• J.M. Saksa

Testing & Numbers: What you need to know...

Testing Testing...

Okay ya I am a bit late on getting this done but I have been busy. We are all pretty informed that testing is a mandatory part of owning a cannabis business and that the idea behind it is to give consumers more information on what they are consuming. This brings up the question and topic of the day.

Question: What do cannabinoid levels tell a consumer?

Honest answer: Not much

Lets discuss why. While cannabinoid levels are a pretty cool thing we dont learn much from a percentage listed on a jar. There are lots of reasons why and I want to outline those in this topic. First off let us explain that we are pro testing. Not mandatory testing but rather testing on behalf of a company to do so in good faith. While we have gotten some rough feedback on that comment I think if you read the rest of this note you will start to see why.

  1. Honesty in testing: Okay lets start with the most controversial and the one that pins most growers egos to the wall. There are dozens of instances around the country that outline the integrity of the grower-lab relationship and just how those business relationships have sprung into buying of results. Im not skewing this any bit. They have been caught and licenses revoked for such unethical actions. Not only does this action jeopardize the fundamentals of why we test reality is that cannabis that has been tainted by pesticides and pathogens have been passed onto the consumer. Why and how this happened is something I will try and explain. In every state testing of food and agricultural products is controlled by federal agencies and while cannabis is for certain an agricultural product it is not controlled by these factions. With that being said testing for these environments and through these agencies carries very specific procedures that are far more stringent than the current testing requirements. It is of no surprise that businesses will skirt regulation in every way they can in order to save a dollar. It is the same reason that growers use unethical pesticides on cannabis that are simply not tested for as a residual. Understanding the limitations of regulation and testing are a huge part of understanding the loopholes and the issues associated with cannabis. My issue right now most of all is that there are dozens of pesticides that should be banned from use by providers and there simply is not. This is exactly why farmers in Colorado were banned from using products like Eagle 20 and Avid. While it was legal for so many years the repercussions of those actions were felt by patients across the state who ingested LEGAL tainted cannabis.

  2. Cannabinoids, Synergy and Bioavailibility: Okay so this one is likely a bit out of all of our knowledge fields and much of this is based on the knowledge I have of living systems and functions of nutrient cycling. Look folks more is not always better that is a truth we must live with. Cannabis has been bred to extort specific profiles that wreak of recreational use and not so much medicinal use. Spiking levels of specific cannabinoids are not the best method to alleviating symptoms. For instance those studying various cannabinoids have found it only takes trace amounts to truly have an affect on the human and so often it might be a case where the cannabinoid system is being over used. This might mean that you are basically throwing money away. Bioavailibility is a real thing. While a vitamin might suggest it has 2000% of your daily vitamin c how much of that can your body actually use? Well we cant say for many reasons but what we have absolutely figured out is that each individual has a different metabolism for various cannabinoid and terpene configurations. Its very complex and there is no solid answer for any one individual. So while you might find relief on one type of cannabis others may not and while your body my metabolize 20% of the thc in a cultivar, while there may be 30% your body turned the other cannabinoids into an enzyme or protein that does a completely different function or has no function at all. While science hasnt unlocked all these mysteries we feel its best to not sell off high numbers. It just doesnt have a function..

  3. Numbers dont describe the entourage effect: This is backbone of our medicinal platform. The entourage effect describes how all these active ingredients work together to be more available to the body. While a bottle might say a thc percentage and cbd percentage that is only one of dozens of processes that happen. What I mean is cbd is an antagonist for thc. It calms your high, it balances the effects, and provides its own set of tools to help the endocannabinoid system function. What about all the other cannabinoids. If we dont have a clue as to what they are all doing what do these tests actually tell us. IMO so far how recreational a cultivar is.

  4. Lastly sits on the consumer knowledge of the test. If a consumer is not educated in all of this they purchase cannabis much like they purchase food. Based on price and what they seemingly like. What this tells us is that the numbers really are not important. What is most important.......?

Look here is the truth. ASK QUESTIONS and then do some due diligence and go look that shit up. Folks there are some really high profile labs out there doing some amazing research on cannabis and I for one find more importance in those studies than anything that has to do with a cool new designer cultivar. Want to know good levels for seizures? Want to know levels for Chron’s Disease? Its out there... why because some of us care!

We have been doing take home surveys for years and we do that because we find it is ultra important for consumers to give us the feedback that helps other patients make informed decisions. I see lots of 30-40% tests coming back and folks are shopping on that... dont be one of those people.


JM SAKSA (grower)

A Perfect Cure MT

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It all started for me early to mid 2000s. Cannabis was starting to take hold in legal markets and Montana was included. We were growing some of the hottest cannabis in the North West and I was on a mi