As the cannabis industry grows, state by state, country by country, it almost always appears that medical cannabis usage is legalized first. Even where recreational usage may perhaps never be sanctioned, the use of cannabis products for medical purposes often is allowed, at least for some specific conditions.
Physicians, therefore, find themselves obligated to learn about possible cannabis-based treatments, and also be confident that those treatments are safe. Testing is of paramount importance for products destined for human ingestion or application, and even more so where patients may be immunocompromised or otherwise more vulnerable health-wise. In Canada, while provinces control much of the regulation, national cannabis standards and licensing are managed by the national healthcare body Health Canada.
However, nationally in the U.S., cannabis for any purpose remains problematic. From WebMD:
More than half of U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana in some form, and more are considering bills to do the same. Yet while many people are using marijuana, the FDA has only approved it for treatment of two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Nevertheless, states are individually driving research and treatments forward. Combined with Canada's cannabis industry, testing requirements for medical cannabis present a substantial opportunity for laboratories and related enterprises to adopt and learn from.
Constituents of Medical Cannabis
There are over 400 compounds found solely in cannabis. Much more research needs to be done to identify and fully test the properties of many of these components. Here is an overview of medical cannabis constituents from SafeAccessNow.org:
Concentrations or percent of each type of cannabinoid ranges widely from plant to plant and strain to strain.
The first identified and best-known cannabinoid is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). THC has the most significant psychoactive effect of the cannabinoids. The ratio of THC to other cannabinoids varies from strain to strain. While THC has been the focus of breeding and research due to its various psychoactive and therapeutic effects, non-psychoactive cannabinoids have physiologic effects that can be therapeutic.
In addition to cannabinoids, other cannabis plant molecules are biologically active. A few other molecules known to have health effects are flavonoids and terpenes or terpenoids (the flavor and smell of the strain). Cannabinoids, terpenoids, and other compounds are secreted by the glandular trichomes found most densely on the floral leaves and flowers of female plants.
- Cannabidiol (CBD) relieves convulsions, inflammation, anxiety and nausea—many of the same therapeutic qualities as THC but without psycoactive effects. It is the main cannabinoid in low-THC cannabis strains, and modern breeders have been developing strains with greater CBD content for medical use.
- Cannabinol (CBN) is mildly psychoactive, decreases intraocular pressure, and seizure occurrence.
- Cannabichromene (CBC) promotes the analgesic effects (pain relief) of THC and has sedative (calming) effects.
- Cannabigerol (CBG) has sedative effects and antimicrobial properties, as well as lowers intraocular pressure.
- Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is showing promise for type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders.
CannaQA for Testing Medical Cannabis
LabLynx knows that testing medical cannabis for safety is vital. The CannaQA laboratory information management system (LIMS) puts you in touch with the medical cannabis community, while also providing all the data management solutions you need for managing cannabis testing and reporting, as well as managing other aspects of your lab. CannaQA LIMS also ensures your quality control is of the highest standard, helping you guarantee the quality and safety of all products you test and meet all legal testing and reporting requirements.
See the CannaQA Pricing page for more about CannaQA's competitive, transparent pricing, as well as pricing examples.