Cannabis sold in regulated markets undergoes rigorous testing for microbes, pesticides, heavy-metals and other harmful substances. In Canada this done by federally licensed third-party laboratories, which provides a Certificate of Analysis (COA) outlining the sample’s test results and that they have been verified by a Health Canada approved facility.
The COA supplies information on the full cannabinoid profile, with a dozen or so of the most common compounds tested for – including CBG and THCV. A similar amount of pesticides and microbes are checked, with quantities of either failing Canada’s safety parameters. To avoid this costly danger the vast majority irradiate their crops, which although has been linked to cannabinoid and terpene loss also guarantees the absence of pathogens, which for many is a sound trade off.
Although the tests provide a wealth of data, once safety has been accounted for red eyes dart to cannabinoid and terpene content. This has created a pedant for percentages, with the test results widely accepted as fact, despite consistency at this granular level almost impossible to achieve.
Tools of the trade
Consequently, to secure the best COA results, growers need to ensure resin gland preservation throughout the critical harvesting process. This requires specialist gentle harvesting solutions, developed to protect trichomes and value, by being delicate to dried flower.
To ensure the most trichomes make it to harvesting, and target lucrative dried flower market, craft growers are committing to slow drying and curing. It can take six weeks to dry cannabis in a well-ventilated dark room below 20˚C, but this ensures it has been comprehensively purged of chlorophyll for a smooth smoke.
Once dry, flowers are incredibly fragile and need specialist cannabis harvesting solutions. The Gentle Cut buckers were designed to delicately slice flowers from stems, rather than pulling and popping them off. This keeps larger colas intact, protecting the structure of buds and their trichomes for the highest price point.
These can be paired with gentle trimmers and those with Dual-purpose Hybrid Tumblers, for processing wet and dry material. Technologies with reinforced non-stick coatings, like QuanTanium, prevents sticky cannabis resin from adhering to the tumbler surface, for even greater trichome protection.
Tricks of the trade
Licensed producers must only submit a relatively small sample for a COA, so if they present nothing but their finest resin-coated flowers, they can sway the entire crop’s score. On product descriptions, cannabinoid and terpene content are often presented as percentages, or in mg/g. This is because laboratories will process cannabis flower into cannabis oil for testing purposes. As the highest concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes are found in the flowers, applying as tight a trim as possible on buds for testing will help boost the sample’s ratios. This requires solutions with diverters and variable speed control, which enable growers to refine the cut based on flower shape, size and density.
Growers will also know which flowers are likely to contain the highest concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes, by the amount and types of trichomes that coat their surface. As cannabis secretes cannabinoids and terpenes in resin for environmental protection, the flowers which receive the most UV radiation, typically on the tops of plants, tend to hold bigger trichomes and more of them.
Savvy growers may also run a rudimentary test inhouse first, before anything officially goes on record. While this may not be in the spirit of regulation, in the face of strict marketing restrictions outstanding COAs can elevate a company’s product above the competition in the eyes of consumers. However, when selecting flowers for testing growers can only select from what is there – which is why trichome production and preservation is essential.
This relies on elite harvesting solutions, developed specifically for targeting the lucrative flower market. Gentle Cut buckers and trimmers with soft tumble technology, non-stick coatings and variable speed control ensures operations of every size benefit from industry leading trichome preservation. These innovations not only protect trichomes, but also the grower’s reputation and harvest value on COAs and in the minds of consumers.
As a supplier of harvesting automation solutions, CenturionPro is committed to continue servicing customers during the COVID-19 crisis. By doing so we hope to improve the automation of the world’s cannabis producers. Allowing them to meet the growing demand while still complying with government-imposed restrictions and recommendations. To speak with us about how to improve harvesting automation at your farm or facility, please contact us at email@example.com or by phone at 1-855-535-0558 or 1.604.457.1101.
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