Microbiological Impurities

Like other plants, cannabis is exposed to bacteria and fungi during cultivation. Microbial contaminants can also be introduced if medical cannabis is not processed on appropriately sanitized surfaces, not handled carefully with clean gloves, or not properly cured, dried, and stored. The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission currently requires 3 kinds of tests for microbiological impurities in cannabis (“Microbial contaminant” testing is also required for concentrates and infused cannabis products).

Microbial Contaminants

Exposure to high levels of microorganisms like bacteria and fungi can cause health problems, especially in those patients with pre-existing medical conditions. For this reason, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission requires all plant material, extracts, and cannabis-infused products to be assayed for total aerobic microbial content (TAMC) as well as total yeast and mold content (TYMC). Since the presence and abundance of the bacterial species E. coli serves as a reliable indicator of total bacterial contamination, the MMCC also requires a separate E. coli test. Finally, given the high risks posed by Salmonella bacteria, the MMCC requires medical cannabis providers to demonstrate that no Salmonella is detectable in their products.

Pinnacle CT measures TAMC, TYMC, E. coli, and Salmonella concentrations using protocols based on the World Health Organization (WHO) standards for Quality Control of Herbal Materials. We perform regular quality control checks using standard microbial strains. Our rigorous testing panel employs both liquid and plate culture methods, helping safeguard the health of patients who rely on medical cannabis.

Water Activity

Water activity measures the amount of moisture in a cannabis sample that is available to be used by microorganisms. (It differs from the overall water content, which measures the total moisture in a sample.) In order to prevent harmful microbial growth during storage, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission requires that flower material have a water activity below 0.65aw. Pinnacle CT uses precise methods to test for water activity, providing assurance to you, to regulators, and to patients that your cannabis products can be stored safely without spoilage.

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