Labs

Test Results anyone? THC, THCA, Formula...

States that have legalized in cannabis require testing for potency and contaminants in cannabis, and lab-testing cannabis is quickly becoming an important part of the industry. The tests for pesticides, mold, contamination, etc. don’t require any new or special analytical techniques and are part of standard practice for other agricultural products as well. With the right lab equipment, chemists can measure cannabinoids to a certain degree of precision if they do it right, but the lack of a standardized way of looking at the data has everyone confused.

The subject of this issue is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), which occurs naturally in the plant. THCA needs to be heated so it changes into THC, the active form that gets you high. All cannabinoids occur naturally in their acid forms, that’s just how their enzymes make them. The difference between THCA and THC is a carboxy group. Upon smoking, cooking or vaping heat gets rid of the carboxy so THCA gives of CO2, loosing about 12% of its weight in the process. Why does this matter for lab testing? Because THCA is heavier than THC, and lab results are given in percent mass.

The root of the confusion is the fact that different lab techniques give inherently different potency values. Depending on the lab, the analysis machine might use one of two separation methods: gas chromatography (GC) or liquid chromatography (LC).

GC happens at high temperatures, enough to completely decarboxylate all the cannabinoids in the mixture. The oven it happens in decarboxylates THCA before passing on to the detector, so it only picks up THC. This makes GC almost useless for testing edibles, because you need to be able to tell the difference between orally inactive THCA and active THC. Furthermore, decarboxylation happens incompletely at those high temperatures in the injector port, conserving no more than 70% of THCA, according to one study.

Liquid chromatography happens at room temperature and does not decarboxylate any cannabinoids, giving separate values for THCA and THC, which are always both present. These results need to be interpreted correctly, and hold hidden information about how the sample was handled and temperatures it has been exposed to.

Let’s look at an example. Given one lab result you could get three THC potency readings depending on how you read it, but only one method really stands to reason. Consider a made up lab result of Hypothetical OG that used LC, say it has 22.32% percent mass of THCA and 2.41% percent mass THC (active THC).

If you just look at the THCA value, you might think it has 22.32% THC. If you add the THC value to that, you might think this strain has 24.74% THC. Neither of these values is correct.

To get a real potency value you need to consider both THCA and THC, but with a correction factor for THCA before you add in THC. To calculate THCTOTAL:

 

THCtotal = (%THCA) x 0.877 + (%THC)

 

0.877 is the molecular mass (mm) of THC divided by that of THCA; this factor boils it down to a simple formula: take 87.7% of the value for THCA, then add on the value for THC. This formula also holds true for finding the active CBD content (CBD TOTAL) because CBD and THC have the exact same mm. Therefore the correct value of THC TOTAL for Hypothetical OG is 21.98%, the weighted average of THCA and THC.

To get a real measure of the potency of a strain of pot, you need to look at THC TOTAL. This is because the relative amounts of THCA and THC depend on the amount of heat the flower, dry bud or extract has been exposed to. Since this is always different, lab testing needs to see past this variable.

Since GC doesn’t work for edibles, many labs are switching to LC to test for edibles. If you know you’re looking at a lab test that used LC, you’ll need to use this formula to get a consistent value of THC TOTAL.

When looking at lab results, make sure to take this into consideration. Be suspicious of lab results that just give you one number for %THC. If the lab used GC, you won’t have this issue at all. The %THC given from a GC machine roughly reflects THC TOTAL.

Read the original article from High Times HERE.

Terpenes- Essential Oils and Cannabis

We are reposting this article, originally written by Drake Dorm for MedicalJane, because we think you might want to know how terpenes can affect your cannabis experience.

Terpenes Influence the Synergy Effect of Cannabis

As we know, science has identified and characterized the molecular structure of around 20,000 terpenes, which makes it the largest category of plant chemicals. These aromatic compounds are found in the essential oils of plants and flowers, and plenty of studies have been done on their effects.

Of the 20,000 identified terpenes, there have been more than 120 found in cannabis. Only a few of them appear in high concentrations, but they have been found to have a number of benefits. A few of these effects are covered in our terpenoid article, but recent research has suggested an “entourage effect” as well. In his 2011 study “Taming THC,”Ethan Russo, from GW Pharmaceuticals, discussed the interaction between terpenes and cannabinoids.

Terpenes May Reduce THC-Induced Anxiety

For years, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was the only cannabinoid investigated for its medicinal value, and we know it has the potential to cause anxiety in some patients. However, certain terpenes in cannabis, like Linalool, have been found to counter the anxiety.

