Pubdate: Thu, 15 Oct 2009
Source: Sacramento News & Review (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Chico Community Publishing, Inc.
Author: Skip Jones
Note: Skip Jones has been an underground cannabis cultivator for 26 
years; for obvious reasons, he writes under a pseudonym.
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


Traveling Laboratory Analyzes THC Content

Marijuana has been at the bottom of the scientific research list for 
just about as long as it has been illegal. When something is deemed 
unsuitable for human consumption or is found to have no medicinal 
value, why test any further?

Society puts its trust in government regulatory agencies like the 
Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and 
Drug Enforcement Agency, which have ignored the medicinal value of 
cannabis, branding it as a gateway drug.

There is dronabinol, Marinol by brand name, which is FDA-approved 
synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive 
compound in marijuana. However, the government sells it by weight, 
and does not provide THC content to patients. Medical marijuana is 
much more effective than Marinol, but most dispensaries don't provide 
THC content information, either.

That's where the Steep Hill Medical Collective comes in.

Steep Hill measures what the state and federal government have so far 
refused to touch: the potency of medicinal cannabis. Co-owned by 
Addison DeMoura, Steve DeAngelo and David Lampach, the company 
travels throughout the state, from dispensary to dispensary, 
collecting samples to bring back to the laboratory. There, it's 
analyzed for THC content using a gas chromatography-mass spectrometer.

SN&R spoke to DeMoura about the process of testing medicinal cannabis 
when he was passing through Sacramento last week.

What brought you to this type of science?

I owned a dispensary in Stanislaus County, and I was raided by a task 
force at both the shop and my home, pulling my son out of his bed at 

Pretty traumatic.

Yeah, we have a federal civil lawsuit pending against the police who 
raided my house. I've been arrested for helping people, and I feel 
it's my duty to continue helping people.

Do the feds do this kind of work?

I'm sure they do, but not for the people.

So, this lab you test in, tell us about it.

Our lab is standardized and certified by the city of Oakland. We 
charge $80 per sample; the sample amount is 1 gram per strain of 
cannabis. We then put the sample into a gas chromatography-mass 
spectrometer and, well, the rest is our trade technique.

So, in a way, you guys are quality control.

Yeah, only it's not mandatory at this point.

You only test what clients give you?

We'd would love to see more dispensaries have their entire stock 
tested; some do have us test their entire menu.

How long until the samples are returned?

Three to four days.

Does your company test anything else?

Absolutely not. This is for the medical-marijuana community only at 
this point; if the laws change this will become mandatory, I believe. 
Our machine has only tested cannabis its entire life.

What does testing tell us about medicinal cannabis?

I hope to create a forum and criteria for accountability.

What is the difference between medical marijuana and street marijuana?

(Chuckles.) Well, I haven't seen anything from the street in a long 
time, but that's what I'm talking about. Accountability will 
distinguish that. We are for "Joe Patient." Marijuana is expensive if 
you don't grow your own, and a lot of people can't. People should be 
able to know they are getting their money's worth, especially when it 
comes to an alternative therapy.

What's the future hold for Steep Hill Medical?

We hope we are setting a standard for all medical cannabis providers, 
and this will evolve into a necessity for the medical community. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake