Avram Zallen, Founder and CEO
The cannabis industry in the U.S. is experiencing rapid growth due to a variety of legalization initiatives throughout the country. As the quality and safety of cannabis is a top priority, state governments, including in Michigan, are working to regulate marijuana testing labs to ensure that only safe and rigorously tested cannabis products are consumed by the public. While a slew of cannabis testing labs have flourished by capitalizing on new business opportunities, research has shown that the industry is witnessing a surge in inaccurate testing, with some labs inflating potency levels and passing moldy cannabis on to consumers in order to create added revenue. This gives rise to an insidious situation: Consumers are overpaying for cannabis with inflated potency and can suffer serious health issues due to flower containing mold or other unsafe microbiological components. In addition, cultivators and processors are adversely affected when inaccurate results negatively impact their business. A lack of reliable oversight and scientific testing standards requires that consumers be on alert for inaccurate potency data and moldy cannabis.
So, what is the best way for cannabis growers, processors, and consumers to ascertain the credibility of cannabis testing?
It is by partnering with trustworthy cannabis testing laboratories like Steadfast Labs.
Michigan-based Steadfast Labs is a pioneer and leader in cannabis testing. With a commitment to scientific integrity and end-user safety, and a powerful combination of scientific know-how and robust technology, the company delivers accurate potency data and the highest quality cannabis safety test results. “We want to instill a sense of trust in our customers so that consumers know they can rely on safe, high-quality, and consistent products that are properly measured and labeled for medical and recreational purposes,” shares Avram Zallen, Founder and CEO of Steadfast Labs.
The Journey in the Rearview Mirror
Steadfast Labs began its journey as an R&D lab in 2013, when cannabis testing was not yet an official business in Michigan’s pre-regulated market. Zallen, with the help of his expert team, developed scientific methodologies to test cannabis accurately in order to enhance consumer safety.
Over the years, Steadfast Labs has emerged as a source of reliable information and extensive expertise in an actively expanding market. Today, as Michigan’s most trusted, ethical cannabis testing lab, the company accurately provides cannabinoid and terpene data and tests for a wide range of contaminants, including microbials, pesticides, residual solvents, and heavy metals.
“We developed cutting-edge in-house methodologies from the ground up during the early years of cannabis legalization when cannabis science was in its infancy. We are a leader in method development and work with other method developers and standards setting organizations to advance standardized methods for testing cannabis. We stand true to the highest scientific and ethical principles to protect consumers,” says Zallen.
Steadfast Labs was the Coordinating Laboratory with the Association of Official Analytical Collaboration (AOAC) INTERNATIONAL in its historic 2020 validation study that created a long list of AOAC-certified methods for quantifying total yeast and mold in cannabis. The company, in 2014, was the first to validate a total yeast and mold method for cannabis that meets rigorous United States Pharmacopeia (USP) specifications.
Catalyzing Customer Success
As a reliable partner for many of Michigan’s largest cannabis growers and processors, Steadfast Lab’s robust testing services are backed by a team of passionate experts in analytical chemistry, cannabis chemistry, environmental chemistry, and chemical engineering. With a team of expert environmental consultants and biologists, Steadfast Labs analyzes the sources of potential contamination during cannabis growth and processing through investigations of samples of water, soil, other growth media, and swabs of vents and surfaces. The company provides advice on measures to control contamination and the use of aseptic, sanitized methods. In addition, Steadfast Labs provides detailed reports on factors that might lead to future contamination and how to prevent it. These measures ultimately ensure that producers produce high-quality products that are safe for consumers.
Steadfast Labs is committed to continuing to be the most trusted lab for protecting consumers over the long run and has already garnered the attention of people looking to invest in ethical labs
The company educates customers on best practices to optimize potency levels and obtain the terpene profiles consumers demand. Steadfast Labs also focuses on the entourage effect—a mechanism by which the combination of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other chemicals in cannabis act synergistically to modulate the psychoactive effects—to deliver specific medicinal benefits and satisfying results.
Steadfast Labs is one of the first labs in the country to measure 60 terpenes and will be the first to quantify volatile sulphur compounds in cannabis. Additionally, the company’s potency testing method covers 20 cannabinoids.
With a comprehensive understanding of the industry, Steadfast Labs has pioneered a full-process approach to provide its customers with 360-degree support, including helping customers to comply with safety regulations across the state.
Steadfast Labs employs chemical engineers to offer a unique chemical processing competency, helping customers to obtain state approvals for novel chemical processes from the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA), evaluating and mitigating safety risks, and enabling the commercialization of new technologies to enhance public safety.
Steadfast Commitment to Excellence
To enhance consumer safety in a fast-growing market, Steadfast Labs focuses on three essential pillars: Awareness, Education, and Empowerment. The company promotes awareness among community groups and at universities with talks and presentations on the importance of scientifically tested cannabis. The company recently organized presentations at the University of Detroit Mercy and Lake Superior State University and sponsored a concert series as part of its education program. Steadfast Labs also educates customers through its blog, consumer safety notices, and by offering resources on its website.
To help consumers access quality-tested products, Steadfast Labs is launching a first-of-its-kind mapping software application, CannaGPS, which enables consumers to find and locate Steadfast-tested cannabis products that meet the highest safety standards in the marketplace. The app features advanced product photographs taken in its unique in-lab “bud studio” and consumer-friendly cannabinoid, terpene, and safety information.
With an unwavering dedication to excellence, quality, and transparency, Steadfast Labs has made its mark in the industry by taking a principled stand on cannabis safety standards to promote consumer welfare. This commitment to creating long-term value for customers is reflected in Steadfast Labs’s excellent track record of product quality and safety, without a single recall recorded to date.
“Labs cannot provide false data and prosper for very long in Michigan. Honesty and integrity are essential to business success. Steadfast Labs is committed to continuing to be the most trusted lab for protecting consumers over the long run and has already garnered the attention of people looking to invest in ethical labs,” notes Zallen.
We want to instill a sense of trust in our customers so that consumers know they can rely on safe, high-quality, and consistent products that are properly measured and labelled for medical and recreational purposes
Steadfast Labs is developing a purpose-built laboratory information management system (LIMS) to streamline lab operations and data management for cannabis labs. The company is leading the way in cannabis marketing, sampling, and lab efficiency by exploring these new software systems, which are big advantages for its customers. Steadfast Labs is completing the development of a new software system for compliant random sampling of cannabis in the field to more efficiently deliver results that are representative of the full batch from which the sample was collected. Additionally, Steadfast Labs works with various companies providing food and pharmaceutical organizations with efficient scientific testing methods to bring the benefits of advanced technology into the cannabis industry and raise the bar for cannabis testing. The company is constantly working to understand more about cannabis, its structure, cannabinoids, terpenes, and other substances to elevate marijuana testing to the next level.