Testing Services

Salvation BioScience operates one of the first Health Canada fully licensed Analytics Laboratories in Canada, dedicated to testing cannabis and derivative products for Licensed Producers (LP’s), growers, patients and practitioners who are approved by Health Canada under Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).

We specialize in standardization and chemical quality control of cannabis and derivative products with medicinal and nutraceutical properties.

  • Advanced Cannabinoid Profiling
    (THC, CBD, CBN, THCA, CBDA, CBG, CBGA, CBC)
  • Terpene Profiling
  • Microscopy (Visual)
  • Microbiological Testing
  • Water Activity
  • Pesticide Screening
  • Residual Solvent Screening
  • Heavy Metals, Aflatoxins

Salvation BioScience provides detailed, thorough test results on completion of purity and potency testing on a detailed Certificate of Analysis (COA) on each test.

Cannabis Testing Capabilities

Salvation is dedicated to testing cannabis and derivative products for Licensed Producers (LP’s), growers, patients and practitioners who are approved by Health Canada under Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).

 

Cannabinoid Profile & Potency Analysis

Cannabis is made up of over 500 chemical compounds. Cannabis potency analysis focuses on identifying the cannabinoid compounds and measures their levels of strength. The most commonly tested cannabinoids are: Delta-9- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabinol (CBN), Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA), Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA), Cannabigerol (CBG),Cannabigerolic Acid (CBGA), Cannabichromene (CBC) and Delta- 8- Tetrahydrocannabinol.

Emerald Test® Badge for Potency in Solution

Cannabinoid profile and potency screening aids LP’s, ACMPR growers, processors and quality control laboratories in knowing the level of cannabinoids in their samples and shows the compound profiles of different strains which is necessary for accurate labeling.

Our method to determine the potency of cannabinoid constituents is Liquid Chromatography with UV detection (HPLC-UV).

View Sample Certificate of Cannabinoid Profile Analysis

Terpene Profiling

Terpenes are the essential oils produced in most plants - including cannabis. Cannabis is unique in that each strain has a unique profile of terpenes. The fragrant imprint of each plant is a result of different combinations of terpenes which offers a unique scent from one strain to the next. Terpenes are independent from and in synergy with cannabinoids and proven to exhibit medicinal properties independent from the cannabinoids.

Utilizing Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS), Salvation BioScience currently screens for 23 Terpenes.

If you are interested in additional terpene compounds please contact us – we are happy to customize our methods to fit your needs.

View Sample Certificate of Terpene Profiling

Pesticides

The cannabis plant is susceptible to a number of pests and diseases during all phases of cultivation and it is common practice to use a variety of chemical control methods to combat these risks. Health Canada has currently approved 20 pesticides for application on cannabis plants and mandates third-party testing of unauthorized pesticides.

Emerald Test® Badge for Pesticides

Salvation BioScience employs state-of-the-art liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) and gas chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) for the quantitative determination of unauthorized pesticides potentially being used in cannabis plant cultivation.

We currently provide quantified testing for 60 compounds.

Microscopy Testing

There are two main reasons to consider a visual inspection on dry cannabis flower. Ensuring cannabis and derivatives in Canada are safe for consumption and having an accurate description of the condition of the trichomes with details of flower/leaf development is becoming increasingly important.

We inspect sample specimens for foreign material contamination and evidence of spoilage. Salvation BioScience includes photomicrograph results on Certificate of Analysis.

Salvation BioScience provides customers with cost-effective quality assurance on a range of products, from raw flower to ready-to-use derivatives.

View Sample Certificate of Microscopy Testing

Microbiological testing for Cannabis plant material and finished products

Cannabis can be grown in several different environments (both indoors and outdoors), processed in many different ways and utilized or ingested by multiple routes. Each of these pathways come with their own set of microbiological risks.

