MoCann Testing and Saint Louis University: Three Part Series

MoCann Testing and Saint Louis University, School of Professional Studies have joined forces to present the three part series “An Introduction to Cannabis Testing.” Each part will include a PowerPoint video presentation, and a live Q&A to follow with some of Missouri’s leading industry professionals. MoCann Testing will be highlighting the scope of testing marijuana products, the importance of ensuring accurate results are being delivered to patients, and how cultivators and manufacturers use testing results to make educated decisions on how to market and deliver their products. Like our socials and be on the lookout for the PowerPoint and live Q&A presentations beginning June 2021!

DATES TO BE ANNOUNCED

What is a Cannabinoid

Cannabis contains a number of chemical alkaloids known as cannabinoids. Primary cannabinoids of interest to are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN). In extracts from the plant, THC and CBD exist as the native acid forms, tetrahydroocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabinolic acid (CBDA). THC is the marijuana plant’s primary component for causing psychoactive effects. Medical marijuana uses the marijuana plant or chemicals in it to treat diseases or conditions.
Cannabis consumers are often mislead into thinking that any cannabis strain with under 25% THC must be noticeably less potent than average. Yet much of the cannabis grown and consumed is around 16% THC.

While it is rare to find accurate THC levels above 25% in plants, it is unfortunately quite common to see claims of 25-30+% THC levels.

MoCann Testing’s Mission

MoCann Testing mission is to help individuals across the state ensure they have access to safe medical marijuana through accurate sample testing and quality results.

How is MoCann Testing Ensuring Accuracy?

MoCann Testing is ramping up for the state required proficiency testing program. Proficiency testing determines the performance of individual laboratories for specific tests or measurements and is used to monitor laboratories’ continuing performance. Proficiency testing is also called interlaboratory comparison. As this term implies, proficiency testing compares the measuring results obtained by different laboratories.

In order to determine how precise our testing is, MoCann Testing purchased a “blind” dry flower sample to test in our laboratory. The supplier of the “blind” dry flower sample provided the known concentration of d9-THC, THCA, CBD, CBDA, CBN, total THC, and total CBD in a sealed envelope to the regulatory and compliance team (see Figure 1 below). MoCann Testing’s analytical chemists prepared and analyzed the sample according to our procedures and methods. The results were, well, see for yourself!!

Table 1: Side by Side Comparison of Results

Figure 1: Packing Slip and Sealed Envelope with Results

Figure 2: Sealed Results Disclosed by Regulatory upon Completion of Analysis

Note: The sealed results give total THC and total CBD concentrations by adding the THC and CBD with their corresponding native acid form concentrations directly together. It is notable that Total THC and Total CBD are typically calculated as demonstrated below as smoking, cooking or vaping heat gets rid of the carboxy so THCA gives of CO2, losing about 12% of its weight in the process.

Total THC= THC+ (THCA*0.877)
Total CBD= CBD+ (CBDA*0.877)

For the sake of this study, total THC and Total CBD are calculated as outlined below

Total THC= THC+ THCA
Total CBD= CBD+ CBDA

Figure 3: MoCann Testing’s Results

What do these results mean??

MoCann Testing tested between 97-112% of the expected value of the cannabinoids tested, including 100% recovery of THCA and 103% recovery of Total THC! MoCann Testing’s procedures, instrumentation, and methods are spot on with known concentrations of cannabinoids in cannabis products. Consumers can be confident in our results and products tested by MoCann Testing means safety and accuracy!

To find out more about cannabis testing, contact MoCann Testing at mctinfo@ekglabs.com, at 314-328-9006, or via our website.

About MoCann Testing

MoCann Testing is the FIRST Missouri state certified, ISO 17025 compliant medical marijuana testing laboratory and is based in St. Louis, Missouri. As a division of EKG Labs, a pharmaceutical and medical device analytical laboratory, our clients can be confident that the results are accurate and reported in a manner compliant with all of the state’s requirements.

An Introduction to MISSOURI TESTING and MICROBIALS

The Purpose of Testing

An important step in ensuring safety for Missouri medical marijuana patients is to confirm marijuana products meet specific safety thresholds through accurate laboratory testing. Additionally, accurately testing medical marijuana products for potency ensures labels have the appropriate information regarding their strength which helps industry experts determine dosage.

