RefWork:LIMS Buyer’s Guide for Cannabis Testing Laboratories

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Title: LIMS Buyer’s Guide for Cannabis Testing Laboratories

Edition: Summer 2021

Authors for citation: Shawn E. Douglas, Alan Vaughan

License for content: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Publication date: August 2021

This guide recognizes the challenges of the current cannabis testing environment for laboratories and identifies the value of the laboratory information management system (LIMS) towards lessening the impact of those challenges on the cannabis testing lab. However, what makes for a quality LIMS that can have a positive impact on the lab, and what features are specifically required? How should the acquisition process be approached, and who are the key vendors selling such solutions? And what questions should labs be asking—perhaps as part of a request for information (RFI) process—of vendors to ensure they are actually going to get a LIMS that practically meets the lab's needs? This guide addresses these topics and more, and it provides additional resources at the end, which may be useful to not only LIMS acquisition but also developing analytical methods and maintaining regulatory compliance.

The table of contents for the LIMS Buyer’s Guide for Cannabis Testing Laboratories is as follows:

1. Cannabis testing and research: An overview

1.1 Cannabis legalization, use, and research
1.1.1 History and legalization
1.1.2 Use
1.1.3 Research and analysis
1.2 Regulation and standardization of cannabis testing
1.3 Why test?

2. Laboratory testing of cannabis and its derivative products

2.1 Analytical aspects
2.1.1 Cannabinoids
2.1.2 Terpenes
2.1.3 Contaminates
2.2 Analytical methods and tools
2.2.1 Sampling
2.2.2 Cannabinoid testing
2.2.3 Terpene testing
2.2.4 Contaminate testing
2.3 Cannabis testing laboratory workflow
2.3.1 Differences beyond analyzing plant material
2.4 Certification and reporting of results
2.4.1 Certificates of analysis
2.4.2 Track-and-trace and chain of custody

3. LIMS, informatics, and cannabis testing

3.1 Informatics and automation in the cannabis testing lab
3.2 LIMS flexibility for cannabis testing and other markets
3.3 Cannabis LIMS considerations
3.4 Data privacy and management
3.4.1 Across the broad cannabis industry
3.4.2 What this means for the lab

4. LIMS acquisition, implementation, and support

4.1 Business considerations
4.2 Acquisition and licensing
4.3 Implementation, maintenance, and warranty
4.4 LIMS solutions for cannabis testing labs

5. An RFI for evaluating cannabis testing LIMS vendors

RFI introduction
Organization basics
LIMS: Primary cannabis testing workflow
LIMS: Workflow and operations maintenance and support
LIMS: Interoperability and system performance
LIMS: Software security, data integrity, and related policies
Cloud infrastructure, security, and related policies
Account management and support
License agreements, service level agreements (SLAs), and contracts
Service implementation

6. Final thoughts and resources

6.1 Final thoughts
6.2 Key reading and reference material
6.3 Consultancy and support services
6.4 Additional resources