Top 5 Analytical Challenges for Pesticides in Cannabis

Aug 27, 2019 | Blogs, Food / Beverage | 0 comments

Now that cannabis is legalized in a majority of the United States and Canada, new regulations to help protect consumers lead us to an important question: What are they getting? Here, we’ll help provide the answer.

Image source: Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

Some of the main goals behind cannabis regulation are to ensure that consumers know what’s in their cannabis and that the products aren’t contaminated with things like harmful pesticides. One evaluation of the most readily available CBD products in the US (from online retailers) showed only 31% were accurately labeled for CBD concentration. The study highlighted the need for manufacturing and testing standards and general oversight of cannabis products. 

State testing regulations for pesticides in cannabis products are inconsistent. For example, California implemented mandatory testing shortly after legalization in early 2018, but Washington has prohibited the use of certain pesticides and doesn’t require any testing. There are all sorts of reasons why cannabis can become contaminated with pesticides, but the only way to know for sure is to test. In California, 3,373 batches of cannabis products failed safety testing between July 1 and November 30, 2018.  Of those failures, 700 rejections were because of pesticides. 

While the enforcement of mandatory pesticide testing remains a challenge for some, there are also analytical challenges that cannabis testing labs need to overcome.

Cannabis Analysis That’s Up to the Challenge
When it comes to making your lab operations more efficient and productive, you need a high-performance instrument that’s tough enough to handle routine cannabis testing and to meet the needs of ongoing regulatory changes. You need an LC-MS/MS solution that can stand up to these common testing challenges:

  1. A “dirty” matrix
  2. Measuring trace-level contaminants
  3. Method development
  4. Application support
  5. Training

SCIEX offers world-class solutions designed to simplify your workflows and get you operational as quickly as possible. Explore the incredibly sensitive SCIEX Triple Quad™ 6500+ or QTRAP® 6500+ system featuring advanced SCIEX technology, combined with our vMethod™ and our expert application support and training.

Download the Top 5 Pesticides Challenges in Cannabis to find out how SCIEX can make your laboratory operations easier and more productive.


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I play an active role in supporting cannabis (marijuana and hemp) applications at SCIEX. I have more than 30 years of experience owning and operating contract labs in the environmental and bioanalytical markets. I've been part of the SCIEX family since 2011. I started as a field application chemist, and today I'm a market development manager for the North America team. Helping customers like you with your analytical challenges and educating the market on the many possibilities of LC-MS/MS systems, is my passion.


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