Hashish laboratories participate within the combat in opposition to COVID-19


Mitchell Colbert April 14, 2020

We have already seen all types of cannabis companies who have joined efforts to combat COVID-19, but recently cannabis laboratories have also joined to give their scientific expertise. In Canada several cannabis laboratories answered the call from Health Canada and will help with COVID-19 tests.

The question now is to what extent American laboratories can help, since cannabis is still illegal nationwide in the United States.

Help from a cannabis biodiagnostic company

Facible is an Idaho-based biodiagnostics company that developed a novel method for testing for CBD and THC last year. They had hoped to be able to run a farm test soon so that hemp farmers could test for new quality crops, but then COVID-19 struck and threw a wrench into their plans.

Like many cannabis companies, Facible shot and developed a COVID-19 test that can produce results in just 5 minutes. Steven Burden, CEO of Facible, explained his reasons to KTVB7 and said: "We are starting with COVID-19 because the regulations have dropped and they do not have the one-year FDA approval process."

Leafly spoke to Micah Kormylo, Facible's Chief Revenue Officer, who said they should receive FDA approval by mid-May.

The main advantages of your test over other COVID-19 tests are speed and accuracy. "Approximately 90% of the tests are carried out using PCR equipment in large laboratories (around 94 in the country), which has led to a huge backlog," said Kormylo. “There was a quick test developed by Abbott, but the problem with this test is that the machine is very expensive and can only do 5 tests an hour. PCR devices can run up to 100 tests per hour. "

Another type of COVID-19 test is an antibody test, but they are not always very accurate. "I've heard of someone who is 64% accurate, which is little more than a toss," said Kormylo. He went on to say that the biggest problem with antibody testing is not that everyone who has had a virus produces antibodies.

Compared to these tests, Facible's machine has a five-minute turnaround and you can run between 300 and 600 tests an hour, said Kormylo.

Cannabis laboratories join Harvard-led COVID-19 research efforts

Michael Wells, a Harvard postdoctoral fellow studying neuroscience, launched, a multidisciplinary database made up of researchers and scientists who volunteered to help combat COVID-19. Wells told the Cannabis Industry Journal: "The cannabis industry relies on specialized laboratories that routinely run qPCR-based microbial tests," which means they could help process some of the residue.

Jeff Gray, CEO and co-founder of SC Laboratories, has already signed up for and was impressed with the “activation and commitment” of the scientific community. "While PCR testing could be done in cannabis laboratories, many would take a long time to support possible facility or test area retrofitting, test procedure changes, revised safe handling protocols, and changes in results reports," Gray said.

It is a balancing act, however, to consider cannabis as an essential business where laboratories have to do safety tests and ask the same laboratories to help run COVID-19 tests simultaneously. "Moving away from cannabis testing alone becomes a challenge for cannabis laboratories and a conflict for patients," said Gray. “Cannabis is essential for so many people. We want to help, but we also have to support the industry. It is important that we protect patient access to medical cannabis. "

Gray said their test volume has remained constant, which "is a good sign of the financial health of the industry as cannabis companies are on their own when excluded from stimulus support." Gray went on to say, "If there is a clear way forward and the laboratory capacity is needed to fill a gap in the test volume, we must prioritize the greatest good at that moment." They are "ready and ready to fight." connect if the way forward is free. "

A major problem in cannabis laboratories using their PCR devices is that current FDA regulations may not allow this. Some, like San Francisco-based investor and activist Yobie Benjamin, are asking the FDA to grant one.

Until then, cannabis companies have to look for other creative ways to help. One laboratory that thinks outside the box is Anresco Laboratories, a cannabis and food testing laboratory that has started making its own hand sanitizer for use in the laboratory, and is even ready to deliver to people who need it .

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Mitchell Colbert is a freelance journalist who has written for Cannabis Now, Hemp Magazine, Green Flower Media, The High Times, Wine Industry Consultant and other publications focusing on cannabis and alcohol. He leads the political strategy company Full Spectrum Strategy, in which he supports cannabis vaporizer companies in making products more sustainable. He is also a lecturer at Oaksterdam University and teaches everything from business management to recording methods.
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