Potency test of marijuana and potency test of Pure CBD crystals, THC test

Potency Testing


What is potency testing?


Potency testing informs patients about the concentration of active cannabinoids in their medicine. Researchers have identified over 70 cannabinoid compounds, many of which possess distinct medicinal benefits. This table provides an overview of the most common cannabinoid compounds and their pharmacological effects. You can see that, while THC is the most well-known cannabinoid, it is only responsible for a fraction of cannabis’ medicinal benefits. For this reason, we also test for CBD, CBDA, CBN, and THCA.


Why does potency testing matter?


As is the case with any pharmaceutical product, the active ingredients in cannabis should be clearly labeled. Cannabinoid profiling allows doctors to determine accurate dosage, ensures that providers can verify the quality of their products, and helps patients to select the right treatment for their symptoms. Researchers continue to make groundbreaking discoveries about the medical benefits of cannabinoids, but these revelations can only be harnessed when consumers, providers, and healthcare practitioners possess reliable data on the contents of their medicine.


How do we measure potency?


At MMOD Labs, we utilize high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC/DAD) to provide full cannabinoid profiling. HPLC works by extracting a sample into a solvent, isolating the target compound, and employing a UV detector to measure concentration. Unlike gas chromatography, liquid chromatography does not heat the sample. HPLC is therefore still reliable when measuring heat sensitive compounds such as THCA and CBDA.

How long does potency testing take?

We recognise that patients and providers require data fast, which is why OUR Laboratories provides results within 72 hours of sample drop-off.

Pesticide Testing

Our pesticide test can detect trace amounts of chemical pesticides in dried flowers and cannabis concentrates. Pesticides are detected using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS).

At SC Labs, we believe that cannabis providers should be able to verify the safety of their medicine. Our comprehensive screening is designed to produce rapid results and is consistent with EPA, ELAP, and international testing standards.

Ingesting pesticides can be dangerous, even at the smallest doses. Yet the FDA has not determined safe levels for any insecticide or fungicide in cannabis. Although many marijuana cultivators practice organic farming, others continue to use illegal or banned pesticides on their crops. Our pesticide screening is rooted in a strong conviction that patients deserve contaminant-free medicine.

Microbiological Screening


SC Laboratories offers a full range of reliable microbial testing using 3M Petrifilm and Real-Time Polymerase Chain-Reaction (qPCR) technology. The same conditions that are ideal for the cultivation of medical cannabis can also be ideal for the germination of microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi (yeast&mold). If your cannabis is not properly tested, the medicine you are consuming can be contaminated with a variety of harmful pathogens and for many patients ingesting contaminated medicine can lead to serious illness and health complications. Using these techniques we can identify and detect Yeast & Molds, E.coli, Coliforms and Enterobacteriaceae such as Salmonella and Shigella which have all been shown to be potential contaminants of cannabis.

3M Petrifilm plates are ISO 9002-certified for design and manufacturing and are included in the official methods of analysis of AOAC International. They are also recognized in the United States by the American Public Health Association; the USDA Agricultural Marketing, Food Safety & Inspection Service; and the US Food & Drug Administration. Petrifilms have a ready-made culture medium that contains a cold-water soluble gelling agent, nutrients, indicator dye and a built-in grid to provide contrast and help facilitate counting colony forming units (CFU) per gram of sample. This gives you fast, precise and consistent results with less chance for error when compared to other methodology. Colonies may then be isolated and identified using qPCR which utilizes genetic amplification to identify and quantify a specific strain of fungus present in a given sample. The combination of excellent sensitivity and specificity, low contamination risk, and speed has made real-time PCR technology the future of immunoassay based testing techniques for microbial screening.

Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) Testing

We also have the ability to test for Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) and several different strains as well as variations (tomato, hemp, cucumber mosaic viruses) which can infect cannabis. Viruses rarely kill Cannabis but they can reduce yields because they invade all parts of the plant. They also have the ability to be transmitted to future generations by pollen and seed and are extremely hard to eradicate. TMV is an extremely stable virus and can easily infect adjacent plants and contaminate surfaces such as benches, pots, and tools so early detection is vital.

What are terpenes?


Terpenes are the aromatic compounds that endow cannabis with its unique scent. Terpene analysis is crucial for differentiating between strains of cannabis, as terpenes have a major influence on the medical and psychological effects of a plant. In fact, the relationship between cannabinoids and terpenoids, known as the “entourage effect,” ultimately distinguishes one strain of medical cannabis from another.

Why does terpene analysis matter?

Terpene analysis is beneficial for patients, providers, and breeders alike.

Understanding terpenes is essential to helping patients identify the right strain for their symptoms.

Terpene analysis allows collectives and budtenders to customise treatment programs for their clients and optimize a strain’s pharmacological effects.

Through understanding terpenes, breeders can selectively modulate the terpene ratios of their strains, in order to maximize desired benefits.

