Samantha Lui, Laboratory Director and Robert Sellers, Chief Science Officer
The world is witnessing a significant upsurge in the demand for legal cannabis. According to prominent research, the global cannabis market is expected to surge up to USD 90.4 billion by 2026. As this young cannabis market continues to grow, the manufacturers of these products are looking out for solutions to ensure that their products are safe and consistent for the consumers. The key to achieving this lies in reliable, high-quality cannabis lab testing that assures complete consumer safety. But laboratory testing in this industry is complicated. One of the foremost challenges is navigating the regulatory framework. Every company involved in the cannabis market struggles with maintaining compliance and efficiently abiding by the regulations. Besides the regulatory aspect, companies witness the issues of inconsistencies in testing methodologies and results. There prevails a lack of standardization of methods employed by each lab, which hinders delivering the same accurate results every time. Again, acquiring the results promptly and securing regular clients add to the existing set of challenges. What is primarily essential is to have a knowledgeable and talented pool of analytical chemists and microbiologists and top-of-the-line equipment to perform the best-in-class testing services. With an efficient team, the labs need to perform the complete regulatory compliance package, which requires an expensive and unique piece of instrumentation for each required test. Besides, there are multiple methodologies for different types of sample matrices—from flowers to concentrates, topical, tinctures; each one of them requires adequate research and the right way of preparing them for analysis. In this context of the vitality of accurate testing in regulatory compliance and effective product development, Caligreen Laboratory takes center stage, offering a holistic suite of reliable testing services to help the cannabis businesses thrive in the market.
Caligreen Laboratory puts in immense effort in due diligence to ensure that its results are reliable, reproducible, and accurate. Their methods and procedures are validated to meet the criteria put forth by the DCC.
Further, the company also participates in proficiency testing programs to maintain a high degree of certainty of delivering accurate results. In addition to this, they perform internal audits of their procedures that encourage them to consistently self evaluate and maintain a high level of reproducibility. With their deep focus on compliance, Caligreen Laboratories tries to keep an open dialogue with the DCC to assist their customers with compliance. With their knowledge and previous experiences, the team attempts to provide the best technical and scientific guidance, helping the clients meet the issues related to evaluating their existing protocol, identifying gaps in protocols, or providing input and designing new protocols for specific procedures to enable the clients to achieve their end goal. “At Caligreen, we endeavor to provide accurate and reliable testing results on time and also work with our clients to assist them in delivering safe products to the marketplace,” mentions Robert Sellers, Chief Science Officer of Caligreen Laboratory.
Caligreen Laboratory leverages state-of-the-art technology to offer a broad spectrum of analytical services based on the DCC regulations. These include analyses for cannabinoid potency, pesticides, residual solvents, terpenes, heavy metals, and microbiology tests for aspergillus, E Coli, and salmonella. Besides, they also offer the service of visiting a facility and performing an environmental study to identify sources of contamination of pesticides and microbial contamination, among others. Caligreen Laboratory is also looking forward to testing Vitamin E Acetate and sex and gender testing for the growers to help them identify the sex of the plant at an early stage of growth. Additionally, they have also assisted with remediation of products for clients who faced varying degrees of contamination to help them remediate the products to ensure that they meet regulatory compliance requirements.
From growers cultivating cannabis at their homes to prominent manufacturers, Caligreen Laboratory has a broad clientele. This includes manufacturers of edible concentrates, tinctures, consumer products and growers selling their products to other distributors.
To substantiate the excellent analytical services, Sellers mentions a few client success scenarios where they have helped achieve the desired outcomes. They have dealt with several clients with indoor growth facilities, facing issues of residual pesticide contamination. One of the company’s services is providing an essential environmental evaluation to help them identify the specific source of their contamination. A Caligreen employee will visit the facility and collect surface wipes throughout the site to determine the true source of contamination to help guide them with their effort to remediate. In other instances, they have worked with preroll producers who are faced with several challenges with the final product composed of different components besides the cannabis. Often the provided products fail due to heavy metal or pesticide contamination.
Further investigation and testing of the individual components identified the paper or wrap as the source of contamination. This enabled the client to develop an approved remediation plan using pre-tested clean starting materials to recover the product. Besides, Caligreen has also initiated collaboration with a preroll wrap vendor to help them in the remediation of products contaminated with pesticides.
At Caligreen, we endeavor to provide accurate and reliable testing results on time and also work with our clients to assist them in delivering safe products to the marketplace
While multiple companies strive to be on the top of the game, Caligreen Laboratory’s collaborations and communications with clients give them the competitive edge.
Since the beginning, the company has always sought to partner with their clients, not a ‘black box’ where simply the products go in, and results go out from. For instance, prerolls are a combination of components, and contamination often comes from any one of those. It can be on the flower or any other component used. In such cases, Caligreen tries to understand whether the grower used something unsuitable or if the contamination came from the environment. Concentrate manufacturers are often unsuccessful in removing organic solvents in their final product. There are multiple variables to account for in such cases depending on what the client is producing and when things go wrong. Caligreen strives to help clients produce safe and compliant products. When they have to deliver a negative update to the clients, like a failed COA test, Caligreen tries to maintain a close relationship with them to help them proceed while preventing any further failures and providing clean, safe, and effective products.
Caligreen Laboratory has witnessed surprisingly rapid growth in the last couple of years, hitting their new sampling heights in thousands. Treading into the future, they aim to grow their lab further and expand geographically and offer fast and reliable test results. “Our goal is to facilitate the lab and every worker, where the staff can be trained to excel in their career as well as become real assets to the lab, driving our company to become one of the most trustworthy in this space,” adds Samantha Lui, Laboratory Director of Caligreen Laboratory. They are also prospective about expanding their offerings, including the addition of new analytes to their potency or terpenoid panels, launching new methods for testing additional contaminants like Vitamin E acetate, to mention a few. Besides, the company is keen on providing greater terpenoid offerings. Beyond the offerings, Caligreen Laboratory is trying to move into a new LIMS system to improve its internal data tracking and management, in addition to launching a revision of our cannabinoid method that will minimize internal variability and maximize throughput.