Research and development (R&D) testing can be ordered by any company or individual interested in knowing what chemicals a cannabis material or product contains. These results are only reported back to the company or individual. R&D results cannot be released to a third party without express consent of the company or individual who ordered the test(s). R&D tests are generally ordered during product development and/or production phases to assess the quality of those materials/products prior to release to the market. As such, R&D test results are generally for internal use only by the ordering party.
Compliance testing is a battery of tests mandated by the state of California that includes both naturally occurring analytes (cannabinoids, terpenes, water) and chemical (heavy metals, pesticides, residual solvents) and biological (E. coli, Salmonella, Aspergillus) contaminants. Only licensed distributors are able to order compliance testing. The state of California sets limits for both the level of THC per serving in a product as well as contaminants. If any analyte tests above these thresholds, the product cannot be released for retail sale, and must be relabeled, remediated or destroyed. Compliance testing results are delivered to both the California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) and the distributor simultaneously. Once a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) is issued, it cannot be modified per state regulations. Likewise, after the first CoA is issued, it is considered the final results for compliance testing of that lot of product and another CoA cannot be issued for that lot either from the same or a different lab.
Companies may want to perform R&D testing for a multitude of reasons. Here are some of the most common ones:
For compliance testing, the lab must dispatch an employee in a lab-owned vehicle to perform the sampling procedure which is explicitly dictated by the state of California. Compliance samples cannot be shipped or dropped off at the lab. All compliance samples must be accompanied by a Chain of Custody form at all times.
For R&D testing, samples can be shipped or dropped off to the lab. Note, the lab does not take responsibility for lost/confiscated shipments en route to its facility. For a fee, clients can request pick-up of samples from their facilities. All R&D samples must be accompanied by a Requisition Form in order to process those samples and report results back to the client.
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