In fact, Russo points out that terpenes likely played a role in a number of ancient antidotes for the less desirable effects of THC. For instance, citrus fruits (high in limonene) were used as a “cannabis antidote” in 10th century Persia. Other ancient antidotes include calamus plant roots and pine nuts (high in pinene), as well as black pepper (high in caryophyllene and myrcene).

Terpenes and Cannabinoids Work Better Together

Terpenoids can be used for more than countering THC-induced anxiety. Russo discussed interactions to treat a number of issues including: paininflammationdepressionaddiction, epilepsy, cancer, and infections.

 Russo believes pinene would be useful in the treatment of MRSA. Cannabigerol (CBG) is a potent MRSA inhibitor, and can be found with small amounts of THC. Because of this Russo suggests a whole-plant extract, high in CBG and pinene, which was found to have its own anti-MRSA qualities in 2010.

Terpenes could also aid inAlzheimer’streatment with cannabidiol (CBD). Linalool, which is prominent in lavender, helps counter stress and anxiety. Limonene is commonly used in aromatherapy to improve mood, and pinene is known to promote alertness and memory retention. Combining these terpenoids with a CBD-rich extract may help treat the wide-ranging effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

Another interaction that Russo highlighted could have benefits for addiction treatment. An essential oil made from black pepper reduced nicotine cravings in cigarette smokers. Interestingly enough, black pepper essential oils are high in myrcene, pinene, and caryophyllene, all of which can be found in cannabis.

Caryophyllene is interesting because it directly stimulates the CB2 receptors throughout the body. As we know, CB2 agonists prevent the release of dopamine, which is related to addiction. This, in combination with the use of CBD for opiate withdrawal, suggests that cannabis with caryophyllene could have a variety of rehabilitative benefits.

 

Russo, Trichome Technologies Suggest A Focus On Terpenes

In “Taming THC,” Russo focused on the interaction between terpenes and cannabinoids. With that being said, the knowledge is useless without some way to apply it. His solution: selective breeding designed around terpenes. Citing the 2002 study, “The Inheritance of Chemical Phenotype in Cannabis Sativa,” Russo suggested that growers focus on their desired terpenes when breeding.

In fact, Kenneth “K” Morrow, founder of Trichome Technologies, a leading international cannabis consulting company, recently endorsed a similar sentiment during Danny Danko’s cultivation panel at the recent High Times Cannabis Cup. In discussing the topic of terpenes, “K” urged people to tailor their grows towards the production of individual terpenes.

“K”, like multiple growers on online forums, believes that a number of variables (lighting, soil composition, nutrients, etc.) can influence terpene production. If growers are able to influence the production of specific terpenes, they could improve their product’s effectiveness.

Terpenes Can Improve Medical Marijuana, Infused Products

It’s been reported that certain terpenes dilate capillaries in the lungs. Logic tells us that this would be useful in the case of smoked or vaporized cannabis. Dilated capillaries would enable beneficial cannabinoids to enter the bloodstream easier. This certainly could be useful for growers who know how their crops will be ingested, and in the production of cannabis concentrates.

In fact, a number of concentrate makers enhance their finished product with pure terpenes. This is typically done for added flavor, as the more volatile terpenes can be lost during the extraction process. However, infusing concentrates with a specific terpene for added effect would be equally beneficial. For instance, pinene is a bronchodilator, which could benefit asthma patients.

In fact, similar processes already exist. According to Jeff Raber, founder of The Werc Shop, a lab-testing facility in Los Angeles, they are able to infuse concentrates with the terpenes lost. “Based on the terpene-profile of each strain,” he added, “we can recreate as much of the whole plant component as possible.”

One step further, K believes terpene-rich extracts could play a major role in the future of medical marijuana. He points out that some patients might want the terpene-related flavor and relief, without the high from THC.

Another potential application of terpenes could benefit users of medicated topicals. Nerolidol, a sedative terpene, is a known skin penetrant. Therefore, it could aid in cannabinoid absorption if infused in topicals.

The benefits of terpenes are widely recognized, but they just now are being explored by experts in the cannabis industry. As Ethan Russo pointed out, terpenes may influence a number of cannabis’ benefits. Their interaction with cannabinoids often impacts the effectiveness of medical marijuana strains and products, and could be used to facilitate a better overall experience.

CBD and THC Effects and Ratios

Research on the benefits of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) in isolation is well established. THC demonstrates analgesicanti-emetic, and anti-inflammatory properties, whereas CBD possesses anti-psychotic, anti-seizure, and anti-anxiety properties.

