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Highest High: How Potent is Your Pot?

For obvious reasons we can’t list the Cannalytics Cannabis Fingerprint and THC Test Kit as the Bad Ass Toy of the Week: It’s not a toy.

In fact, this home chemistry kit is 100 percent legit. Alpha Nova Diagnostics, a World Health Organization compliant company, is a Dutch chemical and biochemical lab that produces home test kits for pesticides, heavy metals, and oh, yeah, weed. The Thin-Layer Chromatography (TCL) technique the kit is based on is the same used in testing for trace amounts of organic compounds. What works to figure out the makeup of your fertilizer, also works to figure out the cannabinoid composition of your chronic.

Not to harsh your buzz, but here’s why this test is such a big deal for bong-lovers: due to the Schedule 1 Controlled Substance classification of marijuana, few labs in the U.S. will test weed for potency, unless the DEA approves. Of course the police will happily test your maryjane, but chances are you’re not getting it back. You are guaranteed one phone call though.

The

lack of testing means that no one can say for sure how potent pot is. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) regularly reports on the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration in marijuana, but the stash tested is what law enforcement officials have confiscated, and the range in reefer quality and THC percentages is pretty large. Some of the sticky rates THC concentration in the high 30s, but some rates 0. It averages out to 4.53 percent, but all this really means is that while there is some seriously potent pot on the streets, there’s also some buds barely registering anything.

THC levels differ according to plant, with females often having higher levels, as do more mature plants. This is because as cannabis grows, the chemical composition changes. Plant genetics, climate and harvesting procedures all will affect the chemical composition of the plant.

THC is not the only cannabinoid in cannabis. The other cannabinoids might not be as well known, but their presence affects your high. Some cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory affects, some are anti-anxiety, some induce sleep, and one even has been shown to suppress appetite. No muchies when smoking that maryjane.

Because of the lack of lab testing, even in the 15 states and the District of Columbia where the use of medical marijuana is legally permitted even those with prescriptions for pot can’t be completely sure of the THC levels in the weed they’re buying. And as you know if you buy off the street what you get depends on who you’re buying from.

The Cannalytics test kit can identify the type and consistency of cannabinoids, which means you’ll know what’s in the pot you’ve purchased, and what kind of high to expect. Sure, it means you have to be a bit Mr. Science about your stash, but isn’t it worth it to know what you’re smoking?

 


marijuana lab testing

A qualitative and quantitative HPTLC densitometry method for the analysis of cannabinoids in Cannabis sativa

Abstract

INTRODUCTION

Cannabis and cannabinoid based medicines are currently under serious investigation for legitimate development as medicinal agents, necessitating new low-cost, high-throughput analytical methods for quality control.

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to develop and validate, according to ICH guidelines, a simple rapid HPTLC method for the quantification of Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta(9)-THC) and qualitative analysis of other main neutral cannabinoids found in cannabis.

METHODOLOGY

The method was developed and validated with the use of pure cannabinoid reference standards and two medicinal cannabis cultivars. Accuracy was determined by comparing results obtained from the HTPLC method with those obtained from a validated HPLC method.

RESULTS

Delta(9)-THC gives linear calibration curves in the range of 50-500 ng at 206 nm with a linear regression of y = 11.858x + 125.99 and r(2) = 0.9968.

CONCLUSION

Results have shown that the HPTLC method is reproducible and accurate for the quantification of Delta(9)-THC in cannabis. The method is also useful for the qualitative screening of the main neutral cannabinoids found in cannabis cultivars.

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HIGH TIMES ARTICLE MAY 2017

 

These are excerpts from a recent High Times Article concerning our testing kits

As anyone with even rudimentary experience using cannabis can tell you, potency can vary a lot. Sometimes that can be half the fun, learning just what effects a new strain will have and how strongly you will experience them.

But if you are a medical marijuana patient, cannabinoid potency can be a very important factor in your therapy. Cannabis from a MMJ dispensary, if you have access to one, will often be laboratory tested. The results from these analyses can help guide a patient in selecting a strain with the right cannabinoid potency and ratio to give the desired effect.

If you are growing your own herb, or getting it from a source that has not tested it, there are options available for you to determine its potency. If you live in a state that has legal weed, there may be a commercial lab near you that performs potency, contamination and other tests on samples you provide to them. But lab tests can be costly, running about $60 or more for each potency analysis.

Options to do your own potency testing are available online, but do they work?

That is what I wanted to find out, so with the help of San Diego cannabis testing facility PharmLabs, I put the tests to the test to run my experiment, I performed the different tests as directed. I used samples of cannabis flower from batches tested for potency by PharmLabs with their gas chromatograph lab equipment.

My goal was to compare the results I obtained from the home testing options for THC and CBD potency, with the lab results provided by PharmLabs, to see if they were consistent. The manufacturer suggest running multiple tests on several samples from a batch and determining averages for the most precise results.

The first products I tried were Test 4 Detection Kits by CB Scientific. I tried individual tests for THC or CBD, there is a combination test available as well. These are very simple kits that only require a small pinch of herb, added to a container with a test fluid. After a good shake and a few minutes wait, the color of the sample is compared to the included reference chart. A color match determines a range of potency, rather than a precise number.

All the results I received from the CB Scientific products were some what consistent with the PharmLabs results. The potency ranges on the reference card top out at only 20 percent THC and only 2.5 percent CBD, so if your sample is stronger, you will not know by how much actual THC or CBD is in each sample, so the test has some limits.

 

If you are looking for results with greater precision, or an even lower cost per test, the other products I tried may better fit your needs.

These types of kits use a process called thin layer chromatography (TLC). One of the products I tried was CTK Test Kit #1 from TLC Lab Supply. Although a more involved and technical process, more precise results can be obtained with the thin layer chromatography options. Although I was only looking at THC and CBD, about a half-dozen different cannabinoids will render on the plate, CBG, CBN and acids were also able to be tested.

To perform these tests, a 0.1 g sample of flower is mixed with a test fluid. Very small samples of the mixture are precisely measured and applied with a pipette or capillary tube to a specially coated glass plate. The plate is then placed in a jar, standing in additional test fluid. The fluid then wicks up the plate, carrying the cannabinoids with it. The individual properties of the cannabinoids cause them to be left in line, in a particular color and specific order, up the plate. Once the plate is dry, it is sprayed with a dye to reveal the colored spots. The size of the spots is compared to a template, which determines potency results in increments of one percentage point.

You might feel like you are on CSI with this process, as Mr. Green from TLC Lab Supply noted, his company offers classes in three states ( with more to come) to learn the more detailed types of testing of different products in cannabis from a qualified professional.

Many variables, such as dryness of the sample and precise measurements, must be accounted for. I was able to perform tests that matched, within one percentage point, the numbers obtained by PharmLabs..

I only tested flower for my experiment, but the products I tried can also be used for concentrates and many other cannabis products.

 

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