HEMP TESTING 101: ANALYTICAL TESTING PROTOCOLS EXPLAINED AND EVALUATED
Proper analytical testing of industrial hemp is an important facet of this growing industry. The companies that are planning to conquer this industry will have to know the in’s and out’s of the entire realm of hemp testing. This article specifically brings up the issue with the heating of a sample.
By Rod Kight
Proper analytical testing is vital to the hemp industry. In order to qualify as “industrial hemp” under the 2014 Farm Act (or as “hemp” under the 2018 Farm Bill), cannabis must be tested for delta 9 (∆9) tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentrations to ensure that it does not exceed three tenths of one percent (0.3%) on a dry weigh basis. Analytical testing raises a number of issues, including, but certainly not limited to, the specific testing methods that are (and should be) used, at what point in the growth cycle of the cannabis plant testing should occur, what part(s) of the plant should be tested, from which part(s) of the field plant samples should be acquired, how the plant material should be combined to form a test sample, whether the acid form of THC should be decarboxylated as part of the testing process, and the scope of the test (i.e., the degree to which other compounds are measured, if at all, in a particular test).
In this article I will discuss the first issue, testing methods. In particular, I will address the fact that different testing methods produce different results. This can lead to catastrophic legal consequences when an improper testing protocol is used.
Analytical Testing Continued…
Given that GC is an inappropriate chromatograph technique for hemp, it is reasonable to ask why is it used at all, much less as the de facto test in much of the USA. Although there is no single answer to analytical testing, its popularity in the marijuana industry is a likely reason.