What Does the TAC Amount in Weed Mean?

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Today, many laboratories are now testing the potency and contamination of cannabis. In fact, the tests are often done in the same lab for both types of analysis.

In addition, many cannabis products have labels that list a variety of information for consumers that can be very helpful. What is more, each testing cycle offers vast information for a single product.

The data is extremely valuable to the grower as more batches are tested. In fact, this information allows a comparison between batches.

As well, many questions are now answered for both the grower and consumer such as “How much moisture has the batch collected”? or “How long does marijuana stay good?

What Does TAC Mean?

Total aerobic count or TAC is in reference to the amount of bacterial contamination on a cannabis sample. Testing laboratories will utilize a TAC test to determine a grower’s sanitary quality and their compliance to good practices.

Unfortunately, TAC tests have not been perfected and cannot tell the difference between benign, pathogenic, and beneficial bacteria. In result, using testing alone cannot indicate if a grower uses poor safety or sanitary methods.

For example, a low TAC result does not mean that there are no pathogens or bacteria in the cannabis sample. As well, a high TAC score does not indicate that the cannabis sample contains harmful bacteria.

Young biotechnology scientist chemist working in la

In addition, cannabis is difficult to test because many growers use Bacillus subtilis (natural aerobic bacteria) as a fungicide.

On the other hand, various chief regulators require that cannabis samples pass TAC testing prior to a product being sold at a dispensary. The newest testing criteria of the Cannabis Inflorescence and Leaf monograph published by the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, includes the following

  • A pass or fail standard for microbial testing
  • Less than 10,000 CFU/g of bacteria on extracts is recommended
  • Less than 100,000 CFU/g of bacteria on cannabis plant material is recommended

Today, many states require that a cannabis product be tested before it is sold on the market, at a dispensary, or other legal vendors. Actually, TAC testing is determined per state with their own set of regulations.

Marijuana flower buds

The following is a list of states that require TAC testing on cannabis prior to selling

  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Colorado*
  • Florida*
  • Nevada*

*Requires certain criteria, see Leafy.com for the regulations for each state.

Canada also requires TAC testing. Equally, home drug testing is another type of cannabis test. However, compared to TAC, it is a completely different type of test.

It is designed to test substances that may be in a person’s system. As well, drug testing can be done at a special lab for more accurate results.

One of the biggest questions for users includes “How accurate are marijuana home drug tests?” Although they may not be as accurate as a lab, there are some home drug tests that are fairly precise.

Decoding Cannabis Labels

It is easy to get confused or overwhelmed when first reading a cannabis label. However, reading cannabis labels can be simplified once the basic concepts are understood.

On the other hand, each state has its own unique labeling laws. In result, there are no nationwide standardizations. Fortunately, many labels are similar.

For the most part, it is best to select cannabis products that have been laboratory tested. The label will give you a general idea of the product.

What Does the TAC Amount in Weed Mean?

As well, labels that offer lab tested results will help you avoid buying products that contain contaminated buds.

Labels that have testing results may include the following (depending on the state)

  • THC
  • CBD
  • CBN
  • THCA
  • CBDA
  • Tested by
  • Date tested
  • The strain type
  • Moisture content
  • Who grew the strain
  • Information on legal compliance with state laws
  • The expiration date for testing results (NOT the expiration date of the product)

The Major Cannabinoids – THC, CBD and CBN Explained

Cannabis contains over 144 different cannabinoids that are isolated from cannabis. In addition, all cannabinoids have a different effect on the body.

The major cannabinoids in cannabis are THC, CBD and CBN.

  • THC – tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the main psychoactive component of cannabis. It is the cannabinoid in weed that gets a person high. However, THC is a very complex compound that has many other features. It’s a natural neurotransmitter derived from arachidonic acid, a lipid or polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid that binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. This brain chemical can be triggered through exercise, eating chocolate, and taking CBD. When consumed, THC affects sensory and time perception, movements, memory, thinking, concentration, and coordination. Due to the affects it has on the body, it is advised that people who are high should not drive a vehicle or operated heavy machinery. THC is used as a medicinal and recreationally. It is utilized in edibles, syrups, oils for tinctures, drops, and as a topical such as lotion or salve.
  • CBD – cannabidiol or CBD is a phytocannabinoid that accounts for up to 40% of the plant’s extract. Contrary to popular belief, it is actually a psychoactive, when compared to THC; its potency is a lot less. Unlike THC, it is non-intoxicating. In fact, CBD is often used in recovery programs. During these sessions, there have been many reports that CBD actually can get you “high” with stronger doses. If you are using CBD as a medicinal and don’t want to get high, it is recommended that the THC is below 0.3%. In 2019, clinical researchers discovered that CBD may be beneficial for cognition, pain, and movement disorders.
  • CBN – cannabinol or CBN is derived from the decomposition and oxidation of THC from the hemp plant. In fact, it is converted into CBD when THC is heated and subjected to Co2 (oxygen). CBD is a mild psychoactive that is a little stronger than CBD but not as strong as THC. CBN is also a sedative and the pharmacokinetics are in-between 1/6 and 1/10 for potency. CBN is also a compound that adds to marijuana’s effect on the body and mind. It also enhances other cannabinoids such as CBD and THC.

There are also other cannabinoids in cannabis and hemp besides THC, CBD, and CBN such as CBG, CBC, and THCV. CBG is the parent molecule from which other cannabinoids are synthesized. CBC doesn’t bind with receptors but acts in tandem with CBC and THC.

Selective focus of bottles with cbd lettering near wood

Some of its attributes include brain cell growth, new cell cancer fighter, and a possible antidepressant. THCV is a psychoactive that binds CB1 and CB2 receptors that produce a “buzz”. However, a high dose can activate the CB1 receptor.

There are more than 144 different cannabinoids that are isolated from cannabis, each one playing their part and role. Although there are a few main cannabinoids that are often utilized, the remaining cannabinoids are just as important.

Phytocannabinoids can also be found in other plants besides cannabis like

  • Acmella oleracea
  • Radula marginata
  • Echinacea purpurea
  • Echinacea angustifolia
  • Helichrysum umbraculigerum

As well, other plants contain similar cannabis compounds such as Kava (CB1 receptor), black truffles are comprised of anandamide, and Catechins (Camellia sinensis tea) has an kinship to human cannabinoid receptors.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to labeling, having as much information as possible is very beneficial to the grower and consumer. Although laboratory testing for TAC may need a lot of improvement, the results are still a valuable tool for health and safety standards.

In fact, many growers rely on TAC testing so that they can compare their crops, strains, and possible bacteria contamination. Without testing, today’s market could easily be flooded with cross contamination, numerous bacteria, and other issues affecting cannabis products.