Lessons Learned from COVID: Improvements in Cannabis Testing Discussed by Bernie Lorenz, PhD

Published on: 

In the Cultivation Track at Cannabis Science Conference, Bernie Lorenz, Chief Science Officer of ProKure Solutions, discussed the intriguing topic of the effects of COVID on cannabis testing methods.

As part of the Cultivation Track at Cannabis Science Conference, Bernie Lorenz, PhD, Chief Science Officer of ProKure Solutions, presented "How COVID could revolutionize the way we grow cannabis." ProKure solutions helps cannabis cultivators in the US create and maintain grow environments.

In his presentation, Dr. Lorenz explained how early detection of pathogens is crucial to prevent wasting time and resources when cultivating cannabis. He stressed the importance of regular air sampling protocols to detect potential sources of contamination. He noted that, “COVID taught scientists a lot about the importance of fast, easy, and mass-produced testing. New technologies can lead into those revolutionary preventative testing for plant disease. And this is going to benefit growers, cultivators, the businesses, and the industry as a whole.”

Watch our exclusive, onsite interview with Bernie Lorenz and read the transcript below for more insights into COVID and its effects on cannabis contaminant testing.


How did you get involved in cannabis research?

Bernie Lorenz: My name is Bernie Lorenz, PhD in chemistry. Cannabis. So I always grew plants with little garden and all that. So I was always interested, but never a big smoker until college. I went to college in New Mexico State University—it’s an agricultural school, so lots of roommates and friends that were all ag related. And then the company I was working for purchased a disinfection company, or literally a line of products. The owner owned a grow facility in Arizona, and we tried our stuff over there, and then our real wheelhouse was the restoration world where mold issues and things like that in your house or your building. And so we knew a lot about mold and it was just an easy fit. So we just kind of walked right into it, it was great.

What are takeaways from “How COVID could revolutionize the way we grow cannabis”?

Lorenz: The title is pretty catchy—COVID right? Not that I liked COVID. But the technology that came out of COVID is really unique and neat and easy to take advantage of, I would say. So if you think about how we tested ourselves for COVID, initially it took several days, you know, it was like a PCR test. And then it turned out, we can do it in our house and find out in 10 minutes. So my proposal is, why not for cannabis? So all the pathogens that can afflict the plant, if we can do in-house testing, that takes 20 minutes, find out, get rid of the bad plants and just grow nice healthy plants.

What do you most look forward to at the Cannabis Science Conference?

Lorenz: I liked the most about it is the poster presentations. Well, let me back up. Being a scientist, a chemist. When you go to a chemistry conference, it's all about presentations and the poster session. It's not about the floor. It's not about selling things. So that's what I like about this conference. People come here to learn. They come to sit and watch and listen. So it's better, it’s science, right? It's just more of a focus on what's being presented versus the show floor. Most people come from the floor fun and chit chat network. But here we come to learn.