By LAURA WEICK A Warwick laboratory is the state's first licensed marijuana testing and sampling lab, part of a statewide process to improve medical marijuana safety. The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) licensed Green Peaks Analytical, a
A Warwick laboratory is the state’s first licensed marijuana testing and sampling lab, part of a statewide process to improve medical marijuana safety.
The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) licensed Green Peaks Analytical, a subdivision of Rhode Island Analytical, as the first third-party business to test medical marijuana products from and for marijuana cultivators and compassion centers. Previously, cultivators and compassion centers had to test on their own or through private, unlicensed laboratories.
Green Peaks at 41 Illinois Ave. will test medical marijuana products for potency, particularly cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) in products. The lab will verify if a product’s labeling matches the actual composition, and will make sure products are safe for use.
“Like all other patients in Rhode Island, people who use medical marijuana deserve to have access to safe medication, and they deserve to have accurate information about that medication,” RIDOH Director Nicole Alexander-Scott said in a press release. “The increased oversight that RIDOH and DBR will be providing will help ensure that critical product safeguards are in place for medical marijuana patients.”
According to Melissa Manamon, director of quality for Rhode Island Analytical and technical director for Green Peaks Analytical, the licensure process took over three years. Green Peaks applied to become licensed, and both RIDOH and the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation’s (RIDBR) Office of Cannabis Regulation had to make sure Green Peaks was following proper testing procedures.
“The laboratories are valued based on their abilities to fulfill medical marijuana regulations,” RIDOH Public Information Officer Joseph Wendeleken said. “They review things like laboratory facilities themselves, procedures and quality of testing.”
Medical marijuana can be used to treat seizures, migraines, anxiety, chronic pain and other issues, but different cannabinoids found in marijuana have different effects. THC creates a psychoactive sensation, or the “high” typically associated with marijuana, while CBD moderates THC. Many medical marijuana products have low amounts of THC and high amounts of CBD, for example, but Green Peaks will test products to determine if labels are accurate.
“It’s about public health, and ensuring that the products we are testing are what they say they are,” Manamon said. “They are advertising a certain potency, and if it doesn’t match their labeling, that’s a problem. This allows us to look at what the marijuana cultivators are dispersing in their products.”
Although Green Peaks is currently only licensed to test for potency, Manamon said the lab hopes to expand beyond that.
“We are actively working to expand our certification,” Manamon said. “Right now we are only listed for potency, but we are in the process for getting improved for the entire microbial scope, pesticides, solvents and heavy metals,” Manamon said.
Two other laboratories in the state are under review for marijuana testing licensure, according to Wendelken, although he did not disclose which labs were being considered. However, Wendelken said that Green Peaks’ testing would build a foundation for future medical marijuana label verification.
“Over a six-week period, the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulations’ Office of Cannabis Regulation will gather feedback from Green Peaks Analytical, cultivators, compassion centers and the patient community about this process,” a press release from RIDOH read. “With this information, DBR will establish a time frame by which all medical marijuana products will be required to have potency totals that have been verified by a licensed laboratory on their product labels.”