When the Farm Bill Amendments of 2018 were passed into law, the most conspicuous thing was the requirement that all cannabis products should have no more than 0.3% THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the psychoactive component in a hemp product. In addition, the products are required to be safe for human use, meaning that they should be free from bio-contaminants, pesticides, and heavy metals. In this post, we take a closer look at heavy metals in cannabis products and why it is paramount to have the product tested in a third party-party laboratory.
Why Is It Important to Test Your Hemp Products for Heavy Metals?
If you are new or have been in the cannabis industry for some time, it is crucial that no effort is spared to ensuring your clients only consume what is safe.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that all cannabis products should be free from heavy metals and those that exceed the legally allowed levels are destroyed. Here are the dangers of selling hemp products with high levels of heavy metals.
- Heavy metals are toxic because the human body is not able to remove them from its system.
- When heavy metals accumulate in the body, they may cause severe cell damage.
- Studies have associated heavy metals with cancer.
As you put more effort into keeping your staff and premise free from COVID-19, the new pandemic that has caused over 135,000 deaths in the US and ½-million across the globe, so should be your focus on selling high-quality cannabis products. One of the best ways to be sure of stocking quality cannabis is subjecting it to further testing in a third party lab.
Sources of Heavy Metals in Cannabis Products
The main source of heavy metals in cannabis products is the farmlands, where the hemp plants are grown.
Because most heavy metals are naturally occurring in the earth’s crust, they can be easily available in soil where the hemp plants are grown. Also, activities such as industrial operations can also introduce or increase the concentrations of heavy metals in cannabis products.
Heavy metals can also come from the equipment used to process the cannabis products. While the levels of heavy metals from handling are low in most cases, they can still result in poisoning when such products are repeatedly consumed.
Tests for Detecting Heavy Metals in Third-Party Laboratories
Third party lab testing is the process of checking the components that are present in a sample. The laboratories, as the name suggests, are not affiliated in any way with the cannabis supply chain. There are a number of methods that top third party laboratories use to check the presence and quantities of heavy metals in a sample, including:
- Plasma-mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS).
- Inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES).
- Atomic absorbance spectrometry (AAS).
ICP-MS is considered the gold-standard in testing heavy metals in the cannabis industry. The method is capable of determining the presence of heavy metals in parts per billion and is also pretty fast. To use the method, your sample is digested in an acid and then ionized at high temperatures before checking the presence of specific heavy metals.
If you have a hemp business, it is important to ensure you work with the best third party laboratory to help you test the products you intend to stock. This gives you the assurance of stocking quality products, avoiding getting into conflict with the law, and offering your clients the best products. Furthermore, it will help you to stand out in the highly competitive cannabis market.
Do not trust every the information written in the cannabis products from the supplier, have it tested in a third party laboratory!