As the Cannabis market expands for medical and recreational use, so does the requirement for standardized quality control within the industry. In terms of Cannabis quality control there are numerous things to consider, from moisture content to pesticide use.
Moisture Content – Cannabis flower moisture content needs to 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 assurance plan also need a certain water content within the starting material.
Terpenoids and Cannabinoids Analysis
The degree of terpenoids and cannabinoids inside the starting material determines the best choice industrial processing method and which final cannabis product will be manufactured. This analysis is usually completed using LC-MS (Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry) or GC (Gas Chromatography). LC-MS and GC need a flow of inert gas such as hydrogen or nitrogen, each of which can be simply supplied via a gas generator. You can learn more regarding the Peak Scientific variety of gas generators for GC & LC-MS here.
Pesticides and Herbicides – Just like other agricultural crops and merchandise meant for human consumption, Cannabis plants needs to be tested for herbicides and pesticides. Detecting pesticides and herbicides can be challenging due to the complexity of cannabis material. GCMS (Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry) is generally used for this specific purpose.
Microbiological Screening – Medical Cannabis is usually utilized for HIV and cancer patients in which the patient’s defense mechanisms continues to be compromised. Therefore, high microbial levels or pathogenic micro-organisms might be life threatening. It is crucial then that several Mycotoxins and fungus types should 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 inside the final products needs to be tested to ensure they satisfy 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 from the earth. It is therfore required to test for Mercury, Lead, Arsen and Cadmium.
Cannabinoid Concentration – Concentration ranges for cannabinoids including THC,THCa, CBD, CBDa, CBN, CBC, CBG should match the ranges specified on the product label, based upon product usage purpose, patient’s medical condition, age etc. Cannabinoid concentrations could be tested using LC-MS (Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry) and HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) . You can 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 acknowledged to have their own health benefits, they also play a role in Cannabis taste and aroma. They may be detected using GC.
Taking the above into account, 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 way to supply cannabis testing laboratories with gas for their LC-MS and GC is via gas generators, which tend not to present the health and safety risks connected with gas cylinders.