FEB 08, 2018 04:00 PM PST

Medicinal Marijuana Standards...Deterrent or Catalyst for Industry Legitimization

Photo Credit: Nevada Cannabis Testing & Regulation

Medical marijuana often has stringent testing requirements not necessary for recreational marijuana; strict requirements in many states is what makes medical marijuana different from your general next-door neighbor growing a few plants at their leisure (where it is legal, of course). Some of the requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • only certified, accredited laboratories can perform testing for medical cannabis (same accreditation as water or food testing facilities)
  • individual strain and batch potency testing (THC, THCA, CBD, and CBDA at a minimum)
  • microbial testing for contamination (bacterial and fungal)
  • volatile organic compounds (VOCs) testing, and water source testing at the facility.
  • laboratory personnel proficiency testing
  • applications and licensing
  • staff training at the dispensary
  • money handling processes (very delicate in this industry), etc.

These challenging standards have been characterized by some as “Pharma-like” for compliance with state standards for dispensaries and/or research facilities. Each state that legalizes medical marijuana has their own regulatory standards for research, development, cultivation, testing, and dispensing of medical cannabis. The administrative “hoops” can be deterrents but we could also look at them as helping change the stigma of medical marijuana for providers and patients. The strict adherence to state standards (or national standards if we could get there….) can alleviate concerns about the consistency and purity needed to provide qualifying patients with the cannabis or hemp based medicinal products for therapeutic reasons.

Think about how we, as the public, feel confident that a traditional pharmaceutical has been vetted, trialed, and is “safe” if prescribed by a provider. We feel confident when we pick up our prescription from the pharmacy that the pills in that little bottle are each the same dose, contain no compounds or contaminants that may have snuck in there from the lab where they were made, and that they are labeled appropriately for tracking (batches and lots). The quality control (QC) and quality assurance (QA) processes from the laboratory to the pharmacy are well documented. Without this trail, would we feel as confident about what we get? A lot of money goes into this business of pharmaceutical QC/QA. When don’t we hear about the money spent for lobbyists, clinical trials, and research? Educators, medical professionals, and scientists look to the published research for guidance and what pharmaceutical aspect to explore next.

The scientific inquiry and QC/QA process is incredibly necessary for the medical marijuana industry; it is not only needed for policies and regulations guidance, but for good clinical research to make educated and informed decisions for patients and their therapeutic options. Is it possible that the more we legitimize aspects surrounding medical marijuana, the greater the potential for seeing, and therefore valuing, the complex plant genus and species that warrants additional medical research?

Photo Credit: Association of Public Health Laboratories

About the Author
  • Mauri S. Brueggeman is a Medical Laboratory Scientist and Educator with a background in Cytogenetics and a Masters in Education from the University of Minnesota. She has worked in the clinical laboratory, taught at the University of Minnesota, and been in post secondary healthcare education administration. She is passionate about advances and leadership in science, medicine, and education.
You May Also Like
SEP 19, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
SEP 19, 2019
Medical Marijuana Versus Mainstream Healthcare
In a recent publication in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs described the results of a survey of 392 patients who used marijuana medicinally as well...
SEP 19, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
SEP 19, 2019
In Celebration of Women's Month: Here are 35 Powerful Women in Cannabis Science
Paying homage to National Women's Month, Cannabis Science and Technology website published a feature highlighting 35 women who have made an impact on t...
SEP 19, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
SEP 19, 2019
More Evidence That High-Potency Pot is Linked to Psychosis
The debate around the link between marijuana and psychosis continues. The general consensus up to this point acknowledged a possible risk, but only fo...
SEP 19, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
SEP 19, 2019
Is Weed Bad For the Heart?
Marijuana has achieved much praise for its purported health benefits discovered in recent years. From slowing down the progression of cancer, to treat...
SEP 19, 2019
Neuroscience
SEP 19, 2019
Combining marijuana and opioids may help treat pain, without the risk of addiction
In an ideal world, patients in need of pain relief would take pain medication without the inherent fear of possible opioid addiction. According to a recent...
SEP 19, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
SEP 19, 2019
Growing up high: new insights into how cannabis changes the adolescent brain
During adolescence, important cognitive functions develop. Adolescence is a highly sensitive period for brain development as it represents a time when regions of the frontal cortex in charge...
Loading Comments...