Common Questions About Sage Analytics’ Cannabis Potency Measuring Tech
Really, How Does Sage Analytics’ (NIR) Spectrometry Technology Work to Measure Cannabis Potency?
What is NIR (near infrared light) spectrometry and how does it work?
A beam of light is shined through a small sample of cannabis or extract. Due to the nature of light, some of the light is absorbed by the sample, some scattered forward, and some reflected back. The portion of light not absorbed by the sample is directed to a spectrometer, which measures the spectrum of the resulting light.
Think of a spectrum like a rainbow. The remaining intensity of different colors produced by separation of the light according to wavelength tell us the materials that the light is passing through. The Sage Analytics Profiler reads the cannabis “rainbow” and allows fast, nondestructive measurement. Another way to look at it is like an inverse finger print. Sage Analytics knows what light is going in and can see how the cannabis absorbs light based on what it’s made of. By reading the light, we have the ability to quantify how much of the four major cannabinoids are in each sample.
Why is it better than traditional testing?
While chemical analyses of cannabis has long been established, it can take days, even weeks, to complete. The process is also high in labor and material costs. Because samples are destroyed during traditional chemical testing, this limits its applications to small sample-size, one-time measurements.
Also, time delay prevents growers from measuring THC levels during cultivation and thus they have no scientific measurement for fluctuation in optimum harvest times for maximum THC levels. Because Sage Analytics uses (NIR) Spectrometry, tests are done with a “scan and read” capability.
This seems like science fiction, but it’s been used to make your pharmaceuticals, supplements, cosmetics, and food and beverages for decades. No samples are destroyed and cultivators and labs can get instant results on potency levels. This is important because as a high-value economical crop, cannabis’ valuation is not so much tied to its weight, but its potency.
Cannabis Business Times Talks with Sage Analytics Chief Scientist – Alexander Makowski.
At its core, the purpose of potency testing is to demonstrate compliance, accurately label products and ultimately obtain a certificate of authenticity from an accredited third-party lab, according to Alexander Makowski, chief scientist at Sage Analytics.
Beyond the basics, though, regular testing can also help growers optimize potency in their crops, Makowski adds. Sage Analytics develops portable, laboratory-quality cannabis potency measuring systems, and on-site testing goes a step further by having the science at a grower’s fingertips and leading to fewer surprises in cultivation and production, Makowski says.
Potency testing tends to be a routine part of the of the job for cultivators, but how deeply do growers understand the process?
Here are some key insights to help cultivators better understand potency testing.
Alexander J Makowski, PhD; Chief Scientist at Sage Analytics writes for Terpenes and Testing Magazine about the challenges and opportunities ahead as states race towards recreational legalization while cannabis is still federally illegal.
Amidst the chaos and uncertainty of evolving and expanding cannabis regulations, one thing alone is clear: all responsible parties desire legislation that provides the highest level of patient safety. At first glance, this may make the disagreements, lobbying, and even protesting seem less meaningful; however, the devil is in the details. Despite the unanimous consensus about the overarching goal of cannabis regulation, the inevitable dispute about current legislation arises as concerned parties disagree on the best methods and execution strategies in order to achieve this lofty goal.
Recently, Marijuana Business Daily published an article about California testing labs are expecting a ‘bottleneck’ in July. Come July 1, 2018, only lab-tested products may be sold by licensed retailers. Most labs are predicting a shortage of testing services which translates to long waits for results that will lead to inevitable delays on approvals for selling products. You can read the full article here: California testing labs expect marijuana ‘bottleneck’ in July
Sage Analytics is here to help you stay ahead of the curve.
Third party validation is required for official Certificates of Authenticity (CoA’s) for your product and it should be. CoA’s help protect both you (the cannabis producer) and the consumer.
However, many players in the cannabis supply chain have come to rely upon potency data for key decisions in buying, selling, trading, and producing. These tests aren’t required by the government, but in many ways they are just as important in guiding product quality. If the number of required government third party validation tests skyrockets with the new regulations, it only makes sense that there will be some delay in test turnaround as our top notch CA labs adjust and grow to match the increased demand. We at Sage Analytics, along with our manufacturing colleagues at the CCIA, predicted this might happen and even wrote an article warning of this eventuality for Terpenes and Testing. Sage Analytics: Lighting the Way Through the Storm.
In the meantime, all of your extra testing that is critical for day to day operations decisions will be delayed as many licensed laboratory facilities struggle to keep up with producing 3rd party validated results. We provide you the power to test in house and make those decisions your production, leaving only the legal requirement for CoA in the hands of the accredited test labs. We are not a replacement for the critical 3rd party validation testing that serves as a safeguard, but we let you do all the testing you want and need in instances where CoA is not required. Using only light to measure, you can get a potency reading on cured plant or pure extract every 9 seconds without destroying your product. We supply you with the ability to get data every day to describe your product and how to make it better, and we are even happy to supply some information on standard operating procedures for process optimization.
Don’t get caught by the delay. Don’t be surprised by lab results. Make confident decisions based on hard numbers at the negotiating table. Stop waiting and guessing and start optimizing!
Written by Alex Makowski.
Dr. Alexander J. Makowski currently serves as the Chief Scientist at Sage Analytics
Sage Anayltics’s in-house cannabis potency testers the Beacon and the Profiler test the CBD and THC content in cannabis flowers in seconds, giving cannabis labs, dispensaries and growers the ability to have lab grade potency details for their products.
