With more states legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, an increased interest in cannabis quality, potency, and purity has emerged throughout the nation. Modern Canna offers a full range of analytical services, including cannabis potency testing, for the Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC’s) who are responsible for cultivating, processing, and distributing medicine in the state of Florida.
For many years, cannabis aficionados have regarded potency as the primary element that makes one strain more desirable than another. Of all the cannabinoids, THC (delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol) has the most significant influence on “potency” and is primarily responsible for the psychotropic effects produced by marijuana.
However, thanks to marijuana’s budding legitimacy as an effective medicinal treatment for a range of maladies and diseases, cannabinoids, like CBD (cannabidiol), have garnered more attention for their powerful anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and anti-anxiety properties. CBD potency levels are equally relevant when testing cannabis products such as extracts, edibles, oils, concentrates, tinctures, and flowers.
Emerging research suggests that cannabis plants are capable of producing several chemotypes (a plant’s inherent capacity to produce certain levels and varieties of chemical compounds). Some cannabis plants have naturally high CBD levels, others high in THC, and a third chemotype has a blend of CBD and THC. Because THC produces the active “mind-altering high” which has made marijuana so famous, breeders have purposely bred strains with higher concentrations of this cannabinoid. Although high-THC strains have many notable benefits, the industry is shifting toward strains that are balanced with other cannabinoids like CBN (cannabinol) and CBD, which can help to counteract the disorientation and memory lapses linked to THC-heavy strains.
How to measure THC potency
Whether you are a state-licensed distributor or a medical marijuana patient, it’s important to thoroughly understand the cannabinoid levels of the product you are selling or ingesting. For many consumers, it all comes down to personal preference and medicinal needs, as some people are seeking specific symptom relief. THC is renowned for its analgesic properties, as well as its ability to help alleviate stress disorders, insomnia, and nausea.
A THC potency test is extremely helpful for individuals who want to confirm the tetrahydrocannabinol content of their medicine. While environment, genetics, and selective breeding can enhance THC concentrations, some cannabis strains – like Kosher Kush– will top out at around 20-27 percent, while average THC levels hover around 14-16 percent.
At Modern Canna, we utilize High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) technology to test for THC potency and cannabinoid content. Flower samples are dried, ground, weighed, and prepped before chemical analysis is performed by skilled analysts and laboratory technicians.
After quantifying cannabinoids through precise liquid chromatography, we utilize either an ultraviolet or mass spectrometer detector for evaluating potency.
Our standard potency analysis tests for up to 16 cannabinoids. The most prominent cannabinoids are listed below:
- THC – Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid
- Δ8-THC – Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol
- Δ9-THC – Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol
- THCa – Tetrahydrocannabinonolic Acid
- THCv – Tetrahydrocannabivarin
- CBN – Cannabinol
- CBC – Cannabichromene
- CBD – Cannabidiol
- CBDa– Cannibidol Acid
- CBDv – Cannabidivarin
- CBG – Cannabigerol
- CBGa – Cannabigerolic Acid
As we uncover more about the therapeutic potential of cannabis, CBD-dominant strains are becoming increasingly desirable for their medicinal and non-mind-altering effects. CBD-potent cannabis strains do not produce feelings of paranoia that can often accompany THC. Instead, most offer a relaxed, calming sensation that doesn’t affect cognition. Sour Tsunami, Charlotte’s Web, Harlequin, and Pennywise are just some examples of strains that are CBD potent. Cannabis products that are high in CBD have been shown to be especially helpful in treating patients with multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, PTSD, seizures, and epilepsy.
How accurate is potency testing?
While THC and CBD potency testing kits are sold in some legal marijuana states, the accuracy and reliability of these at-home kits are questionable at best. Human error and contaminated samples can lead to false or misleading results. For accurate and timely potency testing, it’s important to use a third party independent marijuana testing laboratory like Modern Canna. Our company leverages more than five decades of quality assurance and quality control experience to measure the purity and safety of all cannabinoid-containing products.
With professional cannabis potency testing, consumers have a clear idea of what they are putting into their bodies, and can look for the best strains that work for their specific symptoms.
Additional Cannabis Potency Testing Resources
- Herb, What’s It Like To Smoke A High-CBD, Low-THC Strain? http://herb.co/2016/10/03/high-cbd-low-thc-strain/
- GrowWeedEasy, How Do THC, CBN & CBD Relate to Marijuana Potency? http://www.growweedeasy.com/thc-cbd-cbn-when-to-harv http://www.maps.org/news-letters/v09n3/v09n3_20-22_.pdf est-marijuana
- Maps.org, Medical Cannabis Potency Testing Project http://www.maps.org/news-letters/v09n3/v09n3_20-22_.pdf