A Homegrower’s Guide To Testing

Testing can be a vital tool in growing happy, healthy plants

We often test for homegrowers looking for potency data

Growing cannabis at home is an exciting adventure for any cannabis enthusiast. With a variety of cultivation methods and growing mediums to explore, and an endless selection of strains, the possibilities are endless.

Regular testing can be a helpful tool for growers looking to refine their techniques and safeguard their plants against contamination. Which tests you should have performed, however, are specific to your grow and even individual plants within your grow. Lets review each of the tests we offer, and what kind of situations they would be appropriate for.

Cannabinoid Profile

Cost: $50 per sample


Our most popular test by far, a cannabinoid profile will tell you how rich your plant is in certain cannabinoids, like THC and CBD. While the concentration of THC is far from the only indicator of quality, it’s still an important factor to be aware of especially if the flower will eventually be consumed. 

Knowing how much THC, CBD, or other cannabinoids a plant contains will help with dosing, especially when it comes to turning that plant material into edibles or other infused products. Refining formulas and recipes is a lot easier when you’re sure of the exact concentration of cannabinoids present in the flower used.

This test can also be vital for growers experimenting with cultivating strains high in lesser-known cannabinoids like CBGa and THCVa. 

Terpene Profile

Cost: $25 per sample

Scope: alpha-Bisabolol, delta-3-Carene, Caryophyllene-Oxide, Eucalyptol, Guaiol, Isopulegol, Linalool, cis-Nerolidol, Ocimene, alpha-Pinene, alpha-Terpinene, Terpinolene, Camphene, beta-Caryophyllene, para-Cymene, Geraniol, alpha-Humulene, D-Limonene, beta-Myrcene, trans-Nerolidol, beta-Ocimene, beta-Pinene, gamma-Terpinene

A terpene profile is another great indicator of quality, as terpenes are responsible for the smell and taste of cannabis flower. Some researchers believe terpenes also contribute to the entourage effect, working synergistically with cannabinoids to create the physiological effects that come with cannabis consumption. 

Many homegrowers may concentrate on tweaking growing conditions to favor high cannabinoid concentrations, unknowingly sacrificing terpene quality in the same stroke. A terpene profile will reveal just how successful a grower was at maintaining that balance, and help inform future grow decisions. 

Plant Nutrition Analysis

Cost: $115 per sample

Scope: Boron, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Phosphorous, Potassium, Sulphur, Zinc

Analyzing the nutrients in your grow is a great way to save time, money, and resources. Without knowing the approximate nutrient content of a plant, it can be easy to overfeed and waste those expensive fertilizers. It’s also easy to underfeed, leading to deficiencies and toxicities that affect plant quality and yield. Identifying deficiencies and toxicities early on can allow homegrowers to resolve the problem as fast as possible and save on precious resources.  

Safety Screens

In general, safety screens are not as strongly recommended to homegrowers, especially those who are knowledgeable about their growing medium quality. However mold is something that cultivators have less control over, especially those growing in outdoor, humid environments, and oftentimes it cannot be visually spotted. 

Mold can pop up at any stage in the growing process, and can also be a problem during the drying and curing phase. Some mold cases may be identified by the mildew smell or even by sight, but in most cases it will remain well hidden inside the bud. Microbial contaminants are almost always too small to visually perceive.

Microbiological Contaminants Screen

Our microbiological screen will detect the presence of various bacteria and pathogens. However, we would not recommend purchasing this screen unless your grow is in a humid environment or you have another reason to suspect contamination or you are immunocompromised and need to be 100 percent sure you’re not consuming something that could be potentially harmful . 

Cost: $135 per sample

Scope: Total viable aerobic bacteria, Total bile-tolerant gram-negative bacteria, Total coliform bacteria, Total yeast & mold, Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC)

Speciation Screen

If you do have a positive hit for microbial growth and want help crafting a targeted treatment, Speciation is for you. This screen identifies the exact species of mold plaguing your grow. Microbes will react differently to treatments based on their species, and in certain cases an approach that has worked well on one species will encourage the growth of another. Identifying the dominant organism present within your sample allows you to choose a targeted, precise, and effective remediation technique. The goal of remediation is to fully eliminate the problematic organism while minimizing collateral damage to other products, your facility, the environment, and yourself.

Cost: $300

Scope: Total Yeast & Mold Species

Heavy Metals Screen

Another safety analysis that may be of interest to homegrowers is our heavy metals screen. Cannabis is a very adept bioremediator, meaning it will pull elements from their growth mediums such as soil or water at a high rate.

Heavy metals like lead or cadmium that were present in these growth mediums can accumulate in the plant structures that are eventually consumed or used in the production of cannabis products. While they may not be dangerous in small quantities, high enough concentrations of metals consumed on a daily basis can be quite harmful to human health.

Our heavy metals screen will detect the presence and concentration of four common heavy metals. We would not recommend this screen to those who have already tested their growth mediums, including water, soil, fertilizer, and nutrients.

Cost: $115 per sample

Scope: Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, Mercury

Want to learn more about testing for home growers? Check out our free webinar “Homegrown Hacks: Tips From A Cannabis Scientist.”

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