Testing: The Future of MMJ

future of mmj

The Werc Shop utilizes ultra-fast liquid chromatography to profile medical cannabis for its cannabinoid content. There are not many labs using liquid chromatography, let alone ultra-fast methods, as these are far more difficult to master and command when doing cannabinoid analysis. It is also far more accurate and is the only choice for any medical cannabis product that is to be consumed orally. Not only does your laboratory need to select the right equipment to use for the job, they also have to know how to use that equipment properly, and to maintain it such that it continues to operate properly.

Do not be fooled, the number of analyses a laboratory has done does not lead to the meaning they were all done right. You can also perform the same task thousands of times incorrectly in the laboratory and not even know it. In other words, a laboratory may be able to cluster their arrows together tightly, but they are all outside of the desired (accurate) target area ultimately being consistently wrong. At The Werc Shop, we don’t select the tools we use because of their costs, because of who else uses them, or because we think it would be cool to use them; we have selected our tools because they are the best possible tool for the desired job.

There is an important distinction between cannabinoid analysis and that is that liquid chromatographs test the plant in its natural state, showing you exactly what you start with and end with if you are heating it. The gas chromatograph operates by first volatilizing a sample using high heat, typically around 250ºC, which in the case of cannabis causes what is called, decarboxylation. Decarboxylation is the elimination of the carboxylic acid moiety present in THCA (THC-acid) to form THC. Only heat and human intervention cause decarboxylation to form such chemicals as THC, the plant does not manufacture THC!! Edible producers don’t want their analytically method doing decarboxylation, it is best to see both the cannabinoid acid and the decarboxylated result through a liquid chromatograph to know how well you have activated your plant material.

It is critically important when considering oral product analysis, such as edible, tinctures and also topical based products that an LC be used for analysis. There will be no further heating of the cannabinoids before consumption by the patient and the edible producer needs to know what is present in the sample just as a patient would consume it. LC analysis is the only analysis that will offer accurate results on these products. Butter , oils, or intermediate concentrates that will be used for edibles or other products must also be tested with an LC instead of a GC. We have saved our clients countless thousands of dollars over the last year by helping them optimize their processes to completely decarboxylate their products for use in an oral fashion. We repeatedly have seen new clients come to us with false information from a GC based laboratory believing their butter or oil was fully decarboxylated, or ‘really strong’. In fact, analysis with our LC approach informed them that this wasn’t the case, and in some cases we’ve seen that >80% of the cannabinoids were not decarboxylated.

future of mmj

This ultimately resulted in our new client understanding how they could improve their processing methods such that they could use the same amount of cannabis material to make 7-8 times more edibles!! A huge cost savings!! Working with a proper laboratory, one using a liquid chromatograph for cannabinoid analysis, has saved processors far more money than any testing could ever cost them!! This is good business practice, smart use of the resources and skills available to the market, and demonstrates responsibility about being diligent in providing the best possible products for the patients. Best practices use by edible providers includes regular testing and consistently dosed products for every batch.

• The Werc Shop

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