New testing facility to open up in Maryland for medical grade marijuana

Concern that their patients were using cannabis to treat a range of symptoms has prompted a group of doctors from Columbia to open their own testing unit to ensure the drug’s safety. The four MDs, led by Dr Andrew Rosenstein of the University of Maryland’s gastroenterology division, want to check product quality to make sure there is no threat to patients from a wide list of contaminants.

New testing facility to open up in Maryland for medical grade marijuana

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Legal use of cannabis

Since 2013, Maryland has allowed the use of medical pot and the state has been inundated with licence applications from companies wanting to sell their products to cancer patients and those suffering from epilepsy and other medical conditions.

The use of marijuana in any form is still controversial; however, many experts feel it is a safe alternative to more traditional medicine. According to the non-profit organisation AARP, which conducted a study of US residents aged 45+, the majority of respondents – 72% – agreed that “adults should be allowed to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if a physician recommends it.” More than half believed that marijuana has medical benefits and that they would obtain marijuana if asked by a loved one who was suffering.

Obtaining a 510k

Maryland state law requires cannabis growers to test their products and producers must apply for an FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) Section 510k, which requires manufacturers to register their intent to market a medical device 90 days in advance.

How long does it take to get a FDA 510k approved? The answer is that it varies, but it can take many months. Producers may want to consider using an independent programme such as to fast track their 510k submission and reduce the time to market by as much as 100 days.

Testing includes checking for pesticides and microbes that could harm patients and checking the potency of a product to ensure that certain standards are met.

The Maryland doctors, whose centre is called Steep Hill, feel that their experience means they can run a trustworthy lab that heralds a new era in the safety of cannabis. This means both patients and manufacturers can be sure that their medical marijuana has been tested and approved by physicians before they use it to alleviate pain.