Quality From Canada

Following a Cannabis Sample Through the Lab: 9 Important Steps

By Tegan Adams
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Labs should track samples throughout the testing process with thorough documentation and sample tracking software.

Anytime a cannabis sample enters a laboratory, the sample is received, handled, weighed, identified and traced throughout the testing and disposal process. Laboratories working with cannabis must have quality systems in place to ensure every action taken to test the cannabis sample is documented and in compliance with good manufacturing practices. Eurofins-Experchem’s sample receipt and handling SOPs includes the following key elements.

  1. Purpose: The purpose of the SOP is outlined to make sure it’s outcome is understood
  2. Scope: The Scope of the SOP explains what events the SOP is intended to avoid and which events the SOP is intended to encourage
  3. Responsibilities: All positions that the SOP affects are outlined
  4. Initial Receipt of the Sample: Samples are submitted to Eurofins Experchem Laboratories with a Sample Information Form. In Canada, cannabis is regulated as a controlled substance. Controlled substances come with a special shipping document and must be weighed upon receipt to the lab to make sure the weight is the same as the client has indicated. Cannabis samples received are inspected to ensure no tampering or damage has occurred to the sample before it is tested. Any temperature and/or storage requirements are noted and followed. If any conditions are not understood the client is contacted for clarification immediately. Pending the sample’s conditions are met, the sample is placed into the laboratory.
  5. Procedure: Eurofins Experchem uses its own sample tracking software to track a sample across the lab. A unique project number and date of entry is given to the sample.  Client name, product name, condition of sample, test(s) performed, ID or lot number and size of samples are all recorded. A sticker is attached to the sample to clarify.
  6. Rush Samples: Rush samples are stamped “RUSH” in red and are placed in a priority sequence. The sample is placed in the safe until required for testing. If the product is not cannabis, the sample is placed on a shelf corresponding with the actual day of the month it was received and entered into sample tracking. If the sample requires cold temperatures it is placed in a refrigerated area and monitored in a similar way.
  7. Discrepancies: Any discrepancies in information found on the sample that may differentiate from what the client requests will be communicated to the client upon finding.
  8. Controlled Documents: Stickers, original lab specification sheets, sample submission forms, and SOP training evaluation questionnaires.
  9. Results: As soon as testing is completed, lab results are approved by quality assurance reviewers. A Certificate of Analysis (COA) is electronically and automatically sent through the sample tracking system to the client’s email.

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