Can 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 establishing a research which will help 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 marijuana and hemp and are very important for accurate labeling and item security.

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AUTHOR: Heather Allman


NIST learn helps laboratories Distinguish Between Hemp and Marijuana

The nationwide Institute of Standards and Testing, or NIST, is establishing a research which will help 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 marijuana and hemp and are very important for accurate labeling and item 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 importance that is extra making accurate quantitative measurements for THC, THCA, and Total THC. Forensic laboratories and Cannabis (hemp and marijuana) testing laboratories are now required to distinguish between hemp and marijuana based on the concentration of total THC that is potential in Cannabis examples (below or above 0.3 percent). These dimensions may have significant appropriate and impacts that are economic. Additionally, consumers need to have confidence that the values included on product labels are accurate similar to food products they may buy during the supermarket.

CLR: Which are the key conclusions for the NIST research?

NIST: CannaQAP is a Quality Assurance Program which will offer continuous interlaboratory studies to your forensics and cannabis testing communities with two workouts per year. The exercise that is first hemp oils was conducted last year (more info here), and we will make the results publicly available in the next couple of months. This report shall consist of a listing of the dimension variation between labs and offer insights into biases and challenges seen through the research. The exercise that is second last week involves hemp- and marijuana-type plant samples, and we expect to publish the results from that study later this year.

Beyond The published results, the goal of these scholarly studies is always to assist labs enhance their dimension techniques, so we anticipate that dimension persistence between labs will enhance even as we conduct extra rounds of studies.

CLR: Is it possible to share probably the most interesting or story that is challenging has happened to you since you began the study?

NIST: The second exercise of CannaQAP is currently open for participants to sign up. The exercise that is first regarding the dimensions of cannabinoids in 2 hemp oils, even though the 2nd workout is targeted on the dimensions of cannabinoids, dampness, and toxic elements in hemp (THC < 0.3 percent) and cannabis (THC > 0.3 %) examples. The delivery for the hemp samples had been direct without any considerations that are legal NIST assured all samples were below 0.3 % THC.

However, the inclusion of marijuana samples in exercise #2 brought its set that is own of when it comes to following appropriate protocols and documents to give these examples domestically and internationally.

These examples fill an gap that is important providing QC materials that laboratories can have the utmost confidence in.

CLR: Main reason for this study? What( impact that is*)positive this research have actually? NIST:

CannaQAP was created to greatly help Forensic and Cannabis assessment laboratories indicate and improve dimension comparability and/or competence. A QAP is similar to a proficiency assessment scheme but with no pass/fail grade. All outcomes from QAP studies are made and peer-reviewed publicly available as published NIST Internal Reports (IRs). The results will be anonymized so that readers will be able to see the amount of variation between labs but not how any lab that is specific (labs will understand their performance needless to say).

In addition to labs that are helping and improve their measurement capabilities, this study will also help NIST design and characterize

Cannabis reference materials. NIST is currently working on developing a hemp 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 in

in their laboratory.

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


NIST is operating comparable programs ( for three years. These programs concentrate on accurately calculating other botanicals, meals, wellness markers in bloodstream tests, ecological contaminants, yet 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 hemp 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 in regards to the research?


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 are feeling may be the really main, and just why?


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 authorities utilizing the tools they should enforce regulations fairly, enable consumers to savor their appropriate services and products properly, and offer the development of business in this sector that is importantCLR: What still needs improvement? What ideas or actions need to come to fruition, in regards to NIST Study?


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 continues to be into 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 add prospective harmful contaminants, including toxic elements, pesticides, mycotoxins, microbiological contaminants, etc.

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

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