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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How to change contact information?
    Please note that as per SA's POPI act and our confidentiality policy, we send invoice(s), CoA’s, and any confidential information to the primary contact indicated on our system. If you wish to alter (add or exclude) any contact details, physical address, or other information associated with the company, we required written confirmation from the original primary person/contact. If this person has left the company and this is not possible, we require written confirmation with the new primary person/contact details and a reason why this request cannot come from the original primary person/contact. The primary contact details will be the contact details provided to the lab during the first sample submission. A telephonic request or completion of the sample request form with new details will not be accepted as a written request for any alteration or exclusion. Until we receive written confirmation further communication will only be to the primary contact. Please see our website for our T’s and C’s for further explanation.
  • Why is the turnaround time at NAFS 3-5 working days?
    NAFS is a small company comprising of 2 analysts, a quality assurance manager, and a laboratory manager. This means that all clients are afforded the highest level of customer service possible and every request is addressed in a timeous manner. All samples are analysed with the utmost care, in the order they arrive in, to ensure the accuracy and validity of results. We therefore must give ourselves enough room to address your queries, attend to instrument breakdowns and to rerun samples at different dilutions to more accurately quantitate your major ingredients.
  • Why should I test with NAFS laboratories?
    NAFS is regarded by our client base as a leader in the analysis of pharmaceuticals and cannabis-based products. A privately owned analytical forensics laboratory. A deep understanding of the pharmaceutical/cannabis industry and the analytical services required. Operated by employees with a postgraduate degree in chemistry as a minimum qualification. Offers competitive pricing. NAFS maintains full traceability on all samples to ensure the utmost quality and reliability in results is maintained. Possesses a permit for the analysis of cannabis-based samples, including other scheduled substances. SAHPRA accredited laboratory. NAFS participates in and passes multiple proficiency testing schemes from internationally accredited organisations.
  • Why did I receive my CoA after the standard turnaround time?
    The instruments used to analyse our samples are complex and comprise of various moving and labile parts. It may happen that the instrument suffers a catastrophic failure in which a service technician has to be requested to attend to the problem. Often these types of instrument failures also require special components that must be sourced internationally. These factors all add a delay to our sample analysis however you as the client will always be informed. In these instances, we will release any test results already completed. If your invoice is not paid in a timeous manner. CoA’s will only be released after the invoice has been paid. Additionally, new clients, or existing clients with an invoice above R5000.00 will need to pay a deposit before analysis commences. These delays may also affect your turnaround time negatively.
  • How often should I test my samples?
    The WHO guidelines recommend the following formula to be used for herbal medicine. The formula states that for non-uniform herbal medicines, the r-plan may be used, which indicates r = 1.5 times the square root of N, where N is the number of sampling units. If your batch is 100 plants/bottles, the most representative way to analyse the cannabinoid concentration of your batch would be to send 15 buds from 15 plants or 15 bottles out of the batch of 100. For each new batch/crop produced, the above sampling procedure and analysis is repeated.
  • Why is it important to know if my sample is free from heavy metals?
    Bioaccumulation of heavy metals can be a useful feature for farmers looking to decontaminate their soil, but it’s bad news for cannabis producers. When cannabis absorbs and stores environmental contaminants like heavy metals in its stems, stalks, leaves, and flower, it poses a health risk to cannabis consumers. Some heavy metals are more dangerous than others. The U.S. FDA highly regulates these heavy metal elemental impurities which “pose toxicological risks to patients without providing any therapeutic benefit.” Mercury, cadmium, lead, and arsenic are especially toxic, even in very small amounts. Mercury exposure occurs through the skin or when mercury is consumed. Even small amounts can lead to loss of coordination, muscle weakness, loss of memory, and trouble speaking, hearing, and seeing. Cadmium exposure can cause flu-like symptoms including chills, fever, and muscle pain, as well as damage to the lungs if inhaled. Chronic exposure causes kidney, bone, and lung disease. Lead is toxic when inhaled or swallowed and very trace amount of lead exposure is considered acceptable. This heavy metal interferes with enzyme function. As a result, major organs such as the kidneys, heart, and brain will eventually fail with high enough exposure to lead. Arsenic also affects nearly every major organ system in the body by inducing cell death. Acute arsenic poisoning results in vomiting and abdominal pain and chronic exposure can lead to heart disease and cancer.
