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How to Open a Testing Lab for Cannabis Products: The Complete Guide

If you’ve ever wondered how to open a testing lab, look no further.

Cannabis is one of the most controversial topics today because of its history. However, it’s starting to become widely accepted by people, so it’s being legalized in various places.

With its legalization, many people are thinking about opening testing labs so that they can enter the industry. There are a variety of cannabis products that need to be tested before being distributed, but how do you start a lab? Whether you’re investing in rent-to-own labs or buying one upfront, starting a lab is simple.

Read on to learn more about testing labs for cannabis and how to start one.

The Legalization of Marijuana

Cannabis testing has been around for decades. It’s recently become popular due to the legalization of marijuana in several states. In the past, marijuana was only legal for medical use. Today, it can be purchased for recreational use in 11 states, and there’s a good chance that more states will be legalizing it.

So what does this mean for cannabis testing facilities? It essentially means that there will need to be more testing done to continue producing high-quality cannabis. Extensive testing is also useful when it comes to the legalization of weed because it provides evidence.

As the market continues to grow, there will be a higher demand for different cannabinoids and terpenes. Cannabis testing facilities can properly create certain combinations and ensure they’re safe for distribution.

In-House Expertise for Cannabis Testing

Like any testing facility, you’ll require employees that have a lot of knowledge about marijuana. A part of your business plan will be learning about the marijuana market and determining whether it would benefit you.

Learning how to open a testing lab is much easier if you already have a lab. For example, if you have a facility that tests food and beverages, your employees most likely have the expertise to test cannabis.

If you’re starting a lab from nothing, you’ll need to hire people that have experience in Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) systems. The requirements for these vary by state, so you’ll need to look into the requirements relative to you.

Certification Rules

The biggest disadvantage of cannabis sales being regulated by the states is the fact that the rules also vary. Because cannabis isn’t legalized on a federal level, you run the risk of having your facility shut down if the government decides to.

To ensure your facility stays around, you’ll need to adhere to the state’s standards and certification procedures without fail. The marijuana legalization process is still in its early stages, so there’s a lot of room for changes in the future.

As states are beginning to legalize marijuana, legislators are still thinking of ways to change the regulatory regimes. This means that your lab might have to change its procedures to cover the product safety and quality guidelines of cannabis.

Typical Testing Services

If you’re not sure where to look for your state’s testing requirements, you can check out this state-by-state guide to cannabis testing regulations provided by Leafly. After finding your state, you can do some extensive research about the requirements.

To give you an idea of the services that cannabis testing labs provide, here is a list of common services shared by most states:

Cannabis Product Certification Requirements

Labs are expected to test the composition of both medical and recreational cannabis. This includes measuring the THC and CBD to verify that the profile of a product matches the labeling.

Because cannabis is a crop, it must be tested for impurities, moisture content, contamination, heavy metals, pesticides, and mycotoxins. Facilities will also analyze the cannabinoid and terpenes to give a better description of the strain.

Grower Facility Certification Requirements

Facilities that also cultivate marijuana are responsible for testing the water supply and soil for contamination. They’ll perform random tests of products and take samples from the soil and plants.

Lab Equipment

Why do incubator facilities continue to remain very popular with start-up businesses? Because of their affordability and effectiveness. Take a look at Lean Lab Design to get an in-depth idea of the procedures in a testing lab.

Whether you already have a lab or are opening one specifically for cannabis, these are the test procedures you’ll be doing:

Cannabinoid Potency

To test the cannabinoid potency of cannabis, you’ll need to do what’s known as high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). This is a method that involves analyzing a mixture at room temperature. You’ll be able to find the content of THC, CBD, etc.

Pesticide Contamination

Most tests are done at room temperature, but pesticide tests are done at higher temperatures. You’ll use a mass spectrometer to measure the molecules present in a sample. It uses both electric and magnetic fields to measure the weight of the particles, letting you see if any pesticides are present.

Identify Strains and Contaminants

Long gone are the days of relying on a “strain” to know what kind of cannabis you have. Cannabis strains vary depending on who’s producing them. Consumers are more interested in knowing what the terpenes and cannabinoids are.

Labs can use real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing to see what exactly they’re dealing with. These tests will provide all the information about a strain. You’ll also find out if there are contaminants like mold, fungus, bacteria, etc.

Now You Know How to Open a Testing Lab

The cannabis industry is one of the best industries to enter for aspiring entrepreneurs. By understanding how to open a testing lab for cannabis, you can easily enter the market and start earning passive income.

We encourage you to start a testing lab so that you can reap the many benefits. You’ll not only earn money, but you’ll also contribute to the cause that many people are fighting for: the legalization of marijuana.

Browse our articles to learn more about cannabis and its industry.

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