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Making Hemp Testing Easy and Affordable with Cree Crawford & Cann-ID

Hemp testing is a vital part of the hemp supply chain, but currently it can be expensive, unreliable, and too slow. This week on the Ministry of Hemp podcast, we talk with a company working to change that.

In this episode, our host Matt talks about life during quarantine and the science behind the benefits of CBD on anxiety. Then Matt sits down for a conversation with Cree Crawford, co-counder, president, and COO of Ionization Labs. Their Cann-ID system makes hemp testing testing easier, cheaper, faster and more reliable for companies in all aspects of the hemp market. You can find more on Cann-ID and Cree Crawford on the Ionization labs blog.

In this article, Matt also gave some shout outs to Prima CBD-infused drink mix and Populum‘s fantastic CBD oil tinctures.

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We want to hear from you too. Send us your questions and you might hear them answered on future shows like this one! Send your written questions to us on Twitter, Facebook, matt@ministryofhemp.com, or call us and leave a message at 402-819-6417. Keep in mind, this phone number is for hemp questions only and any other inquiries for the Ministry of Hemp should be sent to info@ministryofhemp.com

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The Cann-ID system from Ionization Labs aims to make hemp and cannabis testing easy, affordable and quick. Photo: A composite image shows Cree Crawford working in a lab coat at left, and Ionization Labs cannabiss testing equipment to the right.
The Cann-ID system from Ionization Labs aims to make hemp and cannabis testing easy, affordable and quick.

Below you’ll find the complete episode transcript:

Below is the complete transcript of episode 34 of the Ministry of Hemp podcast.

Matt Baum:
I’m Matt Baum and this is the Ministry of Hemp Podcast brought to you by ministryofhemp.com. America’s leading advocate for hemp and hemp education. Hello again, and welcome to another episode of the Ministry of Hemp Podcast. Today on the show, we are going to talk about testing. And when I say testing, I of course mean, testing hemp plants. Not just to see the level of THC, to see if they’re legal or not, but to see the level of CBD, CBDA, and several other cannabinoids.

Matt Baum:
Testing has been a real issue. And not too long ago, on this show, I talked about how the DEA admitted that they don’t have the time or the people to get it done. So, it looks more and more they’re going to allow independent testing, which is cool, but we’ve all got to get on the same page. First, how are we doing those tests?

Matt Baum:
What are acceptable results and can those results be repeated? It’s a huge question and it’s been a giant problem for growers, for extractors, for anybody in the business. Cree Crawford from Cann-ID is going to talk about a new and pretty exciting testing process that they came up with. But first, I thought we should address the elephant in the room and let’s talk about being quarantined for a little bit, shall we?

CBD & anxiety during COVID19 isolation

Matt Baum:
This past week has been strange, to say the least. And for the first time that I can think of in my life, we all have something in common in the sense that we’re all spending a lot more time in one place. For me, its home, which makes me lucky, because not everybody has a home and I hope that you are doing things to help those in your community that don’t.

Matt Baum:
While I find myself getting a lot more done around the house, my garden is going to be incredible this year. It’s easy to get scared and anxious by listening to the news. I know for the first three or four days there, I couldn’t stop listening and I tried to absorb everything I could, which is good. We need to know about this stuff.

Matt Baum:
But we need to know what’s going on, so we can help take care of ourselves. But at a certain point, we also need to step back and relax. And I didn’t even realize it until my wife pointed out to me, but I was getting very anxious and hadn’t been for a while. So, rather than getting blackout, drunk or looking into illicit drugs, I decided it was probably time to up my CBD dosage a little bit, and that’s just what I did.

Matt Baum:
In the morning, I’ve been using the Prima powdered CBD drink, called the Go-To. It has 10 milligrams of CBD in it. And you heard me talking to the CEO of Prima, Laurel Angelica Myers, just a couple episodes ago. Later on right before lunchtime, I’m taking a dose of my 1,000 milligram CBD oil that comes from Populum. They’re come right out in Omaha here and full disclosure, they’re buddies of mine, but they make a really nice product too.

Matt Baum:
And as it would turn out upping my dosage just a little bit, really has helped with my anxiety. I’m not going to say it’s completely gone. Yes, I’m still worried about the end of the world and society as we know it, but I find myself a little more focused and feeling a little better, able to tackle the day’s news without as much terror. Now last week on the show, I warned you about people that were selling CBD as a cure to the coronavirus.

Matt Baum:
I’m not saying that’s what this is at all, but I will say that keeping your anxiety levels lower, helps you function better, it helps you sleep better. And doing so, helps raise your natural resistance. Okay. Again, this is not me saying that CBD is going to stop you from contracting the coronavirus, but keeping your resistance up, especially in a time of stress, right now.