  • Does NAFS offer any discount structures?
    No, unfortunately NAFS does not currenlty offer discount.
  • Does NAFS test products not related to cannabis?
    We do wide variety of test panels for non-cannabis related products. Please visit our testing capabilities link to find out more or alternatively email with your query.
  • What are your Terms & Conditions (T's & C's)?
    Our T's & C's most recent approved version can be found on the footer of each webpage as a downloadable document. Scroll down to the bottom of any page on our website and click the "Terms and Conditions" link. This will ensure that you have the most recent approved version downloaded. The T’s and C’s may be subject to change at the discretion of the laboratory without prior notice.
  • How do I submit a sample?
    Please navigate to our "Submit a Sample" page and read through the entire stepwise process on how to submit a sample. Navigate to the "Learn More" menu item. Click on the "Submit a Sample" drop down menu item. Read through the stepwise process.
  • How much does it cost?
    An up to date pricelist, for all test panels, is availble for download on the website. Navigate to the "Home" page. Scroll down to the "Learn More" section Look for the pricelist icon and click download. A .pdf pricelist document download should start automatically.
  • Where can you find our banking details?
    Our banking details ae conveniently located on the invoice that is provided to you after sample submission. Please make use of the client code provided on the invoice as a reference so that the payment can be accurately allocated.
  • When do you pay the invoice provided?
    The invoice must be settled in full before we release the results to you. New clients need to settle at least 50% of the invoice before analysis can begin. Existing clients samples will be committed for analysis unless the invoice is above R5000.00 in which case, a deposit will also be required. Testing will only commence after the deposit is received (This may affect laboratory Turn-Around-Time).
  • Does NAFS offer a sample collection service?
    Unfortunately at this stage we do not offer a sample collection service. Please ensure that samples are shipped via door to door courier or alternatively dropped off in person at the following address: 109 Sovereign Drive R21 Corporate Park Centurion Gauteng South Africa
  • Which sample types can be tested by NAFS?
    At NAFS we can test a majority of different sample types. This is however dependent on the final concentration of cannabinoids in your product. We are able to accurately quantitate cannabinoids down to 0.001 %weight. We can test the folowoing sample types but not limited to: Extracts (Feco, Dab, Crude oil, Rosin etc.). Plant Material (Bud, Leaf, Hash). Liquids (Vape Liquids, Dropper bottels, Cosmetic products, Ointments, Creams). Edbiles (Biscuits, Cookies, Beverages, Water). Solids (Cannabinoid Isolates).
  • Why do I need to fill out the latest versions of the Sample Request Form (SRF)?
    As NAFS progresses as a company, we will be updating our sample request form to include new test panels. All information in the form is held as confidential and should thus be completed in full. The SRF constitutes a legal agreement between the client and the service provider and gives NAFS the permission to analyse the samples against the marked test panels and specifications.
  • What is a batch number?
    A batch number is a unique code associated to a manufactured product. In the case of cannabis, it can relate to a specific crop planted, an extract created, etc. The batch number is unique and cannot be used recurringly for newly planted crops or newly extracted batches. The batch number also ensures traceability of test results associated to a certain production batch.
  • My potency results are not what I expected, why?"
    All cannabis plants will produce cannabinoids at different rates, concentrations, ratios and distributions based on a range of environmental factors. These factors will generate plants containing a natural variation of cannabinoids when compared to each other. For this reason, It is important to always send a representative sample for analysis. The WHO guidelines recommend the following formula to be used for herbal medicine. The formula states that for non-uniform herbal medicines, the r-plan may be used, which indicates r = 1.5 times the square root of N, where N is the number of sampling units. So if your crop is 100 plants, the most representative way to analyse the cannabinoid concentration of your batch would be to send 15 plants or buds from 15 plants for 15 separate test panels. The average out of the 15 tests will be used to give an accurate representation of the concentration of cannabinoids in your crop. One bud out of a field of 1000 plants is in no way representative and will lead to a misrepresentation of concentration. For cannabis samples that are not plant material such as extracts and infused oil, the issue of homogeneity can be a big contributing factor in the error of results. It is important to note that when submitting a liquid sample from a batch, the batch has been left to mix for a long period of time, and top middle as well as bottom sampling occurs. This will ensure that there is an even distribution of cannabinoids in the sample so that a sample of uniform product is submitted to NAFS for analysis. Failure to do so will lead to results that are indicative of portions of your batch and not representative of the batch as a whole.