Over the past several decades, mass hybridization of cannabis has led to a high level of homogeneity across strains. As breeders focus on decreasing flowering times, increasing yields, and breeding for intoxicative properties, virtually all strains have developed similar cannabinoid profiles; they contain relatively high THC levels and scarce amounts of other cannabinoids. At present, nearly all differences between popular cannabis strains result from variations in terpene profiles. However, terpenes not only modulate the effects of THC, CDB, and other cannabinoids, but they also possess medicinal values of their own. When viewed holistically, it is these capabilities that produce the entourage effect.


How does SC Labs test for terpenes?

SC Labs uses gas chromatography with flame ionized detection (FID) to test over 35 commonly found terpenes. Our list currently includes:




(-) Caryophyllene Oxide
















Geranyl acetate








Residual Solvent Testing


SC Labs has developed a Residual Solvent Test (RST) to identify the presence of harmful solvents, impurities, and/or other added odorants and chemicals present in super-concentrated forms of Cannabis. Increasingly, more patients are seeking out super-concentrated forms of Cannabis (i.e wax, hash oil, RSO, hemp oil, shatter, amber glass, crumble, budder, etc.) These types of concentrates are produced by using a solvent (such as butane, CO2, ethanol, propane, etc.) to extract cannabinoids and terpenoids from plant-material. Finally, heat, vacuum, and/or other methods are applied to purge out any remaining solvent from the concentrate.

To ensure that the highest quality of concentrates are being produced and made available to patients, SC Labs offers collectives and concentrate manufacturers a Residual Solvent Test (RST). By testing for Residual Solvents, we are able to ensure that the producer’s concentrate process is sound, not only verifying that the producer has used a high-quality solvent, free of impurities and toxic odorants, but has also followed a proper purging process (i.e. vacuum, desiccation, etc.) Utilizing a combination of Gas Chromatography/FID, Head-space analysis, and Mass Spectrometry, SCL is able to identify all of the most commonly used solvents and trace residues of chemicals in the process of extracting cannabinoids, including:

• Acetone

• Butane

• Propane

• Pentane

• Hexane

• Heptane

• Ethanol

• Isopropanol (iso-alcohol)

As the rise of the "dab" continues to gain popularity amongst the Cannabis community, the need to ensure the highest levels of product purity and patient safety becomes paramount. There is no denying the efficiency (?) of vaporizing a concentrate, as a method for ingesting a concentrated dose of cannabinoids with very little to no carcinogenic plant-material. Many municipalities and other states that have authorized medical Cannabis for medicinal use are growing concerned with the rising trend of super-concentrates, In many cases, due to the strength in potency of these products and the negative connotations that various production methods may present, a Collective may find itself at risk of legal issues if chemical-solvent extracted concentrates are offered.

More importantly, chemical residues can have a significant impact on the health of a patient, especially over time and with repeated exposure. Our community must self-regulate to ensure that patients are receiving the highest of quality, solvent-free concentrates possible.

Acceptable Limits for Residual Solvents


There has not yet been a universal standard set for limits on residual solvents in cannabis concentrates. The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) has set guidelines for daily exposure limits for individual solvents. Solvents are broken into three “classes” based on their risk assessment.


Residual Solvent ClassAssessment

Class 1Solvents to be Avoided


Known human carcinogens

Strongly suspected human carcinogens

Environmental hazards

Class 2Solvents To Be Limited


Nongenotoxic animal carcinogens or possible causative agents of other irreversible toxicity, such as neurotoxicity or teratogenicity.

Solvents suspected of other significant but reversible toxicities.

Class 3Solvents With Low Toxic Potential


Solvents with low toxic potential to humans; no health-based exposure limit is needed. [*NOTE—Class 3 residual solvents have PDEs. Source of 50 mg or more per day.]

* Class III solvents include Ethanol, Isopropanol, Propanes, Butanes, and Pentanes.


SC Laboratories currently serves the cannabis industries in both Washington and California, two markets with differing regulatory requirements with respect to residual solvents in inhaled cannabis concentrates. For Washington, under the WAC Chapter 314-55-104, the PPM (parts per million) for one gram of finished extract cannot exceed 500 PPM of residual solvent or gas. Although a statewide standard has not been established for California, the City of Berkeley has set a limit of 400 PPM for residual solvents or gas in one gram of finished extract.

“Tested/Detected” instead of “Pass/Fail”

All samples on which a residual solvent test has been requested are designated as “Tested” and highlighted in green. Samples where residual solvents are detected in amounts greater than 400 PPM are designated as “Detected” and highlighted in yellow. The 400 PPM limit is the lowest tolerance established by a regulatory body in a market where SC Labs test data is used for verification. “Detected” does not equate to “Fail”.


Due to the lack of a universal standard for tolerance limits, residual solvent data is displayed in PPM format without a pass/fail determination. Individual processors, patients or consumers must make the decision for what is “safe” for themselves.