“We’ve been approached by labs that are a little bit more unscrupulous than others, saying ‘hey, this tested at 14 percent but we can fix that if you’d like it, throw us a little extra cash, we’ll fix it'” said Griffin Lott, a former Sherriff’s Deputy in Texas who left to grow Washington Marijuana legally, in an interview with Vice News.
Many states require legal medical and adult use cannabis to be lab tested by a third party. Complex regulations are different from state to state, and mean that some states have far more stringent rules for approaching lab testing than others.
Lott, who grows with Sunshine Farms, a Washington Marijuana farm, said that it’s partially because customers like to be able to look at a package of cannabis and see the THC readouts: “They like to see THC content at 20 percent or higher. It’s the equivalent of going to the liquor store and finding the highest proof alcohol and just buying it based on that.” Lott says this pressure has lead to some labs inflating THC content for growers that are desperate to compete.
Labs are also seeing issues with this. Charlie Town of Goat Labs in Washington State says some growers have pressured him to inflate the THC content in their lab results. “I’ve had one phone call before that somebody was ‘shopping around for a laboratory’ and even used that at that time,” Charlie said to Vice. “I turned them away, I don’t want anything to do with them.” When asked if it was a one-off or something that happens more often than not: “I think that happens more often than not.” To demonstrate, Charlie re-tested a sample that claimed to be especially potent, with a content of 30 percent THC. “We just tested it and ran it, and it’s 18.9 percent THC.”
Whether it’s as widespread an issue as Lott and Town believe is hard to tell at this juncture, but it certainly seems to form some sort of pattern, and one that should be looked at more closely. Moreover, customers should consider becoming more knowledgeable about the product: though THC is the star of the show when it comes to recreational use, high content isn’t everything.