Matt Baum:
And we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, is not a bad idea at all. I’ll have a link to it in the show notes for this episode, but over at ministryofhemp.com, there’s an excellent article that is talking about some of the preliminary scientific studies that are directly showing that CBD usage can reduce anxiety. And I’m saying preliminary, because more needs to be done, definitely, no question.

Matt Baum:
But right now, there is real science out there that is showing that this works and works without the paranoia that sometimes comes with the THC hemp alternative. And if you’re looking introduce CBD into your health regimen, check out our list of top brands, you guessed it, right over at ministryofhemp.com.

Meet Cree Crawford of Ionization Labs

Matt Baum:
Today on the show, I am talking to Cree Crawford. He is the Co-Founder, President and CEO of Ionization Labs, who have come up with a new and affordable way to bring testing directly to hemp growers extractors, anyone working in the hemp business. I am really excited about this interview and I can’t wait for you guys to hear it, ladies and gentlemen, my conversation with Cree Crawford.

Matt Baum:
Cree, welcome to the Ministry of Hemp Podcast. Tell me a little bit about what you’re sitting in right now, because this is interesting.

Cree Crawford:
Oh, where I’m literally sitting right? Thank you, Matt. It’s pleasure to be here. Thank you very much. No, I’m sitting actually in our mobile laboratory that we have set up. It’s an airstream, it’s pretty. It’s a set up to be very easy to deploy and mobilize and it’s been really good to us over the last few years. Driving around the country and demoing our potency testing solution, Cann-ID

Matt Baum:
So, you can literally drive where you need to go and do it right there. It’s this isn’t a matter of them sending you hemp or anything. You could just go there and test?

Cree Crawford:
No. So, our solution, we are a research and development lab. We are actually getting into testing services. But what we’ve developed, what Cann-ID is, is a solution that is deployable at someone’s place of operation.

Matt Baum:
That’s amazing.

Cree Crawford:
Yeah. I guess we could get into a top line story. You just let me know when you want that. But I started out… I had a love for this industry from a medicinal the cannabinoid side, about seven or eight years ago. It’s closer to eight years.

Cree Crawford:
And I was out in California and I had a significant number of acreage aggregate that I was managing. And testing was something that out in California kept coming up as a requirement for dispensaries to start taking donations of product.

Matt Baum:
When you say managing, were you farming it?

Cree Crawford:
I had growers. Yeah. I dug in the dirt.

Matt Baum:
Wow. Okay. So, you’re all over this industry.

Cree Crawford:
We had a lot of acreage that we aggregated throughout Sonoma County and also down south. And it was great. It was very well. It was a really great way to get my hands dirty in the positive way in the soil. And I’m a farmer. I guess at my core, I grew up on a farm in Connecticut when I was little. And so, it’s been in my blood, I guess, and I just love it.

From farming to hemp testing

Matt Baum:
So, how does a farmer get into testing? How does that happen?

Cree Crawford:
So, it started well… Let’s see. So, the dispensaries started requesting test results. And at first I was, “What are we talking about?” And they explained, COAs. So, what it was, it was all… the not only the plant’s characteristics which would be a potency and terpene screening, but also the health and safety factors.

Cree Crawford:
So, heavy metals, because these plants have very, very strong, environmental uptake; pesticides, of course, very important; mycotoxins, which is very, very important, as well; and so, the aflatoxins and mycotoxins. So, they said, “Hey, we can’t take donations anymore until you get test.”

Cree Crawford:
So, we would send tests out, a test request out and we would wait two, three, four, six weeks to get a result back or even of losing a couple of million dollars at that point now hopefully and a little upset. But at the same time, I said, “Okay. There is interesting. Maybe there’s an opportunity here.”

Cree Crawford:
And so, then I took one big Cola, cut it up into three parts, sent that into the same lab over a period of a couple of days to see if maybe I could get a sample and faster. And then, the other interesting thing that came back was there was a massive deviation in test results to the tune of 20% to 28%, 30%.

Matt Baum:
Oh my god. Real quick, you said a cola. What’s a cola?

Cree Crawford:
Yeah, the cola is a big, big bud.

Matt Baum:
Okay. Got you, got you.

Cree Crawford:
And at that point, I said, “There’s a challenge in this industry, because it’s going to continue to expand successfully across the country.” I had not thought about and considered the hemp space on this side. This was again eight years ago. And I said, “There’s got to be something well”. In fast forward four years from there, I said, “Really, there’s something to do. There’s something in the industry, there’s a there’s a problem. And when there’s a problem, there’s opportunity.”

The high cost of hemp testing

Cree Crawford:
And that’s how I started my other businesses. So, I called up a dear friend of mine, a guy named Alex Andrawes, who is my co-founder in this company. And Alex is 20 plus years in the wine industry. And I said, “Alex, you test a lot in the wine space.” I said, “Let’s put our heads together and let’s envision it and end solution and then we’ll work backwards from there.”

