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California Cannabis THC Content May Be Less Inflated Due to Required Lab Testing Standardization

By Andrea Golan, Genevieve Meehan

Apr 1, 2024

For years, the efficacy of cannabis lab test results has been widely discussed across the California cannabis industry due to inflated potency test results and inconsistencies in results due to labs using different methodologies for testing cannabis.

On October 5, 2021, Gov. Newsom signed California Senate Bill 544, which required the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) to establish a standard cannabinoid test method, including standardized operating procedures, for use by all licensed testing laboratories. DCC adopted the regulations in 2023, mandating standardization for sample preparation, calibration, and integration, which makes it much more difficult for a lab to issue inflated cannabinoid potency results. Labs had until January 1, 2024 to comply with the new regulations.

Before the new law, it was common for cannabis businesses to shop around for labs with less strict testing methods in order to inflate the THC content. The new testing standards have quelled that practice, so some consumers and media outlets have reported that California cannabis is getting weaker. In actuality, the new standards may simply be providing a more accurate and consistent reflection of the cannabis’ true potency.

This graph shared in the SFGate article "California's notoriously strong cannabis is suddenly getting weaker," is a great visual representation of the potency data trends.

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