Know Your Medicine: How to Read Cannabis Test Results
Even though medical cannabis testing is not required in Arizona, Harvest tests each batch of flower and concentrate for safety and cannabinoid profile before we release it for sale. The results are displayed in the dispensary, and we encourage patients to review the test results, ask questions, and make informed decisions about the medicine they purchase. It is always our goal to provide patients with safe and effective products that will treat their conditions and provide the relief they seek.
What You’ll See on a Harvest Test Result
When you review a Harvest test result, you will learn the percentage of CBC, CBD, CBD-A, CBG, CBN, THC, and THC-A that was found in the sample on the date it was tested. In addition, you will find the sample’s ratios of THC to CBD and CBD to THC.
Why Test Results Matter
The cannabis plant has hundreds of chemical compounds and each of these compounds affects the human body in a different way. As we discussed in The Entourage Effect: What It Is and Why You Should Care, rather than isolating a single compound as is the case with most pharmaceutical drugs, cannabis’ highest benefit appears to be the way the whole plant works together to affect the endocannabinoid system. Many patients understand that a strain high in THC will provide a different palliative result than one high in CBD, but what about the lesser-known compounds? How do THC-A, CBC, CBN or CBG affect results and provide relief?
Desert Valley Testing, the company Harvest trusts to test the medicine we dispense, attributes the following benefits to the compounds listed below:
THC – Helps with relaxation, eases pain, suppresses pain from nerve damage, slows inflammation, controls anxiety, suppresses muscle spasms and convulsions, eases nausea, fights free radicals, relieves chronic eye pressure and pain caused by glaucoma, controls certain cancers, and stimulates new growth in nerve tissue.
THC-A – Provides relief for symptoms of arthritis and lupus, acts as a sleep aid, provides neuroprotection against neurodegenerative disease, and limits cell growth in certain patients with prostate cancer.
CBD – Helps control epilepsy, controls certain cancers, eases pain, stimulates bone growth, stops growth of bacteria, reduces blood sugar levels, decreases social isolation from THC, decreases blood pressure in blood vessel walls, and reduces the risk of artery obstructions.
CBD-A – Shown to possess antibacterial properties, acts as an antiproliferative making it ideal for inhibiting cancer cell growth, reduces nausea and vomiting especially in patients receiving chemotherapy, and reduces inflammation.
CBC – Fights bacteria and fungi, can reduce edema as well as inflammation of the intestinal tract, fights depression, stimulates brain growth, and assists in contraction of blood cells.
CBN – Acts as a sleep aid, controls pain, fights free radicals in bloodstream, stimulates appetite, promotes growth of bone cells, and relieves pain.
CBG – Counteracts the paranoid “heady” high associated with THC, decreases anxiety, is useful in the treatment of glaucoma, and has antioxidant effects.
It makes sense for patients to read the test results and choose the medicine with the highest concentrations of the compounds that have been shown to treat their condition.
Using Test Results to Determine Proper Dose
In addition to test results showing which cannabinoids are present in a medical cannabis product, they also show how much of each chemical is present.
The strength—and therefore, the amount of medicine needed for a proper dose—varies dramatically between products. While cannabis flower can contain up to 20% THC, some concentrates log in at 90% THC. It follows that one gram of cannabis concentrate has a much higher cannabinoid content than one gram of flower. Since one gram equals 1,000 milligrams, if a gram of flower tests in at 18% THC, that gram has 180 milligrams of THC. If a gram of concentrate tests in at 85% THC, that gram has a whopping 850 milligrams of THC. Harvest advises patients to use this knowledge to figure out the proper dose to deliver a palliative result.
We’re Here to Help
Whether it’s your first time visiting our dispensary or you’re an established patient, Harvest Patient Advisors are here to help you. If you have questions about cannabinoid profile or strength, please ask. We are happy to help you interpret the test results for the products we dispense; it’s our job to help you choose the medicine that will make you feel better.