Pesticide Testing for Cannabis Products in Canada

Health Canada requires that cannabis producers test cannabis products for pesticides for compliance. Guidelines on the regulations can be found in the Mandatory cannabis testing for pesticide active ingredients – Requirements page and the list of pesticide targets and their acceptable limit of quantifications in different cannabis sample types can be found in the Mandatory cannabis testing for pesticide active ingredients – List and limits document.

Health Canada maintains strict validation requirements for the methods used to test pesticides in cannabis products. The laboratory must be able to demonstrate through validation that their method is sensitive enough to meet the requirements outlined in the documents above. In practice this means that labs need to have at least three validation studies: one for fresh cannabis, one for dried cannabis and one for oils/extracts. Vivariant has validation studies for all three of these matrices.

Typically our biggest client base for testing of fresh or fresh frozen cannabis are producers who are selling their flower for water-based concentrate production, such as bubble hash. Our method is validated for the analysis of pesticides in fresh cannabis.

Dried flower may be tested as part of quality control release for packaged dry flower to be sold to consumers. It may also be tested to qualify the dry cannabis flower/hemp biomass as an input for further extraction, such as solvent (ethanol, propane, butane, etc) or solvent-free (live rosin) extraction.

Concentrates should always be tested for pesticides, even if the input material was tested. Why? The same process that concentrates the cannabinoids may also concentrate the pesticides. Even if a pesticide was present at a level too low to be detected in the input material, the extraction process may concentrate it to a point where it is above the limits set by Health Canada.

Generally in Canada we do not see processed goods such as gummies, chocolates, beverages, etc, being tested for pesticides as long as the input cannabis concentrate/oil was tested for pesticides and passed and the producer keeps this certificate of analysis on file. This is because mixing the input concentrate with the other ingredients to create the edible/processed product is a dilutive process. It is important to retain a sample of, and a copy of the certificate of analysis for the input concentrate as well as the finished product.

If you’re looking for pesticide testing of fresh cannabis, dried cannabis or cannabis oils, extracts and other products contact us today.

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