 

"Now, it's improved. I am really pleased with how much cleaner products are. Growers changed," he said. "It's a direct response to quality assurance being brought into an industry, raising awareness."( How self importantly stated. It is a direct response to a "legal" ish market and most marijuana being grown Stateside.)

 

SC Labs' Wurzer, 36, got his start synthesizing small molecules for pharmaceutical companies, then made silicon polymers for Samsung. But he enjoyed growing marijuana and yearned to work with safer chemicals, so he started SC

 

Labs with three friends, $120,000 and maxed-out credit cards.

 

With a focus on high-end analytics, one of their tests can detect one-trillionth of a gram of DNA for cannabis sex determination and strain verification.. "There is a connoisseur market of consumers who really know their compounds and know what they like," he said.

 

The company tested 300 to 400 samples in its first few months, and the owners didn't take a paycheck for three years. Now it has 32 employees and labs in Santa Cruz and Santa Ana that test 8,000 samples a month,( At $200/test = $1.6million/month) with volume doubling annually. This month they'll open a lab in Seattle, where recreational pot is legal.

 

"We're small startups with big dreams," he said. "It's exciting, like being at IBM in the '80s."

 

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 650-492-4098.

 

Cannabis testing

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. A courier carries a sample to the lab in a locked ice chest.2. At the lab, it is photographed, assigned an ID number and logged into a database, ensuring "chain of custody" to prevent errors.

3. The sample is ground into a powder.

4. For chromatography or spectrometry, the sample is diluted with a solvent. For microbial or fungal testing, it is plated directly into a petri dish.

5. Analysis by a $35,000-to-$45,000 (used) gas chromatograph with a flame ionization detector can detect the quantity of aromatic terpenes, which give cannabis its taste and smell. It can also identify unsafe solvents such as butane in hash oils and other extracts.

6. Analysis by a $65,000 (used) liquid chromatograph to assess an assortment of cannabinoids by molecular weight.

7. Analysis by a $200,000 (used) mass spectrometer for pesticides.

8. Sample cultured in petri dishes to see if it contains yeast, mold, fungus or bacteria such as E. coli.

9. Sample tested to identify its genetic strain using polymerase chain-reaction to amplify its DNA.

10. All samples are destroyed.

11. Client receives a certificate of analysis and bar code, which can be put on each product sold. Buyers can scan the code to learn about the product.

 

 

 

 

 

Some California Labs

 

 

 

 

 

 

SC Labs, Santa Cruz and Santa Ana: sclabs.com

CW Analytical Laboratories, Oakland: cwanalytical.com

Steep Hill-Halent Lab, Oakland: steephilllab.com

The Werc Shop, Los Angeles: thewercshop.com

For more information: California Cannabis Industry Association: www.cacannabisindustry.org

 

Show me some QA/QC data I can submit for third-party validation. Otherwise, this service should be considered for entertainment purposes only.

Edited by Highlander
Link to comment
Share on other sites

add to that those who wish to exploit the medicinal effects of the plant also....they certainly count on laboratory testing to quantify and standardize their medical doses. like GH. I don't know if they too have an agenda, but they're all we have right now pumping out numbers. Can we believe their numbers maybe? I dunno. We can be sure though, that while cancers are going in remission, and seizures are ceasing, Big Pharma is going to continue to make cannabis into medicine, as they already have been doing for a long time and their labs will be the examples these poop butt testers(1.6million$ monthly) fancy after, eventually I think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

there still are not many companies working on cannabis medicines.

 

at least none i'm aware of, besides canasol in jamaica and gw pharm in uk. maybe a few other ones that are way smaller than that.

insys is doing trials on synthetic-cbd (yea it exists) for dravet syndrome right now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

lol, our friends prarie plant systems are sponsoring a vaporization study (with volcanos!) for knee arthritis

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02324777

 

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?term=cannabidiol&recr=Open

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?term=Tetrahydrocannabinol&recr=Open

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?term=thc&recr=Open

 

testing marinol and ptsd at wayne state, recruiting even! if you wanted to be zapped and hooked up to an fmri anyway.

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/study/NCT02069366

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why do they have to have an agenda to restrict it?  Why can't they just use testing to taylor precise uses and better understand the myriad of cannabinoids found in MJ? 

 

Perhaps considered so by those with an agenda to restrict medical marijuana. Ultimately, our most important function is education. This plant is in its simplest form effective for a variety of serious and debilitating conditions. No amount of pseudoscientific pseudomedical moo poo from these establishments and future pharmaceutical producers will change that. The plant is medicine, no matter how much they want to make it into something else. And it doesn't need to be turned into a pharmaceutical to make it medicine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ya, the article was kinda crappy.

  Although it is not great medicine for a lot of people if you can't find out how much CBD is in it since most MJ has been bred for recreational value. Hi CBD does best for people with anxiety issues nor kids with epilepsy.  There are lots of applications which are better/less guesswork and problems with testing.  So for some it isn't medicine until it's been tested to find relative levels.  There is a bunch of research out there that shows that certain THC/CBD levels work best for certain ailments.  Without testing your kinda shooting in the dark.  Certain hard to work with ailments need targetting rather than trying one after the other.

 

I see what your saying though and agree.  i just think there is a lot that can be quantified and learned thru testing and certain diseases will be more easily cured or relieved because of it.

