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Cannabis Third-Party Lab Tests: Why They Are Important

Alien
Area 52
August 23, 2021 | Blog

There are a lot of unscrupulous vendors in the delta 8 space right now. 

Brands are taking advantage of inexperienced customers by selling lower quality or mislabeled products, hoping to turn a greater profit. 

Even experienced individuals can struggle when looking for a new source to purchase delta 8 THC since it’s challenging to ascertain a particular vendor’s quality without trying their products first. 

Luckily, many online delta 8 THC retailers use third-party testing to verify the quality and give customers confidence that they’re getting what they’re paying for. 

Below, you’ll find a brief overview describing the basics of third-party testing and why it’s essential.

What is Third-Party Lab Testing? 

When a company produces a new batch of delta 8 THC, they can send a sample to a testing facility where a disinterested third party independently analyzes it. 

Third-party testing facilities run a battery of tests on the products they receive, typically without knowing where the product comes from. The most common form of testing is High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) which doesn’t require high temperatures and, therefore, gives the most accurate breakdown of a sample’s cannabinoid content. 

Once the laboratory completes the HPLC, it sends a detailed report back to the company. Testing reports contain a wealth of information about the Delta 8 THC content alongside any other cannabinoids that may be present. This section of the report is crucial for accurately labeling the potency of the product. 

Additionally, a separate section of the report covers contaminating substances that could taint the product or make it dangerous to consume (more on this later). 

The Delta 8 THC manufacturer must decide whether to publish the report or not. 

Some companies might not publish the information if the findings indicate a lower cannabinoid concentration or show the product contains worrying contaminants. Not publishing the report buys time, so the problem can be located and fixed before submitting a new sample and repeating the process.

Why Lab Testing Is Important

Reputable delta 8 THC companies always employ third-party testing because it shows customers there’s nothing to hide, proves potency, and guarantees that no contaminants have found their way into the product during production. 

Third-party lab testing is the only way to know what’s in the delta 8 THC product you’re buying. In-house testing can be purposefully inaccurate or misleading, and some companies don’t publish any testing results, leaving potential customers entirely in the dark. 

Only purchasing products with published test results saves you from overpaying for low-quality delta 8 THC products or consuming dangerous contaminants and chemicals.

1. Contamination & Safety 

Without quantitative test results, it’s impossible to know what a sample of delta 8 THC contains. 

Even well-meaning companies run into quality control issues occasionally and could be unknowingly selling dangerously contaminated products. Other companies intentionally forgot to follow safety guidelines to cut costs, leaving the customer potentially at risk. 

Contamination can come from various places, and lab testing is crucial for discovering any foreign substances.

Hemp Plant Contamination 

Hemp plants absorb heavy metals and pesticides from the soil they grow in. Plants grown in heavily contaminated soil could quickly become dangerous to turn into consumable products. 

The legal limits on ingesting heavy metals are extremely low due to the extensive harm they cause — even trace amounts can cause serious side effects.

List of potential heavy metal contaminants: 

  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Arsenic
  • Mercury
  • Copper

Processing Contamination

In addition, some production pipelines use solvents and hydrocarbons to facilitate the extraction process, and without proper care, these dangerous chemicals could make their way into the final product. 

Most lab reports contain a section indicating whether the product passes or fails based on whether concentrations of harmful substances exceed standard limits.

Potential processing contaminants: 

  • Hexane
  • Butane
  • Propane
  • Heptane
  • Ethanol
  • Ether

Microbiological Contamination 

A final concern is biological contaminants like mold, yeast, and salmonella. 

These contaminants are less of a problem than heavy metals or solvents since they’re generally killed during processing. 

Most lab reports have a separate section detailing microbiological contaminants and whether the present concentrations exceed safe levels. 

2. Product Potency

scientist's hands with rubber gloves taking Delta 8 oil extract on a test tube using a dropper with hemp buds and extracts in bottles on the table

Lab testing also verifies that a product’s potency matches the claims made on the label. When you purchase delta 8 THC, you usually want to compare similar products based on the cost per mg of the product, but that can be misleading. 

You actually want to compare the price per mg of delta 8 THC. The only way to know how much delta 8 THC a product contains is to confirm the concentration with a lab report. 

You should avoid using any company that sells products without published test results since you could be overpaying for products with low potency, thereby overspending on subpar products.

3. Delta 9 THC Content & Legality

Another important consideration is the local and federal laws that regulate delta 9 THC concentration. As per the Federal Farm Bill of 2018, hemp and its constituents are legal, provided the delta 9 THC content is lower than 0.3% by weight.

Third-party test results are the only guaranteed way to ensure the products you buy are following federal and state laws

Of course, if you live in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, this is not a concern for you.

4. Company Transparency

Aside from the important safety aspect, third-party testing is a good way to prove a company is transparent about its operation. It shows that a company has the integrity to remain entirely transparent and honest about its products. 

The fact of the matter is that getting these tests done is both expensive and tedious. It can cost thousands of dollars for a single test and can take months to complete. 

Testing shows a company has initiative and cares about the integrity of the products it’s selling. 

Most of the companies that don’t test also exert little to no effort elsewhere in the company. Poor brand and website design, lack of product information, and more. Who knows where else they’re cutting corners. 

Summary: Is Third-Party Testing Important?

Yes, third-party testing is crucial. There are too many opportunities for delta 8 THC to be contaminated or made dangerous from hemp seed to the final product. 

Pesticides contaminate, or chemicals making products seem more potent often “find” their way into delta 8. Third-party lab results are the only way to guarantee the safety of a product.

Besides, who wants to waste money on delta 8 that isn’t potent? Stick with reliable online vendors that are transparent with lab results.

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