Some of the debate that engulfs the medicinal marijuana debate in California is the often ambiguous ‘science’ of testing potency. As a reporter from the Los Angeles Times quips, it’s often measured with a bong and a lighter.

However, some proliferators of marijuana dispensaries are banding together to bring the tools of modern science to ensure that quality and safety of what many people look to as medication is ensured.

High pressure fluid tests can be used to measure the amount of THC in a dose of marijuana. Akin to knowing how many milligrams of active ingredients are in an Aspirin or a Motrin, these tests can objectively quantify the potency of pot. They can also detect the presence of chemicals and pesticides, which aren’t otherwise monitored.

But before the debate over whether or not marijuana should be more readily available in the state, questions like quality and safety must be assured. In one day, the lab tested one sample that was 18% THC – apparently a respectable amount. Another sample was reportedly tested as high as 30% – described as “stratospheric.”

From the L.A. Times:

The tech broke the bud of marijuana into small flakes, measuring 200 milligrams into a vial. He had picked up the strain, Ghost, earlier that day from a dispensary in the Valley and guessed by its pungency and visible resin glands that it was potent.

He could have determined this the old-fashioned way, with a bong and a match. Instead, he began the meticulous process of preparing the sample for the high-pressure liquid chromatograph.

His lab, called The Werc Shop, tests medical cannabis for levels of the psychoactive ingredient known as THC and a few dozen other compounds, as well as for contaminants like molds, bacteria and pesticides that marijuana advocates don’t much like to talk about. The strains that pass muster are labeled Certified Cannabaceuticals, a trademarked term.

Read the full article here.