The cannabis industry has reached a tipping point, with many important developments and breakthroughs now in focus. Despite progress on all fronts, hurdles remain in realizing the full potential of medicinal and industrial hemp and marijuana.
Hemp farming regulations now necessitate potency testing on-site at grow operations. Turn-key solutions are enabling testing by a wider range of operators, experience levels, and in remote processing locations. Third party testing labs and quality assurance labs are strengthening the integrity and safety of cannabis potency testing. FTIR, NIR, NMR and other analytical techniques are being harnessed particularly for on-site, field-testing applications, due in part to the compact size of the instrumentation and ease of operation.
Advanced sample enrichment, HPLC column offerings, and LC techniques have enabled high-quality analytical separations and analysis of cannabis compounds. Gas chromatography and GC-MS techniques have supported analysis of organic and volatile compounds. Fractional and thin film distillation techniques adapted from the petrochemical and chemical industries have enabled high purity large-scale cannabinoid isolation. A recent study “Stability characteristics of cannabidiol for the design of pharmacological, biochemical and pharmaceutical studies” demonstrated thermolability, oxidtive sensitivity, oxidative photolytic reaction tendency, and insolubility of purified CBD at physiological pH, pointing to potentially serious implications for shelf life of CBD preparations and products.
Innovations in efficiency and safety has made hydrocarbon extraction accessible to a broader range of operations. Supercritical carbon dioxide and other solvent-free extraction techniques have increased efficiency, safety, and yield of cannabis processing. Innovative technologies involving ice-water, sonication, and other techniques are expanding the breadth and depth of extraction capabilities. Advancements in nanoemulsion and encapsulation technologies are solving issues with solubility, delivery, and bioavailability of cannabis and cannabinoid formulations.
Microbial diagnostic instruments are being developed and deployed on-site at grow operations to detect pests prior to processing. Testing labs are utilizing built-for-purpose PCR, RT-PCR, and test reagents and kits to identify the range of microbes posing a possible threat. GC, LC, MS, and ICP-MS techniques and instruments are increasing the sensitivity and scale of residual solvent and heavy metals detection in processed materials. A SARS-CoV-2 qPCR assay for cannabis has been developed.
Cannabis Testing Equipment & Supplies
The DEA has announced it is taking decisive steps to expand marijuana research, including approval of additional growers and types of marijuana available for research studies.