Why are QC (Quality Control) Testing Labs Important in New Mexico?

QC testing laboratories play a crucial role in supplying information about the safety and quality of cannabis products. Batch samples and products are analyzed to meet New Mexico’s regulations thereby supporting the industry’s growth and development. Before accepting manufacturers’ and producers’ material, QC testing labs have internal compliance standards to meet. 

By following approved protocols, QC testing laboratories supply objective information about the safety and efficacy of cannabis products. Quality control measures are implemented by laboratories to ensure that results obtained are accurate and replicable. Proper calibration of testing methods with routine quality control enables laboratories to produce test results which can be trusted by the state government, manufacturers, and consumers alike.  

What is Cannabis Tested for? 

Licensed NM QC Testing laboratories are required to follow NM Cannabis Control Division’s Administrative Code Title Required Testing of Cannabis Products. Testing includes Cannabinoid Potency, Homogeneity of Batch, Visual Inspection, Residual Solvent & Pesticides levels as well as certain Microbial Contaminants. QC Testing labs support public health and safety by objectively screening for bacterial and fungal (mold and yeast) contaminants, mycotoxins, pesticides, and residual solvents that can be harmful if consumed.  

Though not required, QC testing laboratories also test for Terpenes which may enhance the overall experience of the end user. Knowledge of the mix of terpenes and cannabinoids can be useful for both medical and recreational users. This information can help consumers find the right dosage and avoid potentially negative experiences. Other tests include Moisture Content and Water Activity. Water Activity is an important parameter to consider in the cultivation, processing, and storage of cannabis. High water activity value can create an environment for microbial growth increasing the risk of spoilage and contamination. Moisture analysis is another important aspect of cannabis testing, as it can also affect the quality and safety of the product in addition to its potency. Moisture can promote the growth of mold and other microorganisms, which can be harmful if consumed. 


April 1, 2023 was the one-year anniversary of recreational cannabis in New Mexico. According to the NM Regulation and Licensing Department, 626 retailer licenses have been approved along with 499 manufacturer licenses. All manufacturers and producers must follow NMCCD’s regulations before placing products in any retail environment. 

QC Testing Labs are important to the New Mexico Cannabis industry for providing objective screening to support the safety, quality, and compliance of cannabis products. By detecting and quantifying internal components and possible contaminants, QC Testing Labs provide information for consumers for both the state medical cannabis program and recreational use. 

For more information regarding General Analytic Cannabis Testing Techniques please visit our website or contact us at info@bklabsnm.com with any inquiries 

Written by Dana Neverdousky, MT(ASCP) & Veronica Martinez: March 2023 


Cannabis in New Mexico, a century of change 

Cannabis in New Mexico, a century of change 

The use of cannabis has a long history in New Mexico, dating back to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. The Spanish brought with them their own customs including using cannabis in their traditional ways. 

In 1912, New Mexico became the 47th state in the union. At that time, cannabis was not yet regulated or restricted. Cannabis continued to be used by local populations for medicinal and recreational purposes. Various forms of medicinal cannabis were available in local pharmacies and apothecaries. However, laws began to change early in the 20th Century. 


Following the trend of many other states, in 1923 the State of New Mexico prohibited the sale, cultivation and importation of cannabis. Mere possession was not expressly prohibited but anyone found in possession was presumed to have imported their marijuana illegally. The Santa Fe New Mexican, hometown newspaper of the bill’s sponsors, noted: 

The Santa Fe representative, however, had better luck with his bill to prevent sale of marihuana, cannabis indica, Indian hemp or hashish as it is variously known. This bill was passed without any opposition. Marihuana was brought into local prominence at the penitentiary board’s investigation last summer when a convict testified, he could get marihuana cigarettes anytime he had a dollar. The drug produces intoxication when chewed or smoked. Marihuana is the name commonly used in the Southwest and Mexico (Santa Fe New Mexican, 1923). 


In 1978, New Mexico became the first state to enact legislation acknowledging the medicinal value of cannabis. Lynn Pierson, a patient activist suffering from testicular cancer, pleaded his extraordinary case to the New Mexico lawmakers. These efforts allowed for the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act to be passed. A state-wide research program was established, allowing federal supplies of cannabis to be used as treatment for cancer and glaucoma patients. 


The next notable change to cannabis regulation in New Mexico was almost 30 years later in 2007. In an act recognizing Lynn Pierson and Erin Armstrong, New Mexico legalized medical cannabis through the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act (SB 523). New Mexico became the 12 state to allow the regulated use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. 

Governor Bill Richardson signed the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act into law. By a physician’s recommendation, patients suffering from glaucoma, cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS qualified for this aid. 


In 2019, SB 323 increased employment protection and decreased the penalties for possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia. Also, SB 406 aided in expanding patients’ civil rights and increasing the range of medical conditions for inclusion in the state medical cannabis program. Medical cannabis use for students was now authorized and current exemptions from criminal and civil liability were provided. Protection around child custody and medical care, such as organ transplants, were all established by the end of 2019. 


Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed HB 2 into law on April 12, 2021, effective June 29, 2021. Cannabis was now available for medical patients and available as recreational to all residents of legal age given the following guidelines:  

  • Anyone 21 years or older can possess up to two ounces of cannabis, sixteen grams of concentrate, 800 mg of edible cannabis and cultivate up to six mature plants (12 plant max per household) 
  • Retail sales of cannabis began April 2022 
  • No current restrictions on the number of retail license issued by the state 
  • Public consumption remains illegal. However, licensed businesses are permitted to offer on-site consumption areas  


April 1, 2023, marks one full year of recreational cannabis in New Mexico. According to the NM regulation and licensing department, 626 retailer licenses have been approved along with 499 manufacturer licenses. What amazing growth for an industry prohibited a century ago. 

