What is Cannabis Potency Testing?

While most may think of potency testing for cannabis as only including the determination of the cannabinoid content, this type of testing actually includes looking at other compounds within the sample as well. For cannabis products, potency testing is generally broken down into the cannabinoid and terpene content, however more recently, flavonoid content is gaining popularity in the cannabis potency testing space. At Modern Canna, we are able to analyze cannabis samples for all three (3) components, thus providing operators with the most accurate information possible regarding the potency of their cannabis or hemp products.

What are Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Flavonoids?

Cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are the primary components of cannabis and hemp products. These compounds provide the products with their smell, flavor, and most importantly, their medicinal properties. Cannabinoids are the primary class of compounds in cannabis that lead to the psychoactive effects that occur when using the product. The main two cannabinoids that most people are familiar with are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), however, there are many more cannabinoids that exist in cannabis and hemp. Terpenes are aromatic compounds that provide cannabis and hemp with its distinct smell. These compounds include multiple different classes of terpenes that exist at varying levels in the products. Flavonoids, a lesser known component of cannabis and hemp, provide the plant with its unique color and serve as a protection against predators. Additionally, these compounds are believed to have many medicinal properties, however, they are extensively understudied due to the primary focus being on cannabinoids and terpenes.

What is Cannabinoid Testing?

When looking to determine the total concentration of cannabinoids in a specific product, the laboratory must identify and quantify the compounds of interest that exist in a sample. In order to do this, the laboratory uses a solvent to extract the cannabinoid components from a sample prior to measuring those analytes of interest using specific instrumentation. Currently, Modern Canna utilizes high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to determine the cannabinoid content present in a cannabis or hemp sample. This technology allows the laboratory to accurately separate the cannabinoids of interest in a sample, so that they may be quantified properly.

To learn more about cannabinoids, their therapeutic attributes, and how the testing process works, please visit Cannabinoid Testing.Cannabinoid Testing Equipment

What is Terpene Testing?

When looking to determine the profile of terpenes that exist in a cannabis or hemp product, the laboratory must successfully identify the analytes of interest within a specific sample. To do this, the laboratory uses a solvent extraction to isolate the terpenes. Once isolated, our team at Modern Canna utilizes gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to identify and quantify the terpenes that are present in the cannabis or hemp sample. Since terpenes are semi-volatile compounds that require some amount of heat to fully ionize, this technology is the most favorable technique for determining the terpene profile within a sample. Additionally, Modern Canna uses cutting-edge instrumentation that allows for the laboratory to utilize backflush technology that will prevent cross contamination and carryover, leading to the most accurate data possible.

To learn more about terpenes, their medicinal benefits, and how the testing process works, please visit Terpene Testing.

What is Flavonoid Testing?

When looking to determine what flavonoids are present in a cannabis or hemp sample and at what concentration, the laboratory must successfully identify the compounds before comparing the instrument response against a calibration standard. By doing this, the exact concentration of the analytes present in the sample can be quantified. For flavonoid testing, Modern Canna uses a solvent to extract and separate the flavonoids from a sample prior to analyzing the extract using liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). By using this technology, the laboratory can ensure that the identification of the flavonoids is accurate based on their distinct fingerprint.

To learn more about flavonoids, the research that has been conducted on cannabis specific flavonoids, and how the testing process works, please visit Flavonoid Testing. Flavonoid Testing Process And Equipment

Why is Cannabis Potency Testing Important?

In medicinal markets where dosing is an imperative part of cannabis consumption, accurate potency testing is essential for understanding how a patient will be impacted when consuming cannabis products. Without accurate potency testing, a consumer will not have the necessary information to make an informed decision about what products they should or should not consume to properly treat their medical needs. Additionally, because potency testing can include the cannabinoid, terpene, and flavonoid profile, this testing can help researchers better understand how the entourage effect works.

Industry Issues with Cannabis Potency Testing

Recently, the accuracy of potency testing has been called into question. This has resulted from a variety of factors, including laboratories competing to obtain business and inexperienced laboratories entering the cannabis testing market. In turn, these issues have led to the inflation of cannabinoid and terpene content within cannabis samples. These inflation issues are ones that plague the industry as a whole and can lead to a lack of trust between the producers, laboratories, and consumers. At Modern Canna, we pride ourselves in our analytical expertise, which includes decades of experience in chemical and microbiological testing. This experience provides us with the knowledge necessary to provide analytical data that is accurate, reproducible, and legally defensible.