NIST has developed an integrated measurement services program for forensic and cannabis (hemp and marijuana) laboratories to help ensure the quality of routine analysis of cannabis plant and cannabis-containing commercial products. The tools developed by this program help support the development of fit-for-purpose analytical methodologies for measuring cannabinoids (e.g., Δ9-THC, CBD), toxic elements (e.g., As, Cd, Hg, Pb), moisture, pesticides, mycotoxins, and terpenes. The characterization of the chemical composition of these products often presents a significant challenge to the analyst. Issues of extraction methodology and efficiency, sample complexity, detection specificity and sensitivity, choice of internal standards, and even the availability of authentic reference standards must be addressed individually for each type of material. Research topics include (1) development of chromatographic separations (e.g., liquid, gas, supercritical fluid; single or multi-dimensional) of plant constituents, with absorbance, fluorescence, electrochemical, and/or mass spectrometric (MS) detection for the quantitative analysis of compounds of interest, (2) evaluation of sample extraction, fractionation/cleanup, derivatization, and hydrolysis processes, (3) use of spectroscopic techniques such as nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy for measuring cannabinoids in cannabis samples (4) application of multidimensional and/or multiple independent analytical methods leading to value assignment of reference materials, and (5) development of chemical fingerprints for characterization of commercial product authenticity or adulteration. The goal of NIST’s ongoing effort with cannabis products is to provide reference materials and standards for use by cannabis plant suppliers, product manufacturers, healthcare researchers, forensic laboratories, and other measurement communities that will lead to improved quality of cannabis products, increase understanding of bioavailability/bioactivity, and ultimately reduce public health risks that could potentially be associated with the use of these products.
Cannabis; Pesticides; Gas chromatography; Liquid Chromatography; Mass Spectrometry;