Lab tech holds a cannabis-adorned test tube.

Commercial Cannabis Lab Equipment Checklist

Equipment for Commercial Cannabis Labs

If you’re planning on starting a new commercial cannabis lab, you will need to invest in professional-grade lab equipment. With commercial lab equipment, you can create a safe work environment and ensure compliance with any state or federal regulations regarding cannabis production.

Let’s take a look at some of the equipment needed for the various stages of cannabis production. Whether you’re growing, extracting, distilling, or testing, iQ Labs has the equipment you need for your commercial cannabis lab.

Cannabis Laboratory Design Basics

You’ll want to choose laboratory casework that meets the specific needs of your lab. Often, that means investing in casework that is made from cold rolled steel and/or stainless steel. At iQ Labs, we manufacture almost all of our casework from cold rolled steel with a chemical-resistant epoxy paint or powder coat. Any products that we do not manufacture from cold rolled steel are manufactured from stainless steel.

Fume hoods are also essential for cannabis production. We offer a variety of fume hoods well suited for different steps of the cannabis production process.

Cannabis Growing Equipment

There are many products you’ll need to grow cannabis: seeds, for one, but also soil or a hydroponic system. However, our focus is on the lab equipment you’ll need for this stage in the process, such as:

  1. Work stations: You’ll likely need a stable station on which to grow your starters. We offer corner and base cabinets with chemical-resistant countertops as well as laboratory utility tables.
  2. Exhaust fans: During the growing process, you don’t need to exhaust harmful fumes out of your lab, so a fume hood isn’t necessary. However, you will need to provide adequate ventilation with exhaust fans.
  3. Grow hoods: Grow hoods reflect light back onto plants, helping them grow. Keep in mind that fume hoods are not the same as grow hoods.
  4. Storage: You’ll also want to invest in standing storage cabinets for any other supplies you might need for the growing process. 

Cannabis Extraction Equipment

At iQ Labs, we partner with a cannabis extraction solutions company to offer top-of-the-line products and solutions for cannabis extraction labs. You’ll want to consider:

  1. OSHA-compliant, prefabbed extraction booths
  2. Extraction pods for indoor and outdoor use
  3. Benchtop fume hoods
  4. Floor mounted fume hoods

Floor mounted fume hoods are often best suited for cannabis extraction because they can house large extraction equipment. That way, technicians can use the equipment while ventilating the lab of any harmful fumes produced during extraction.

Keep in mind that floor mounted fume hoods are not intended to be used as storage cabinets. They can house equipment during extraction, but equipment should not be stored there long term. Instead, make sure to store any supplies in appropriate storage cabinets, whether they are:

  1. Standing storage cabinets for everyday items
  2. Wall cases with shelves for overhead storage
  3. Acid and corrosive storage cabinets for corrosive chemicals
  4. Flammable cabinets for flammable and combustible materials

Cannabis Distillation Equipment

Cannabis distillation involves creating a more pure form of THC or CBD oil, which can then be used in a variety of products. It occurs immediately following extraction. Cannabis labs may choose from a variety of distillation systems to create a high-quality product that is free from impurities.

The process of distillation involves heating a substance into gas or vapor and cooling it down until it reforms as a liquid. As such, any lab equipment used in cannabis distillation should be moisture resistant. Cold rolled steel is particularly suited for wet lab environments, as is stainless steel.

Cannabis Testing Equipment

There are a variety of tests conducted on cannabis and cannabis-related products to ensure safety and quality. Common tests include:

  1. Potency testing measures the strength of THC and CBD in marijuana products.
  2. Microbial testing looks for microbes or fungi that may contaminate the marijuana with toxins.
  3. Heavy metal testing ensures that toxic metals, such as lead and mercury, were not absorbed through the soil during the growing process.
  4. Residual solvent testing checks that distillation was effective in creating a pure product.
  5. Moisture content testing prevents marijuana products from developing mold due to a high moisture content.
  6. Terpene profile testing determines the flavor profile and aroma of the cannabis product, which in turn determine the conditions it is best suited to treat.

Often, benchtop fume hoods are used for cannabis testing to ensure laboratory safety.

Buying vs. Renting Cannabis Lab Testing Equipment

It is almost always better to buy cannabis testing equipment than renting it. Since most cannabis products require a variety of tests, it is important to purchase custom equipment that is designed to facilitate those specific tests.

At iQ Labs, we offer industrial strength equipment that is perfect for the cannabis industry. Our lab equipment and benchtop fume hoods are purpose built and can be customized to fit your needs.

Cannabis Lab Regulations

Keep in mind that the legality of growing marijuana currently varies from state to state. Most states do not allow people to grow cannabis commercially without attaining a license and paying some sort of fee, often costing thousands of dollars. 

Labs not involved in growing are still subject to other regulations. As of date of publication, cannabis is still a Schedule I drug, making it illegal to use for any reason, even medical, on a federal level. Any cannabis product containing 0.3% or more THC is also illegal. 

The fact remains that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is legally allowed to destroy any and all cannabis labs, regardless of state law. Although the DEA does not currently enforce federal law in states with their own cannabis laws, they could technically choose to do so at any time.

That being said, there are some regulations specific to certain states that commercial cannabis labs should be aware of and follow. Following state laws can protect you from becoming the target of federal law enforcement. 

Even regionally, regulations vary widely from state to state, such as in the Midwest. In Michigan, for example, adults cannot grow cannabis if the plants are able to be seen from a public place. This means you must design your lab so your plants are away from windows visible from the street. On the other hand, in Illinois, commercial growers must follow specific regulations for growing, testing, and selling cannabis as established by the state government.

Start Your Cannabis Lab with iQ Labs

Whether your lab is involved with cannabis growing, extraction, distillation, or testing, iQ Labs is your one-stop shop for cannabis laboratory equipment and fume hoods. Contact us today for more information.

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