The popularity of CBD products has been on the rise following a federal move to legalize hemp. In an effort to regulate the sale of hemp-derived products in the United States, the government legalized CBD derived from hemp that contains no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight. Although hemp-derived CBD is now federally legal, many of these commercially-available products contain trace amounts of THC above the federal legal limit. This issue is prompting state and city officials to adopt their own laws on how to define and regulate the legal use, prescription, or sale of these products.
For the states that have legalized CBD, one of the challenges facing legal authorities is the ability to rapidly adapt and implement tests capable of detecting traces of THC in hemp-derived products. This is particularly critical for law enforcement personnel testing seized products. Field tests currently used are not able to differentiate between the presence of THC and CBD, resulting in legal headaches for CBD users and legal authorities alike. Furthermore, many government or state-run forensic laboratories have not yet developed methods capable of measuring the exact amount of THC in hemp-derived products. As a result, there is an urgent need to develop new forensic tools able to (i) distinguish between the two cannabinoids CBD and THC, and (ii) quantify the amount of THC present in alleged hemp-derived products.
To address this issue, SCIEX recently developed a comprehensive workflow focusing on the detection and quantitation of 11 cannabinoids in cannabis and hemp products using LC-UV in tandem with a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer. In this method, rapid cannabis and hemp potency testing is demonstrated in a single analytical run. This workflow provides the ability to identify and quantify cannabinoids including CBD and THC present in samples seized by legal authorities. This newly developed test will enable government or state-run forensic laboratories to accurately detect and quantify cannabinoids present hemp-derived products while greatly reducing the rate of false positives for THC.