Residual Solvents: 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 and why Compassionate Cultivation makes its test results publicly available for every batch of CBD medicine.

Since opening the first licensed medical cannabis dispensary in Texas earlier this year, Compassionate Cultivation has been offering qualifying patients the highest quality, most consistent CBD medicine on the market. We can make this assurance because transparency about our products is a black-and-white issue for us.

From the growing of the plants to the processing of our tinctures, we offer patients and their doctors complete information about how we make our low-THC products: the ingredients they contain and the cannabis lab testing results for each batch of medicine we produce. We don’t just test for cannabinoid potency as required by law: We look for potential contaminants, including microbials, heavy metals, residual solvents and pesticides, to ensure that the final product is safe.

This testing and our full disclosure is more than is legally required, by the way; But we’re happy to go the extra mile, because the trust of our patients and their physicians means everything to us.

So here’s a closer look at why testing for residual solvents is so important at Compassionate Cultivation:

Residual solvents can be found in some cannabis concentrates, if they don’t use a solvent-less process like we do at Compassionate Cultivation.

When extractors use solvents like butane, propane and alcohol, the process can result in unwanted, toxic contaminants being present, which is a concern for many patients. When chemical solvents are not completely removed, they can be present in high enough concentrations to cause health problems for the patient, especially over time and with repeated exposure.

A 2015 study in the Journal of Toxicological Sciences found that cannabis concentrates may contain toxic solvents that remain as residue from a solvent-based manufacturing process. More than 80 percent of the cannabis concentrates tested during the study were found to contain residual solvents, including isopentane, butane, heptane, propane and others. In states such as Colorado, concern over toxic residual solvents has led to regulation and establishment of acceptable limits.

All of Compassionate Cultivation’s products are made using hydrocarbon-free, high-purity CO2 extraction: a safe, environmentally friendly process that allows cannabis compounds to be extracted with little damage or toxicity.

CO2 extraction isn’t unique to cannabis; the process is used for everything from removing caffeine from coffee beans to producing carbonated drinks and essential oils. It results in no harmful residuals and kills any potential mold or bacteria present in the plant material.

Even though our extraction procedure is solvent-free, we test each batch for Class 1, 2, and 3 solvents as outlined by the U.S. Pharmacopeia, a nonprofit that establishes standards for the production of medicine. Results are reported so that everyone involved with this medicine knows exactly what is, and is not, present in every batch we produce.

At Compassionate Cultivation, full transparency is the only option when it comes to treating patients in Texas through the Compassionate Use Program. The information we provide through our cannabis lab testing empowers doctors and patients with knowledge about what exactly is in their CBD medicine. Because the more patients know and understand about what they’re putting in their bodies to treat a medical condition, the better.

Photo credit: Chris Reichman, Sum & Substance Photography
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