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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

MMM Report Visits 'The Spott' - by Joe Dauphinais

     We recently made a trip to check out The Spott, a medical cannabis testing facility in Kalamazoo. Conveniently located near I-94, this state of the art laboratory boasts some of the most cutting edge equipment in the entire state. The Spott provides growers and dispensaries with full spectrum testing including cannabinoid potency, terpene quantification, genetic profiling, residual solvents, and gender identification. The Spott offers more testing options than any other lab in Michigan, with a fast turnaround. Often in less than 24 hours!

     Inside the lab is quite impressive. The interior features highly educated personnel in lab coats running complicated machinery and equipment accompanied by computer screens displaying chromatographs and various other data, all pertaining to the scientific methods The Spott utilizes to obtain the most accurate results possible. With a combined experience of over 50 years in the industry, the staff at The Spott have a deep passion for science and cannabis.

     I had a chance to sit down with Linda, owner of The Spott. Linda told me that before The Spott came to be, she was looking to open a dispensary in Kalamazoo. With resistance from the city, Linda decided to go another route and instead got into cannabis testing in 2014. With continued problems from the city, The Spott faced loopholes and legal grey areas, but they were finally able to open up shop and made their first sale in 2015. Since then, The Spott has grown in leaps and bounds.

Among the half-million dollars worth of equipment, one machine stands out as the flagship of their fleet: The Waters Acquity H Class UPLC.   This bad boy is the latest and greatest thing when it comes to pharmaceutical level testing. It is used by Pfizer and other big name pharmaceutical companies.

     We met Greg, who has the pleasure of operating this liquid chromatography equipment. Employees at The Spott have a variety of degrees, including Masters in chemistry, Biological Sciences, and Basic Medical Science. Greg specializes in chemistry and has over 15 years pharmaceutical testing experience. Greg demonstrated how they separate every single component of the testing material through liquid dilution. Using this method, The Spott is able to quantify up to 13 cannabinoids with accuracy down to 0.002 percent.

     We also met Mike, who was at the microscope station examining some nugs of GMO Cookies. Mike explained how it was important to do a visual inspection of the materials first, looking for mites, mold, hairs, or other foreign debris. Mike also assesses the trichome formations and conditions. When asked what the strangest foreign matter he found was, he replied that he had once found a cocoon-like type of pupa inside a bud.

 Detecting contaminants is essential for any caregiver to know, as things like mold and other fungi could make people sick. Being aware of the cannabinoid profile and the concentrations of terpenes in cannabis is also quite important as different ratios of these components can have different effects on patients.

     Terpenes are the fragrant oils that give cannabis its aromatic diversity. The Spott has another instrument in its arsenal for detecting the terpenes in cannabis: the Agilent 6890 GC FID. With this, The Spott can detect the presence of over 26 different terpenes. Terpenes are now being studied for their therapeutic effects.

     Another important service that The Spott offers is sexing from a leaf sample. This helps for early determination of gender for your baby plants. The instrument which reveals  gender uses polymerase chain reaction technology to identify the DNA code specific to male cannabis. If you are interested in sexing your plants, please contact The Spott for their specimen collection guidelines. The Spott also happens to be the only lab in Michigan to run this gender test in-house.

     Genetic strain identification and certification is also available. If you have a unique strain, you can have the DNA sequenced and registered with StrainSEEK as proof of existence and ownership of cannabis genetic intellectual property on the BlockChain database.  

     The Spott also tests for residual solvents. Residual solvents are the solvents that can remain in cannabis oils, shatters, waxes, and edibles. It is important to know that if any solvents are left over after processing, they are at safe levels.

     The Spott is a multiple award winning facility, and is family owned and operated. You can trust that your samples will be treated with the utmost care and scrutiny. The staff is quite knowledgeable and experienced in chemistry, biology, pharmacology, botany, and cannabis. They will be more than happy to assist you in anything you need. They even offer growing consultations and grow room certifications.

     Turn the page for The Spott’s price list. If you are interested in contacting The Spott, they can be found at: 901 Riverview Drive in Kalamazoo, Michigan. They can also be contacted online:

They can also be found on Facebook and Instagram. Check them out!


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