Sage Analytics was founded on the idea of bringing these tried and true principles of quality control and analytical testing into the cannabis industry. Leveraging 17 years of experience in design, customization, and automation of analytical testing for highly regulated FDA manufacturing environments with our parent company Prozess Technologie, we created the Sage Beacon and Luminary for accurate and precise in-house potency analysis. To this end, we were able to pre-program the chemometric techniques we supply to household pharmaceutical brands for cannabis flower and extract, packing the science inside our plug- and-play touchscreen interface devices. Thus, you receive testing within seconds with no cost and downtime in production.
Smaller plants, bigger returns; Refining cultivation with technology.
Doing business as a cannabis cultivator is increasingly competitive. In this article learn how cultivators are using cannabis potency testing technology to improve product and decrease overhead. Some growers, like Mission Nurseries are using potency testing technology of Sage Analytics to take the highroad towards boutique flowers – rather than racing to the bottom to compete on price.
By using Sage Analytics testing, Mission Nurseries, was able to correlate THC potency with premium aroma. Because additional vegetative growth wasn’t achieving a higher quality flower, the growth period was shortened. Now they more smaller plants for less time and have a higher ROI.
How dispensaries can benefit from using the Sage Analytics Profiler II.
It’s an exciting time for the cannabis industry as it marches towards the end of prohibition. As the industry matures, businesses must find ways to improve – or else risk being left behind. One of the biggest issues in cannabis today is that many products are inaccurately labeled for potency.
Because cannabis is not federally legal, testing facilities and devices are not federally mandated to adhere to the same reference standards for data. Simply put, this means that there is little or no quality assurance when it comes to potency testing.
Sage Analytics’ Profiler II helps with these concerns and adds value to dispensaries through instant and accurate THC/CBD testing for cured flowers and concentrates. The result of having an accurate potency measurement device on site is the ability to negotiate price and to improve quality control and pass on better products to customers and patients – a luxury that has not even been possible to date due to the high cost and skill requirement.
With the Sage Analytics easy-to-use technology, dispensaries can now measure potency right at the buying table. Near-infrared light is shone through a small measurement window where the product is placed, and the potency results are displayed within seconds. Dispensaries know the true potency of what they are buying on the spot. This translates into buying and offering better products at a fair price, which, in turn, increases consumer confidence, health and safety, and ultimately loyalty.
On-site cannabis testing allows dispensaries to make informed purchasing decisions based on the strength and composition of cannabis products instead of just by weight and relying on what the grower thinks the potency might be. Accurate testing is crucial for medical cannabis patients who need specific therapeutic effects. It’s also important for adult-use consumers because products vary widely in their potency, which will influence the experience.
In the field of pharmacology, potency is a measure of drug activity expressed in terms of the amount required to produce an effect of given intensity. It’s the same concept for cannabis. For the end consumer, understanding potency is critical.
Different people use cannabis for different reasons. Stress relief strains are different than strains used to treat insomnia. Consumers have a right to know what they are buying, its likely effects, and how much of the product is necessary to achieve the desired effects. Dispensaries who truly serve their customers with the most knowledge and best product for their needs will serve the clientele much more effectively. For growers, the valuation of their product is tied to its potency, and for extract and edible processors, creating products with consistent THC or CBD content is paramount for building a brand consumers can trust. Thus, the accurate measurement of cannabinoid content from seed-to-sale is an important process.
While cannabis legislation is evolving, the testing requirements are currently less stringent than those mandated for pharmaceuticals. That being so, the economic importance of being able measure potency consistently from the growth process to the point of sale, is important to industry professionals who are striving to create the best products out there.
THC is the primary and most prevalent psychoactive compound in marijuana. CBD does not provide the psychoactive stimulation of THC, but rather delivers the physiological relaxation associated with anxiety relief, muscle relaxation, and appetite stimulation.
The need exists for a testing standardization that is useful in any state or country, by any business in the industry ecosystem, and by any employee, operator or customer. Meeting this need is critical for the seamless advancement of medical and recreational marijuana in all states and at the federal level. The Sage Analytics Profiler II delivers an eloquent solution to that need!
The CannaMetric Profile™ measured by the Profiler II™ brings transparency and consistency to the potency measurements of cannabis products for all phases of the eco-system. Growers, edibles & extract processors, labs, and dispensaries will all communicate potency levels in a consistent, timely manner. Ultimately, the CannaMetric Profile readings measured by the Profiler II will give consumers and the different businesses within the industry supply chain the power to confidently determine the cannabis strain, or extract that best suits their needs.
Take the Guess Work out of Growing. How a California Cultivator Revolutionized Growing Technique with In-House Testing
Goal of Mission Nurseries: To produce odoriferous, high-THC inflorescences.
Approach: Cannabinoid testing for genetic selection and information on CBD and THC Levels throughout the growing cycle.
Outcomes: Unexpected cannabinoid profiles from familiar strainsEvolution of new growing practices, cost savings, higher-quality flower and lower labor costs.
“We’ve done THC testing of different-sized plants, and what we’ve found is additional growth time — to get a bigger plant to improve yield — actually costs you THC and ‘nose.’ As the structure gets above a certain size, it grows more wood than flower. You’re losing some of the energy of the plant going into the structure,” says Davis. “So we’ve changed our growing methodology by using testing.”
For more information on the Sage Analytics Beacon or Profiler, contact Lauren Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 650-492-8500.