Book a Ticket to Reliability: Start Your Cannabis Lab Proficiency Journey with LIMS

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Podcast Demystifying Proficiency Testing for Cannabis Labs & the role of a LIMS

To watch the podcast

In this podcast, we unravel the significance of proficiency testing (PT) in the cannabis industry with Morgan Keefer, Accreditation Officer II at A2LA. 

We dive headfirst into the subject by demystifying PT, exploring its significance in ensuring the accuracy and reliability of cannabis test results. Morgan elaborates on the cannabinoids, microbial, and chemical attributes typically analyzed during PT. 

Morgan’s expertise guides the discussion on the PT and interlaboratory comparison (ILC) requirements essential for ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation along with best practices for effective PT preparation. We also discuss the frequency of PT participation mandated by state regulatory bodies, highlighting the diverse timelines across different states. 

Keefer explains how PT results are statistically evaluated and interpreted by PT providers to pass or fail a lab. She also discusses the impact of matrix interferences and sample heterogeneity on result accuracy. Furthermore, she provides tips for laboratories failing PT to determine the root cause and plan of action to remedy the failure. The discussion extends to practical examples of how PT has directly enhanced the operational efficiency and credibility of cannabis testing labs. Morgan also shares her foresight on advancements in PT for cannabis labs as testing requirements evolve. The podcast concludes with Morgan emphasizing the importance of informatics tools, including LIMS, in cannabis testing to support PT processes.

Tune in to the conversation for these and more such insights and gain a deeper understanding of the role PT plays in ensuring quality assurance and compliance in the dynamic and rapidly evolving cannabis industry.

Key Takeaways 

  • What is PT and why is it crucial for cannabis testing labs? 
  • What are some of the cannabinoids, microbial, and chemical attributes that cannabis labs typically test for during proficiency testing, and why are these important? 
  • What are PT and ILC requirements for ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation? What are the best practices for cannabis labs to effectively prepare for proficiency testing? 
  • How often labs are required to participate in proficiency testing to meet state regulatory requirements? Does the timeline vary from one state to another? 
  • How are PT results evaluated using statistical methods and interpreted by PT providers to pass or fail a lab in proficiency testing? 
  • How do matrix interferences and sample heterogeneity impact the accuracy and reliability of test results? And, what measures should labs take to minimize their effects? 
  • In the event that a laboratory fails PT, what is the recommended procedure for review along with a plan of action to correct the problems found?
  • What are some practical examples of how proficiency testing has directly improved the operations or credibility of cannabis testing labs?
  • What are the limitations of proficiency testing for cannabis labs and how can PT be improved for cannabis labs?
  • Is proficiency testing more challenging for the cannabis industry compared to other industries, such as the food industry, due to the federal illegality of cannabis? If so, in what aspects?
  • As cannabis testing requirements continue to evolve, what advancements or developments do you foresee in the field of proficiency testing for cannabis labs?
  • How do informatics tools support proficiency testing in cannabis labs?

Who Should Listen to the Podcast

Lab managers, directors, quality managers, and technicians of cannabis testing labs.

  • The importance of proficiency testing for cannabis testing labs [1:04]
  • Cannabinoids, microbial, and chemical attributes that cannabis labs typically test for during proficiency testing, and their importance [3:48]
  • PT and ILC requirements for ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation, and best practices for cannabis labs to effectively prepare for proficiency testing [6:36]
  • Frequency of cannabis labs’ participation in proficiency testing to meet state regulatory requirements [9:39]
  • Evaluation of PT results using statistical methods and their interpretation by PT providers to pass or fail a lab [11:25]
  • Effect of matrix interferences and sample heterogeneity on the accuracy and reliability of test results, and measures labs can take to minimize their effect [17:50]
  • The plan of action in case a lab fails PT [25:06]
  • Practical examples of how proficiency testing has directly improved the operations or credibility of cannabis testing labs [28:17]
  • The limitations of proficiency testing and how PT can be improved for cannabis labs [31:40]
  • The aspects in which proficiency testing is more challenging for the cannabis industry compared to other industries due to the federal illegality of cannabis [36:19]
  • Advancements or developments in the field of proficiency testing for cannabis labs [38:30]
  • The role of informatics tools, such as a cannabis LIMS, in supporting proficiency testing in cannabis labs [42:19]

About the Speaker

Morgan Keefer Accreditation Officer II, A2LA

Morgan Keefer
Accreditation Officer II
A2LA

Morgan Keefer joined A2LA in March 2022 as an Accreditation Officer on the Life Sciences team. Morgan has prior experience working in a medical cannabis testing laboratory in Maryland focusing on cannabinoid and microbial analysis during which time she performed various proficiency tests. Morgan also has prior experience in a food testing laboratory in Pennsylvania performing various chemical and microbial tests. Since joining A2LA, Morgan has been an Accreditation Officer for many cannabis testing laboratories across the country and has spoken with various proficiency testing providers for the cannabis industry. Morgan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Science, Life and Biomedical Science from the University of Central Florida.