Could it be Hemp or Cannabis? NIST Develops Revolutionary Testing to tell apart Between The Two

The nationwide Institute of Standards and Testing, or NIST, is starting research that will assist both labs that are forensic industry labs accurately measure the amount of THC, CBD, and other compounds in cannabis plant material. These measurements are key to distinguishing between hemp and marijuana and are important for accurate product and labeling security.

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AUTHOR: Heather Allman


NIST learn helps laboratories Distinguish Between Hemp and Marijuana

The National Institute of Standards and Testing, or NIST, is starting research that will assist both labs that are forensic industry labs accurately measure the amount of THC, CBD, and other compounds in cannabis plant material. These measurements are key to distinguishing between hemp and marijuana and are important for accurate product and labeling security.

From a perspective that is legal a small number makes a big difference.

This story is important because inaccurate measurements can lead to crops and products being improperly seized and can have a effect that is chilling business, to state absolutely nothing of peoples’ liberties. Which is interesting for the reason that NIST — a research that is federal — is leading a study that is designed to help the cannabis industry as well as law enforcement.

NIST Responses from Brent Wilson and Melissa Phillips

Cannabis Law Report: Why the interest that is scientific cannabis and hemp?

NIST: The legalization of hemp in 2018 place additional value on making accurate quantitative dimensions for THC, THCA, and complete THC. Forensic laboratories and Cannabis (hemp and cannabis) evaluation laboratories are now actually necessary to differentiate between hemp and cannabis in line with the concentration of total THC that is potential in Cannabis samples (below or above 0.3 %). These measurements could have significant legal and impacts that are economic. Furthermore, customers have to have self-confidence that the values included on product labels are accurate much like foods they may purchase at the grocery store.

CLR: What are the key conclusions of the NIST study?

NIST: CannaQAP is a Quality Assurance Program that will provide continuous interlaboratory studies to the forensics and cannabis testing communities with two exercises a year. The exercise that is first hemp natural oils ended up being carried out this past year (more details here), and we’ll result in the outcomes publicly for sale in the following couple of weeks. This report shall include a summary of the measurement variation between labs and provide insights into biases and challenges observed during the study. The exercise that is second the other day involves hemp– and marijuana-type plant examples, so we be prepared to publish the outcomes from that research later on this present year.

Beyond The published results, the goal of these scholarly studies is to help labs improve their measurement methods, and we expect that measurement consistency between labs will improve as we conduct additional rounds of studies.

CLR: Can you share the most interesting or story that is challenging has occurred for your requirements because you started the analysis?

NIST: the 2nd workout of CannaQAP is currently open for individuals to register. The exercise that is first on the measurements of cannabinoids in two hemp oils, while the second exercise focuses on the measurements of cannabinoids, moisture, and toxic elements in hemp (THC < 0.3 %) and marijuana (THC > 0.3 %) samples. The shipping of the* that is( samples ended up being simple without any appropriate factors as NIST guaranteed all examples were below 0.3 % THC.

However, the addition of cannabis samples in workout number 2 brought its set that is own of in terms of following the proper protocols and paperwork to provide these samples domestically and internationally.

These samples fill an gap that is important providing QC materials that laboratories might have the most self-confidence in.

CLR: Major reason with this research? What( impact that is*)positive this study have? NIST:

CannaQAP was developed to help Forensic and Cannabis testing laboratories demonstrate and improve measurement comparability and/or competence. A QAP is akin to a proficiency testing scheme but without the pass/fail grade. All results from QAP studies are made and peer-reviewed publicly available as posted NIST Internal Reports (IRs). The outcomes is going to be anonymized to make certain that visitors should be able to understand level of variation between labs not exactly how any lab that is specific (labs will know their own performance of course).

In addition to labs that are helping and improve their dimension abilities, this research could also be helpful NIST design and characterize

Cannabis guide materials. NIST happens to be taking care of developing a* that is( plant reference material targeted for release early 2022. In the meantime, while NIST RMs are not available, CannaQAP samples can provide participants with Quality Control materials to be routinely used inhempin their laboratory.

CLR: How do authenticity and trust factor into your course that is current) of action?


NIST happens to be operating comparable programs ( for three years. These programs consider accurately calculating other botanicals, meals, wellness markers in bloodstream tests, ecological contaminants, among others. NIST has a track that is long of success in this area because, aside from our measurement capabilities, we are non-regulatory and industry participants trust us to provide a neutral platform that allows all participants an equal opportunity to improve their measurement performance.

CLR: What is the challenge that is biggest the study encountered? Just how did you resolve it or work to improve it?


The very first workout of CannaQAP centered on the cannabinoid measurements in oil because natural oils are obviously more homogeneous than Cannabis plant materials. The concentrations of THC or CBD can vary greatly across a single plant, let alone to an entire field of plants with plant material.

So for us the challenge was to prepare samples for the CannaQAP studies (~5 kg) and reference material (~50 kg) while ensuring the THC or CBD values are consistent across the sample that is entire. The challenge that is second encountered corresponds to the shipment of Marijuana samples as previously summarized.

CLR: Any unexpected or discoveries that are ancillary enlightened you regarding the research?

NIST: Each cannabis product, may it be a plant-based or from an oil supply, presents an challenge that is unique preparing adequately homogenous evaluation materials to be used in the CannaQAP.

CLR: What future mark do you strive to make in the growing national space that is cannabis/Hemp you’re feeling may be the extremely most critical, and exactly why?

NIST: The dimensions laboratories make have significant appropriate and financial effects on customers, farmers, and item designers. By assisting labs make more accurate dimensions, develop to give you authorities with all the tools they have to enforce regulations fairly, enable consumers to savor their appropriate services and products properly, and offer the development of business in this sector that is important

CLR: What still needs improvement? What ideas or actions need to come to fruition, in regards to NIST Study?

NIST: CannaQAP is initially focused on the measurement of cannabinoids in hemp oils and Cannabis plants because the legal and impacts that are economic formerly. The program remains within the stages that are early but we expect it to continue for many years.

NIST is still learning about the areas that need improvements such as product safety. NIST plans to expand beyond the focus that is initial cannabinoids to incorporate prospective harmful contaminants, including toxic elements, pesticides, mycotoxins, microbiological contaminants, etc.

These are all areas that the Cannabis community requires a platform to greatly help enhance analytical dimensions.

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