Cree Crawford:
So, we systematically went and we identified, “Okay. Let’s find out what the most volumetric test is, the most important test that could be utilized not only for selling the product, but that would be valuable to a farmer and extractor.” And that, we very quickly determine was potency. So, potency-

Matt Baum:
Makes sense.

Cree Crawford:
Yeah, determines the value of the crop. And with hemp, it determines the legality.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. It’s complete opposite end, where one, we’re trying to see how potent marijuana is, but when it comes to hemp, we have to make sure that it’s below a certain level of potency, or you’re throwing it away

Cree Crawford:
On the compliance side, but the great thing about… I’ll just take a quick digression, the other value of this is, the hemp plant has considerable valuable cannabinoids over and above CBD. So, we all know this in our industry. So, the value of the crop is extremely important to identify, as well as the harvest time. So, what we did was we said, “Potency is a business we could grow around, because it’s volumetric.”

Cree Crawford:
People could test potency every day in their crop that they’d desired to. So, he said, “Okay, potency.” Now let’s determine or find out what the most valuable testing with the technology was. Let’s zero in on the technology that’s the most effective. And we did a bunch of research. GC was one. Of course, mass spec. Cannabis testing labs around the country.

Matt Baum:
Let me stop you, really quick. What is GC and HPLC, because a lot of our listeners aren’t going to know.

Cree Crawford:
Absolutely. So, GC stands for Gas Chromatography, which is where the sample is heated up and the gases are expanded and measured.

Matt Baum:
And you see what’s in there?

Cree Crawford:
Yes, exactly. And Liquid Chromatography is where you extract the cannabinoids from a product, whether its flour or concentrate, oil isolate. And you extract the cannabinoids out into a liquid form and that you inject into this thing called HPLC, which is a High Performance Liquid Chromatography.

Matt Baum:
Okay, All right.

Cree Crawford:
So, if you’re going to do something we’re talking about, we need to create scale, right scale.

Matt Baum:
Of course, yeah.

Cree Crawford:
Well, HPLCs are expensive, and they’re also challenging to run. The software that runs this, it takes a master science or chemistry minimum to understand this, minimum.

Matt Baum:
Is this literally the machine where they put stuff in it and it goes in the beaker and spins around and stuff like that, what we’re talking about?

Cree Crawford:
That is called… that is part of the sample process. So, in order to extract the cannabinoids out of a product, that is one of the things where you had vortex and you could spend it.

Matt Baum:
Got you. I just went straight to sci-fi movies.

Cree Crawford:
This is really exciting stuff. It’s great. I had a little bit of a science background. I did some work in security defense, and we submitted some stuff to the military a couple times for sensors. And so, it was really neat to get back into this. And it was just… I love it. So, you’re going to love it even more, when I get on the detail.

Matt Baum:
All right.

Cree Crawford:
So, we identified HPLC. Now we were, “Okay. Let’s look at and research every single type of HPLC out there to identify which is the one we’re going to reach out to.” And that came after us investing a lot of money into building our own, because we’re trying to control costs.

Cree Crawford:
Again, here for scale costs, in order to be successful with what we were trying to do with a solution. First of all, has to be accurate, right? So, we identified HPLC. That’s an industry standard.

Matt Baum:
Both accurate.

Cree Crawford:
We have that. But then, you have to make it cost effective, right?

Matt Baum:
Right.

Cree Crawford:
And then, on top of that, it has to be simple. More people have to use it than a PhD or Master’s in chemistry.

Matt Baum:
Of course, so, anybody who wants to contest it and see?

Cree Crawford:
Yes, exactly. And so, okay, look at those three things on scale and we hit it, we got the one out of the way that is okay, the accuracy side. The secondary side was the pricing. So, we’ve purchased and leased or rented every manufacturer’s HPLC out there. And we zeroed in on one. We happened to use the Agilent 1220, which is a real workhorse. It’s a great model. It’s a very cost effective.

Matt Baum:
I’m a 1210 man myself. But if you guys want 1220, that’s fine. I mean.

Cree Crawford:
What is that?

Matt Baum:
Because I’m a 1210 man myself. But if you want to use 1220, I mean, I’ve no idea what we’re talking about.

Cree Crawford:
But it’s actually overkill. The way we ramp these things up, it’s overkill for what’s required. So, we’re providing some really robust data. So, now we identified a really good cost. We got a great deal working with them. And now, we had to go, “Okay. How are we going to make this simple to use?”

Matt Baum:
Right. How you turn into something that anybody can pick up and go, “Oh, look, that’s the number I’m looking for.”

Cree Crawford:
Yes, exactly. And that is where we embarked in really transitioning the company more into a software and data analytics solution provider. So, once you nail the hardware side down… and again, we deviated away from building our own, because, well there’s about 300 parts in these things, just one or one partner goes out. We don’t want to be a manufacturer.

