The Emerald Test: Setting the Standard for Cannabis Testing

It’s an exciting time for anyone in the cannabis market. Canada’s legalization of recreational marijuana, and the growing number of U.S. states legalizing recreational or medical marijuana is sparking exponential growth in the cannabis market. This influx of cannabis will require a standardized and effective methods to test for potency, mycotoxins, mold, pesticides, and more. Read more to learn how the Emerald Test empowers cannabis testing labs to achieve the highest-quality results and earn the Emerald Badge.


Enter the Emerald Test, the leading Inter-Laboratory Comparison and Proficiency Test (ILC/PT) program designed to evaluate the accuracy and dependability of labs’ test results. This program offers the cannabis industry the established standard of testing that is used in the pharmaceutical, food, environmental, water, and petrochemical testing industries. The Emerald Test has compiled a unique and invaluable data set by compiling test results from cannabis labs around the world for the past 4 years. As more labs participate each year the data set grows to reveal important trends and insights.

The goal of the Emerald Test is to establish an industry benchmark for cannabis testing while providing valuable feedback to each laboratory’s quality assurance system. 

Proficiency Testing and Feedback

Regulatory states use proficiency testing programs for laboratory licensure. Cannabis labs are expected to demonstrate compliance to produce accurate results for the cannabis industry. The Emerald Test is an independent program that enables cannabis testing labs to evaluate their testing accuracy for potency and harmful contaminants.

Labs receive their test results along with the overall test results so that they can compare their scores to those of their peers. This allows labs to identify areas that need improvement, and it helps keep them up to date with industry testing standards.

Demonstrate Your Testing Excellence

Labs that perform within a specific tolerance are awarded Emerald Test Badges for each of the individual tests. Emerald Badges enable labs to display their competence to an established standard of excellence. Cannabis testing labs leverage the value of their Emerald Badges for existing clients, potential customers, regulatory agencies, and accrediting bodies. Earning the Emerald Badge is a unique opportunity to expand your business by marketing the value and efficacy of your services. Cannabis labs that earn multiple Emerald Badges often publish press releases and share their accomplishment on social media to help promote their business.

Spring 2018 Emerald Test Summary

The most recent Emerald Test experienced a 25% increase in turnout over the Fall 2017 program, marking the 8th consecutive round where the number of participants has grown. A total of 77 laboratories participated, from 18 states and 2 foreign countries.

For this testing round, most PTs were available in a hemp or hemp oil matrix. This matrix simulates the kind of samples that most labs experience when testing a variety of cannabis products. It’s likely that we will introduce additional matrices in the future to continue to provide accurate laboratory testing programs.

Potency continues to be the most popular category of testing, but numbers for residual solvent and mycotoxin testing grew as well. The test with the greatest success rate was the Mycotoxins in Hemp test, with all 16 participating labs receiving an Emerald Badge. The test with the lowest success rate was for Terpenes in Hemp oil. Overall, 11 of the 21 participating labs were awarded Emerald Badges.

We’re pleased to see that the introduction of new PTs for Potency in Hemp Oil, STEC, Aspergillus Mold, and Mycotoxins generated great interest and had an excellent number of participants. Results for these tests were also generally positive, showing that labs have been proactive in preparing for state regulatory changes and increasing consumer awareness.

Interested in Joining the Next Emerald Test?

With another round of testing in the books, we’re now looking forward to the Fall 2018 Emerald Test program. Enrollment for this test opens September 12th. If you’d like to participate, contact us on the Emerald Test website, shoot us an email at info@emeraldtest.com, or call 877-567-3598 ext. 709.