Edited by Norby
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since when has it become that high THC marijuana is not as medicinal as high CBD marijuana?

 

That is a complete fallacy. CBD helps a few things. THC helps many things. CBG helps many things. THCV helps many things. etc.

 

 Since when did people suddenly think that CBD is what is medicinal about marijuana?  Where did that nonsense start?  O yea,... Rick Simpson. heh.

 

I mean,,, how can one reduce ocular pressure with CBD?  Anyone? Noone? Of course not. CBD is useless in that case and many many many many others.

 

Let us not repeat nonsense about CBD being "the" important part. It is merely a piece in the puzzle for certain conditions.

 

rant end.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CBD allowed low-information people to appear knowledgeable as it pertains to what they perceive as "medical marijuana". They watched enough MSNBC to realize they should never criticize CBD because it looks like that's what usually gets reported as helping epileptic children.

 

You are preaching to the saved but it certainly doesn't invalidate the message.

 

People who wanted to ignore and persecute for decades now find it fashionable to distort the morsels of information they are able to absorb and regurgitate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only reason the CBD mantra has become popular is:

1) It helps SOME people with epilepsy(not me).

2) It doesn't get you HIGH!(main reason)

 

It is just a destructive and false premise raised to make people think it is 'ok' because no euphoria occurs.  *shrug*.

 

 And yes, preachin to the choir, but it seems I have to. :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because the choir seems to be parrots?

 

Parrots of you or parrots of people who think CBD only should be the future?

 

I don't hear reasonable people (like those found on this forum) advocating that a distinction be made between allowing THC or CBD as it applies to a person's or their caregiver's knowledge of condition and efficacy of treatment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since when has it become that high THC marijuana is not as medicinal as high CBD marijuana?

 

That is a complete fallacy. CBD helps a few things. THC helps many things. CBG helps many things. THCV helps many things. etc.

This post precisely affirms the need to quantify these things and determine a cause and effect relationship.

 

You anti science ole timers claim you can just look at the bunny muffin or take a wiff of this jar and determine the ratio of beneficial compounds inside.  Well I tell you you are delusional.

 

I'm going to edit this to add:  We all agree the plant is very medicinal without testing.  Noone is arguing that fact.  What remains unknown is by what mechanism?

Edited by garyfisher
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It works by several different mechanisms and many of them have been quantified and clarified.

 

I would say many of us "ol' timers" can tell many things from from a look and a whiff and determine the likely compounds found in that particular strain.  Been doing it for years.  Once you understand the main 24 distinctive landraces, it is rather easy to narrow down what to expect from what. 

 

 Much of this research has been done it just isn't well known or read. 

 

 Also, the research of medical uses is a far cry from supposed quality testing being done at these labs.  Different field. Different research. No comparison IMO.

 

 When people denigrate the plant as dangerous I lose respect. When people say they know people are getting very sick from marijuana, I ask for proof.  When people say growing marijuana in your home is absurd, dangerous and folly to expect to get quality medicine that is safe, I see only dollar signs in their eyes.  I see greed and cluelessness, and if not cluelessness, a destructive intent beyond my moral acceptability.

 

We do not expect every tomato to have the same amount of Vitamin C in it nor do I expect each batch of tomatoes to be tested for Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Molydenum, manganese and Vitamin A.  I may know that hothouse tomatoes have less of all those vitamins and nutrients and prefer organic, but I do not expect exact counts on each tomato I buy.

 

This is where with medical specifics, we need exact reproducing amounts to recreate exact mimicking effects. thus why we , unfortunately, create either very specific extracts for medicinal use, or synthetically create the exact molecular substance.  this is where focus treatment will happen in the future with specific extracts(Pharma). 

 

I believe cannabis is a whole plant treatment and I can easily determine which strains and cannabinoids will be favourable to my treatment.  The information is vast and can be read easily to narrow down your self medicating.

 

So,... yea.  Many mechanisms are known. Old timers know more than ya think. And superficial quality and impossible to be accurate testing is a bit of a joke honestly.  They show it is a joke just by all the negative campaigning they do about how dangerous marijuana is.  It is the only way to pave the road to their riches.  When testing on marijuana equals testing on basil, thyme and dillweed , then justice and proportionality will be achieved.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This post precisely affirms the need to quantify these things and determine a cause and effect relationship.

 

You anti science ole timers claim you can just look at the bunny muffin or take a wiff of this jar and determine the ratio of beneficial compounds inside.  Well I tell you you are delusional.

 

I'm going to edit this to add:  We all agree the plant is very medicinal without testing.  Noone is arguing that fact.  What remains unknown is by what mechanism?

 

It's not the same for everyone so you can't use a machine to place us in all in the same box. You can quantify all day long for what works for one patient and help that one patient. There's no universal ratio that fits everyone. Cause and effect do not repeat across the masses. It's a painstaking testing of each patient that works. Most of that testing does not involve machines. I say 'most' so there is some value to machine testing. Just not what it's made out to be by testing companies and their advocates. When testing starts to become a real help to real patients the real folks will get on board. Right now testing is a a patient's enemy because of the false/bad information being put out by labs

 

. Labs/testing are just a propaganda tool used by the opposition and falseprofiteers right now. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...