As of October 2018, federal regulations require a license to cultivate for sale, sell, and distribute cannabis products throughout Canada. Those producers and retailers who obtain this license must follow certain regulatory guidelines in order to stay in good standing with Health Canada and the 2018 Cannabis Act.
One of the major benefits for people purchasing cannabis is that 3rd Party Quality Testing is now a requirement for this licensing. This means that your cannabis strains, when purchased from a licensed seller, will be tested by a licensed Canadian laboratory to make sure they meet a variety of federal standards such as limited pesticide, solvent, microbial, and chemical levels, as well as accurate THC and CBD counts.
This is so important because many of the unnatural agents added during low quality cultivation and production processes can negatively impact your immune system and overall health. On the other hand, cannabis strains that are grown and produced in an optimal manner have been shown to have an amazing array of wellness-boosting benefits.
The 2018 guidelines for 3rd party testing can be broken down into two main categories: cultivation and production. Here’s a look at some key criteria for these new consumer protections.
The new quality protections include 3 main tests covering Soil, Harvesting, and Extraction to help ensure that your cannabis strains are safe and effective:
Cannabis oil currently has limits under the new law on the amount of residual solvents that it can contain. These limits cover 28 substances shown to be detrimental to people in quantities higher than 5000 parts per million. You can review the full list of solvents that will be tested under the new law here: Limits on Residential Solvents in Cannabis Products.
Mandatory pesticide testing for cannabis will go into effect on January 2, 2019, and will place limits on nearly 100 Pest Control Products that the Canadian government has deemed unhealthy beyond minimal levels.
Cannabis microbial and chemical levels must now be met in accordance with the standards found in one of eight international publications which govern herbal medicinal products. These eight governing publications are listed in Schedule B of the Food and Drug Act. Each licensed 3rd Party Testing Lab in Canada has their choice of which international publication they use.
There are also a number of new testing and processing standards aimed at full disclosure of your cannabis products’ content:
The percentage of the therapeutic cannabis compounds THC and CBD must be tested for and clearly marked on cannabis package labels, along with the levels of their crystalline forms prior to heating, known as THCA and CBDA. Your cannabis’ weight, volume, packaging date, and optimal storage conditions will also be included on the package.
All licensed cannabis must now be sold in child-resistant packaging, and one of 14 health warnings will be rotated onto each label.
In case you have further questions about your product’s test results, it’s also a requirement for the label to include the processor’s contact information along with your cannabis strain’s name and lot number.
Just a note that those already using cannabis for medical purposes who are authorized by their health care provider will now have access to a wider range of products and sellers who participate in 3rd Party Quality Testing. Registered patients don’t need to do anything at this time to continue accessing their cannabis supply.
Also, each province has flexibility with age, possession, and personal cultivation limits for recreational users that you can check here.
As mentioned, you’ll be able to access your cannabis strain’s 3rd party testing information using the product label that is a requirement of the new production standards. This label includes your product’s THC and CBD levels in part because these naturally-occurring cannabis compounds have been scientifically shown to promote a wide range of health-boosting benefits.
If you’re unsure how much THC and CBD you need for your particular wellness needs, just enter your symptoms into our App. You’ll see the strains that other people with your same health indicators are using to successfully treat their symptoms, as well as the amounts of THC and CBD that are in each of these strains. You can then compare this information against the 3rd party THC and CBD levels on your strain’s packaging label to ensure that you are getting exactly the right amount to successfully manage your healthcare needs.