11-145 Konrad Cres., Markham, Ontario Canada L3R 9T9
Toll Free: 1.877.305.0998 Telephone: 905 305 0998
QC Testing - What Do We Test For?

QCL Quality Compliance Laboratories Inc. is a Health Canada and FDA-Inspected, GMP-Compliant analytical testing laboratory. It is the years of experience in producing quality results and our personalized services that gives us an edge of overall quality. We incorporate quality into our organizational culture, raising organizational awareness in every single action we take.

QCL Quality Compliance Laboratories offers the following Analytical Services to licensed producers of medicinal marihuana under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR):

Physical Identity:

Dried and milled Cannabis sativa spp. dark green to light green and tan coloured Flowering Heads plant particulates with characteristic aroma having citrus and pine overtones.

Foreign Matter Inspection:

Absence of stalks, insects and other vermin. Visual inspection should confirm the absence of pests or extraneous substances. There is no requirement to mill or irradiate the dried marihuana, although the licensed producers may choose to do so.

Cannabinoid Profiling:

Cannabinoids occur naturally in significant quantity in the cannabis plant, and are concentrated in a viscous resin that is produced in glandular structures known as trichomes. In addition to cannabinoids, the resin is rich in terpenes, which are largely responsible for the odour of the cannabis plant.

At least 85 cannabinoids have been identified in the cannabis plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) are the most prevalent. QCL Quality Compliance Laboratories offers accurate quantification of seven cannabinoids; THC, CBD, CBN, THCV, CBC, CBG, and THCA in dried flowers.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

THC is the principal psychoactive constituent (or cannabinoid) of the cannabis plant.

Systematic (IUPAC) name: (−)-(6aR,10aR)-6,6,9-trimethyl-3-pentyl-6a,7,8,10a-etrahydro-6H-benzo[c]chromen-1-ol

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD is one of at least 85 cannabinoids found in cannabis. It is amajor constituent of the plant, second to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),and represents up to 40% in its extracts.

Systematic (IUPAC) name: 2-[(1R,6R)-6-isopropenyl-3- methylcyclohex-2-en-1-yl]-5-pentylbenzene-1,3-diol

Cannabinol (CBN)

CBN is a weak psychoactive cannabinoid found only in trace amounts in Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. It is mostly a metabolite of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Systematic (IUPAC) name: 6,6,9-trimethyl-3-pentylbenzo[ c]chromen-1-ol

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV, THV)

THCV, THV is a homologue of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) having a propyl (3-carbon) side chain. This terpeno-phenolic compound is found naturally in Cannabis, sometimes in significant amounts.

Systematic (IUPAC) name: 6,6,9-trimethyl-3-propyl-6a,7,8,10atetrahydro- 6H-benzo[c]chromen-1-ol

Cannabichromene (CBC)

CBC is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It bears structural similarity to the other natural cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol, tetrahydrocannabivarin, cannabidiol, and cannabinol. cannabichromene is actually the second most abundant cannabinoid in marijuana, which means there is likely more CBC in your cannabis than CBD – even though CBD seems to get all theattention

Systematic (IUPAC) name:2-Methyl-2-(4-methylpent-3-enyl)-7-pentyl-5-chromenol

Cannabigerol (CBG)

CBG is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in the Cannabis genus of plants. Cannabigerol is found in higher concentrations in hemp rather than in varieties of Cannabis cultivated for high THC content and their corresponding psychoactive properties. Cannabigerol happens to be responsible for most of marijuana’s medical effects, but many aren’t aware that this chemical even exists. That’s because CBG works behind the scenes, which scientists have only recently started to investigate.

Systematic (IUPAC) name: 2-[(2E)-3,7-dimethylocta-2,6-dienyl]-5- pentyl-benzene-1,3-diol

Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA, 2-COOH-THC)

THCA, 2-COOH-THC is a biosynthetic precursor of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active component of Cannabis]THCA is found in variable quantities in fresh, undried cannabis, but is progressively decarboxylated to THC with drying, and especially under intense heating such as when cannabis is smoked.

Systematic (IUPAC) name: (6aR,10aR)-1-hydroxy-6,6,9-trimethyl-3- pentyl-6a,7,8,10a-tetrahydro-6h-benzo[c]chromene-2-carboxylic acid

Potency Determination of Δ9-THC¹, Δ9-THC Acid², and Cannabidiol (CBD)³:

Health Canada - MMPR s53. (2) & MMPR s54. (2)
Analytical testing for those contaminants and for the percentages of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol referred to in these Regulations must be conducted using validated methods.

Utilizing High Pressure Liquid Chromatographic (HPLC), Gas Chromatography, Mass Spectrometry (MS), and Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) techniques we have developed and validated test methods for accurate quantification of THC, THC-Acid, CBD, and CBN which are in compliance with the Health Canada’s Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR).

