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Benefits of In-House Testing

by Jacques Santucci and Nick Des Lauriers

Testing your cannabis and cannabis products in-house is an unnecessary added cost since producers are required to test their products tested by a 3rd party lab anyways, right?  Think again.

As we see it, testing is becoming a key business strategy element.

Overview of benefits:

  • Understanding your internal processes resulting in more effective and efficient SOPs
  • Increase revenue due to mitigating batch failure
  • Increase patient/consumer satisfaction by ensuring consistent dosing
  • Reduction of lead-times to crucial information caused by 3rd party laboratory constraints

Implementing a few types of testing equipment allows producers to gain a deeper understanding of a variety of processes including cultivation yields by strain and extraction yields.  Producers know that after 9-, 10-, 11-, or 12-weeks, their plants have reached maturity and are ready to harvest, frequently based on the color of the trichomes produced (i.e. clear/cloudy/amber), right?  Says who? Is there any data to back this up?

With in-house testing, producers can quantify the increased cannabinoid production during the latter part of the flower stage, by strain and based on their unique growing conditions resulting in as much as an additional 15%-by-weight of cannabinoid production per plant. Similarly, this helps processors understand their extraction yields and efficiencies via quantifiable data rather than the word of the equipment sales rep. Extractions are often judged by the percentage of the output relative to the input (i.e. 15% yield). But what is the potency, or cannabinoid composition of the extract? For example, a 10% yield at 90% potency actually produces more viable cannabinoid than a 20% yield at 40% potency, but most only look at the overall yield with disregard to its cannabinoid composition.

In-house testing benefits pertaining to cultivation and processing:

  • Understanding and maximizing cannabinoid yields in plants
  • Optimizing growth cycle for your unique growing conditions
  • Understanding extraction outputs and diminishing returns
  • Optimizing extraction efficiencies

Despite the initial investment required to purchase testing equipment, in-house testing capabilities actually increase net profits by mitigating batch failures and subsequent disposal of otherwise salvageable cannabis and cannabis products. Basic microbial screenings allow cultivators to check for levels of bacteria & mold prior to sending the official, tracked batch out for regulatory screenings with a certified 3rd party laboratory. This provides a window to correct any potential contamination before receiving an official failing result from an outside laboratory, meaning batches that would otherwise fail and be disposed of negatively effecting the bottom-line can still be provided to patients and consumers without compromising their safety. Similarly, basic solvent contamination screening capabilities provide manufacturers and processors with a means to perform a quick-check on their levels of residual solvents without risking the failure of an entire batch.

Implementing a basic suite of testing equipment in-house allows producers to differentiate themselves from their competition by meeting and exceeding the expectations of their patients and consumers by creating products that are safe, high quality and dosed consistently. Best of all, you’ll receive your results when you need them instead of waiting 1-, 2-, 3-, or even 4+ weeks for results and without paying for the “privilege” of expedited results.

Do you want to gain efficiencies in your cultivation and manufacturing processes?  Tired of losing revenue due to disposal of failing batches?  Or, are you simply sick-and-tired of waiting painfully long for a simple analysis?

A few steps that could help you:

  • Inquire with testing specialists or vendors with specialized know-how to understand your unique operation
  • Reach out to other operators that are already testing in-house for quality control
  • Seek the opinion of regulators or industry organizations like NCIA
  • Look for industry specific experienced consultants
Jacques SantucciJacques Santucci

Jacques Santucci

Jacques Santucci, President of Opus Consulting (formerly Nucleus-One Consulting), a leading business performance management providing specialized management and growth strategies, assisting clients nationwide navigate the complex and evolving challenges of license acquisition, starting and operating a cannabis business, founded on the premise of sharing their experience and proven best practices, to define cannabis success at the intersection of finance, operations and strategy.

He is co-founder of Wellness Connection of Maine, the state’s largest group of medical marijuana dispensaries as well as Stage Cannabis. A cannabis entrepreneur for over 10 years, Jacques has played roles as founder, operator and advisor for several different cannabis companies throughout the United States, as well as founder of Stage Cannabis, a music-themed retail store and of Strimo, a business platform software for the cannabis industry.

Jacques can be reached at [email protected] or 207-619-1899

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