Water Activity & Moisture

Water Activity & Moisture

Water is the building blocks of life, as most everyone knows, but the life cycle of water on a cannabis plant is often a mystery.

Water can take multiple forms including free water, absorbed water, and bound water. Water testing, in general, is often misunderstood.

What scientists need to understand about water, when it relates to Cannabis, is that the free water is the water that is used by microorganisms to support their growth. The term water activity describes the amount of water available for the hydration of materials. The materials may include plant, food, edible, tablet, or anything that has a surface. If the water activity is too high then microbial growth is more likely.

Water activity testing can help determine if a plant’s free water content is supporting unhealthy microbial growth.

Water activity should not be confused with water content, which is a measure of total moisture by volume. In addition to water activity testing, total moisture testing is important to help contextualize the results of other measurements. For example, a ground flower may be found to have 100 ppb of a particular pesticide, but if it is also found to contain 10% water, then the actual amount of the pesticide would be diluted by that water content.

Water activity (Aw) plays a crucial role in the cultivation of cannabis. It helps us understand the precise relationship between water and its various forms within the cannabis plant – free water, absorbed water, and bound water. The free water in a cannabis plant is particularly important as it’s the one utilized by microorganisms for their growth. However, excessive free water can encourage unwanted microbial growth, potentially compromising the quality and safety of cannabis.

  • What Does Water Activity Mean?Water activity is a measure of the water available for the hydration of materials, be it plant-based, food, tablets, or any material with a surface. A high water activity level indicates a greater chance for microbial growth. Therefore, regular water activity testing is crucial to ensure the plant’s free water content isn’t fostering harmful microbial activity.
  • Water Activity Vs. Moisture Content It’s essential not to confuse water activity with moisture content, as these two concepts, while related, are distinctly different. Water activity pertains to the amount of unbound, free water that can aid microbial growth. On the other hand, moisture content refers to the total volume of moisture in a material, both bound and free. Both these metrics play a crucial role in the accurate assessment of a material’s composition and are significant in the context of cannabis cultivation.

Advanced laboratories, like Nova Analytic Labs, play a crucial role in conducting precise water activity and total moisture tests. These labs employ state-of-the-art facilities and experienced teams to conduct comprehensive testing procedures, effectively identifying if the free water content in cannabis plants is supporting unhealthy microbial growth.

Such labs allow cultivators to make necessary adjustments in their cultivation practices and assist in producing high-quality cannabis products that are safe, effective, and compliant with regulatory standards.

Understanding and managing water activity in cannabis cultivation is not a one-time activity. To ensure consistent quality and safety, regular and comprehensive testing, including water activity and total moisture tests, are essential. Frequent testing allows cultivators to promptly identify changes in water activity and take swift action to prevent potential issues such as microbial contamination.

A comprehensive testing approach provides a more complete picture of a product’s composition. For instance, a high moisture content could dilute other substances like pesticides, making them less concentrated than they initially appear. Thus, a comprehensive approach ensures robust, reliable data for decision-making in cannabis cultivation.

Understanding the importance of water activity testing and its implications on cannabis cultivation is pivotal in maintaining quality control and safety standards. At Nova Analytic Labs, we are committed to providing accurate, timely, and reliable water activity tests. With our advanced equipment and skilled team of experts, we assist our clients in understanding the complex relationship between water and cannabis cultivation.

By conducting thorough water activity tests, we help you maintain the balance between water content and water activity in your cannabis products, ensuring they are safe, potent, and of high quality. Trust Nova Analytic Labs for your water activity testing needs, and let us assist you in optimizing the quality of your cannabis cultivation, one water activity test at a time.