Regulated cannabis markets have different mandatory testing protocols. Most require random collection of a minimum number of samples from a batch, of equal weight from different quadrants of the flower lot to maximize the chances for representative sampling.
Sampling by Quadrants
But research reveals that potency results (e.g. THC and CBD) from randomly selected flowers from a batch is anything but homogenous. The quadrant methodology does not work. There are many factors influencing cannabinoid levels, such as plant age, light quality and wavelength, inflorescence position, plant nutrition, size of glandular trichome and plant organ.

GemmaCert’s scientists have been analysing cannabis flowers since 2015, sourced from Israel, Europe, and North America. Flowers have been tested at the company’s ISO 17025 certified lab. Each flower is first tested by non-destructive means with GemmaCert devices, using near infrared spectroscopy, image analysis, powered by motion mechanics and estimation by machine learning. Then each flower is analysed using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The company has the world’s largest database of cannabis flower spectra.

Today’s mandated sampling procedures do not ensure accurate labelling. One should not be surprised if any flower taken randomly from a batch tests 20% in either direction of the mandated sampling result. In other words, if a batch is attributed a THC potency of 15%, a randomly selected flower from the same batch can yield a THC result of 12% to 18%!

It may take time for regulators to reconsider their sampling protocols. Until then, smart cannabis businesses need to invest in in-house testing, specifically non-destructive potency analysis. By doing so, they can test more samples in rapid sequence to improve their estimation of batch potency, avoid unpleasant surprises from mandatory testing (with non-destructive you can send the same flower analysed for mandatory testing), and if you are buying cannabis raw material or product, in-house testing is your only means to make sure you get what you paid for.

You cannot make a sensible and profitable business decision solely based on Certificate of Analysis (CoA) from a certified laboratory presented by your supplier. The CoA does not refer to the specific product presented to you but in the best case it relates to the batch it came from.

If you are serious about your business, then empower yourself with an in-house potency analysis capability. The GemmaCert is the best-fit potency analytical solution for the cannabis professional covering dry flower buds, biomass (trim) and crude extract. GemmaCert Lite, based on the same patented technology platform, is for the smaller business or craft cannabis grower.

GemmaCert’s patented technology is truly non-destructive and eco-friendly. It requires no sample preparation whatsoever; you do not need to grind your sample before analysis. No necessity for dangerous solvents. This technology has been used and validated by cannabis professionals worldwide since 2015.