Minnesota Department of Health approves medical marijuana testing labs
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Department of Health, which says it's still on track to start its unique smoke-free version of a medical marijuana program this summer, has approved two laboratories to test the composition and purity of cannabis medicat...
ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Department of Health, which says it’s still on track to start its unique smoke-free version of a medical marijuana program this summer, has approved two laboratories to test the composition and purity of cannabis medications produced by Minnesota’s two approved manufacturers.
The laboratories are Aspen Research Corporation, Maple Grove, and Legend Technical Services Inc., St. Paul.
“Minnesota’s medical cannabis program focuses providing patients with reliable, safe, medications,” said MDH Assistant Commissioner Manny Munson-Regala. “These labs will play a key role in ensuring these products meet Minnesota’s high medical standards.”
The approved laboratories will test products from Minnesota’s medical cannabis manufacturers, Minnesota Medical Solutions and Leafline Labs. The manufacturers will grow marijuana plants and process them into pills and liquids,
The labs will test levels of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the two main ingredients in the marijuana plant. CBD has started to draw attention from the medical community, who seem to prefer CBD over THC. Testing will also include comparing the actual CBD and THC levels to the levels stated on product labels.
The laboratories will also test for potential contaminants, such as solvents, pesticides, microbiologicals and heavy metals.
The health department chose the labs after a rigorous application process that included an inspection and verification of testing methods and operating procedures. Both labs were already state certified for other types of testing.
MDH and the state’s medical cannabis manufacturers are on track to start patient registration June 1 and distribution of medical cannabis July 1. Minnesota allows patients with qualifying conditions to use medical cannabis after completing these four steps:
- Have a health care practitioner certify your condition starting June 1.
- Register at the Minnesota Department of Health website.
- Receive notification that the department has approved you for the cannabis registry.
- Visit a Cannabis Patient Center starting July 1.
There is an annual $200 registration fee, in addition to the actual cost of the drug, although low-income patients can get a reduced $50 fee. Minnesota plans to have eight Cannabis Patient Centers in all parts of the state. Pharmacists at the centers will consult with patients about appropriate doses and forms of the pills and liquids.