Testing laboratories

Testing laboratories

Testing laboratories make sure cannabis goods are safe for consumption. The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) requires all batches of cannabis goods to be tested before they can be sold. Testing labs test cannabis goods to make sure they’re:

  • Free of contaminants
  • Labeled with accurate amounts of cannabinoids and terpenes

Required testing

Testing labs test cannabis goods for:

  • Cannabinoids and terpenes
  • Residual solvents and processing chemicals
  • Residual pesticides
  • Heavy metals
  • Microbial impurities
  • Mycotoxins
  • Moisture content and water activity
  • Foreign material

Reporting test results

Testing labs report results on a Certificate of Analysis (COA). The COA says whether the batch passes or fails testing for each substance.

Labs can only issue COAs and results after they finish all tests. Labs cannot change them after they’re issued without permission from DCC.

Sending results to DCC

The testing lab must submit a data package of test results to DCC after finishing a batch’s testing. This package includes:

Email the data package to testinglabs@cannabis.ca.gov within one day of completing the tests.

Cannabis goods that fail testing

Batches of cannabis goods that fail testing can only be:

  • Destroyed by the distributor
  • Remediated by a manufacturer

Remediation removes contaminants from a product. Only manufacturers can remediate a product. DCC must approve your remediation plan in advance. After remediation, you must retest cannabis goods, which ensures the contaminant was removed. If the goods pass testing, they can be sold.

How to submit a remediation plan

To request permission to remediate cannabis goods, email remediation@cannabis.ca.gov.

Reliability of test results

Testing laboratories must:

  • Become ISO accredited
  • Use standard operating procedures
  • Develop a laboratory quality assurance program
  • Participate in a proficiency testing program

ISO accreditation

Cannabis testing labs in California must maintain to ISO/IEC 17034 accreditation. ISO accreditation is a measure of quality used by universities and research centers worldwide. This standard, established by experts, requires labs to show:

  • Technical competency
  • Reliability of test results