International Laboratory Certification Program Offers Free Services for Laboratories To Help Address Opioid Epidemic
July 13, 2017 | Anna Zuccaro
Free medical cannabis laboratory assessments offered in an effort to help decrease opioid use and associated fatalities.
Washington, DC – Across the nation, opioid-related deaths and fatalities are decreasing in states that have medical cannabis programs, but the benefits are limited due to a lack of accurately labeled and tested cannabis products. Patient Focused Certification (PFC), a project of Americans for Safe Access, announced today that it will begin offering free assessments and certification services for cannabis testing laboratories to help increase the number of safe and standardized medical products, in an effort to help combat the opioid epidemic.
“Laboratories play a vital role in the standardization and quality assurance of medical cannabis products,” said Jeffrey Raber, Ph.D. President of the Association of Commercial Cannabis Labs. “And providing cannabis as a medicine can positively impact the opioid epidemic because you can offer an alternative for patients to manage pain in a physiologically safer manner.”
In the last few years, the need for accurate labeling and product testing has increased due to more patients opting for medical cannabis instead of opioids. Despite the need for more formal labelling and testing processes, cannabis testing laboratories often lack the financial resources needed to access third party assessment and certification services, which are necessary to ensure accurate testing results.
Over the past 15 years, the rate of opioid use in the United States has soared by over 500%. During this time, the opioid related overdose death rate nearly quadrupled. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the unprecedented increase in opioid consumption has led to the “worst drug overdose epidemic in [US] history.” Research has demonstrated a reduction in opiate use in states with medical cannabis programs. However, there is a barrier preventing patients from utilizing this treatment option for reducing the need for prescription opioids. The barrier is properly tested cannabis and accurate labeling of products; the responsibility of both private and government public health labs.
“Patients have a right to have access to medicine of known purity and quality,” said Jahan Marcu, Ph.D., Director of Patient Focused Certification. “By increasing the number of certified labs, we can increase the availability of accurately tested and labeled medical cannabis, ensuring that this medicine is available to patients as a option instead of opioids.”
“If the relationship between medical cannabis laws and opioid overdose mortality is to be leveraged, the enactment of PFC’s free assessment and certification program for medical cannabis laboratories will help the move towards the full realization of the benefits of medical cannabis on public health,” concluded Marcu.
To achieve PFC certification laboratories must pass two assessments each cycle. Assessment involve a facility inspection and document audits for criteria such as method validation reports, employee training records, and other requirements that are applicable by law. PFC is an international training, education, and certification program that has formed partnerships with accreditation bodies, universities, and standards groups such as the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, and the American Herbal Products Association, respectively.
Cannabis laboratories can apply here to receive a FREE assessment.
For further information: Patient Focused Certification