Our Hemp Testing Laboratory Provides Certainty of THC Results

October 9, 2020

Written By

Sue Cielinski

A hemp testing laboratory is required to calculate the uncertainty in measurement of THC. The experience of KJ Scientific Independent Testing Labs ensures accurate and confident results.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) mandates the 0.3 percent allowable amount of the cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in hemp. According to USDA’s testing guidelines, licensed hemp producers must use a third-party hemp testing laboratory. Hemp testing labs determine whether the amounts of THC in the hemp plant are within acceptable levels. In general, they calculate total THC by adding together the amounts of both THC and THCA (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) (THCA), a precursor to THC.

How to Measure THC

A hemp testing laboratory uses gas chromatography (GC) and/or high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) instruments to quantify the total THC (or potency) in the hemp plant.

Largely, GC operates faster and simpler than HPLC. Some hemp testing labs therefore use GC due to its speed of analysis. HPLC, on the other hand, is more diverse measuring a variety of cannabinoids. Therefore HPLC is often the preferred choice for potency testing.

GC works by heating the hemp sample mimicking smoking of the material. Heat converts the THCA to THC. As a result, GC does not directly detect THCA. In contrast, HPLC uses ultraviolet light to identify both THCA and THC. For that reason, HPLC determines potency based on the total of THC and THCA.

KJ Scientific Independent Testing Labs offers mainly HPLC and can provide you fast results (same day), in 24 hours, or within 48-72 hours. KJ Scientific works with you individually to tailor your studies to meet your specific needs.

Knowing Uncertainty Matters

It is common belief that uncertainty is a bad thing. That it suggests a weakness, lack of enough data or ineffective research approach. In reality, it tells us how believable and how reasonable those beliefs are.

Overall, scientific uncertainty means there is a range of possible values within which the true value of the measurement lies. With data, unlike opinions or feelings, we can calculate how certain we are. Without an indication of how confident you are in a number it is meaningless. The number becomes meaningful given context of that value’s possible range or extent.

When a hemp testing laboratory calculates the value of THC (with a range of possible values), it gives its difference with respect to other values. Though they may be very small, these differences can then be compared to show that a tiny difference exists. The error surrounding the THC value provides evidence that experimental conditions affect the actual measurement made. This known uncertainty or confidence interval of a number also provides full disclosure and promotes trust.

Recipe for Hemp Testing

The USDA requires hemp testing labs to use appropriate methods/standards for the range of uncertainty of THC potency. This includes providing an upper and lower boundary of likely values of THC. The lab is also expected to assign a percent of confidence to fall within those limits.

Similar to a chef, when measuring levels of THC, a hemp testing lab technician closely follows a recipe. A recipe calls for specified measurements of ingredients (cup, teaspoon, ounces, grams etc.) to bring about a desired taste and texture of the dish. But whether a cook carefully levels the measurement, uses brands of a different strength and flavor, or uses fresh or stale ingredients is the confidence interval of the dish.

Scientific uncertainty accounts for the uncontrolled effects caused by both the skill of the lab technician and limitation of the measuring instruments. The experimental measurement of uncertainty essentially quantifies what is left over once you correct for those errors. The hemp testing laboratory adds up all the sources of uncertainty. The lab then calculates the confidence interval (i.e., 95% confidence) that the amount of THC measured in the hemp sample is within the THC threshold (0.3% ).

Quality Assurance

Much like skills necessary for a successful dish, KJ Scientific Independent Testing Labs has the technical expertise and experience to reduce the uncertainty for precise measurement of THC. KJ Scientific has proven capability to examine different chemicals and document all the steps for high-quality assurance most applicable to hemp testing. We have working knowledge of cannabinoids, testing for terpenes and pesticides for environmental risk assessment.

KJ Scientific’s chemical expertise stands above and beyond most hemp testing laboratories. We have proficiency for accuracy, maintaining human health and environmental safety and federal/state regulation. We are already expert in related toxicological studies and lead in validation of international chemical technology. For example, KJ Scientific is one of 7 laboratories in the world that took part in the validation of using fish liver cells to test for metabolism of chemicals. The chemicals we tested (pesticides, fragrance materials, PAHs, and ingredients in consumer goods/personal care products) may all pose health or environmental risk to humans or wildlife.

ISO Certification

KJ Scientific Independent Testing Labs is nationally ISO/IEC 17025 accredited and registered Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) lab. Although hemp testing laboratories are not required by some regulatory agencies to be ISO accredited, we are. This means our personnel are technically trained in laboratory protocols. We follow strict requirements of procedures, documentation, handling and analyses of hemp compounds. In turn, this level of quality assurance assigned to us provides you with added customer confidence. We guarantee our clients that uncertainty in test results are minimized increasing the accuracy of data produced in our labs.

KJ Scientific Independent Testing Labs can help you achieve customized and trustworthy hemp testing results. Please contact us to request our hemp testing services to meet your needs.

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