Regulations surrounding THC levels in hemp are rigorous and do require hemp-infused product (HIP) producers to get their products tested for potency at an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory.
Some producers may do the bare minimum potency testing required by law in Interim Federal Rules for Domestic Hemp Production and be done with it. This may be especially true if the producer is purchasing starting material from a farmer or extractor who already screened it for potency and safety. As long as they have a Certificate of Analysis (COA), they will be able to legally sell their products.
However, many of the nation’s top HIP crafters like to take full advantage of product analysis. They utilize the data from testing to optimize their production process and ensure products are free of contaminants. This also effectively minimizes their potential liability.
Here is some guidance to help you get the most from your hemp testing data.
Choosing a lab
There are many different hemp testing labs out there that offer seemingly similar testing services. However, it is vital to choose a lab that you can trust to produce accurate and timely results. It’s also important to check that the lab is ISO 17025 accredited. Regulators require manufacturers to test with a lab that holds this certification showing their methods are effective.
Because researching labs is time-consuming, Zera Hemp Labs offers a network guarantee. Labs in this group have been vetted to ensure they can provide accurate data with reasonable turnaround time.
Picking the right tests
The foremost test product makers will need to perform is a potency profile. This will tell them exactly which cannabinoids like CBD and THC (among many others!) are in their product and at what quantities.
These tests are especially important for edibles, like candy and drinks. Consumers like to know exactly how much CBD they’re ingesting. This ensures they’re consuming a dose that will work for their needs.
Potency screens can also be very useful to manufacturers during the formula creation/refinement process. As producers craft new products, they need to optimize their formulas to ensure they’re getting the most out of their hemp and achieving the desired dose for each individual product.
Safety screens are another important component of testing, especially if there is any uncertainty about the hemp or extract being used in the infusion process. Screens for microbiological contaminants, residual solvents, heavy metals, and pesticides will give your product enhanced credibility and show customers it’s safe to consume. It will also minimize your potential liability should any customer have an adverse reaction to your product.
Let’s take a look at some potential scenarios for manufacturers and exactly what their testing needs would be.
Scenario 1: HempHappy is developing a CBD drink and needs to validate their new formula.
A potency profile of their starting material (hemp flower or a concentrated hemp extract) will enable them to create a recipe that is replicable for consistent production. Safety screening their starting material will confirm the absence of contaminants that could taint the final product.
After crafting a test batch, HempHappy would then need a potency profile on the drink itself. This will verify the recipe and infusion method results in a predictably potent product. If the CBD content is not what they hoped, the data can still be used to refine their process to get the numbers they need to be in the next batch and future batches that will go to market.
Scenario 2: HempHappy is content with their finalized CBD drink product and ready to sell it on their website. First, they need a certificate of analysis to prove their product is in line with the federal regulation of less than 0.3 percent THC. A potency profile will confirm THC content as well as provide data necessary to accurately label products so consumers can understand dosage.
In addition, HempHappy might purchase safety screening on their product to reassure customers who are concerned about the levels of pesticides, microbiological contaminants, heavy metals, and mycotoxins.