Sample Preparation for Accurate Cannabis Testing Using a LIMS

Sampling Preparation for Cannabis Testing

May 12, 2020

As the cannabis industry rapidly evolves, so does the need to find solutions for sample preparation in cannabis laboratories. Accurate cannabis testing is critical for success within the industry as well as necessary to meet compliance requirements. Utilizing LIMS as part of any current or future cannabis operation will allow for sample preparation that is accurate, streamlined, and effective while meeting all rules and regulations surrounding a rapidly growing industry.

Sample preparation is of utmost importance in regard to accurate testing in many industries. With the cannabis space being subject to many varying regulations to meet legal compliance, accurate testing becomes even more paramount. Testing is required to reveal compounds that consumers look for such as cannabinoid and terpene levels but also to uncover the presence of any heavy metals, pesticides, and biological contaminants (mold, fungi) in order to ensure a sample adheres to compliance standards.

The importance of sample preparation for successful cannabis testing cannot be stressed enough as labs must follow strict accounting and traceability practices through all stages in order to fall into accordance with the many laws surrounding the legal cannabis industry. Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) should be incorporated into the process for any and all sampling preparation for cannabis testing as it provides a means for efficiency and transparency in managing workflow and chain of custody for cannabis samples.

One of the first steps in sample preparation in cannabis laboratories should involve logging flowers or other cannabis derived products, such as extracts, into a LIMS. When using a LIMS to log and document the steps involved in cannabis testing and sample preparation, a laboratory will inherently meet one of the initial aims for testing – to document and map the results as accurately as possible. Each instrument and every gram of plant material used in the process must be thoroughly tracked and recorded. Tracking all of these steps through other means can result in far from accurate reporting and can also easily overwhelm any laboratory facility. LIMS will give a cannabis lab the ability to track and log each step of the sampling preparation process while storing and organizing these records in an easy to access and shareable format. These records are essential to track from the moment cannabis plants enter the lab through the entire sampling preparation process and even as they are disposed of.

In addition to accurate reporting of results, a LIMS can support cannabis testing and sample preparation in other important ways that have a direct impact on lab operations. The management abilities created by implementing a LIMS can automate and augment workflows, allow real-time access to lab work status, minimize errors, and increase overall efficiency. These are a more than welcome benefit to any operation and insure a level of compliance unachievable otherwise.

Sample preparation for successful cannabis testing is of utmost importance and as the industry expands, so does the need to adhere to all requirements surrounding this. Implementing a LIMS into a cannabis testing laboratory has benefits that are easy to observe in daily operations and is a sure way to establish a foundation for accurate tracking, reporting, and compliance necessary in the near future.

Also, read the article titled "Managing Cannabis Testing Lab Workflows using LIMS" published in Cannabis Industry Journal.


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