The importance of pesticide testing in cannabis and hemp
Pesticides are commonly used to protect plants against weeds, fungi, insects or small animals. Pesticides can also damage people’s health.
Pesticide testing is at the heart of what we do here at Green Leaf Lab. We pride ourselves on our commitment to accuracy and integrity in our testing. This equates to legal defensibility in products and goods clients produce and manufacture, as well as happy and healthy consumers.
Pesticide testing is important as cannabis extracts may contain concentrated levels of pesticides. In addition to the possible concentration of pesticide residue, little to no studies have been performed on the toxicity of inhaling heated pesticides. Traditional chronic pesticide exposure has been linked to neurodegenerative disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, birth defects, many forms of cancer, and fertility and reproductive problems. These risks may be compounded by the heat damage of smoking, making the testing of cannabis products all the more important.
Green Leaf Lab prides itself on partnering with clients and licensees that value accurate pesticide testing.
How pesticide testing is conducted at Green Leaf Lab
Our pesticide testing process begins with accurate sampling and a thorough preparation process. We perform multiple extraction, clean-up and dilution techniques to prepare the sample for our state of the art instrumentation.
Every pesticide test we perform is run on two instruments, a gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) and a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS).
These instruments, in combination, test for all the analytes listed on Table 1 as required by the states of Oregon and California. The data resulting from these instruments undergoes our strict quality control standards, including multiple steps of review.
Any samples or batches that fail our laboratory’s quality control standards will be either re-prepared or re-diluted and/or re-tested.
State of the Art Pesticide Instrumentation
The GC-MS/MS and LC-MS/MS instruments utilized for pesticides testing are chromatography instruments with an attached mass spectrometer. Chromatography is the scientific technique of separating a mixture of solvents, pesticides, or other compounds that can be extracted from the cannabis matrix (i.e. cannabinoids, terpenes, and other organic materials).
The procedure of using liquid or gas chromatography for a particular pesticide is determined by the environment that the pesticide is most stable in. Some pesticides destabilize at the high temperature of the GC instrument and are best analyzed via LC, while others destabilize in the liquid phase of the LC instrument and must be analyzed by GC. Due to this variability, to properly test the entire list of required pesticides both methods of chromatography must be used for accurate results and legally defensible data.
Table 1 Pesticide AnalyteAnalyte list with Chemical Abstracts Services Registry number
|Pesticide Analyte||CAS No.|
For more information on permitted product ingredients please contact the appropriate state agency. Links to additional contacts and information on state requirements and guidelines are available on our Resources page.