Cannabis Heavy Metal Testing

Certain, especially dense, metals can be toxic to humans even at low levels. They are naturally found in the earth’s crust and therefore in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the soil in which we grow our food.


It is known that Cannabis is an excellent bioremediator—that is, it soaks up the majority of compounds its roots are exposed to, even at low levels. This can include any heavy metals that may be present in the soil or water around the plant.

Even Cannabis plants that are grown in controlled indoor environments are not free from exposure to heavy metals, as they may be present in the water, soil, or fertilizers introduced to help grow the plant.

Nova Analytic Labs tests for heavy metals in the final product, as well as materials in cultivation such as water, soil and fertilizer products purchased from third party vendors or created in house.

In the rapidly evolving cannabis industry, ensuring product safety and efficacy is paramount. One of the critical aspects of quality control is heavy metal testing, an essential service provided by Nova Analytic Labs. This article will delve into the details of cannabis heavy metal testing and highlight how Nova Analytic Labs plays a key role in this process.

Cannabis is a known bioaccumulator. This means that it is particularly good at absorbing and concentrating substances from the soil it grows in, including potentially harmful heavy metals.

In fact, this quality of cannabis has been used in phytoremediation efforts – using plants to clean contaminated soil. While this is beneficial from an environmental standpoint, it becomes a concern when cannabis is grown for human consumption. The heavy metals absorbed from contaminated soils can end up concentrated in the stems, leaves, and buds of the plant.

The methods of cannabis consumption can also intensify the risk posed by these heavy metals. Unlike fruits or vegetables, which are typically washed and cooked before consumption, cannabis products are often consumed through inhalation, whether it’s smoked or vaporized. This method of consumption allows the heavy metals to bypass many of the body’s natural defenses, such as the digestive system’s ability to break down and expel certain toxins.

When inhaled, heavy metals enter the bloodstream directly through the lungs, making them immediately bioavailable to the body. They can then accumulate in various organs, potentially leading to a variety of health problems, such as neurotoxicity, organ damage, and in severe cases, cancer.

For these reasons, it’s crucial for cannabis to undergo thorough heavy metal testing before it is deemed safe for consumption. The testing must be sensitive and accurate enough to detect the presence of harmful heavy metals even at very low concentrations. Only through such rigorous testing protocols can we ensure the safety of cannabis products.

As leaders in the cannabis testing industry, Nova Analytic Labs understands the importance of heavy metal testing. We offer comprehensive testing solutions that adhere to state regulations and industry best practices.

Our team employs advanced testing methods, including Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS), known for its sensitivity and accuracy in detecting even trace amounts of heavy metals. This method ensures that all cannabis products we test are free from harmful heavy metal contamination.

The importance of heavy metal testing cannot be overstated. The presence of heavy metals in cannabis products could lead to several health issues, including organ damage, neurological problems, and even cancer. As a trusted cannabis testing lab, Nova Analytic Labs is committed to preventing such risks.

By providing reliable heavy metal testing services, we help cannabis growers, producers, and retailers ensure their products are safe for consumer use. This testing not only protects consumers but also strengthens the credibility and reputation of cannabis businesses.

Lead is a highly toxic metal and a powerful neurotoxin that accumulates in soft tissues and bones. It can interfere with the body’s neurological system, leading to developmental delays in children and numerous health issues in adults, such as cardiovascular disease and kidney dysfunction.

Arsenic is known for its harmful effects on human health. Chronic exposure to arsenic can lead to various types of cancers, skin lesions, and cardiovascular disease. Additionally, arsenic can interfere with the body’s endocrine system, specifically disrupting hormone functioning.

Cadmium, primarily absorbed by the body through the food chain, is carcinogenic and can remain in the body for a long time. Chronic exposure to cadmium can result in damage to the kidneys and bones. It can also lead to lung cancer when inhaled, making it particularly dangerous in cannabis products.

Mercury is a neurotoxic metal that can harm the nervous, digestive, and immune systems. In severe cases, it can lead to tremors, insomnia, memory loss, and cognitive and motor dysfunction.

Given that cannabis is often consumed through inhalation, the presence of these heavy metals becomes even more dangerous. When these heavy metals are inhaled, they can enter the bloodstream quickly, causing potential health risks. For this reason, rigorous heavy metal testing is crucial in the cannabis industry to ensure consumer safety and product quality.

At Nova Analytic Labs, our diligent and systematic approach to cannabis heavy metal testing begins with the acceptance of the cannabis sample. Our proficient team meticulously logs each sample, documenting essential details such as the strain, cultivation method, and date of harvest.

The testing process commences with the preparation of the sample. The cannabis plant material is carefully homogenized and ground until particles are less than 1mm in diameter. If the sample is an edible, concentrate, or tincture, it is thoroughly mixed to ensure uniformity, with direct extraction being carried out if needed.

Following this, the extraction process involves subjecting the sample material to digestion in concentrated, strong acid inside a high-temperature and high-pressure reaction crucible. The result of this process is a clear, particulate-free liquid ready for analysis.

The analysis is performed using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS). The ICP-MS instrument utilizes an argon plasma torch to ionize the elements within the extracted solution. Each element is then separated based on its ionization potentials and relative mass, and subsequently detected by its mass-to-charge ratio.

If the testing identifies heavy metals that exceed the acceptable limits, the product is deemed to have failed the health and safety testing and consequently, cannot be sold.

At Nova Analytic Labs, accuracy is of paramount importance in heavy metal testing. To ensure the utmost precision in our results, our lab is furnished with the latest ICP-MS instruments, which are consistently calibrated to maintain their accuracy. Additionally, we utilize certified reference materials to authenticate our testing procedures and results.

Lastly, our team of experts is highly trained and experienced in handling cannabis samples and operating the testing equipment. Their expertise combined with our stringent quality control measures ensures that our clients receive accurate and reliable heavy metal testing results.

As the cannabis industry continues to grow, so does the need for stringent safety measures, including comprehensive heavy metal testing. Nova Analytic Labs is proud to offer top-tier heavy metal testing services for cannabis, ensuring the safety and confidence of both producers and consumers.

By choosing Nova Analytic Labs for your cannabis heavy metal testing needs, you are opting for an accredited, trusted partner that prioritizes product safety and accuracy. Our commitment to providing high-quality, reliable testing services extends beyond the laboratory. We partner with our clients, offering guidance and support to navigate the complex landscape of cannabis safety regulations.

As part of our ongoing commitment to industry education, we also offer resources and training to help clients understand the importance of heavy metal testing and the potential impact of heavy metals on their products and consumers. Our team is always available to answer any queries and provide insights on improving cultivation practices to reduce the risk of heavy metal contamination.

Looking to the future, Nova Analytic Labs will continue to innovate and expand our service offerings, staying at the forefront of cannabis testing technology. We will persist in our mission to enhance cannabis product safety, supporting the growth and reputation of this burgeoning industry.

With Nova Analytic Labs as your partner in cannabis heavy metal testing, you can be confident in the quality and safety of your products, protecting your consumers and your brand. We invite you to explore our range of services and discover how we can support your cannabis business’s success.

At Nova Analytic Labs, your safety is our priority. Trust us to deliver the accuracy, consistency, and dependability that your cannabis business needs to thrive in a competitive marketplace.