Microbials: What Patients Need to Know about Cannabis Lab Testing and CBD Medicine

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Part of a special series on cannabis lab testing. Learn more about Pesticides, Residual Solvents, Heavy Metals and why Compassionate Cultivation makes its test results publicly available for every batch of CBD medicine.


As the first licensed dispensary to open its doors to patients in Texas, Compassionate Cultivation sees its commitment to patient safety and transparency as a black-and-white issue. There simply is no question about openly sharing lab testing data and information on how we make our CBD medicine.

This commitment to transparency is the cornerstone to building trust and credibility; not just with our patients, but for the industry overall.  

Why does this matter? Because until there is federal oversight and consistency in cannabis regulations, it is the Wild West when it comes to standards and best practices. Issues with contamination have raised questions about the safety and efficacy of cannabis.

Compassionate Cultivation takes a clean and precise approach to making CBD oils: Our plants are grown without pesticides, and we use a solvent-free extraction process. Further, we conduct comprehensive lab testing through third-party company Xabis to assure patients and their doctors of our medicine’s safety, quality and consistency. This also lets them know exactly what is in their medicine—and equally important, what is not.

This includes cannabis lab testing for contaminants, including microorganisms such as bacteria and mold.

Compassionate Cultivation products are tested for E. coli and Salmonella, microorganisms that can cause severe intestinal distress. Additionally, tests are conducted for the presence of coliforms, which are a broad class of bacteria, and Aspergillus, a genus of mold that’s ubiquitous in the environment and can cause severe health problems in humans.

With these microbes, it’s the amount of exposure that matters. For patients with compromised immune systems, they can lead to devastating infections. And high levels of microbial contamination aren’t desirable to anyone.

Not all states require testing for contaminants, nor do they have consistent targets and thresholds, which means cannabis contaminated with fungi, pesticides or heavy metals can be a challenging issue. In Vermont’s medical cannabis program, for example, no laboratory regulations are enforced. Arizona doesn’t have contaminant standards or require testing, either. Washington does require testing for microbial agents like E. coli, salmonella and yeast mold; officials there rejected about 13 percent of the marijuana products offered for sale in 2014, according to Smithsonian.com. And in California last year, a study by the University of California-Davis of 20 unidentified dispensaries found they were selling cannabis contaminated with several potentially dangerous microorganisms.

The lack of federal oversight doesn’t make Compassionate Cultivation any less diligent about maintaining the clean conditions of our cannabis cultivation, or any less vigilant about ensuring the purity of our products. We hold our cultivation and processing operations to the highest standards to give our patients and their doctors the utmost confidence, certainty and clarity about our CBD medicine.

Photo credit: Chris Reichman, Sum & Substance Photography
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