Matt Baum:
Nobody come in engineering manufacturer at that point too.

Making testing cheap and reliable

Cree Crawford:
It’s a nightmare. And God bless anybody in manufacturing. It’s incredible. But we really wanted to focus on becoming solutions providers. So, we are… our whole focus is being solutions providers to the hemp industry. We are 100% and a half. That’s what we test.

Cree Crawford:
They’re all cannabinoids or cannabinoids well its hemp or the legal, the marijuana. But we’re focused on the hemp space, because we feel we can make so much more of an impact on the farmers. And actually they need it. They really get the technology side as well. And so, we have the hardware, and then we have the software.

Cree Crawford:
And then, okay, wait a second. If we’re going to address the other challenge I had, the initial side, which was consistency, right, standardization. So, what we did was we embarked on a whole journey, enlisting the help with some of the top cannabis scientists in the world, some friends of ours.

Cree Crawford:
And we came up with some really great methods, so, extraction methods that are done. We did all this through ISO, accredited lab research partners. We created a great method of extraction. And every single part of the method of extraction is a point where somebody can actually deviate and do something wrong.

Matt Baum:
Of course.

Cree Crawford:
So, we limited to the number of steps that still would effectively extract the sample. So, less steps, less room for error, right?

Matt Baum:
Do you think that’s why you saw such a huge deviation eight years ago in the testing, because it was just a bad way to do it too many steps? Was it something along those lines?

Cree Crawford:
It’s a combination. You get a lab tech, they’ve got different methods, different styles. They’re talking in my regiments.

Matt Baum:
Of course.

Cree Crawford:
And so, it’s very easy… I mean, one drop can throw a whole test bounce off.

Matt Baum:
I’m sure, yeah.

Cree Crawford:
So, you’re dealing with… some people are better than others. So, the less steps involved, the more accuracy chances you have.

Matt Baum:
Makes perfect sense.

Cree Crawford:
Yeah. And the other thing is, the chemicals that you’re using, because these use chemicals to extract the sample and also the sample through the machine. So, if you got different manufacturers, they’re all supposed to be at a certain level of quality. However, there’s still some deviation. So, what we do is we actually manufacture our chemicals in house.

Matt Baum:
So, you know exactly what you’ve got every time?

Cree Crawford:
And it’s consistent.

Matt Baum:
That’s brilliant.

Cree Crawford:
So, for the first time in the industry and the industry has been crying out for this, we are a de facto standard solution for potency testing. So, everybody is using the same piece of hardware, everybody is using the same software, everybody is getting calibrated with the same caliber to bring the machine to zero point of excellence where you start from.

Cree Crawford:
And then, everybody is using the same consumables. So, everybody when you was… I’ll explain the whole model to you. But everybody gets the same consumables. Everybody gets the same everything to perform a test.

Matt Baum:
So, you all know, we’re on the same equal playing field basically?

Cree Crawford:
Exactly. So, for the first time, you’ve got an ability to share data on a very trusting level. And it’s been miraculous working with a lot of our clients that we have. So, we got this standard solution. And we’re a solutions’ provider. That’s what we focus on. And so, we get data, we focus on potency data. We’ve got a 14 cannabinoid profile method that we have. And then, we also have this thing we call it, “a hot or not test.”

Matt Baum:
That’s great.

Cree Crawford:
Yeah. I think Paris Hilton, I think we got to pay her a couple dollars.

Matt Baum:
No. She’s doing fine. Trust me.

Cree Crawford:
I think she’s hot or not, somebody’s got some [inaudible 00:19:29] probably I’m going to get trouble by mentioning this.

Matt Baum:
Nah, I wouldn’t worry about it. Just don’t make t-shirts. You’ll be okay.

Cree Crawford:
Yes. So, that’s a quick 10-minute test. And so, we’ve got these options. So, our commercial clients consist of large growers, cultivators, not even large, I know I said, “Large,” some of them are medium size, extractors, a lot of extractors.

Matt Baum:
I’m sure.

Cree Crawford:
Seed geneticists. They love this, because as soon as they can take a tissue sample and enough biomass, they’re running these things to see the ratio of cannabinoids, early. So, then they can go, “Oh, let’s work with this mother, let’s work with this genetic.”

Matt Baum:
Right. And you create a seed that is going to have this cannabinoid profile, this THC profile, this fiber profile, whatever.

Cree Crawford:
Yeah. So, it’s very valuable in that standpoint from a research and product development. And we also have drying houses. They offered as a value-add to their clients as the product dries, they can show the different changes in the chemical profile.

Getting to know hemp through testing

Cree Crawford:
And then, we also have tellers. So, people that buy product, and then flip it, so, brokers and tellers. So, we’re hitting every part of the ecosystem. Oh, and wait. Of course, law enforcement reached out to us to try to look at some stuff.

