Merry Jane | Is Lab-Tested Cannabis Actually as Safe as We Think?

A number of factors undermine the credibility of quality and safety testing for marijuana, leaving many to wonder if potency and pesticide results are trustworthy.

Daniel Wacks, CEO of State Flower Cannabis, has also gone lab shopping, both in California and Nevada. "Testing labs run the gamut in terms of pricing, turnaround times, and customer service," he says. For example, because state-level regulations provide a very general definition as to how a 'representative sample' of a particular batch of marijuana flowers should be collected, some labs consistently collect a variety of bud sizes from various areas within the batch sent out for testing. Other labs function under a looser interpretation of 'representative sample,' tending to favor medium to larger buds with more visible trichomes, Wacks notes, in order to ensure their clients receive a higher potency on the Certificate of Analysis for a given product. 

Meanwhile, Wacks adds, although some labs are careful to change gloves in between collecting samples from each batch — or everytime a technician sneezes, coughs, or touches their phone or any object outside the testing batch — other labs are not nearly as diligent.

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