If you go to a Californian dispensary for medical cannabis, you are very unlikely to find weed products with any information about the level of cannabinoids they contain. If you are lucky, you may find some data about the THC content; however, not all products were lab tested, therefore there is no guarantee you will receive reliable information. The situation is even more mysterious regarding other cannabis compounds like CBD, CBN, CBG, or terpenes.
For most of the recreational users, the THC level is the only measure they can use to evaluate the potency of the weed (however, other compounds also influence the effects of cannabis, sometimes making a drastic difference between expectations and reality). But when we are talking about medical marijuana, the levels of all compounds are more important than ever.
Today, a budtender's recommendation can sometimes be the only guidance for a medical cannabis patient. But luckily, the situation is going to change.
Recently, Prop.64 was approved in California, and it means that the cannabis products labeling is ready to change for the better.
According to the law, all cannabis products that are legally distributed in California must be sampled by independent laboratories. These tests will reveal the level of THC, THCA, CBD, CBDA, CBG, CBN compounds, as well as the terpene profile of every cannabis-infused product.
Why is that so important? For most of the users, not to mention people who have nothing to do with cannabis products, all these cannabinoids and terpenes do not mean a thing, they are just letters. That is why the realization of this law should go hand in hand with educational work for consumers. Once you see the compounds on the label, you start to ask questions. The more questions there are, the more interest the cannabis plant will spark. This can push scientists to conduct more tests, and therefore, provide a better understanding of the nature of cannabis.
But even in regard to recreational marijuana, there is also a positive thing Prop. 64 can offer. According to the law, all weed products should also pass the test for pesticide and foreign contaminants presence. No matter what is the purpose of your consuming, you probably do not want pot to damage your health. And the new law requires testing cannabis for all the chemical solvent leftovers that can remain in weed and poison your body.
This way, Prop. 64 can give Californian cannabis users much more information about weed products than any other state's consumers can expect. And we hope that the rest of the country will eventually adopt the same testing standards and give their consumers the same opportunity to be smarter about what they use.
But before the beautiful future comes true, there will be a long way with lots and lots of things to do. And the success of the law will depend on the quality of its implementation. The state Department of Public Health is yet to develop standards and instructions for situations when a product fails to comply with the criteria. They also need to determine how often the tests should be applied.
At the same time, creating health and safety standards requires a solid base of facts, which means more studies on the matter should be conducted. For instance, some pesticides are safe to use and consume (in certain dosages) together with raw products, but they become dangerous when exposed to heat (when smoking or vaporizing the product).
So far, Prop. 64 is under construction. It is going to be one of the most ambitious laws adopted in the last couple of years: it will designate state agencies to regulate and license the cannabis industry, it will set restrictions on marketing, create rules for labeling, set up a special system of taxes, and do many more things. And the program of certificating cannabis products is going to be the first of its kind in the U.S.