Legal Cannabis: Lab Tested in Colorado and Washington

Cannabis testing is a new phenomenon. Even though people have been purchasing medical marijuana in Washington since 1998, the state never mandated testing until it approved I 502 legalizing recreational Cannabis in 2013. Nevertheless, recreational Cannabis has been legalized in four states, “but that doesn’t mean it’s a tested consumer product. Some of those potent buds are covered in fungus while others contain traces of butane,” according to an analysis of Cannabis in Colorado. In May of 2014, edible marijuana products in Colorado sickened a number of people; henceforth, Colorado began requiring all Cannabis products be tested. Washington has mandated testing with a detailed checklist of items to analyze, including potency, contaminants, moisture, and microbiology.


Both states have licensed private labs to analyze Cannabis products. They charge the manufacturers a fee. Consumers can already get partial results, such as potency, printed on the packaging; some other tests can be made available upon request. The lab must be independent from the producer and manufacturer. There is no in-house testing being done like there is in the cigarette industry. Since many growers don’t yet test their own Cannabis for potency, two buds may vary in their THC content – and in effects. So even if a manufacturer uses the same edible recipe, their products might vary from cookie to cookie.


As Cannabis has been bred over recent years, we’ve seen a dramatic increase of THC levels by up to 300%! A spokesman with the Washington State Liquor Control Board claims that some of the labs in Washington have seen THC levels as high as 40%. The downside to this kind of breeding is that cannabidiol, or CBD, has been declining. This is a problem for medicinal marijuana consumers, as CBD is more often associated with medical benefits than THC.