Cannabis plants have a natural ability to absorb and accumulate heavy metals from the environment in which they are grown. When consumed, these heavy metals can pose significant health risks to individuals.
The process of testing heavy metals involves analyzing Cannabis samples to determine the presence and concentration of specific heavy metals. Common heavy metals of concern in Cannabis testing include lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), arsenic (As), and mercury (Hg), all of which are required analytes in Arizona.
The testing process can be described in the following four steps:
- Sample Preparation: A representative sample of the Cannabis product is collected and prepared for analysis. This may involve grinding, homogenizing, or extracting the sample to ensure uniformity and consistency.
- Sample Digestion: The prepared sample is subjected to a digestion process to break down the complex matrix and extract the heavy metals. Different digestion methods, such as acid digestion or microwave-assisted digestion, may be employed depending on the lab's protocols.
- Instrument Analysis: The digested sample is then analyzed by using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). This technique allows for the accurate detection and quantification of heavy metals at trace concentrations.
- Data Review and Reporting: The concentration(s) of heavy metals (if any are detected) in the Cannabis sample are compared against established regulatory limits or guidelines.
By conducting heavy metals testing, Cannabis producers and regulators can identify potential contamination issues and make informed decisions regarding the quality of the product. It is an essential component of quality control in the Cannabis industry to maintain the integrity of Cannabis products.
Our experts help producers test Cannabis plants, harvested flowers, and manufactured products for possible heavy metals contamination by ICP-MS.