Commonly Asked Questions

What Do Missouri Testing Labs Test for?

Laboratory testing regulations for Missouri medical marijuana have been determined by Missouri State Law outlined in CSR Article 19.

While some industry experts understand what is expected to be tested, testing requirements and specifications are very state specific. And although state testing regulations are similar state-to-state, it is important to understand what tests are Missouri state mandated versus what services are A la Carte. Missouri requires the following to be tested:

What Specific Microbials Do You Test For?


Missouri Required:

Mycotoxins including Aflatoxins and Ochratoxin A
Pathogenic Aspergillus Species
Pathogenic E. Coli
Salmonella

Additional Mold Tests MoCann Testing Offers:
Total Yeast and Mold
Powdery Mildew
Additional Services Upon Request

Microbials

Microbial contamination on cannabis products represents one of the most significant threats to cannabis consumers, particularly immunocompromised patients who could develop harmful infections.

Mycotoxins
Mycotoxins are highly toxic chemical byproducts from fungi commonly found in crops. As very small quantities are capable of causing disease state and/or death, the control of mycotoxins is a critical testing requirement of cannabis testing. MoCann Testing has validated test methods to analyze for aflatoxins and ochratoxin A (others available upon request) at or below the 20 ppb (parts per billion) Missouri limits.

Aspergillus
Aspergillus is a Saprophytic fungus that helps (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC88920/) remove environmental carbon and nitrogen and is commonly found in soil, but its spores propagate rapidly in the air with each fungus capable of producing thousands of conidia.

While there are several hundred different species of Aspergillus, and not all are dangerous to humans, any detection of Aspergillus in the sample is a failure as outline by Missouri law makers.

Positive Detection of Aspergillus (rise in blue signal)

Negative Aspergillus (no rise in blue signal)

Note: Rise in green signal indicates the cannabis sample DNA was replicated appropriately

E. Coli.

E.coli is a type of coliform bacteria commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms. Most E.coli strains are harmless, but others can cause food poisoning when ingested by humans. Most states require cannabis samples be tested for E.coli.

E.coli is a presence/absence test, which means any detection of E.coli in the sample is a failure.

Salmonella

Salmonella is a member of the Enterobacteriaceae family, is estimated to cause 1.2 million foodborne illnesses and 450 deaths each year.

Salmonella testing on cannabis is a presence/absence test, which means any detection of Salmonella in the sample will result in a failure.

Positive Detection of Salmonella and E. Coli (rise in blue and orange signals)

Negative Salmonella and E. Coli (no rise in blue and orange signals)

Note: Rise in green signal indicates the cannabis sample DNA was replicated appropriately

The results of a Total Yeast and Mold (TYM) test are an indication of yeast and mold contamination on a cannabis sample.

Yeasts and molds can cause deterioration and decomposition. Certain species of yeast and mold produce toxins that can cause potentially fatal infections.

While a high TYM result doesn’t necessarily mean a sample is harmful to consumers due to some beneficial microbes that could exists on the cannabis plant, many other states require cannabis samples to pass TYM testing before patients have access to the product. However, acceptance levels for each state range drastically from 10 Colony Forming Units (CFU)/g to 100,000 CFU/g. As this is not a Missouri state required test, there is no “failure” limit. That said, it is important for cultivators and manufacturers that submit their products for this testing to understand and evaluate their internal acceptance level to ensure the safety for patients. MoCann Testing recommends less than 10,000 CFU/g on cannabis plant and less than 1,000 CFU/g on extracts.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew (PM) is arguable the most destructive Cannabis pest. It is an obligate biotroph that can vascularize into the plant tissue and remain invisible to a grower. It tends to emerge and sporulate two weeks into flowering thus destroying very mature crop with severe economic consequences. It is believed to travel in clones and it is not known if it travels in seeds. Other stressful events like cloning can trigger PM spore formation. Early detection and eradication may be the safest approach.

About MoCann Testing

MoCann Testing, based in St. Louis, Missouri, is the FIRST Missouri state certified, ISO 17025 compliant medical marijuana testing laboratory. As a division of EKG Labs, a pharmaceutical and medical device analytical laboratory, our clients can be confident that the results are accurate and reported in a manner compliant with all of the state’s requirements.

To find out more about microbials testing, contact MoCann Testing at Tel: 810-354-5229, or via our website.