Is it Hemp? An Analytical Strategy To Make Sure It Is [Agilent]Lisa Malette
Hemp must be legally differentiated from marijuana. Herein, we discuss an orthogonal analytical strategy for screening and putative quantification of tetrahydrocannabinol in hemp, followed by speciation and quantitative confirmation.
The Agriculture Improvement Act, also known as the Farm Bill was signed into law in December 2018. A major provision in the law legalizes hemp as an industrial crop. The United States Federal Register defines industrial hemp as any part or derivative (including seeds) of the plant Cannabis sativa L. with a dry weight concentration of “tetrahydrocannabinols” not greater than 0.3% by dry weight of the plant material. Tetrahydrocannabinols specifically refers to salts and isomers of ∆9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Any hemp plant material that exceeds this threshold is defined as marijuana and considered an illegal Schedule I narcotic.
Analytically, cannabinoid quantitation is very commonly performed via high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) using ultraviolet (UV) detectors. These assays generally identify and quantify THC, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and other cannabinoids where commercially available reference standards are available. With respect to hemp, the purpose of cannabinoid quantitation for hemp plants or products is to assure they contain less than 0.3% (wt/wt) THC and therefore comply with federal law. However, the certification or rejection of a crop as hemp will most certainly have forensic implications and as such, the resulting data must be legally defensible. Typically, forensic data incorporates confirmation via two orthogonal analytical methodologies and very often, mass spectrometry for speciation and quantification.
To comply with U.S. Federal law and assure laboratory testing results can stand up to forensic inquiries, we suggest screening all samples via HPLC-UV followed by confirmation of suspect samples by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to assure the total THC concentration is less than 0.3% by weight. This approach has a three-fold benefit: 1) provides for orthogonal data collection; 2) in GC-MS methodologies, THCA fully decarboxylates to THC thus providing a single analytical response for total THC; and 3) mass spectrometry is a well-defined legally defensible data format.
Three (3) Detailed Learning Objectives: After having attended this presentation, one will
a) Understand the legal definition of hemp and its differentiation from marijuana;
b) Learn about viable analytical testing methodologies for hemp;
c) Understand the challenges laboratories may encounter with respect to compliance with federal laws concerning hemp
For Forensic Use
Price: Funding for this course has been provided by Agilent Technologies
Course Type: Live Presentation
Length: Approximately 60 minutes
Audience: Forensic Practitioners
Course Accreditation: Certificate of Attendance
Duration: 1 hour(s)
Speaker: Anthony Macherone, Ph.D. Sr. Scientist, Agilent Technologies