Living cannabis plants do not support high levels of bacterial growth, but fungal growth is fairly common. Mold is perhaps the single most important quality issue in Cannabis production. Outdoor plants are exposed to a wide variety of fungal species. Indoor plants are exposed to less of these and can potentially be kept cleaner. In practice, however, many indoor plants are exposed to inappropriate watering, humidity, fertilizer or ventilation conditions. All of these can contribute to very high levels of mold.

Even under ideal conditions, it is possible that small numbers of cells or spores, capable of causing human disease, may be present on plant material from contact with air, soil or water. If any of these species are capable of replicating aggressively, either on dried plant material or upon contact with humans, they could theoretically prove to be a threat.

Once the plants are harvested, they are trimmed, dried and cured. These processes present significant opportunities for contamination. Harvesting and trimming are the stages at which there is the greatest level of human handling. Human pathogens can easily be transferred to the flower material at this stage. If moisture levels are too high during this period, both mold and bacterial levels will rise above acceptable levels.

Once cured, flower material can be smoked or inhaled by vaporization, but it is also frequently used to make extracts or concentrates that can themselves be smoked or vaporized, or added to products intended for oral ingestion. These steps often utilize high temperature (~ 120°C for 30 min). This decarboxylation step is essentially a heat-kill step, and unlikely to allow microbes to survive.

The same decarboxylation process happens during smoking. In either case the temperature required is high enough to kill growing bacteria and fungi but not high enough to kill spores.

The microbial tests required for Cannabis products include the following:

  1. Total aerobic bacteria count (TAC): A very common indicator test, provides a general sense of the cleanliness of production or processing.
  2. Total Yeast and Mold count (TYM): Since mold is the most common type of microbial growth on Cannabis, the Total Yeast and Mold test is a general quality indicator.
  3. Bile–resistant gram-negative bacteria: The purpose of this test is to define a group of bacteria that would include the majority of gut-borne pathogens.
  4. Escherichia coli count: The purpose of this test is the indication of fecal contamination during the production of cannabis from humans or from contaminated soil or water. It could indicate a possible presence of enteric pathogens, and it is likely to reflect a problem in the production process.
  5. Salmonella count: Salmonella is not uncommon in the environment, and can be found as a contaminant of both soil and water. It is a potentially quite dangerous pathogen, it could be found on cannabis and it would survive the curing process and the heat-kill step and could cause an outbreak.
  6. Pseudomonas aeruginosa count: Pseudomonas is a large genus of gram-negative bacteria. P. aeruginosa is the human pathogen in the genus, and it is found in water, soil, on many plants and it can colonize on many different types of surface.P. aeruginosa is potentially dangerous.
  7. Staphylococcus aureus count: S. aureus is a gram-positive bacterium, member of the normal flora of the human body, frequently found in the nose, respiratory tract, on the skin and in the gut mucosa.

Water activity

What is it and why do we test for it?

Bacterial and fungal growth on cannabis plant material is only possible when enough water is available for these organisms to grow. To prevent spoilage, many foods and plants are therefore dried, and this enables longer storage before consumption.

A lot of residual water in dried plant material is “bound”, i.e. for example as crystallized water with certain minerals and is therefore not available for microbial or fungal growth. Residual water that is not bound and available for microbial or fungal growth, will exert a partial water vapour pressure above a plant sample and this is what is measured with a water activity meter and compared to a pure distilled water sample value. A measurement of water activity Aw = 0.95 means that the sample has a vapour pressure of 95% of pure water. Water activity levels of Aw < 0.65 are considered safe, which means that most pathogenic microbial organisms cannot grow. This ensures that the product can be safely stored for a prolonged time before sale and consumption.

Note, that water activity measurements are very different from moisture determination or loss of drying methods, where all residual water and other volatile compounds, such as for example volatile terpenes, are being removed. Water activity measurements are a more accurate way to determine if a sample is prone to spoilage by fungal or bacterial growth.

Please contact us for more information and pricing.

Heavy Metals

Aflatoxins