As opinions, laws and regulations continue to change when it comes to cannabis and its legality, the industry has, and should continue to experience burgeoning growth. Experts forecast sales of legal marijuana in the US could reach as high as over $16 billion by 2020 and over $24 billion by 2025. However, if you’re considering starting a cannabis testing facility, there are a few key pieces of laboratory equipment you’ll need to invest in.
Mass Spectrometry (MS) Instruments
Mass spectrometers are typically used to test for residual solvents, such as pesticides. In its simplest terms, this technique measures the masses of different molecules within a sample. The sample is converted to ions, or ionized, which allows the molecules to be manipulated, and ultimately separated, by external electric and magnetic fields.
Gas Chromatography (GC) Instruments
Typically used in analytical chemistry, gas chromatographs separate and analyze compounds that can be vaporized without decomposition. Utilizing these testing techniques allow organizations to accurately determine the full makeup of the product. GC have multiple applications, but are specifically required for potency testing, terpenes profiling, pesticide screening, and residual solvent analysis.
High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) Instruments
Another technique typically used in analytical chemistry, these instruments will not only quantify the potency of a cannabis sample, but will also accurately determine the levels of cannabinoids in said sample, including tetrahydocannabinol (THC), tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabinol (CBN). These instruments separate, identify, and quantify each component in a mixture by utilizing pumps to pass a pressurized liquid solvent combined with the sample mixture through a column filled with an absorbent material. This method does not require heat and provides more accurate content analysis than others, making it the most popular method to date.
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