Hawaii's medical marijuana patients will soon have more options to choose from at the dispensaries now that the state's only certified lab has been given the green light to test other cannabis products.
Along with flower buds, the Oahu lab -- Steep Hill Hawaii -- can now begin testing tinctures and concentrates, such as oils and extracts. The health department certified the lab to test samples for chemicals, like pesticides and heavy metals, as well as microbial contaminants.
That's great news for patients who don't want to smoke their medicine.
"It's another way to injest the cannabis that's more healthy. And it concentrates the cannabinoids and the potency of the products so people don't have to take as much," said Michael Covington, CEO of Steep Hill Hawaii.
Covington says his lab has been extremely busy ever since it began testing medical cannabis last month. He says they not only test products for the dispensaries, but also for patients who grow their own.
"Since we're the only game in town right now, it's been pretty crazy. We're getting more and more product. We try to get everything turned around in a reasonable amount of time so the dispensaries can get their product to the patients," he said.
Steep Hill is now working on its certification to test lozenges, capsules, and topicals. They hope to have approval in about two weeks.
The health department hopes other labs will be certified soon.
"The other labs are also making very good progress on their validation studies as well. Hopefully we won't be in a one horse race too much longer," said Dr. Christian Whelen, state laboratories administrator.