News and Best Practices

Understanding Sample Testing, Part 4: Home Kits

October 11, 2016

By now, you should have a basic understanding of sample testing, from the methods to the selection process. If not, just jump back to Part 1, Part 2 or Part 3.

Now comes the fun part: at-home testing kits. These kits are available online to anyone, and they’re fairly affordable, too. Almost every kit detects THC, but others may be more specialized for CBD. Most of your kits will test only for these substances, although other kits that may test for more.

Why should you know about them? Because your customers will! At-home testing kits are nice for providing peace of mind. If you claim your buds contain CBD, customers can test your product. These kits can be pretty accurate when it comes to detection.

The downside of home kits

But as you’ve probably noticed by now, every testing method has limitations. At-home testing kits, unfortunately, have the greatest limitations. They will never come anywhere close to what high-performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatography systems can do.

That’s because at-home testing kits cannot quantify how much THC or CBD is in the sample. In other words, you can’t determine if these buds are a certain percentage of THC with an at-home kit. All you can determine is whether or not the sample contains a substance. That’s all.

Some kits are a bit more sophisticated than others, such as Alpha-Cat kits. They’ll use a spot-size LC system to give you an idea of how much THC, CBD, CBN, CBG, etc., is in the sample. For instance, Alpha-Cat generates a tiny spot for CBD and a much larger spot for THC from your typical retail product. If your customer wanted a 1:1 THC:CBD strain, the test kit should show roughly equal-sized spots for THC and CBD.

How to use home kits

If you’ve got access to a state-of-the-art lab with the best analytical instruments available, why would you invest in these kits? Because spot-size kits have one additional advantage over the more generic at-home kits: They can give general measurements.

Again, let’s go back to Alpha-Cat. You can compare the relative spot size to a chart provided in your kit. The size of the spot does give a fairly good approximation of THC (or CBD) percentage in your sample. However, since these results don’t come from a certified lab, you shouldn’t report these values to your customers.

Because some kits can measure relative values, these are incredibly helpful when you buy product from licensed cultivators or vendors. Of course, they can give you their test results for their products, but how do you know if they sampled their product in an accurate manner? For a fraction of the cost you’d pay for certified lab testing, you can do a quick at-home test with your kits.

CB Scientific even offers kits that test edibles. Since few retail stores make their own edibles, this gives you an affordable system whenever you buy edibles wholesale.

 

By Randy Robinson
Dispensary Management Today articles are for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal guidance or advice on dispensary operations. You should contact an attorney or a qualified cannabis consultant for specific compliance and dispensary/retailing advice.
© 2016 CAN Performance Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

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