Testing for pesticides in cannabis and hemp

Mar 25, 2022 | Blogs, Cannabis, Food / Beverage, Food and Beverage | 0 comments

Read time: 2 minutes

As we all know pesticide and mycotoxin testing regulations differ in each state. The applicable pesticides used can differ by crop (hemp vs. cannabis) and pesticide effectiveness on cannabis and hemp in the first place is currently in doubt. Inside the laboratory, different extraction methods can lead to different recoveries and different instrumentation will have different detection limits.

In a recent talk during Technology Networks ‘The Science of Cannabis Cultivation 2021 Online Symposium’, our customer Stephen Goldman, Kaycha Labs covered how cultivators and laboratories can reliably mitigate the risk of toxin compounds in their products to ensure regulatory compliance and robust methodology. Here, Stephen answers questions submitted during the session:

  1. Is there a difference when testing for contaminants in cannabis vs hemp? Yes, the difference in cannabinoids leads to differing interferences and the different techniques used to manufacture both products can lead to different contaminants being introduced. The same can be said for different cannabis chemovars, where those high in THC, CBD, CBC, CBG, etc will yield different interference profiles that will need to be addressed as part of your contaminant
  2. Why is cannabis such a tricky matrix to work with? It has hundreds of molecules capable of interfering, but the largest reason is the product diversity is so large. Cannabis is being put into everything. This diversity of products presents a big challenge for analytical chemists. Not only may unique sample preparations be required, but the lack of certified reference materials for this array of products makes it difficult to demonstrate the accuracy of a given test method.
  3. How do we get all testing labs on the same page in terms of testing equipment and procedures?  We need standardization. Federal standardization is the only thing that can accomplish this. Although, even then, it is unlikely that we would see standardization on testing equipment.  Based on other consensus and/or regulatory testing methods, they would likely prescribe a sample preparation regime and then outline method performance benchmarks (e.g., accuracy, precision, quantitative range, etc.) that must be met.

Discover the LC-MS/MS solution for your pesticide testing in cannabis. Discover now >

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Matt is the Market Development Manager for the Cannabis, Food and Environmental markets in the Americas at SCIEX. Matt brings 15 years of LC-MS experience to this role, spanning the pharmaceutical, environmental, food and cannabis industries. Matt loves talking about all things mass spectrometry, so reach out if you have any questions at matt.noestheden@sciex.com.

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