As much as we love edibles, embracing them with open arms and open mouths, trust is an issue. Frankly, we have some questions: how much THC do they actually contain? Does the chocolate cake hardly have any – a Betty Crock? Is the cocoa a little too loco? Or is the marijuana infused porridge just right? The fact is, knowing the amount of marijuana in an edible is a difficult task and one you can’t accomplish with a taste test. But you can accomplish it with a T test. Ladies and gentleman, THC technology has entered the building (the building being your living room).
Introducing the tCheck
The tCheck is a tiny spectrometer that measures the potency of the oils infused with weed prior to use in baked goods and meals. The brain-child of Engineered Medical Technologies, it aims to give people the power to control their own dosage and it’s got the corner on the market: prior to its release, edible testing was really only available to large commercial edible makers and individuals willing to spend continuous bread on their pot-infused loaves.
How the tCheck Works
Presently, the tCheck possesses the ability to test ghee, clarified butter, olive oil, and coconut oil. It’ll also test regular butter as long as it’s free of milk solids. Vegetable glycerin, though not testable yet, is on the docket. It will not test plant material, flowers, or trim. The way you test is quite simple and involves a three-step process: 1) place two drops of your infused oil into the tray; 2) put the tray into the spectrometer; 3) follow the prompts on the touchscreen. Total testing time is under a minute.
Why the tCheck is Needed in the Cannabis Industry
Most marijuana users find it fairly simple to produce cannabis-infused olive oil and the like from their kitchen counter – you don’t have to be Emeril to create your own “Bam!” Even so, there’s several variables that cause the final product to deviate in potency. Everything from temperature to cooking time and moisture content plays a role. For recreational users, this deviation is frustrating. For medical marijuana users, it can be, quite literally, painful: a pot-infused blueberry pie might be too weak to offer the amount of relief needed. In fact, this nonconformity isn’t always limited to homemade goodies; the pros experience it too.
According to the Oregonian, testing regulations in this Northwest state are historically lax when compared to Colorado.
As a result, the dispensaries offer products with inconsistent levels of THC. Of course, it’s not just the regulations (or lack thereof) causing this. While smoking cannabis has been studied, researched, and vetted, oral ingestion is not as well understood nor explored. Scientists have only recently begun to venture into this area. This means there isn’t a gold standard for which to test weed-infused food. Often, each lab decides on their own how to do it. The uncertainty has led both recreational and medical users to invoke the old adage: If you want something done right, do it yourself. And tCheck makes that possible.
The tCheck’s Accuracy
According to their website, the tCheck has an accuracy with a +/- error of 10%. If the device measures your potency at 17 mg/ml, the true potency may be anywhere between 15.3 and 18.7. Whether or not this is a valid reflection remains to be seen:
This product is very new to the market. Thus, hardly anyone’s had a chance to complain about it on Yelp.
Despite its infancy, it seems legit. It’s undergone regulatory testing and FCC certification. It’s also in the process of third-party validation.
Testing Labs versus the tCheck
It’s worth noting that, unlike labs, the tCheck only measures the total cannabinoids. That’s not important in regards to THC/CBD ratio as the ratio remains the same in the infusion as it is in the strain. Ergo, you’ll know the ratio when you purchase the pot. Still, there is some information labs provide that the tCheck won’t. A professional report may reveal terpene profile and whether bacteria, pesticides, or other contaminants are found. The cost of this varies: certain labs provide testing for as little as forty dollars, some charge much more. You may prefer to go this route, or you may stick with the tCheck;
It offers a convenience you can’t find physically going to a lab and dropping off your sample
A lab might not always be an option, either – there isn’t a grass station on every corner like there is a gas station. And, though they are up-and-coming as new labs open, it isn’t likely that they’ll be everywhere anytime soon. Starbucks might be reproducing like rabbits - as Starbucks open inside of other Starbucks - but that probably won’t ever happen in the cannabis testing industry.
The Cost of the tCheck
Now that you’ve read this entire article (suckers!), let’s get to the point, the decimal point: what does a tCheck cost? The answer: it retails for 299.99 dollars. For some, this might seem a little pricey upfront, but, unlike a laboratory service where you’d pay each time you needed something tested, this device offers a onetime fee:
Purchase and test to your heart’s content. In that way, it’s an investment rather than a frank splurge.
When the smoke clears, it comes down to need. Some people bake and cook edibles so often that knowing the THC content is important. Others rely on pot to help with pain, anxiety, and depression – all things where cannabinoids must be present and accounted for. Then there are those who like the science; they’re willing to pay for the pique of interest. Besides, we’ve all certainly done crazier things with 300 dollars in our pockets, like going shopping at Target while we’re tipsy.