  • How do I interpret my results reported in %Weight?
    Usually potency is reported as a %weight of the sample, especially for raw plant materials, since an accurate volume cannot be determined. For example, a gram of raw plant material contains a certain %weight of cannabinoids. Thus, if the %weight for THC is 5 %weight, it means that any weighed portion in grams of the sample should contain 5% THC in grams. If 10 grams of sample is weighed 5 %weight would translate to 0.5 g of THC. For a more detailed information leaflet Navigate to the "Services" menu item. Click on the "Cannabis" menu item in the dropdown menu. Look for the Cannabis Potency heading. Click the "Learn More" button.
  • My individual analyte results summed equals a value greater than 100%, how is this possible?"
    For the last several years, there has been a growing demand for higher potency cannabis products. Manufacturers have developed methods to purify certain cannabinoids, typically THC-A and CBD-A into their ultra-pure crystalline form. Prior to these products being sold on the market, they are tested and the results in labs can sometimes have a purity result higher than 100%. Products are manufactured to a target value with a percentage of uncertainty around the target relating to both the manufacture of the product as well as the analysis. Theoretically, you can not have more than 100% of anything. Deviations relating to manufacture as well as analysis may all contribute towards a combined uncertainty. If you take into account, the combined uncertainty of: Chemical standards Laboratory processes Laboratory equipment Laboratory personnel The additive effect translates into final assay values which can exceed 100%, since scientific uncertainty is reported as ± value. It is the goal of any laboratory to minimize the uncertainty amount to the best of their ability. Values greater than 100% in the scientific community are simply accepted. Chemists, formulators, management, FDA auditors and the like, all understand this concept and have all accepted it for decades. New manufacturers and talent that are entering the scientific community may not been introduced to this concept.
  • What is potency mg/mL?
    To obtain a different unit such as mg/mL compared to %weight, the %weight of the sample, as well as, the density needs to be known. To translate %weight to mg/mL a certain volume of liquid sample needs to be weighed in order to determine the sample density. From this density the mg/mL of cannabinoids can be calculated using the %weight unit. NAFS offers Potency mg/mL content as a test panel where %weight as well as density is determined. For a more detailed information leaflet Navigate to the "Services" menu item. Click on the "Cannabis" menu item in the dropdown menu. Look for the Cannabis Potency heading. Click the "Learn More" button.
  • How do heavy metals get into cannabis?
    Heavy metals are metallic elements that have a relatively high density. They are a natural component of the Earth’s crust and can be found readily in soil, rivers, dams, and sea. However, human activities such as mining and industrial agriculture can create pollution that leads to a high concentration of heavy metals in the environment. When cultivars like fruits, vegetables, and cannabis are grown in a heavy metal polluted environment, the final product can be contaminated with unhealthy levels of heavy metals. Contaminated water, inorganic fertilizers, and low-grade pesticides are also possible sources of heavy metal contamination for cannabis. Cannabis, in particular, is adept at absorbing heavy metals from the soil and is known as a bioaccumulator or phytoremediator. This means cannabis is highly effective at absorbing and retaining chemicals and elements like heavy metals from its environment.
  • How are complaints managed at NAFS?
    Any queries that are sent to NAFS may be resolved by our laboratory staff. If, however the query cannot be resolved and a client wishes to lodge a complaint the following procedure is followed: Client may indicate via written email record that he/she wishes to lodge a complaint. The complaint procedure is initiated at NAFS (QA005). The laboratory staff requests the necessary information from the client to perform an investigation. All information and details regarding the complaint is recorded and escalated to either the Laboratory manager or Quality assurance manager at NAFS. An official complaint document is produced with a unique identifier code (Reference Number). This complaint reference number will be emailed to the client by laboratory staff. During this time, an investigation pertaining to the complaint is pending. Some time may need to be afforded to the laboratory to complete the investigation. An email request on the progress of the investigation may be submitted by the client. After the investigation has been completed, a complaint closure letter stipulating the findings will be sent out to the client.
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