Speedy Cannabis Testing Technology being Offered out of Boston Based Company

Speedy cannabis testing will become more important as the commercial cannabis industry expands. The faster a testing facility can determine the compounds existing within a strain of marijuana, what the concentration of those compounds are, determine if there are pesticides or molds, then the quicker they will be able to turnover clients.

There are estimations of over 3,000 strains of cannabis, but without more research there is no way to tell exactly how many are out there. Regardless of how many strains that may exist, a distributor will have no way to know what strain is being offered to them by a grower, or whether it has pesticides or molds, without a test. Most states that have legalized cannabis, mandate that testing occur anyways and want to track the plant until it is sold to the consumer.

A technology is being offered by 908 Devices in Boston that tests cannabis quicker than other machines and is much smaller. Do you believe these sorts of technologies will have annual updates like smart phones and computers?

The compact, high-tech chemical sensors made by the Boston startup 908 Devices are used by emergency responders to scan for toxins after industrial accidents, and by researchers in the pharmaceutical and energy industries to profile the composition of drugs and petroleum products.

Now, the firm has unveiled a new sensor intended to give it a foothold in a less conventional but fast-growing industry: commercial marijuana.

The sensor, dubbed the G908, is a countertop “push-button” mass spectrometer designed to identify cannabis compounds. Its designers say the device approaches the accuracy of traditional “gold standard” lab equipment but is far smaller, faster, cheaper, and easier to use.

The company hopes to sell hundreds of the machines to marijuana labs, cultivators, and processors. Executives at 908 Devices, which has raised nearly $50 million in funding since its founding in 2014, believe the US market for marijuana testing equipment could soon reach a half-billion dollars.

“We see cannabis as a growing part of the life-sciences market,” chief executive Kevin Knopp said. “If this is a legal product being brought to market, we need to be able to tell whether the potency and levels of solvents are within the requirements.”

In states where the drug is legal, regulators typically require commercially grown marijuana to be tested in professional labs for potency and contaminants such as pesticides and mold before it can be sold. 908 Devices is marketing its sensor to such labs, noting that its speed means technicians can test more samples each day.

“It cuts 80 percent off of the usual analysis time,” said Chris Hudalla, founder of ProVerde Laboratories, a lab in Milford that analyzes marijuana for dispensaries and which has been evaluating the G908. “That’s hugely advantageous because it can increase our throughput.”

However, he added, the machine isn’t quite sensitive enough to meet some state standards.

The company is also betting the device will appeal to pot farmers. It could help them detect problems in the plants and cultivate marijuana with precise blends of psychoactive compounds without waiting days for results from an off-site lab.

“If you have cultivation staff waiting around to go to the next step, you don’t want to say, ‘Come back in three days when the testing will be done,’ ” Hudalla said. “This lets you get an answer in a few minutes and move on.”

Working from a small sample of marijuana flower, the G908 can measure a plant’s potency and chemical profile. It can also test pot concentrates to ensure there are no residual traces of potentially harmful solvents some processors use to extract the plant’s primary psychoactive compound, THC.

The typical testing equipment currently used is about the size of a large basement freezer, costs up to $600,000, and can take 30 minutes or longer to return a result. The toaster-oven-sized G908, on the other hand, weighs just 28 pounds, costs under $100,000, and can spit out an analysis in as little as five minutes, the company said.

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Source: MJFeed

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