By Deanna deBara
When you consume cannabis, you want to make sure you’re having the safest experience possible. A big part of safety has to do with potency: It’s important to understand the THC concentration and how potent a particular strain is so you can control the consumption experience.
All licensed operators are required to test their cannabis flower for potency. And up until recently, that was all they were required to test for—and while potency is certainly an important part of having a safe experience, it by no means gives consumers all the information they need to determine whether the flower they’re choosing is safe.
But that all changed. The Florida Department of Health recently implemented new rules that require all products sold at dispensaries to execute Full Panel Testing on their cannabis flower, which will give consumers more in-depth insights into the safety of what they’re purchasing.
MedMen has always used Full Panel Testing to ensure the safety of our products—but there’s no doubt that requiring this testing will make cannabis consumption safer overall.
But what, exactly, is Full Panel Testing? Why is it important? And how does this testing process make cannabis consumption a safer experience for patients and consumers?
What is Full Panel Testing?
As mentioned, up until recently, dispensaries in Florida were only required to test cannabis flower for potency—or, in other words, the concentration of different cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) in the flower.
But testing for potency doesn’t give you any additional information on what’s in the flower and whether it’s safe to consume.
Full Panel Testing gives a more comprehensive view into safety and whether that particular strain/flower is safe for human consumption. This testing method ensures that the flower is free from any materials that could be harmful if consumed by humans, including solvents, heavy metals, pesticides, microbials, mycotoxins, and foreign materials.
Why is Full Panel Testing important?
Depending on how cannabis is cultivated, it can be exposed to a number of harmful materials throughout the cultivation process. For example, if a grower uses pesticides in their soil, those pesticides can end up in the flower—and if you consume that flower, you’ll also be consuming those pesticides, which can cause both acute and chronic health issues.
But if that flower was only tested for potency, you have no way of knowing that it contains materials that are unsafe for human consumption—and, as a result, you could unknowingly consume harmful materials that put your health at risk.
Full Panel Testing is important because it ensures that any cannabis you’re putting in your body—whether you’re smoking it, vaping it, or using it to make a batch of homemade edibles—is safe and free from any materials that are deemed unfit for human consumption.
Basically, this gives you peace of mind that when you consume cannabis, you’re just consuming cannabis—and not any toxic materials that can lead to health issues or put your safety at risk.
Why are more states—including Florida—are requiring Full Panel Testing?
Cannabis has never been more accessible than it is today. And as more consumers turn to it, more states are realizing the importance of taking responsibility to ensure what’s on the market is safe.
In Florida, cannabis is legal for medicinal use—which means that patients are already struggling with one or more chronic health issues. Which is why it makes sense that the Department of Health is implementing regulations to ensure cannabis sold in Florida is safe for human consumption as exposing patients to any materials that could worsen their conditions or put their health at risk is counterintuitive to using cannabis medicinally.
At MedMen, we care about the quality of our cannabis products—and how the quality of our products impacts our customers and patients. Which is why it’s been our practice to run both potency and Full Panel Testing on all MedMen products in all states where there is a MedMen—regardless of whether Full Panel Testing is required by law. We have always guaranteed that every product has been certified safe for human consumption—and we will continue to make that guarantee for every product in our stores across California, Nevada, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Arizona.