Someone in a laboratory testing something. Credit: Lucas Vasques / Unsplash

Ohio has only three licensed cannabis labs serving 37 cultivators and 46 processors. And while that might seem like an impossible task, one Ohio lab manager says that her team still makes the best of it.

Tahaney Abuzahrieh, lab manager for ACT Laboratories in Toledo, works with a team of 10 specialists trained in handling and testing various cannabis products that come through the facility to be sold in the medical market. The specialists are given random samples and run tests for defective or harmful products for three days, such as pesticides or heavy metals.

Also serving cannabis companies in the state are North Coast Testing Laboratories in Streetsboro and One Bond Laboratories in Columbus. 

Abuzahrieh, with training in public health and biochemistry, has been in the cannabis industry for two years. Her lab has been operational since 2019. Despite admitting a large number of products coming through and demand for testing, she says that the team is more than equipped to handle it.

“We want to make sure that we work with people that care about the patients and hope they understand that when they are getting products tested from us, they know that we prioritize their health and safety,” Abuzahrie said. “As we stand, we all understand that integrity and safety is what is most important.”

The state ranked as one of the best in terms of testing according to Grown In data. While she says the system in the state is not perfect in the wake of a recall in Ohio of Blueberry Cookies Flower and the massive recall by Galenas last year she believes that the state is better equipped than most such as Michigan, which has experienced numerous recalls in the past year.

Abuzahrieh says that even though the team is efficient, testing in Ohio can be difficult because of the amount of money, certifications and resources needed to start a testing lab. 

“It’s hard to get a lab up and running with proper validation in the state. Along with compliance laws, there needs to be fundamental understanding of it to work,” Abuzahrieh says. 

She said that laws can be pretty vague as far as testing limits and compliance, but the biggest hurdle has been in the lack of understanding how exposure to certain chemicals in cannabis can affect the body due to lack of federal funding. 

“My mission is to give the most accurate tests for patients,” Abuzahrie says. “We want to make sure that we work with people who work with products that care about them and that they are getting products tested from us that know they prioritize their health and safety.”

North Coast Testing and One Bond Testing did not respond to requests for comment by publication.

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Trey Arline is Grown In’s Midwest Reporter. He was most recently with the Daily Herald, but has also reported for Vegas PBS, The Nevada Independent, and the Associated Press.