Several Bay Area Medical Cannabis Products Flunk A Potency Test

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A flurry of new consumer reports are taking the Bay Area medical cannabis industry to task for what’s in their products. Two separate studies have revealed that product makers are misstating the amount of active ingredients in medical cannabis edibles, as well as extracts. Sometimes, there's little medicine in purportedly medical products at all.

Medical cannabis products are not regulated by the State of California, and numerous efforts to do so have failed, because police, city, and industry forces cannot agree on a unified path forward. Police maintain that marijuana is not medicine, meanwhile dozens of California cities have regulated access to the plant. One is twenty California adults is estimated to have used cannabis for a serious illness and 92 percent of them think pot works.

The latest report finds that the increasingly popular, pre-packaged tanks of marijuana oil used in vape pens vary wildly in potency.

Leading medical cannabis journal O'Shaughnessy's bought nineteen such products from thirteen brands off dispensary shelves and sent them to one of the leading cannabis testing labs, SC Labs for analysis.

While some “cartridges” tested extremely potent, other extracts were weaker than mid-grade raw plant matter.

O'Shaughnessy's' report by Melinda Misuraca & Michael Hayes, “All Vape Pens Are Not Created Equal” finds that:

"buyer beware: Many vape cartridge brands are available in the unregulated cannabis market and it’s not always obvious what you’re getting. Deciding between vape cartridges is somewhat like choosing between a vintage scotch and a flask of moonshine, though in this case purchasing one of best whiskeys of the cartridge world might actually leave you with a few more greenbacks in your pocket."

Bay Area medical cannabis extract in oil form (above) was tested by O'Shaughnessy's, with enlightening results. - DAVID DOWNS
  • David Downs
  • Bay Area medical cannabis extract in oil form (above) was tested by O'Shaughnessy's, with enlightening results.

Absolute Extracts tested at the top of the charts with 70.21 percent THC in its cartridges. At the bottom of the pack is products by Liquid Platinum and Black Diamond — which had barely more than 10 percent THC — the main active ingredient in cannabis. Modern cannabis flowers tend to average about 16 percent THC.

On a cost per milligram basis, Absolute, Pure Cure, and Eureka brand oils proved the most value, while Liquid Platinum, Homegrown and Oasis rounded out the bottom.

More on Bay Area medical cannabis product test scores tomorrow.

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