Matt Baum:
No. You’re kidding me, right?

Cree Crawford:
It’s interesting. I don’t think we’re going to have to work with them. It’s just not a real interest to prosecute right now, which is great.

Matt Baum:
It also seems just a couple of weeks ago, they the DEA came out and basically admitted, “Look, we don’t have the testing capability to even do this, it was suggested that they should be testing.” And they said, “We would be so overwhelmed that there’s just no way.” So, it sounds they are going to let more firms, like you, and independent laboratory testing take that on.

Cree Crawford:
Yeah. And in fact, that was part of the USDA regulation, was in an independent lab could do this. But you had to register with the DEA. And registering with the DEA, it’s really not much it’s only about $250. But the problem is, is that the additional cost, I mean, you have to buy a certain safe.

Matt Baum:
Of course.

Cree Crawford:
And there were just a lot of extra steps and a lot of burden added to the lab that I think they gave us a year hiatus. Now we’re still going for ours, anyway. I think we’ll have ours. Because we’re trying to get as elevated from our central research location as possible, because the more credentials we have, the more tools we have in our toolkit to create a better solution for the market that we’re going to do.

Matt Baum:
And you may be way better off than what they even want by the time they make up their mind. So, it was great.

Cree Crawford:
I mean, we’ve done, I think just in the last year, we performed 8700, 8800, potency tests.

Matt Baum:
8,800?

Cree Crawford:
About 8,800 tests.

Matt Baum:
Wow.

Cree Crawford:
So, we’re very… we know the nuances of this plant. We also know how to really make the HPLC that we have home and we pass that on to our clients. So, the model we have with a commercial client is a subscription model. So, they pay a flat rate for us to go in and give them all the standardized equipment that they need.

Cree Crawford:
And then every month, depending on the number of tests they want to perform, they pay us flat rate per test, depending on the number of tests. And it works out to be the national average for potency $75, the average price that we charge about $30 a test.

Matt Baum:
That is insanely cheap.

Cree Crawford:
Well, it is. But of course, some people go well, there’s the price of the unit and all that other stuff. But when you think of it, time is money. If you’re an extractor, and you’re trying to dial your machine in and you have to run, and you have to send something out and it takes even three or four days and you’re down, you can’t do that.

Cree Crawford:
What our extraction clients are doing, which is great is, they’re going in and they’re doing a run, they’re getting a result. They’re going, “Okay. Let’s change the pressure on this a little bit.” They do another run. And what they’re doing is they’re dialing their machine in, and even the greatest amount of yield, right?

Matt Baum:
Right.

Cree Crawford:
And then, they lock that in. And then with our unit… once they have it locked in, they’re utilizing our unit or solution, not our units a solution, to actually keep the extraction equipment of operating in maximum capability. So, we’re a yield maximizer. We’re a revenue maximizer tool.

Matt Baum:
That’s amazing.

Using Cann-ID on hemp farms

Cree Crawford:
Yeah. So, it’s applied data. Now, on the farming side, you’re going to love this. The other thing Cann-ID does is we have the ability within our software to go out and take QR code, GPS coordinates in a field. So, imagine you’re a farmer… so, you’ve got just an acre, let’s start with an acre. You can go in and do a z-grid, which is each four corner in the center. That’s the z-grid. That’s a standard agricultural sample.

Matt Baum:
A, B, C, D, E, whatever, basically these are four of your points.

Cree Crawford:
Yes. So, you go in, and what you can do is GPS coordinate each one of those areas and then have a QR code on the bag of your sample. You go in. And imagine, over a period of maybe you test every three days; you can do every day if you want.

Cree Crawford:
But you start to see the different new nuances of your field, the different impacts of fertigation. So, fertigation means fertilization and irrigation. So, you can start to see what impacts those variables have in different parts of your field. And if you’re say, trying to maximize for CBD or CBG or CBGA, which are very valuable cannabinoids in hemp-

Matt Baum:
While watching THC, by the way.

Cree Crawford:
Yeah, while watching your THC levels. You can track your field over the course of a whole growth cycle.

Matt Baum:
So, you can say, “Oh, Section A is getting a little hot. And the CBD is right where we want it. We should go look at that right now. But B for some reason, it’s a couple days behind it.”

Cree Crawford:
Yeah, it’s precision agriculture.

Matt Baum:
That’s amazing. That is incredible.

Cree Crawford:
Yeah.

Matt Baum:
Is there any other agriculture or testing on any other eggplant like this out there? Or is this strictly pretty much the hemp world?

Cree Crawford:
It’s interesting, it’s basically you’ve got a plant that’s whole value is based on a chemical profile. I would say, similar would be sugar beets. Possibly, I’m trying to think something really low hanging… low hanging fruit, we’re talking about.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. I got you. The metaphor works, sorry.

