A regulatory change in the levels of allowed mold and yeast was recently passed. This means the following changes have been brought into effect:
- The regulations have now allowed for no traceable levels of a mold called Aspergillus, which is known to cause lung infections.
- A total count of other yeast and mold is limited to 100,000 colony-forming units per gram
These changes will ensure a better quality product is delivered to patients, decreasing the risk of infections. The new legislation also provides level testing criteria for the two state testing labs, AltaSci Laboratories in New Britain and Northeast Laboratories in Berlin. How has the legislation helped to level the playing field? Let’s take a look at the disparity that existed between the two labs.
Testing Disparity – Leveling The Playing Field
In 2020, the state quietly approved the AltaSci levels of mold to 1 million units – a massively higher level than recently approved. This change allowed lower quality products to reach patients – at great risk to their health. That caused great concern to patients – many of who might have mold allergies, which drastically influence their health. Northeast Laboratories, however, will keep their levels at 10 000, keeping up a consistent testing regime. Patients reach out to the alternative treatment of medical marijuana to alleviate symptoms, but low-quality products may have worsened their conditions unknowingly. Patients were not alerted to this change and welcomed the new transparency in testing limitations. Patients continue their efforts to raise awareness of the legislative changes to ensure all patients are fully aware of what testing their products have to undergo. During the public comment phase of the legislation, patients made their voices heard :
“This is medicine, it should have strict standards and the companies producing it need to be held to those standards,”
The major difference in the levels of allowed mold between the two state laboratories created fluctuating levels in product quality – but the new pace in legislation is a great first step in creating a standard and hopes of delving deeper into creating better quality medical marijuana. The new legislation also gave the labs six months to implement a new testing method that will offer better analysis. They are moving away from the plating method to a qPCR DNA method of testing.
Both laboratories have supported the change, but it is evident that harmful elements can persist in the products and that continued research and changes must be applied to ensure optimal safety eventually. According to Julianne Avallone, DCP Legal Director, the purpose of the legislation is to update the microbial testing standards to protect public health and wellness. She also noted that this would create clarity and consistency for medical marijuana laboratories.
The hope remains that legislation will continue to pursue new and safer avenues of testing. Continued improvement of medical marijuana quality is paramount. Even though strides are taken in the right direction, more awareness and education on the topic needs to happen on the ground level. Suppose patients are more aware of what the testing process involves – and how it eventually impacts product quality. In that case, the pressure will be placed on the testing facilities and legislation to adjust and improve their methods. Ultimately, the hope is that this will positively impact the general fight in legalizing marijuana – as it is proved safer to use as the testing process evolves and clarity between patients, legislation, testing facilities, and manufacturers are achieved.
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