Please contact us at info@bklabsnm.com with any inquiries 


HB0002 (nmlegis.gov) 

SB 523 The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act – Americans for Safe Access (safeaccessnow.org) 

Senate Bill text for SB0523 (nmlegis.gov) 

SB0406 (nmlegis.gov) 

SB 323 (nmlegis.gov) 

Written by Veronica Martinez Dana Neverdousky, MT(ASCP): March 2023 

Terpenes – What’s the buzz all about?  

Terpenes – What’s the buzz all about?  

Part 1 of BK Labs Terpene Blog Series 

What are terpenes in cannabis? 

While cannabinoids are associated with the intensity of the Cannabis experience, terpenes can affect the quality of that experience. Terpenes are hydrocarbon-based aromatic compounds that bind to various receptors. Terpenes allow for a palatable experience by naturally enhancing desired aromas and sensations. 

How are terpenes different than cannabinoids? 

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds, such as THC and CBD, that directly interact with our endocannabinoid system (ECS). They bind to each receptor within this system and produce specific effects. For example, when THC binds with CB1 receptors, it stimulates the regulation of serotonin. This is what produces the psychoactive experience from consuming cannabis.  

Terpenes bind to various receptors differently and produce specific effects. For example, when absorbed through a digestive system or topically, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors and transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are activated. Typically, terpenes are not intoxicating on their own. However, some terpenes can be classified as psychoactive because they affect the brain but not the same way as THC.  

Knowledge of cannabinoids and terpenes together, give a consumer a general idea of what to expect from their cannabis experience. 

Where are terpenes found? 

Terpenes can be found within flowers, herbs and spices, and other plants such as cannabis. These natural compounds form within the trichomes of a cannabis plant. Trichomes contain small resin glands that are responsible for releasing terpenes and cannabinoids. 

In cannabis, there are approximately 200+ known terpenes. The most common terpenes are Myrcene, Limonene and Pinene. A lesser-known terpene, Caryophyllene is the only terpene known to bind directly to receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS).  


Myrcene is one of the most common terpenes within cannabis. Found in lemongrass, cloves and hops, this terpene produces a deeper earthy and musky scent.  


Commonly found within the rinds of citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes and oranges. Limonene is best known for its strong citrusy smell. 


Pinene comes in the form of A-Pinene and B-Pinene. Both result in a fresh and woodsy aroma and are usually found within pine needles, rosemary, and basil.  


Found in herbs and vegetables such as cloves, cinnamon and black pepper. Caryophyllene provides a more pungent and spicy scent.  


Terpenes are natural, aromatic compounds that are found in various types of plants, including cannabis. 

Cannabis researchers and consumers use terpenes to classify and predict the quality of the cannabis experience. One of the earliest and most successful discoveries was in 1818 by J.J Houton de la Billardiere. Every new discovery along the way helps pave the path for a more satisfying cannabis experience. By testing for terpenes, Quality Control labs help manufacturers and consumers improve their knowledge about specific cannabis properties.  

Please contact us at info@bklabsnm.com with any inquiries 

Written by Dana Neverdousky, MT(ASCP) & Veronica Martinez: March 2023 

General Analytic Cannabis Testing Techniques

Today’s manufacturers and well-advised consumers are interested in multiple chemical aspects of their cannabis plant and product. Cannabis laboratories assist manufacturers to meet state regulations by identifying potentially harmful residual solvents, pesticides, and heavy metals levels. Labs also identify desired, cannabinoid and terpene profiles. Cannabinoids are the primary psychoactive compounds in cannabis products, while terpenes are additional plant compounds that enhance the experience of cannabis consumption. Retailers and producers use this information to recommend specific strains and other products to their customers.

What analytic techniques are used to make these determinations?

Gas Chromatography (GC), High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), and Mass Spectrometry (MS) are important analytical techniques used in the testing of cannabis and cannabis products.

GC is a technique used to separate and analyze volatile compounds based on their physical and chemical properties. Volatile compounds have a high vapor pressure, low water solubility, and easily evaporate at room temperature. GC may be paired with Flame Ionization Detector (FID); during the process, a carrier gas is mixed with hydrogen, and the outflow of compounds is burned by a flame that is surrounded by air and an oxygen-rich environment. The ions formed in the flame are measured by the FID to classify their parent compounds.

HPLC is a technique used to separate and analyze compounds that are soluble in specific, liquid solvents. HPLC has two phases, a stationary and a mobile phase. The stationary phase consists of fixed packing material, often called resin, which is in a steel tube called the column. As the name suggests the mobile phase moves from the storage reservoir flasks and is pumped through the column by the HPLC pump. As the sample is separated based on the resonance (hold) time within the column, a UV detector monitors the output, to quantify cannabinoid abundance. HPLC is a widely accepted method for cannabis and hemp potency testing providing accurate, consistent analysis.

MS is often used in conjunction with GC or HPLC to identify and quantify the components of a mixture. This analytic tool measures the mass-to-charge ratio (m/z) of the molecules present in a sample utilizing three components: an ionization source, mass analyzer and an ion detection system. Ionization is the process where molecules are converted to gas ions. The resulting ions are separated based on their m/z by a mass analyzer, such as a quadrupole or a time-of-flight (TOF) analyzer. The separated ions are then detected by an electron multiplier and the resulting mass spectrum is used to identify the components of the sample. Mass Spectrometry is often used in conjunction with GC or HPLC to identify and quantify trace contaminants, such as pesticides or heavy metals.

Through Cannabis testing, cultivators and consumers can medicate with ease knowing the precise contents of their Cannabis products. BK Laboratories uses GC, HPLC, MS and other testing techniques to ensure the quality and safety of a variety of Cannabis Products.

Dana Neverdousky, MT(ASCP) & Veronica Martinez: March 2023