Cree Crawford:
What we say sugar beet, they’re paid on the amount of sugar content, in the beets. So, I guess that would be one. We could probably think of a couple others.

Matt Baum:
But there’s been not very many where you have to worry about you said, the chemical aspect of the plant before it’s harvested. Everything else like that corn is ready to go. It’s yellow, or those oranges are definitely good.

Cree Crawford:
It’s interesting. One of our agricultural commissions, a guy named Dan Hunter, who’s great here in Texas. He said whenever he gives his talk on him… Because there’s no such thing as illegal tomatoes, illegal corn, but there is illegal hemp. I always love that little anecdote there. And it’s true. And you got to keep on top of it.

Cree Crawford:
And even if marijuana is legal in your state recreationally, it doesn’t matter, because the licensure, what license you have still determines what you’re able to have. So, testing is important. The other thing we just are introducing this season, this growth season, this next month, is massive climate data.

Cree Crawford:
So, we will offer even people that aren’t clients, we’re going to offer these to some farmers, where as soon as your seed goes in ground, it’s called climate can, and you’re going to click a button and it’ll take a drop a pin right there in the center of your field. And it will give you a 500 meter custom weather on your farm. And it’ll give you… it’ll ping it every hour on the hour, for your whole growth cycle.

Matt Baum:
So, you can take that data and you can look. And maybe the next year and say, “Hey, we didn’t have that same profile, but last year was much wetter. Maybe that has something to do with or this year was hotter or whatever.”

Cree Crawford:
Exactly. It’s not only that, it’s the wind, barometric pressure; its radiation, solar radiation, temperature and soil on the ground. There’s so many variable in this thread.

Matt Baum:
That’s incredible.

The complexities of hemp testing

Cree Crawford:
We’re going to offer about 15 different points. But there are literally 30 or 40 points. And did you know that winds can stress a plant and make its THC pop?

Matt Baum:
No. That’s new to me.

Cree Crawford:
Wind and heat stresses a plant.

Matt Baum:
And now I’ve heard heat. I’ve definitely heard temperature. I’ve heard farmers say that temperature can definitely make your THC spike. But wind, no. I had no clue.

Cree Crawford:
It’s an aggregate of all these different variables. Temperature definitely sun, which is directly related to the heat, THC is the plant’s, a lot of people don’t know this, but THC is the plant’s natural sunscreen.

Matt Baum:
Really?

Cree Crawford:
Yeah. So, even on a hemp plant or any other plant, the highest levels of THC is going to be in the tip of the leaves and the flower at the top part of the canopy.

Matt Baum:
Right, the cones or whatnot.

Cree Crawford:
At the top of the flower. Yeah. So, all those tips will be the highest levels. So, here’s a big problem that’s coming up with the industry that a lot of people aren’t addressing. The sampling procedure for hemp will be absolutely of paramount importance to the ability for the farmer to save their crop.

Cree Crawford:
And because if you’re going to follow marijuana outdoor sampling procedures, which is, “Hey, take the top three inches of the plant.” That’s great, because you want to see the highest levels of THC.

Matt Baum:
Sure, that’s bad news for hemp.

Cree Crawford:
It’s bad news for hemp. So, if you mandate that same procedure, you’re going to have farmers losing… what do we have a couple billion dollars in crop loss last year, because of that. Why are they can’t tee them up for failure? So, we’re actually starting to get involved with some of the sampling procedures, because, well, let’s face facts.

Cree Crawford:
That process leads right to taking it to a lab, a third party lab, absolutely love working with our own. We’re going to be doing… we’re going to focus on testing potency. We’re going to offer potency testing just that’s our specialty. That’s all we do all day long for potency testing. So, one of the things that we are very, very excited about is, is working with the states.

Cree Crawford:
Actually, having the opportunity to work with the states gives us a chance to deploy units, because these units are very inexpensive, comparatively. What we’ve got is a solution that we’re going to… we really want to partner up with state land-grant university. So, State Agricultural, the universities in each state that are land-grant universities that have the top agricultural programs.

Cree Crawford:
Because from everything I told you about all the data, it can capture all this valuable aggregated data, the ability to fall back on it, because it’s standardized. And so, its defendable data, it lends itself to be very, very, very potent for research. So, our goal is to really work with land-grant universities, who will then partner with either the State Department of Agriculture and/or the state testing lab.

The problem of testing every farmer’s hemp crop

Cree Crawford:
A lot of these states saw this as a tremendous opportunity to generate revenue too. It’s tough. You got to love it. However, they’re not equipped for this. They’re not equipped for the huge influx of testing that’s required at the end of the season. And some states are 15 days, some states are 30 days. But when you have thousands of farmers that are submitting literally, sometimes 100 samples in some states are required, there’s no way-

Matt Baum:
It’s impossible.

