Safe and Consistent Cannabis Products: A GMP Collective Webinar on Fit for Purpose Testing Methods

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This month’s webinar covered the many facets of fit for purpose testing of cannabis products.

On March 27th, 2024, the GMP Collective presented "Optimizing Quality: Exploring 'Fit for Purpose' Testing Methods in the Cannabis Industry," the nineteenth episode in their ongoing webinar series, When Things Go Wrong. Moderated by Bethany Moore, Director of Content Strategy and Market Growth for the GMP Collective, and joined by the CEO of the GMP Collective, David Vaillencourt, this episode covered the importance of using ‘fit for purpose’ testing methods for cannabis products. The guest speakers, Jini Glaros, CSO at Modern Canna Labs, and Dylan Wilks, CTO at Orange Photonics, provided a great amount of detail, personal experiences, examples, and advice on this topic.

The presenters began by defining what ‘fit for purpose’ means and why it is crucial for ensuring the safety and quality of cannabis products. Glaros explained this as: “We’re really talking about testing products in a way that tells the consumers what they’re truly getting, meaning that the results on a Certificate of Analysis (COA) they receive actually match what the consumer is going to get,” and provided examples. Wilks also noted how these processes have been applies to other similar industries and the importance of testing across a product’s lifecycle.

The panel then covered more facets of testing such as the types and purposes of tests for pesticides and molds, safety versus potency from a consumer’s perspective, margins of error in batch sizes, and labelling. They also discussed sample prep methods, matrix effect, and potency range. Glaros explained an internal experiment her laboratory conducted on the percentage range of cannabinoid content for a single batch of cannabis flower and how it exemplifies “lab shopping” in the industry.


Some of the challenges laboratories face, the presenters explained, include having to follow state regulations that may not necessarily align with fit for purpose testing methods. They emphasized that working with accrediting bodies and organizations such as ASTM and AOAC to ensure that laboratories can provide accurate and reliable data to consumers. Vaillencourt summarized the ultimate goal of this type of cooperation: “That’s the importance of the opportunity to get alignment across our country for the betterment of patients at the end of the day.”

Adding to the concept of certification programs and accreditation bodies playing a role in validating proficiency and credibility of testing laboratories, Wilks pointed out that trust in the product is a main reason this is important. “Really being able to trust that people that are getting the product are getting what they’re expecting to get and having the process in place to do that is what these accreditation bodies are assisting with,” he explained. Glaros also noted the value of laboratory inspections in reaching this goal.

In offering advice to regulators, Wilks suggested looking at the unlicensed market and at hemp derived cannabinoids to see how regulations can be implemented to keep consumers safe. Glaros noted the importance of laboratories providing data to regulators and accrediting bodies in order to collaborate on the rules and best testing methods. Both Wilks and Glaros offered their insights for cannabis businesses that are implementing fit for purpose testing in order to improve product development, quality, and customer satisfaction, as well as some solutions for operators when receiving unexpected testing results.

To wrap up the hour-long webinar, the Glaros, Wilks, and Vaillencourt addressed questions from the audience, including trust in medical cannabis products without a COA and how much random testing a dispensary should conduct on products with COAs from the grower or manufacturer.

Find more information on GMP Collective webinars here or watch the full recording of this episode here.