Bethany Sherman, a 32-year-old software analyst in Eugene, never pictured herself on the forefront of developing safe marijuana practices. But when her mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year, she delved into researching treatment options. “My research turned up that cannabis can be an effective treatment for MS,” Sherman says. The primary components of marijuana with medicinal properties, THC, CBD (cannabidiol) and CBN (cannabinol), have pain-relief, anti-spasmodic/anti-convulsant and neuro-protectant properties. “That’s very powerful to an MS patient,” Sherman says.
The caveat is that there are very minimal safety regulations in place today for what products growers can legally use on their marijuana. Patients could end up consuming any number of powerful pesticides that are legal in Oregon. “Most pesticides are neurotoxins so that was really a big catalyst for me in starting OG Anaytical,” she says.
OG Analytical, a consulting and testing service, opens for business mid-April. It already has five contracts with more expected. Through consulting, OG Analytical will help ensure which growers are set up and operating in a way that will help them produce effective harvest yields that will pass a safety certification at the state level, Sherman says.
Oregon’s House Bill 3460, which allows dispensaries to apply for operating licenses, doesn’t extend regulatory governance of the medicine to analytical labs. “HB 3460 states only that dispensaries must work with an analytical lab that does XYZ,” Sherman says, but “XYZ” is not well defined. Rules state that a lab must test for four families of pesticides, but Sherman asserts there’s little clarity. OG Analytical has created a draft proposal asking for more stringency and less ambiguity in the pesticide regulations.
OG Analytical will be testing for potency of THC, CBD and CBN, as well as well as implementing a mold toxin pass-fail allowance at 10,000 CFUs (colony forming units) and a pesticide screening. “The proposal is very data-driven,” Sherman says. “We’ve backed the proposal on research we’ve done in-house on all of the pesticides that are used in the state of Oregon and their health consequences.” Their screening uses the same methods used by FDA, USDA and EPA to qualify agricultural commodities as safe for human consumption.
Sherman has recruited Rodger Voelker, a Ph.D. biochemist and molecular biologist, to perform the analyses. “As far as I know we’re only the fourth cannabis lab in the whole United States that is using the high-precision instrumentation that we are using,” she says, “and we’re very proud of that.”
OG Analytical can be found at oganalytical.com and reached at 541-579-3865.