Cree Crawford:
It’s absolutely impossible.

Matt Baum:
And in the meantime, your crops are dying. They’re literally dying. It’s sitting here melting.

Cree Crawford:
They’re dying or they’re popping up in potentially THC or they’re going to sit there and they’re going to mold. So, what we’re here is to offer a solution that’s scalable, that simplified, it still allows the state to generate revenue and it gives us the chance to work with students at universities and training them.

Cree Crawford:
We went through a very stringent; it’s a really neat, annual test through Emerald Scientific. And Emerald Scientific does a third party blind proficiency test and this shows… we passed with flying colors nice.

Matt Baum:
Nice. That’s very cool.

Cree Crawford:
Are you seeing that screen vital?

Matt Baum:
Yeah, yeah. I am. I can see the potency in hemp oil, potency in solution.

Cree Crawford:
Yeah. And then, this gives a background on our data points. We go down to about one part per million. So, we’re very accurate, very low level of detection. I think California is 1000 parts per million. I mean, we’re down to one part from it.

Matt Baum:
Beat them a quite a bit. That’s solid.

Cree Crawford:
Yeah. We’re on overkill. We want to be overkill, because the data is in point.

Matt Baum:
You have to be.

Cree Crawford:
We also have a special element in our program that auto calibrates. So, if you think of an analytical device, a scale, because that was a great analytical device. You have to tear a scale, meaning you have to zero it out. Well, if HPLCs are not zeroed out, or calibrated, they’re going to start giving results that are out of scheme, they’re not going to be accurate.

Cree Crawford:
And we understand that to be very, very, very important integral part of this solution. So, we put in our software bunch of really interesting stuff to deal with that. And in the standardization side, these are the parts of the standardization that we accomplished with Cann-ID, and that’s the hardware and software, I went over this with you, which is really-

Matt Baum:
That’s the most important part though, the standardization. If we don’t have that, then it’s different everywhere and no one can measure anything.

Cree Crawford:
Yeah. And they’re trying to come up with standards, but if you’re still, if you don’t have the same equipment, you’re not using… everything’s the same, you’re really fighting an uphill battle on the cost standardization. We’re not trying to beat. We’re not calling ourselves the industry standard. We’re just a de facto, and we think that we’ve got… with everything we put in place, it truly is a standard.

Matt Baum:
Well, I mean, with what you’ve talked about, and with the standards that you’re able to uphold, just saying, “We’re all going to use the same equipment. We’re all going to make sure the equipment is all working this way. And we will get similar results on all that equipment.” I don’t know how you should not be the industry standard. I mean, very few people are doing this right. And it’s a huge problem.

Cree Crawford:
I think in labs, there’s no reason why labs wouldn’t use our solution. We are absolutely certifiable within a lab, COA environment. That’s what we are. So, what happens is, if allowed in there to make money, right? So, we offer more throughputs at a lower cost, so they can generate more money.

Cree Crawford:
And think about this, if the labs using Cann-ID, and the clients using Cann-ID, you’ve got a very, very strong argument that you’re both going to get the same results.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, very verifiable results in two different places. Definitely, I mean, that’s science.

Cree Crawford:
It’s science. So, it’s really exciting. And this slide here, I know the listening audience can’t see this. But we’ve done… this came up, and we’ve tested almost every really cool hamstring that’s out there. And we found some really interesting stuff.

Cree Crawford:
And if anybody, anyone of your listeners wants to get in touch with you, let me know if we can share that. But it’s, I mean, if you’re going to grow crop, I mean, there’s some really neat trends coming out there with CBGA and CBG.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. That’s all the latest stuff that’s coming up here.

Cree Crawford:
Yes, sir. Yeah. And then there’s of course, industrial hemp, which is a whole another incredible side of this. We’re talking about the ingestible stuff. I mean, the industrial hemp space is, it’s the applications for it just beyond.

Overcoming unreliable third-party testing of hemp

Matt Baum:
Oh, yeah. That’s the next thing that takes off. Once we have figured out how to test this stuff, how to verify those testing results and how to show everybody, “That yes, you can grow it this way.” Then we’re going to see the industrial side go insane. And it’s people like you in Cann-ID, who are doing it the right way… I mean, this is amazing.

Matt Baum:
This is what I have been looking for. And I’ve asked so many different people. Well, “How do you test it?” And most of them are, as you said, sending them stuff off to a third party laboratory hoping and praying from there. And not even knowing where those results are. How it’s being done? Or where they’re coming from? I mean, it’s going to be terrifying.

Cree Crawford:
And man, I have to tell you, I’m not dogging the third party lab industry, they are absolutely outstanding. What we’re offering is a solution for a very, very timely for those people who want that data immediately. And that’s I mean, we work with labs, some of the top labs are friends of ours, and we love them to death.

