About half of the cannabis testing market uses High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), popular for the effectiveness and speed with which it can show results. Since the method doesn’t require heating and produces more accuracy than gas chromatography, most labs prefer it to test for potency of THC and CBD.
For other tests that look for pesticides and residual solvents, gas chromatography is more common as it detects traces of volatile compounds accurately. The equipment used for cannabis testing does not need to be specialized, so general labs with HPLC equipment can fulfill tests. Read on to learn how your HPLC certification could lead to a career in the cannabis industry.
Preparing Cannabis for Analysis with an HPLC Certification
Traditionally, cannabis test samples were prepared using bead beating, a technique that grinds and agitates samples using balls or beads. This homogenizes the materials so that extracting a sample will not alter the molecular structure.
With polypropylene microplates, this grinding force can cause cracks and leaks, leading to cross-contamination. Plant genomics plates are engineered to solve this and withstand bead beating without cross-contamination. They feature reinforced walls, supporting ribs, and polypropylene that is tested for leachates – meaning that it cannot contaminate the plant matter.
HPLC training prepares you to work with test methods in a lab where precise results are needed. When testing for THC and CBD, accuracy is particularly important. The potency of these cannabinoids is key for regulations and function. This is also what differentiates medicinal and recreational cannabis from one another.
The Importance of Testing with HPLC Training in a Growing Cannabis Industry
Not only is the cannabis industry poised for growth, but it’s an industry that demands rigorous, accurate testing. This means that it might be a promising path you could put your training towards. The cannabis industry is projected to grow to a $47.3 billion industry in North America by 2027.
Rigorous testing of cannabis prevents contaminants from entering products that will be consumed. In addition, three particular cannabinoids are of most concern for testing. These include THC, CBD, and CBN. When cannabis has deteriorated, caused either by aging or by bad storage conditions, it will be indicated by CBN. Levels of THC and CBD are important to determine if they are appropriate for medicinal or recreational products and whether they fit potency regulations.
Looking for Pesticides using High Performance Liquid Chromatography
Pesticides can be particularly harmful to medical cannabis patients who have compromised immune systems. As a substance that can be inhaled, cannabis can be very toxic if pesticides contaminate it. While gas chromatography (GC) is a common way to test for these, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is also used, depending on the purpose of the testing.
Both GC and HPLC are combined with mass spectrometry, or MS. This is a sensitive and definitive technique that measures the ratio of mass to charge in ions. Liquid chromatography generally combines with MS when looking at pesticides for quality control, while gas is generally used when looking for volatile pesticides and other harmful residuals.
Are you interested in getting your HPLC certification?
Contact TIPT for more information.