Tag Archives: weed

Cannabinoid testing and labelling is essential for consumer protection

In a jurisdiction where cannabis is prohibited by law there is little if any protection for consumers of cannabis or cannabis extracts. To protect people from contaminated cannabis products, quality control and the laboratory testing of cannabis and cannabinoid preparations is essential.

In an uncontrolled, unregulated market it is very common to find cannabis contaminated with pesticides, heavy metals, toxins and microorganisms. It is also quite common to find products containing mould spores, bacteria and fungus, these contaminants can have a detrimental effect on health, which can be compounded if people are using cannabis for medicinal purposes and they have a compromised immune system.

Producers of pharmaceuticals, food and drink products are strictly regulated and they are required to submit to third-party testing to verify the safety of their products, unfortunately, there is no basic level of safety or quality control under a decriminalised or prohibitive (cannabis) system.

As well as testing for contaminants the potency of cannabis products is also important to cannabis consumers. To protect the consumer and the general public a testing and labelling scheme for cannabis and cannabinoid preparations is required, imagine the chaos if alcohol was not tested and labelled accordingly, the effects of drinking a glass of vodka are very different to drinking a glass of beer.

As the cannabis market develops and matures so will the demand for cannabis concentrates and cannabis extractions.

Cannabinoids are extracted from cannabis plant material by the use of a solvent, butane, hexane, isopropyl alcohol and ethanol are commonly used to produce cannabis concentrates, however, unless the products are tested for solvent residues some of the solvent used in the extraction process can remain in the final product and some of these residues can be detrimental to health.

Cannabis cultivators and processors should have access to the following tests:

  • Microbiological test – testing for moulds, bacteria and fungi
  • Potency testing of cannabis flowers (cannabinoid profile)
  • Solvent residue testing
  • And ideally, terpenoid testing

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In Spain Bud Buddies have access to testing facilities, they use HPLC testing for all their cannabinoid extracts

All preparations are labelled.

 

 

 

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This 1:1 extraction contains 39.5% THC and 37.8% CBD, total cannabinoid content 80.3%

The HPLC test shows that the extraction is fully decarboxylated and based on these results preparations with standardized doses can be produced.

Testing standards

There are two main types of testing, Gas Chromatography (GC) and High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC).

Gas chromatography (GC) is a common type of chromatography used in analytical chemistry for analysing compounds that can be vaporized without decomposition. Typically, GC analysis is used to determine the purity of a substance, samples are converted to a gas and the gas is then analysed.

High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is another process used in analytical chemistry to separate, identify, and quantify the individual components in a mixture of compound, HPLC analysis is more suited to the testing of cannabis extractions and preparations than the plant material itself.

Cannabinoid Testing

Cannabinoids produced by the plant are in their natural acid state and to be bioavailable they require transforming from their acid form to a neutral form, this is achieved by the application of heat (or UV light), this process is called decarboxylation. For example, to make THC-acid effective it has to be converted from THC-a to THC, when you inhale cannabis via smoking or vaporisation THC-a is converted (by heat) from THC-a to THC.

However, if THC-a is orally ingested the acidic cannabinoids will remain in their original state and bioavailability will be greatly reduced s THC-a has a low affinity for CB1 receptors.

HPLC analysis allows us to identify the major cannabinoids present in both their acid and neutral forms, GC testing converts cannabinoid acids into cannabinoids so therefore is unsuitable for the testing of orally administered cannabinoid preparations. As HPLC testing does not use heat it can be used to identify and quantify both the acidic and neutral cannabinoids in a sample and this is our preferred testing method. We would require HPLC analysis for cannabinoid extractions, preparations and other products such as medibles, edibles and topicals.

The decision to use GC or HPLC testing will depend on the type or form of the sample and its end purpose.

 Terpene Testing

Terpenes are the chemical substances responsible for the aroma of cannabis and many express their own medicinal properties, e.g. anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and neuroprotective effects.

Common terpenes present in cannabis varieties are α-Pinene, β-Pinene, limonene, myrcene, linalool, and β-caryophyllene.

Microbiological Testing

Mould and bacteria exist everywhere and while not all forms are harmful, some microorganisms such as E. coli can be very dangerous.

High levels of microorganisms can be avoided by following good hygiene practises during the cultivation, processing and storage stages.

In Spain in 2014 our colleagues at Fundación CANNA at Valencia University carried out a study in cooperation with 31 Cannabis Social Clubs (CSC’s), over 50 individual samples of cannabis were analysed. The aim of the study was to identify and determine the microorganisms present and they were present in 80% of the samples analysed.

Some of the potentially pathogenic microorganisms that can be found in Cannabis:

Aspergillus genus, spores occur naturally in the environment and they develop rapidly in environments with high humidity levels, they can lead to the production of mycotoxins (aflatoxins) which are highly carcinogenic substances.

Their presence can lead to Aspergillosis, ill people with a compromised immune system can struggle with this fungus and its presence is especially dangerous to people with immunosuppressive disorders.

Penicillium genus, many people are allergic to penicillin.