Cree Crawford:
They’re great. And they love what we’re doing. Because they’re, “Oh, this is great. This number one frees up some of our stuff to be able to do the COA side, so the control stuff can be handled in-house.” And then, some labs are looking at working with us, putting our stuff in there in our labs. It really makes it. This is a use case.

Cree Crawford:
There’s tremendous number of use cases. I’m sure you can see, oh, here’s another one. The insurance industry, some of the biggest insurance companies in the world have reached out to us saying, “If we’re going to underwrite crops, we got to make sure they’re not hot.” And then they’re like, “This would be an incredible solution to be able to underwrite insurance and in banking.”

Cree Crawford:
So, the banking insurance go hand-in-hand. And both of those groups have reached out to us, because it’s such a great tool and they have access to… the underwriter could get a result, copy of the result, sent to them as well.

Matt Baum:
And that day, if they needed it?

Cree Crawford:
Yes, sir.

Matt Baum:
And I would argue that the nature of this plant and the way it is grown and the rules as they are right now, you have to test probably, at least every other day, just to be safe.

Cree Crawford:
Well, towards the end of the cycle, absolutely. In fact, of course, more testing, more great data. And then, it’s pretty much, it’s insurance for your crop. I mean, this is insurance. And this is a slide that shows all the different variable markets, harvest compliance, precision farming, extractors research, banking, insurance.

Cree Crawford:
The validation of out of state products, we are in the process of putting the other program where people that are transporting products from one state all the way across the country can subscribe to a solution that gives them confidence that their driver is not going to get arrested and that their crop will get their biomass or whatever they’re doing will get to the destination.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. If that driver could turn and go, “Here’s the test results that was taken 24 hours ago.” That goes a long way.

Cree Crawford:
Yeah. They do that now. But sometimes, people can edit results. Law enforcement just doesn’t necessarily take that it’s verbatim. And so, this one unit, this one solution can service all parts of this industry in it. It’s really the whole idea to work with the state and deploy these units out there and help out everybody in the industry.

Matt Baum:
This is really impressive, honestly. And I’m not I’m not trying to sell anything. This is just like what you’re showing me what I’m seeing, this is really impressive. And this is exactly what the growers, the extractors, this is what they need. And I think I don’t know how we do it. And if there’s anything I can do to help, let me know. And I will scream as loud as I can.

Cree Crawford:
Oh, you’re so kind. We really appreciate. We’ve got our lives committed to this. At the end of the day, data is the most important thing that empowers the whole industry. And people cost a technology, we’re not a technology. We are an absolute solution.

Cree Crawford:
What we’ve done is put together unique parts of the hardware, the software and all the consumable programs and in the business model to create a solution that’s applicable to almost every facet to the whole ecosystem of the hemp industry. And so, we’re really honored to be here.

Final thoughts from Matt

Matt Baum:
As always, I will have Cree’s contact information not just for him, but for Ionization Labs, and Cann-ID in the show notes for this episode over at ministryofhemp.com.

Matt Baum:
Huge thanks again to Cree Crawford for coming on the show. And if you have any questions about what you heard today or just any hemp related questions, you can call me at 402-819-6417. And myself, and ministryofhemp.com, editor-in-chief, Kit O’Connell, will answer that.

Matt Baum:
If you don’t feel like calling, you could also shoot your questions to matt@ministryofhemp.com or hit us up on any of our social media. We are everywhere and you can find us typically at backslash or at Ministry of Hemp. Thank you to everybody that is already signed up over at Patreon, for our Ministry of Hemp Patreon, you can go there search Ministry of Hemp, you’ll find us, and you can become a Ministry of Hemp Insider.

Matt Baum:
Any donation gets you a newsletter and access to all kinds of extra stuff like podcast extras, extra coverage from the Ministry of Hemp crew. And it’s just a great way to say that you not only appreciate what we do, but you believe in the power of hemp to change the world as we know it, also.

Matt Baum:
Thank you so much. And if you haven’t had the chance to check it out, head over to Patreon, and please, donate and become a Ministry of Hemp Insider. And speaking of our site, head over there to see a guest post about CBD for beginners a guide to getting started with CBD.

Matt Baum:
There’s a lot of misinformation out there and this guide is really fantastic and helping you not only pick a brand, but get started with your regimen. At ministryofhemp.com, we believe in an accessible world is a better world for everybody. So, you will find a complete written transcript for this episode in the show notes, that about does it, for this episode.

Matt Baum:
But before we get out of here, this is Matt Baum. I have been your host reminding you take care of yourself, take care of others and make good decisions, will you. It’s extra important, right now. This is the Ministry of Hemp Podcast, signing off.

The post Making Hemp Testing Easy and Affordable with Cree Crawford & Cann-ID appeared first on Ministry of Hemp.

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