Specification: Total THC content (delta 9-THC and delta-9-THC acid): 12.5 ± 2%, and CBD < 0.5%

Residual Solvent Analysis for Medical Cannabis Concentrates:

QCL Quality Compliance Laboratories Inc. offers residual solvent testing of concentrated medical cannabis product forms! Concentrates can physically be produced in many different ways and some of these production techniques may use chemical solvents.

Using a combination of head-space sampling, gas-chromatography and mass-spectrometry (GC-MS) we are able to detect and identify trace amounts of volatile solvents that might have been used in the production of Medical Cannabis concentrates.

An example of some of the solvents that can be detected are:

  • Acetone
  • Butane
  • Ethanol (alcohol)
  • Hexane
  • Isopropanol (Isopropyl alcohol, IPA)
  • Propane
  • Pentane

Moisture Content:

This is the weight of the water relative to the total weight of the sample. Laboratory samples are reported in both dry and wet weight. Moisture Analysis needs 24 hours to complete and is required for Cannabinoid potency determination and profiling.

Pesticide Screening: (Absent)

Health Canada - MMPR s54. (1)
Marihuana must not be treated -- before, during or after the drying process - with a pest control product that has not been registered under the Pest Control Products Act for use on marihuana for medical purposes.

Insects and other pests are common, if not ubiquitous, in both indoor and outdoor cannabis cultivations. If left unchecked, these pests can infest and destroy entire crops. As a result, many cultivators use toxic chemical pesticides to avoid potential crop loss. However, most of these cultivators are either unaware of, or choose to ignore, the potential environmental and health consequences of their actions.

Chemical pesticides are, by design, highly toxic and persistent. Many kill on contact and remain active for weeks, months, and even years. Human exposure to pesticides may lead to acute health problems, such as abdominal pain, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, as well as skin and eye problems. Many serious diseases, such as cancer, reproductive dysfunction, and asthma have been linked to pesticide exposure.

While many growers and collective dispensaries take care to provide safe, effective products, there are numerous reports of the presence of pesticides in purchased cannabis.

Here at QCL Quality Compliance Laboratories we provide comprehensive screening of the following pesticide residues:

  • Abamectin
  • Bifenazate
  • Bifenthrin
  • Carbaryl
  • Cypermethrin
  • Diazinon
  • Myclobutanil
  • Paclobutrazol
  • Permethrin, and
  • Resmethrin

Aflatoxins: B1, B2, G1, G2, and ochratoxin A, USP <561>

Aflatoxins are naturally occurring mycotoxins that are produced by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, species of fungi. The name was created around 1960 after the discovery that the source of turkey X disease was Aspergillus flavus toxins. Aflatoxins are toxic and among the most carcinogenic substances known.[2] After entering the body, aflatoxins may be metabolized by the liver to a reactive epoxide intermediate or hydroxylated to become the less harmful aflatoxin M1.

Microbiological purity:

Health Canada - MMPR s53. (1)
The microbial and chemical contaminants of dried marihuana must be within generally accepted tolerance limits for herbal medicines for human consumption, as established in any publication referred to in Schedule B to the Food and Drugs Act.

European Pharmacopeia (EP) chapter 5.8.1 (current edition 7.5):
"Microbial Quality of Herbal Medicinal Products for Oral Use". In this case, testing for total aerobic microbial count (TAC), total combined yeast and moulds count, bile-tolerant gram negative bacteria, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella Spores of bacteria and fungi are omnipresent in our biosphere and as a result may grow anywhere there is water, suitable temperature, and some sort of nutrition source. The presence of bacterial or fungal spores on a raw material does not suggest growth of that bacterium or fungus in any way. However, the abundance of these spores may indicate a general state of cleanliness that requires further testing to validate.

The QCL Quality Compliance Laboratories microbiological screening program ensures the safety of cannabis by testing for the level of various microorganisms which may be present in each sample. Molds are ubiquitous, and small amounts are found in almost every sample. However, exposure to high levels of microorganisms are known to cause health problems and can be particularly dangerous to patients that have existing medical conditions. Health Canada has established tolerance limits for microbiological contamination in cannabis.


  • Total Aerobic and Anaerobic counts (APC)
  • Enumeration of Coliforms
  • E. Coli
  • Salmonella spp
  • Enumeration of Yeasts and Moulds

How to prepare your Samples

  • Make sure your cannabis Flowers/buds sample size to Complete all the necessary analysis should be: > 220 g (for general analysis) or 250g < for analytical method development and method validation
  • Samples must be fully cured
  • Properly labeled - sample name, lot number, date, and keep each sample in its own container protected from light.
  • Easy to retrieve – Use suitable amber glass container that we are able to extract the sample without difficulties.