Enterobacteriaceae, are normally found in soil and faeces and their presence is generally indicative of poor hygiene measures, cultivating with poorly formulated organic fertilisers can also result in contamination. Two enterobacteriaceaes which can be present in cannabis are E.coli and salmonella.

The spores of fungi are often inhaled during smoking and although some of the spores are destroyed (via incineration) the ones not subject to the source of combustion can easily reach the lungs. Cannabis that has not been correctly dried, cured or stored provides an ideal medium for the development of fungi.

Labelling

Cannabis bud (flowers) should be labelled with the following (minimum) information:

bud-labelStrain, name of producer, batch number, THC, CBD and CBN content, net weight.

With access to such information a cannabis consumer can estimate their cannabinoid intake, e.g. if a consumer uses half a gram (500 mgs) of this Blueberry haze in a joint then they can calculate that their joint will contain 83.5 mgs of THC (16.7% x 500 mgs)

canna-choc-labelled

In addition to the information required for labelling bud (flowers), there will also be a requirement to inform on dose per serving for edibles and medibles.

This chocolate bar contains 80 mgs of THC and comprises of 8 squares of chocolate, therefore the amount of THC per serving (or square) is 10 mgs.

 

Cannamol is a sublingually applied preparation containing both THC & CBD produced in Spain.

cananmol-labelLabels inform on the total amount per vial of active ingredients (THC & CBD) and per drop.

 

cannamol-label1All products have a batch number, 1ml = 20 drops.

 

Labelling is redundant if the consumer does not understand the information

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There is also a need for a public education campaign to inform the public and cannabis consumers on how the information provided on the packaging should be interpreted.

In addition to educating the public on ‘safe practise’, labels should also carry prominent warnings regarding “Keep out of reach of children”

 

gummies

 

One of these Gummy Bears contains THC, but which one?

The one on the left contains 100 mgs of THC

 

 

imageCannabinoid testing kits are available:

Combining the straightforward diagnostic technique of thin-layer chromatography with specific thin-layers and developing fluid, the alpha-CAT test kit can identify six cannabinoids present in your plant material and their levels of concentration.

Each Regular Kit allows the user to conduct between 10 and 40 tests. This simple method enables anyone to expose the active cannabinoid profile in medicinal materials, regardless of your scientific understanding.   Order: Here

 

You could have oil in four months

You really could have 60 grams of Rick Simpson Oil in under four months and you can do it all with just two sites

500 grams from a 4′ x 4′ (1m x 1m) tent in 14 weeks

www.uk420.com will teach you how to grow a pound (400 grams) of bud in under 4 months

Bud Buddies Oil in the final stages of evaporation

www.phoenixtears.ca will show you how to make the oil

If people believe that this oil is their last chance of life then is the legality of making your own oil really an issue?

New Evidence that THC Is Effective Against Cancer and Other Diseases

August 22, 2012

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A Harvard study released on April 17, 2007 shows that the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread!

Researchers at Harvard tested the chemical THC in both lab and mouse studies.   They say this is the first set of experiments to show that the compound, THC actually activates naturally produced receptors to fight off lung cancer.   The researchers suggest that THC or other designer agents that activate these receptors might be used in a targeted fashion to treat lung cancer.

The only clinical trial testing THC as a treatment against cancer growth was a recently completed British pilot study.   For three weeks, researchers injected standard doses of THC into mice that had been implanted with human lung cancer cells, and found that tumors were reduced in size and weight by about 50 percent in treated animals compared to a control group.   There was also about a 60 percent reduction in cancer lesions on the lungs in these mice as well as a significant reduction in protein markers associated with cancer progression.

 THC (marijuana) helps cure cancer says Harvard study.

A biochemist tells the story of how he cured himself of prostate cancer using cannabis oil.   Skip over the introduction if you want to get straight to the biochemist’s testimony, which begins about a third of the way into the video.

A Canadian activist and maker of cannabis oil tells how the oil he gives away has cured others of a variety of diseases including cancer, diabetes, migraine headaches and heart disease.   This video includes interviews with those who have used this oil successfully.   It also tells how he was then convicted of distributing an illegal drug.

 Watch video

CBC Television’s THE NATURE OF THINGS with David Suzuki examines the medicinal uses of marijuana.   There is a growing number of people who regard marijuana (cannabis) as a benign medicine, offering relief to people suffering from a variety of illnesses, including epilepsy, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and glaucoma as well as lessening the side effects of medications and treatments given to cancer and HIV patients.

People who use marijuana to alleviate their suffering, live with the added anxiety of possible arrest, jail and forfeiture of property.   They all say it’s worth the risk.   This program tells the stories of those who have shown courage in providing marijuana to the sick and suffering as well as the stories of people whose lives have been transformed by its medicinal properties.

This program travels to India where marijuana is openly cultivated and used in medicine, rituals and recreationally, as it has been for thousands of years with little indication of its supposed damaging effects.   Marijuana came to the West in the mid-1800s, and was commonly used as a folk medicine.   In the United States of the 1930s, it became identified with the corrupting influence of the jazz culture and with Mexican and Chinese immigrants.   From then on, it was labeled as a Schedule 1 dangerous drug.

