Lab Matters Spring 2017 - Page 12

A sample tray of cannabis samples is loaded into the liquid chromatography-mass spectrometer at the Wadsworth Center
has had to devise an elaborate system in which it functions mostly as an intermediary : Laboratories order products through Emerald , but the products are created and evaluated by third-party accredited PT providers located in the customer ’ s own state . Moreover , products must have a sufficiently low concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol — the principle euphoria-inducing cannabis ingredient — to be exempt from DEA regulations .
In New York , where the Wadsworth Center performed potency testing on roughly 25 to 30 lots of medical marijuana per month last year — the first year of legal medical marijuana sales in the state — there are no commercial cannabis PT providers . Walsh said Wadsworth relies on internal demonstrations of competency and obtains good concordance with manufacturers ’ reported potency values . So far , no private laboratories have applied for approval to conduct cannabis testing in New York . If they did , Walsh said various PT options have been discussed , but no definitive solution identified . ( In addition to potency , Wadsworth tests medical cannabis for nine types of bacteria , three types of fungus , five mycotoxins and nine metals or metalloids . It also screens for over 100 pesticides .)
According to The Economist , the entire US cannabis

“ industry was worth about $ 6 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow substantially when recreational sales begin in California in 2018 .

“ The future is looking really good for the cannabis industry ”
Despite rumblings from the Trump administration about stricter enforcement of federal drug policies , several of those interviewed for this article said it is hard to envision a rollback of the looser , new cannabis laws . In fact , the very
election that propelled Donald Trump to the presidency saw the legalization of recreational marijuana in four additional states — California , Nevada , Maine and Massachusetts .
Last year , Colorado ’ s roughly 2,600 licensed cannabis businesses moved a billion dollars worth of recreational and medicinal products and paid the state $ 50 million in taxes . According to The Economist , the entire US cannabis industry was worth about $ 6 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow substantially when recreational sales begin in California in 2018 .
Even the US government has shown a schizophrenic attitude toward marijuana , with FDA ’ s approval of Syndros ® cannabis oral solution as a Schedule II drug in March and the agency ’ s ongoing review of a second cannabinoid drug , Sativex ® , which is already legal in more than a dozen countries outside the US .
According to a study reported in JAMA Internal Medicine , the 13 states with medical cannabis laws in effect before October 2010 experienced a 25 % lower mean annual opioid overdose rate during 1999-2010 than states without such laws .
While there are still health and safety concerns associated with cannabis , a new National Academies of Sciences , Engineering and Medicine report found “ conclusive or substantial evidence ” that cannabis or cannabinoids are an effective treatment for chronic pain , chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting , and multiple sclerosis spasticity symptoms .
The same report , released in January , recommends that CDC , APHL , state and local health agencies and assorted partners “ fund and support improvements ” to federal and state-based public health surveillance efforts to monitor the health effects of cannabis use . It explicitly calls for the development of novel diagnostic technologies to rapidly assess cannabis exposure and for statebased programs to analyze the chemical composition of cannabis and related products .
LAB MATTERS Spring 2017
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