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Variability in Cannabis Testing: Inter-laboratory discrepancies in test results

Published: Jan 24, 2020   

As the marijuana industry continues to mature, analytical testing has become an important part of optimizing cultivation and production activities, as well as ensuring the safety of final consumer products. However, variability in test results from samples submitted to a single or to multiple laboratories has led to considerable frustration in the industry. Producers and regulators do not know which results to trust. This variability in results from test to test may arise from several challenging factors that may influence testing.

Some of these factors are influenced by the complexity of cannabis and infused products as matrices, resulting in poor sample homogeneity, and samples that are difficult to extract prior to analysis. Other factors that are standard challenges for any analytical testing operation may be influenced by sample collection, reference standard quality, and test measurement uncertainty.

This presentation will discuss these challenges and identify producer/laboratory responsibilities for minimizing the influence of these factors on test result variability. Guidelines for selecting an appropriate laboratory and verifying test results will also be discussed.

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