A movie called Reefer Madness 2 introduces audiences to the personal stories of two women who provide marijuana to the sick.   Valerie Corral of California established the Women’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana ( WAMM ) and supplies over 200 people in the Santa Cruz area.   Vancouver’s Hilary Black runs The Compassionate Club.   She talks about her dealings with sufferers, the police and the growers she relies on for supplies.

Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School and the author of Forbidden Medicine, recounts how a personal experience affecting his own family reinforced his determination to try and set the record straight about the marijuana use and cancer patients.

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“Cannabinoids Kill Cancer Cells”

In June the National Cancer Institute added text to its online resource  “Cannabis and Cannabinoids” highlighting the role of herbal cannabinoids in  killing cancer cells (apoptosis). Authors of The Cannabis Papers: a citizen’s  guide to cannabinoids, cite the 2003 US Cannabinoid Patent and 37 years of US  evidence showing how the Cannabinoid System kills cancer.

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) August 17, 2012

In June the National Cancer Institute added text to its online resource  “Cannabis and Cannabinoids”  highlighting the role of herbal cannabinoids in  killing cancer cells (apoptosis).

“We’ve known for quite some time the Cannabinoid System (CS) fights cancer,” noted Steve Young, member of Publius and author of Maximizing Harm: Winners and  Losers in the Drug War (2000). “We’re happy to see NCI publicize this profound  information 37 years after NCI first noted the anticancer properties of cannabis  and the CS.”

In 1975 NCI published research on the “Antineoplastic (anticancer) activity of cannabinoids.”  Continuing in 2012, the NCI updates further establish the anticancer mechanisms  of the CS; revised text states, “cannabinoids may cause antitumor effects by  various mechanisms, including induction of cell death, inhibition of cell  growth, and inhibition of tumor angiogenesis invasion and metastasis” (references 9-12).

“Our government patented cannabinoids in 2003. The ensuing years have seen  voluminous research published by groups such as the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines and the International Cannabinoid Research Society.” Said Young, “In  writing our book The Cannabis Papers we regularly consulted PubMed for the  newest cancer fighting cannabinoid science; that resource is vast.”

The new updates publicized by NCI show how cannabinoids specifically fight  breast (references 16-17), colon (reference 18) and lung cancers (references 12  and 19).

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Medical cannabis relaxes patients

For many years, the purpose and uses for medical marijuana, or cannabis, continues to strike a concern for citizens throughout the United States.

“Medical marijuana helps with pain for cancer or anxiety, it helps relax you,” said New Mexico Medical Cannabis Patients Alliance member and volunteer Larry Brooks. “Depending on the condition, it helps in various ways.”

According to http://www.medicalmarijuana.com, medical marijuana is used as a natural treatment for medical conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, insomnia, arthritis, back pain and depression.

The process of receiving medical marijuana starts with a patient who has a medical condition that qualifies who is then responsible for filling out an application given to a doctor. The doctor then signs an approval for the application, and submits it to the New Mexico Department of Health.

Once the application is approved, the patient receives a card. The patient needs identification and the card to purchase the medical marijuana from producers who are marijuana growers. The marijuana is available in various forms from liquids to concentrates, oils and edibles, Brooks said. The producers have a mandatory testing for the product, to make sure it is a good quality medicine, he said.

The patient can’t exceed their intake of the 150 limit use of medical marijuana plants for their medical condition, Brooks said. If the patient wanted to grow their own medical marijuana, with limitations and restrictions, they would have to fill out another application, which needs approval by the New Mexico Department of Health. If approved, the patient will receive a license that will cost as much as nothing to $30, depending on the patient’s income, Brooks said.

According to Brooks, the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Patients Alliance is a non-profit patient-centric organization dedicated to providing New Mexican residents an open forum for cannabis information therapy. Brooks has been in the organization for two months, along with two other members who started the non-profit alliance for prospective patients in Bernalillo County six months ago.

“We have an established, successful program,” Brooks said.

Since the non-profit organization was formed, there are a total of 210 members, he said. The goal of the organization is to educate and offer resources for its members about medical marijuana and its use, Brooks said.

Currently meetings are held once a month in Albuquerque where they meet in a facility and have guest speakers and a forum with general discussions. The meetings also inform patients about services available for them, such as doctor referrals.

It’s an educational and social organization, he said.

According to Brooks, there are 8,900 registered medical marijuana members in New Mexico. The central Albuquerque organization is in an alliance with the extended neighbors of Farmington, Grants and Gallup, and Brooks is currently working on establishing a medical marijuana organization in Torrance County, he said. There are 17 legal medical marijuana states — Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, D.C. and Washington. For more information about New Mexico Medical Cannabis Patients Alliance go to the website at http://www.nm-mcpa.org or contact Larry Brooks 505-507-8665.

“We are involved to improve medicine and the program, It’s nothing to be ashamed about,” Brooks said.

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