As the Cannabis market expands for medical and recreational use, so does the need for standardized quality control in the industry. In terms of Cannabis quality control there are numerous facts to consider, from moisture content to pesticide use.
Moisture Content – Cannabis flower moisture content should be tested and controlled to: minimize the risk of mold formation; control microbiological levels; ensure proper drying, curing and storage conditions; and support product life expectancy. Some manufacturing processes for cannabis quality control procedures also demand a certain water content within the starting material.
Terpenoids and Cannabinoids Analysis
The level of terpenoids and cannabinoids in the starting material determines the most appropriate industrial processing method and which final cannabis product will be manufactured. This analysis is generally carried out using LC-MS (Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry) or GC (Gas Chromatography). LC-MS and GC require a flow of inert gas including hydrogen or nitrogen, both of which can easily be supplied using a gas generator. Discover more about the Peak Scientific selection of gas generators for GC & LC-MS here.
Pesticides and Herbicides – Similar to other agricultural crops and merchandise meant for human consumption, Cannabis plants should be tested for herbicides and pesticides. Detecting pesticides and herbicides can be difficult due to the complexity of cannabis material. GCMS (Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry) is normally used for this purpose.
Microbiological Screening – Medical Cannabis is frequently utilized for HIV and cancer patients where patient’s immunity mechanism has become compromised. Therefore, high microbial levels or pathogenic micro-organisms could be life-threatening. It is necessary then that several Mycotoxins and fungus types needs to be detected included in cannabis quality control and release specifications.
Residual Solvents – Where solvents happen to be used as part of Cannabis product processing, solvent residuals in the final products should be tested to make sure that they meet the accepted criteria. The FDA has published zvqtob criteria for residual solvents in APIs for pharmaceutical use.
Chemical Toxins – Like a number of other plants, Cannabis draws metals through the earth. It is therfore essential to test for Mercury, Lead, Arsen and Cadmium.
Cannabinoid Concentration – Concentration ranges for cannabinoids such as THC,THCa, CBD, CBDa, CBN, CBC, CBG should match the ranges specified on the product label, according to product usage purpose, patient’s medical problem, age etc. Cannabinoid concentrations may be tested using LC-MS (Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry) and HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) . You will find an array of Peak Scientific nitrogen gas generators designed especially for LC-MS, available here.
Terpene Concentration – Terpenes increase cannabinoids’ therapeutic effects and are known to have their own own health benefits, in addition they play a role in Cannabis taste and aroma. They can be detected using GC.
Taking the above under consideration, it is actually clear that there is a necessity for standarized procedures for every step of the Cannabis analysis and testing process to be able to guarantee safe use. The safest approach to supply cannabis testing laboratories with gas for LC-MS and GC is by gas generators, which do not present the health and safety risks related to gas cylinders.