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Cannalytics Marijuana Lab

Zach - Cannalytics of Michigan - May 18, 2012


Zach, the Founder of Michigan Cannalytics which is located in the Robert Randall Center in Lansing Michigan joined us to talk about lab testing of cannabis products.  Marijuana lab testing provides critical information to patients who are especially responsive to specific cannabinoids.  With approximately 70 cannabinoids discovered to date, there is a wide range of therepeutic benefit knowing what cannabinoids dominate specific strains, and even strains with the same name grown in different environments could have different profiles, or be labeled with the wrong name. 

Zach shared some lab testing results and some surprise findings discovered while testing marijuana.  We learned the marijuana molecule "cbd" is also found in hemp which is the non-psychoactive form of the cannabis plant, but is also illegal to grow in the U.S. yet is shipped in from Canada, China, and other countries for industrial and nutritional use.  Zach told us about a new concept, where apparently science is catching up with nature, called "the entourage effect." 

The entourage effect is an important discovery as it means that extracting just one compound from the marijuana plant is not as effective as the whole plant.  Think of all the subatomic quirks and quarks that take place between the phenols, polyphenols, cannabinoids, and terepenes.  This helps explain why patients who have tried synthetic forms of THC (ie Marinol) offered by pharmaceutical companies to treat nausea during chemotherapy often don't like the effect, yet are often able to tolerate and prefer marijuana which also contains THC however with the whole plant there are currently approximately 70 other cannabinoids and other compounds such as terpenes that also have medicinal benefits and interact with each other to sometimes counteract the harshness of each other.  For instance THC is known to have a pscychoactive effect, however CBD another cannabinoid has an anti-psychotic effect.  Therefore two different marijuana buds with the same amount of THC, but different amounts of CBD, will offer different effects.  The one with the higher CBD will have less of a psychoactive effect than the one with lower CBD, since the CBD counteracts the THC.  

The smells emitted by marijuana are terpenes.  Just like an orange grove emits a smell, so does a marijuana growTerpenes also have medicinal benefits.  In fact some of the terpenes found in citrus fruit are also found in marijuana.  In addition to cannabinoids having an entourage effect on each other, so do terpenes.  For instance, myrcene is a terpene found in mangoes and also found in marijuana, that increases the psychoactive effect of marijuana if a mango is eaten approximately 30 to 60 minutes prior to smoking marijuana.  It takes a little time since it has to travel to the intestines to be absorbed.  This is of course more noticeable if the quality of the marijuana is not of the highest quality in terms of high THC content. 

Marijuana labs also test for contaminants such as mold, and pesticides, which is another reason that repealing prohibition is so important.  Lab testing allows patients to know what they are consuming which could be especially critical for a patient with an already compromised immune system.  Patients who are forced to buy marijuana from street dealers in states that don't have marijuana laws in place protecting them, also denies patients the access to labs for testing.