Lab teams up with lawmaker to improve safety of Oklahoma’s medical cannabis

In October of last year, medical cannabis patients were alerted about the presence of THC-O-acetate by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA). Now, laboratory professionals are hard at work trying to find a legislative solution.

Since THC-O-acetate is not considered to be a medical cannabis product and is not included in testing regulations just yet, registered patients are being warned of the potentially hazardous side effects of consuming it, such as vomiting, speech issues and seizures.

In an effort to curb health risks and regulatory failures, cannabis testers are prompting lawmakers to approve a six-month study that will enlighten market players on best practices and standard operating procedures.

The team’s primary aim is to pinpoint certain unregulated cannabis compounds that laboratory testers shouldn’t be allowed to pass.

Additionally, Genesis Testing Labs workers are striving to promote consistency across Oklahoma’s licensed labs.

“Our main proposition is to identify those contaminants, and then on the second phase to come up with means, standardized operating procedures, that anybody can use and all use the same materials to generate the same results,” said the medical lab director of Genesis Testing Labs, James Rhudy.

The news comes just as lawmakers begin pondering over bills in the 2022 session.

Cannabis testing in Oklahoma: What will it entail?

Genesis Testing Labs’ cannabis testing study request was put under the noses of lawmakers during a recent interim House study.

The event was hosted by Rep. Kevin McDugle from Broken Arrow an Oklahoma city where the company is hoping to launch another facility.

According to the vice president for Genesis Testing Labs, Joseph Lantz, McDugle wants the proposals to undergo deliberation in the Oklahoma Legislature. 

“At the end of the day, it’s incumbent upon us to make sure that a passing (certificate of analysis) is really passing,” said Lantz, whose team envision better consistency for lab-tested cannabis products if a second proposal is approved. 

Should this happen, the team intends on assisting other laboratories in brushing up on their knowledge of best practices and standard operating procedures, so as to ensure that tainted samples do not pass testing.

One of the greatest challenges of being a cannabis lab is our customers don’t believe in us because all the other labs have different numbers because we’re not standardized,” explained Rhudy.

Cannabis testing in Oklahoma: Growers drown out producers

Due to the ever evolving regulations surrounding medical cannabis in Oklahoma, staying abreast of the latest testing rules can be a tricky task. Plus, since there is a lack of laboratories, many growers and producers are limited in terms of where they can test their products for contaminants. 

Nonetheless, Genesis Testing Labs President Tony Brixey says that growers are funneling heaps of money into different laboratories that are capable of delivering “better” results to increase the value of their harvests.

Lee Rhoades, director of lab oversight for the OMMA and Genesis attributes potency test result fluctuations to THC analogues compounds with similar chemical structures.

Rhoades emphasized the fact that the legislation must extend beyond THC analogues and potency to “anything that might be detected that might be detrimental to a patient’s health.”

Patients who “are sick to begin with and finding relief” must be safeguarded from “something harmful they don’t know,” he concludes.