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In 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. Since then, several other states have joined them, and cannabis-infused edibles, including gummy bears, cookies and chocolates, have flooded the market. But these sweet treats have created major headaches for the scientists trying to analyze them for potency and contaminants. Researchers now report that components in chocolate might be interfering with cannabis potency testing, leading to inaccurate results.
The researchers will present their results at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall 2019 National Meeting & Exposition.
Research - Cannabis - Potency - Stakes - David
"My research focuses on cannabis potency testing because of the high stakes associated with it," says David Dawson, Ph.D., the project's principal investigator. "If an edible cannabis product tests 10% below the amount on the label, California law states that is must be relabeled, with considerable time and expense. But it's even worse if a product tests 10% or more above the labeled amount—then the entire batch must be destroyed."
Manufacturers add cannabis to a wide variety of foods, and the composition of these products, also known as the "matrix," can affect potency testing results. Dawson and his colleagues at CW Analytical Laboratories decided to focus on potency testing for cannabis-infused chocolates because they are a very common product. CW Analytical Laboratories is a cannabis testing lab in Oakland, California, where recreational marijuana became legal in 2018. "We also noticed, kind of anecdotally, some weird potency variations depending on how we prepared chocolate samples for testing," he says. So Dawson studied the effects of altering sample prep conditions, such as the amounts of chocolate and solvent, pH and type of chocolate, on the concentration of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC; the major psychoactive constituent of cannabis) measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).
Results - Chocolate - Sample
Their results were surprising. "When we had less cannabis-infused chocolate in the sample vial, say 1...
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