Why We Test
We know that patients have the right to insist on laboratory tested
medicine for treating their particular ailment. Accordingly, Iron Labs
represents a self-validating and self-regulating community that strives
for clean and safe medicine available to all who legally consume it and
whose good health relies on it. We strive to gain a full and complete
knowledge of the medicinal and chemical properties of the cannabis plant.
This includes a variety of in house research into cannabinoid groupings,
the terpenoids associated with cannabis, and how their interactions create
many different medicinal effects. We educate our members on the value of
looking at their results in a wide perspective not confined to typical
THC percentages. We purchase and employ equipment purposely configured
to achieve our goals and have invested heavily towards assuring our
methodology meets industry trusted standards commensurate with our own
Medical marijuana is a movement whose time has finally come. And it is here to stay!
If we at Iron Labs can help solidify this statement, we are doing our job.
In creating a community oriented philosophy, it is our intent to provide a
basis for a cultural and scientific mandate that precedes the actual legislation
which we believe is an eventual certainty. Not only in Michigan, but in many
other States around the country, the momentum is strong and we are committed
to ensuring the continued advocacy of Patients’ right to safe, trained eye
analysis of medicine. Through our determined professionalism and attention
to accuracy, Iron Labs will continue to earn the trust of our members.
We thank you for this opportunity.
How We Test:
Our first step in testing is to examine the sample under a
high-powered dissecting microscope. Here we check on two things:
The trichome ripeness and the impurities present. Trichomes are
examined by checking their size, color for overall ripeness, and
also the relative amount of damage. For Impurities we look for
synthetic fibers, pests, mold, disease, hairs, seeds, and other
contaminants. We also try to give relative amounts and describe
the contaminants to aid the caregiver in isolating and solving
any problems discovered. Our staff has hundreds of hours’ experience
doing microscopic visual analysis of cannabis in providing a
thorough and accurate analysis of any flower sample.
GC-FID (Gas Chromatograph – Flame Ionization Detector)
Here at Iron Labs we test all of our flower and concentrate samples
multiple times using separate independent GC-FID machines in an
effort to eliminate the possibility of human systematic error
whenever possible. Our equipment is calibrated daily with the
highest quality standards available from Restek. We spend up
to fifteen minutes giving each sample a visual analysis, recording
any impurities, pest , or contaminates we detect. We break the
sample down to view inside each floret revealing anything that
may be trapped or hiding inside. We are passionate about this
and it shows in the reproducibility of our results. Once more,
we insist on self-validatation and self-regulation in an evolving industry.
A GC-FID works by injecting a sample into a column (tube) in an oven
which heats up and measures the transition between the stationary phase
(solid or liquid) and mobile phase (gas) as it moves through the column
and through the flame ionization detector. Our software analyzes the
amounts of each compound and displays them as peaks on a graph as they
come out at varying temperature over time. The area under the curve is
measured and compared to the calibration to give us accurately quantified
While we prefer GC analysis for our flowers and concentrates,
we realize the difficulties involved with using a GC to test for
all properties of edible forms of medical cannabis, also known as
medibles. The GC requires harsh chemicals to derivitize cannabinoids
so that they vaporize at temperatures lower than their decarboxylation
temperature in order to separate their raw, or acid, forms from the
activated, or decarboxylated, forms. This is why we have a HPLC specifically
for testing medibles.
HPLC (High Pressure Liquid Chromatograph)
The lower operating temperatures of the HPLC allow for greater control over
variables used for separating and quantifying various chemical compounds.
One compound we are able to isolate is THC-A, which can only be detected
in the cooler temperatures of the HPLC. Measuring the THC-A is important
because it can indicate to us how well an edible or topical product is
decarboxylated, or chemically activated into its psychoactive form.
GC-MS (Gas Chromatagraph – Mass Spectrometer)
We are happy to announce that we have purchased another piece of high tech
testing equipment that is en route: A GC-MS works like the GC-FID but with a
mass spec detector instead of a flame ionization detector. The mass spec
separates compounds by molecular weight to further increase our cannabinoid
testing accuracy. It also will be equipped to test the full terpenoid profile
of any cannabis flower sample and further increase our pesticide testing
capabilities. We are excited to have this incredible piece of technology
in our laboratory arsenal. It will raise the community bar on testing
analysis and expectations. Best of all, the benefit goes to the patient!
Member’s are immediately notified via email, where a preview of your results are available. We currently offer one printable report design, with two additional in the works. In addition, customizable labels are available that allow you to indicate the strain and print location.
United Nations 2009