RefWork:LIMS Buyer’s Guide for Cannabis Testing Laboratories/Final thoughts and resources

From CannaQAWiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

-----Return to the beginning of this guide-----

6. Final thoughts and resources

6.1 Final thoughts

Cannabis sativa (Köhler).jpg

The aspiring cannabis testing laboratory finds itself in a strange place in 2021, particularly in the United States. Well over half of the U.S. has some sort of state-based cannabis legalization and regulation, and pressure continues to mount for legalization to occur at the federal level. This has given cannabis testing laboratories time to develop and use several methods and equipment types, but not enough time to unify under a broader, currently non-existent Federally-backed set of methods and regulations. The state of cannabis testing is still a bit like the Wild West in that there remains a sense of rapid change and numerous unknowns. This instability in the evolution and regulation of cannabis testing adds even more stressors to the pioneering labs trying to make their way to profitability, requiring every edge they can get. It turns out one of those edges is a well-designed laboratory information management system (LIMS) for better managing the data management, workflow management, quality control, and reporting requirements of the cannabis testing industry.

However, it's not sufficient to just get any ol' LIMS. A well-designed LIMS for cannabis testing has many requirements. It must be flexible enough to address not only the rapidly changing regulations, test methods, instrumentation, and reporting requirements of the industry; it must also have the flexibility to expand into other lateral industries such as agricultural testing, environmental testing, or even petrochemical testing. Additionally, the system must address aspects unique to the industry that many standard "all-in-one" LIMS can't, including flexible limit sets, inventory and sample weight reconciliation, and a meticulously granular chain-of-custody. But even good software also requires a knowledgeable vendor with quality support services and competitive pricing to go with it. The request for information (RFI) process is a valuable tool towards selecting that vendor and their LIMS, though it's not the only tool. The laboratory itself must also have the expertise on-hand to assist with selection and implementation, and when that expertise isn't available, a consultancy may come in handy.

This guide has looked at the broad state of cannabis legalization and the importance of testing cannabis. From there we naturally had to look at what analyzing cannabis actually entails, which then painted a clearer picture of how LIMS and other automating aspects of the laboratory can improve a cannabis testing lab's operations, though the responsibility for securing the data involved can't be ignored. We then looked at the acquisition process, what makes a cannabis testing LIMS unique, who sells them, and how the RFI—as well as specification documents like LIMSpec for Cannabis Testing—better the overall acquisition and implementation process. And we even included additional resources to help you on your adventure that is LIMS acquisition and use.

Hopefully this guide has been useful and informative. As noted, the cannabis industry changes rapidly. Efforts will be made to keep this guide up-to-date, but realize some information may rapidly become obsolete or differently factual. That said, at its core the guide should remain a useful tool for the enterprising cannabis testing lab, or existing labs wishing to expand into cannabis testing. Selecting and purchasing a LIMS for cannabis testing is not an easy effort, but with this knowledge in-hand, the road should be a little less painful. Best of fortunes!

6.2 Key reading and reference material

6.2.1 Key reading

  • Goldman, S.; Bramante, J.; Vrdoljak, G. et al. "The analytical landscape of cannabis compliance testing". Journal of Liquid Chromatography & Related Technologies 44 (9–10): 403–20. doi:10.1080/10826076.2021.1996390. 

6.2.2 Reference material

Law and regulation

Standards and guidance


New York State Department of Health:

Accreditation and certification

6.3 Consultancy and support services

The following entities are known to provide consulting and support services of various types to cannabis testing labs (as well as cultivators, dispensaries, etc.):

6.4 Additional resources

Below are the major scientific conferences and trade shows for cannabis.

Select associations, organizations and interest groups who are at least tangentially related to cannabis research and analysis:

  • American Chemical Society, Cannabis Chemistry Subdivision: "to be recognized as the leading chemistry authority on the safe & beneficial processing, extraction, and purity analysis of cannabis products"
  • American Herbal Products Association: "national trade association and voice of the herbal products industry"
  • American Oil Chemists Society: "advances the science and technology of oils, fats, proteins, surfactants, and related materials, enriching the lives of people everywhere"
  • Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards: "to protect public health, consumer safety, and safeguard the environment by promoting integrity in the cannabis industry"
  • Hemp Industries Association: "a non-profit trade association representing more than one-thousand (1,000) supporters, farmers and business members serving the hemp industries since 1994"
  • International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines: "to advance knowledge on cannabis, cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system, and related topics especially with regard to their therapeutic potential"
  • International Cannabinoid Research Society: "to (1) foster cannabinoid research; (2) promote the exchange of scientific information and perspectives about Cannabis, the cannabinoids, and endocannabinoids through the organization of scientific meetings; (3) serve as a source of reliable information regarding the chemistry, pharmacology, therapeutic uses, toxicology and the behavioral, psychological, and social effects of cannabis and its constituents"
  • National Hemp Association: "to support the growth and development of all aspects of the industrial hemp industry"

Citation information for this chapter

Chapter: 6. Final thoughts and resources

Edition: Summer 2021

Title: LIMS Buyer’s Guide for Cannabis Testing Laboratories

Author for citation: Shawn E. Douglas

License for content: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Publication date: August 2021