Two organizations, the American Standards of Testing Methods International (ASTM) and the AOAC International (Association of Official Analytical Collaboration) work to standardize methods. They bring together interested stakeholders to develop voluntary/consensus-based standards for testing and chemical analysis respectively.
More specifically, ASTM creates standards for industry collaborating with a broad range of industries, governments, academia, trade groups, and consumers. ASTM develops standard methods for testing, practices, product accreditation/certification and other purposes.
New industries like cannabis especially go to ASTM looking to standardize their technologies for customer satisfaction and company competition. Once a testing laboratory i.e., a CBD testing laboratory adopts an ASTM method it adds a layer of defensibility and traceability to the work.
Similarly, AOAC International brings organizations and experts together to generate standardized methods for chemical analysis methods for food safety and public health. AOAC evaluates products like foods and beverages, dietary supplements i.e., cannabidiol (CBD) products, fertilizers, animal feeds, and veterinary drugs.
Voluntary international standards known as Standard Method Performance Requirements (SMPRs) are created by AOAC. SMPRs are agreed, repeatable ways of doing something. A SMPR is a published document containing a technical specification or criteria to be used consistently as a definition, guideline or rule. However, AOAC cannot and does not impose the use of SMPRs. Users are free to use SMPRs as they see fit. Largely, SMPRs are developed by stakeholders to use before instituting government regulations.
In states that have legalized cannabis, state and applicable federal regulation require verification of total amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD. Accordingly, producers, extractors, and processors in those states need to analyze their oils, tinctures, concentrates, edibles, and beverages for total cannabinoid content or potency. A third-party THC/CBD testing laboratory is charged to determine total THC and CBD content and quantify other cannabinoids that may be present.
Without use of standardized testing methods for CBD potency, results are not meaningful. You can send a CBD product to three different CBD testing laboratories and get three different answers. To make an informed decision about your product you deserve reliable results. If a standard method is used by a CBD testing laboratory the accuracy of the measurement can be documented across testing labs. KJ Scientific Independent Testing Labs, a subsidiary of KJ Scientific, understands the science behind this. We know the reasons for these differences when testing and evaluating your CBD products.
Recently, the AOAC and ASTM began releasing some standard methods for cannabis products and processes. The AOAC created the Cannabis Analytical Science Program (CASP) to develop SMPRs for cannabis and hemp. The CASP also addresses public safety issues such as chemical contaminants, pathogens and residual solvents. CASP develops analytical tools for accurate measurement of CBD in hemp plants and derived ingredients, dietary supplements and pet foods.
In 2019, the CASP developed a specific SMPR how to analyze and calculate cannabinoids (including total THC and CBD) in hemp. The SMPR quantifies individual cannabinoids in dried plant materials. The total THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) is determined by adding the amounts of delta-9-THC and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) found regardless of how it is measured. Subsequently, this SMPR became the new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) standard for THC testing laboratories to calculate THC for the hemp production program.
The USDA does not address all possible testing irregularities in their federal standard for total THC. For example, the standard does not specify what individual parts of the plant should be sampled. Depending on what plant parts (flower, stems, leaves, seeds) you put in the test sample influences total THC.
USDA hemp sampling guidelines do require that testing laboratories take a clipping of the hemp plant below the flower or bud from the top third of the plant. The USDA also specifies the number of clipping samples based on acreage e.g., a lot that is 1 acre requires 1 clipping/a lot that is 10 acres requires 10 clippings.
State standards for sampling hemp may also be different. For example, Texas follows much of USDA’s regulations for sampling though a lot of 1-5 acres requires 5 clippings. KJ Scientific Independent Testing Labs follows all testing procedures and regulations set forth by the USDA and Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA).
For the most part, variability found in total THC appears to be introduced by THC/CBD testing laboratories by a number of factors. Likely, the mix of plant parts in a sample, the processing technique/extraction procedures used and homogenization of the sample (also critical for CBD products) all affect the outcome.
Overall, the variability is introduced mostly due to the lack of standards in all the steps of sampling, sample preparation and analysis. KJ Scientific is fully aware of these discrepancies and knows how to appropriately homogenize your hemp and CBD samples to standardize your testing results.
Accurate testing can be achieved even if there is a lack of available standardization for THC/CBD testing. KJ Scientific Independent Testing Labs is an ISO 17025 certified lab. We work in the spirit of FDA’s Good Laboratory Practice Regulations (GLP). We use validated techniques for lab testing subject to federal evaluation and inspection. We follow the principles of ISO 17025 and GLP to ensure and promote safety, consistency, high quality, and reliability in laboratory testing.
Our experienced personnel and facilities follow stringent protocols in adherence with industry regulators according to ISO/IEC 17025 and the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP).
Our expertise in chemical testing, environmental toxicology and research also sets us above other testing laboratories. We are experts in rigorous protocols and advanced testing procedures. We follow the strictest standards in the country delivering accurate, trusted results for human health and safety every time.
When a THC/CBD testing laboratory provides accurate testing long-term lasting benefits are realized. High-quality testing therefore gives you a dependable product in best interest of the consumer.
KJ Scientific Independent Testing Labs can help you achieve customized and trustworthy CBD and hemp testing results. Please contact us to request our testing services to meet your needs.