However, research on the simultaneous use of THC:CBD is less robust – its origins can be traced to Brazil in the mid-1970s. In this study, patients were given between 15-60mg of CBD in conjunction with 30mg of THC, and the effects were measured. Subjects reported more pleasurable effects and less anxiety with the combination of CBD and THC than they felt with THC alone.

Furthermore, a group of scientists examined the effects of administering CBD at a dose six times that of THC. They found that 73% of study participants reported a decreased feeling of being “high” when compared to THC alone.

Follow-up studies have demonstrated that the combination of the two cannabinoids reduced users’ experiences of tachycardia (increased heart rate), gait instability, and difficulty in eye tracking exercises. These results support the theory that CBD works to minimize some of the negative side effects of THC.

The most recent research into THC:CBD ratios comes out of the pharmaceutical industry, specifically around the GW Pharmaceuticals‘ Sativex, which has a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD. In the clinical trials phase of drug development, researchers examined the effects of THC, CBD, and combination extracts on sleep, pain control, and muscle spasms. They found that 1:1 THC-CBD extracts provided the most therapeutic relief across all categories.

Click HERE to read the full article.

"If you have to use pesticides...you're doing it wrong."

Oregon on Monday issued a list of more than 250 pesticides cannabis growers may be able to use on their crops. The list represents the first clear guidance from Oregon agriculture officials on what chemicals the state's marijuana industry may use to defeat mites, mold, mildew and other common pests and problems. Top state agriculture officials made clear that the list is a "starting spot" for marijuana growers, who still have to follow pesticide labels. Lauren Henderson, assistant director of the agency, said regulators combed through more than 12,000 pesticides registered with the state to see which had labels broad enough to include cannabis. Ultimately, the agency came up with about 250 products. The list will be reviewed quarterly, said Henderson.

Aviv Hadar, an owner of Oregrown, a dispensary in downtown Bend, said growers shouldn't use pesticides at all.

"If you have to use pesticides," he said in a text message to The Oregonian/OregonLive, "you're doing it wrong."

But it's clear many do. Though Oregon mandates pesticide testing for marijuana, a combination of lax state rules, inconsistent lab practices and inaccurate test results has allowed pesticide-laced products to enter the medical marijuana market, an investigation last year by The Oregonian/OregonLive found.

Rodger Voelker, a chemist at OG Analytical, a marijuana testing lab in Eugene, said Oregon's list doesn't include some of the more common pesticides he sees in cannabis that comes through his lab.

He also said growers will have to figure out how to safely apply the chemicals on the state's list. Some are included in state-mandated lab testing. That means growers may be able to apply the chemical to their crop, but the product will have to test below a certain level before it lands on store shelves.

Click HERE to read the full article.

 

Trust your Bud- Gorge Greenery is Pesticide Free!

While this article was released in June earlier this year, it's come to our attention that many medical patients and recreational users alike are unaware of the serious risk of pesticides in Cannabis flower and products. Here at Gorge Greenery, we carry Clean Green Certified gardens and send everything out to OG Analytical (one of the trusted labs used in this study), for the most comprehensive pesticide screening capabilities in Oregon to ensure clean product every time.

"Dab Society Dutch Treat, a potent cannabis extract sold to medical marijuana patients, sailed through state-mandated pesticide testing. The results were printed on the label, backed by an official report. Workers at a Southeast Portland dispensary were happy to share the lab certificate. All you had to do was ask.

But, in fact, two laboratories commissioned by The Oregonian/OregonLive found pesticides in the same sample of Dutch Treat at levels above what the state allows.

It wasn’t an isolated case.

A combination of lax state rules, inconsistent lab practices and inaccurate test results has allowed pesticide-laced products to enter the medical marijuana market, The Oregonian/OregonLive has found.

Marijuana that fails a pesticide screen is not supposed to be sold to patients. But two other cannabis products in addition to Dutch Treat also tested above acceptable levels for pesticides.

The Oregonian/OregonLive shopped at Oregon dispensaries, bought cannabis that had passed pesticide tests and sent the samples to independent labs for further screening. Two labs performed the analysis: OG Analytical, a marijuana testing lab in Eugene, and Pacific Agricultural Laboratory, a Portland lab that specializes in detecting pesticides on foods and agricultural commodities. Both confirmed in blind testing the presence of pesticides that should have triggered red flags from previous labs."

Read the full article from The Oregonian/OregonLive HERE.