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Cannabis has been cultivated and consumed for thousands of years. Until very recently, most of that use – whether for therapeutic or recreational purposes – was reserved to the shadows. As cannabis has been accepted as a viable medical treatment, so too have measures been implemented to protect patients. 

These processes are varied, including everything from safer consumption methods, like vaporizers, to secure distribution channels. Where most of the product was traditionally produced and procured through illicit channels, much of the cannabis grown for the medical and budding adult-use market is cultivated by legal commercial growers. 

Likely the most significant safeguard introduced to the cannabis industry in recent years is the use of lab testing to ensure quality product. These tests can include a variety of different aspects, including cannabinoid content, terpenoid measurement, and most importantly, screening for heavy metals and pesticides.
In Canada, where cannabis became legal for adult use on October 17, the government body that regulates the industry holds companies to account by employing stringent measures for lab testing. These tests, which all licensed producers must follow, take into consideration everything from the moisture content of the product, to the microbial count. 

Why is this type of testing important? Like most crops, cannabis can face a plethora of both environmental and biological conditions, which can include everything from pests like spider mites and aphids, to diseases like powdery mildew. With the use of stringent lab tests, many and most of these variables can be controlled.

Until recently, no cannabis product came with any certification. Nowadays, almost all of the cannabis grown for medical or adult use, the globe over, is tested by one of the many labs that has recently opened its doors to do this type of work. In Canada alone, dozens of testing labs are set to multiply to hundreds as more companies are licensed to test commercial cannabis.

These developments all equate to one thing for consumers: safer product. Medical patients and adult-use consumers can now ensure the product they are buying matches the label that accompanies it. Whether it be the cannabinoid content, terpene profile or microbial count of the product, the cannabis industry can now hang its hat on lab tests to validate the accuracy of the information they provide. And consumers, of course, can have confidence in the product they buy.


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