The moisture content plays a significant role in determining the quality, potency, and shelf life of Cannabis products. Excessive moisture levels can lead to microbial growth, cannabinoid and terpene degradation, and increased risk of mold and mildew formation. On the other hand, insufficient moisture can result in dry and brittle products with diminished potency and aroma which can negatively affect the consumer experience.
A commonly used technique is the loss-on-drying (LOD) method. A small sample of Cannabis is weighed and then heated at a specific temperature for a defined period to evaporate the moisture. The sample is then reweighed, and the difference in weight before and after drying is used to calculate the moisture content. This process is automated using a moisture balance. The Cannabis sample is loaded onto the balance where it records the initial weight. The balance is then closed, and the inner chamber is heated via a heat lamp to begin the evaporation process. The balance measures the change in weight over time until no loss is detected and records the final weight. Using the difference between the starting and final weight, the balance reports the loss in weight as a percentage.
Accurate moisture testing is essential for maintaining product quality. Moisture testing is typically performed at various stages of the Cannabis production process, including during cultivation, harvesting, drying, and packaging.
Cannabis cultivators, processors, and distributors can utilize moisture testing to effectively monitor and control moisture levels, promoting the production of consistent, and high-quality Cannabis products.
At present, the Arizona Department of Health Services does not require moisture content analysis, but our Arizona Cannabis testing laboratory offers this service as an informational test for our clients.