Chemistry Needed: How to Build a Cannabis Testing Lab

December 8, 2020

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We recently sat down with the founders of Cannsultation to hear about how they are transforming the cannabis industry from the inside out.

1. What is Cannsultation?

Cannsultation is a cannabis analytical laboratory consulting firm comprised of trained chemists, microbiologists, and engineers with over 40 years combined experience with more than 10 years’ experience solely in the analytical cannabis space. Together we have built two of the greatest analytical cannabis labs in the nation with a full suite of instrumentation from the ground up. We are not only able to help clients set up a state of the art lab, we can help with the appropriate lab layout, method development and validation, ISO17025 accreditation, process improvements, cost analysis, training, and much more.

Cannsultation was formed by Ini Afia and Neya Jourabchian because we recognized the need for quality and integrity being built into cannabis analysis. Having built and managed the biggest labs in cannabis, our experience is invaluable. One could say that "we've been there, done that." There are innumerable lab consultants out there and oftentimes, our clients call us in to clean up what other "consultants" claimed to be able to do who only wasted the client's time and money without results. We work differently; our experience speaks for itself, and our clients can attest to our efficacy.

Whether you are in the initial phase of building an in-house lab, third-party lab, or have been in business for years, Cannsultation can help you. If you have been in business, we are certain we can help your lab become more lean, increase efficiencies in all your processes, and subsequently increase revenue.

2. Do you specialize in one specific area?

What sets the "Cannsultants" apart is that our wide array of experience spans your entire lab setup, from the ground up. We are not only able to help you build a state of the art lab, we can help negotiate with instrument vendors & leading service providers, manufacture/3D-print parts for process improvement, increase process efficiencies, improve analytical techniques, train your staff, and even provide an in-house QMS setup! We are unlike other consultants who may specialize in one specific area which often times leads to unsatisfactory results or hiring of several consultants for a single project.

We can cover your laboratory needs from beginning to end including interfacing the Bureau of Cannabis Control, a process that can sometimes be frustrating for new labs who may not know how to communicate with this regulatory body.


3. How do you see Cannsultation playing a key role in the next 5 years as testing guidelines become more regulated?

Testing guidelines and regulations will undoubtedly become more complex in the coming years. If cannabis becomes nationally regulated, it will mean FDA involvement and subsequently stricter regulations on testing. We have always worked to create uniformity in testing with innate integrity. It will be important that existing testing labs be congruent in their practices. With Cannsultation consulting across the nation, we aim to help all clients be ready for the future by not only meeting current requirements but becoming efficient enough to handle whatever will be thrown their way in the coming years.

With eventual consolidation in laboratories, Cannsultation will help your lab become attractive for future M&A with robust methodologies, lean processes, talented staff, and high quality, trusted results.

Iniobong Afia earned his Master of Science degree from the renowned University of Wisconsin – Madison and draws upon more than 17 years of leadership experience as a microbiologist, analytical chemist, and lab director in the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and cannabis industries.

He has worked with some of the top biotech companies in the world including Abbott Labs, EMD Serono/Merck, Invitrogen Corporation, and ProCaps Laboratories. While at a Nevada cannabis lab, Ini co-authored the publication, "Terpenoid Chemoprofiles Distinguish Drug-type Cannabis sativa L. Cultivars in Nevada." Through his leadership in the laboratory, Ini has consistently led labs to become leaders in their respective space with innovative methods and efficient processes.

As a Scientific/Technical Director, Ini consistently works to develop and validate methodology used in assays that directly impact consumer safety. His prior work includes the analysis of heavy metal contaminants from vaporizer smoke and methods to identify intoxicants in illicit products, among others. Ini is also a member of the ASTM D37 Technical Committee on Cannabis and a Scientific Committee member of both the Emerald Conference and the CannMed Conferences. In 2020, Ini created Cannsultation to fill the great void left in the analytical laboratory space by adding best-in-class practices, efficiency, and integrity

Neya Jourabchian is Co-Founder at Cannsultation with over 10 years of combined academia and industry experience. After receiving her B.S in chemistry, Neya continued her graduate studies with a full scholarship from Southern Illinois University in Organic chemistry. She continued her journey as a researcher at University of Missouri and worked on a project funded by National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2015 which resulted in a publication in the Catalysis Communication Journal in September 2017.

She joined the cannabis analytical industry in early 2018 and helped fulfill various state-mandated regulations including method development and validations on required assays. While managing an analytical lab, her extensive work on pesticides analysis cleanup methods in cannabis matrices and pesticide trends in California cannabis market were presented at the Emerald conference in 2019 and 2020.

Neya has been one of the pioneers in improving cannabis lab turnaround times and efficiencies using Six Sigma and Lean methodologies. Neya applies her education and experience to help clients in cannabis testing environments achieve their goals while saving time and money.

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