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Analysis of Hemp-Based Consumer Product Goods Using the Cann-ID™ Potency Testing Platform

Authors: Andrei Victorov, Shawn Helmueller
Affiliation: Ionization Labs, 3636 Dime Circle Suite A, Austin TX, 78744
Publication: August 17, 2020

The Cann-ID™ Potency Testing Platform is used to determine label claims for hemp-based consumer product goods. Cann-ID results are compared to 3rd party COAs showing excellent agreement. Results highlight the utility of Cann-ID for ensuring label accuracy in hemp-based consumer products.

Technology Benefits:

  • Accurately measure finished product potency for verifying/determining label claims
  • Simplified platform for the analysis of hemp-based consumer product goods (CPGs)
  • Cann-ID simplifies the HPLC testing workflow for achieving accurate, defensible potency results for matrices including flower, crude extracts, refined extracts, isolates, tinctures, sprays, topicals, capsules, and gummies
  • Cann-ID application solution decreases capital cost and lowers the barrier to entry for deploying sophisticated HPLC technology in-house
  • Cloud-based automated reporting instantly shares results across client networks and between industry stakeholders


Introduction:

Accurate label claims are required across the cannabis industry so consumers and regulatory bodies know the contents of consumer products [1]. Cannabinoid content, or potency, specifically is of consumer value for cannabis-derived products since the retail price is often determined by the potency. Similarly, national regulations require tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content to be below the action limit of 0.3% for hemp-derived CPGs [2], and upper THC limits are being established by state legislatures for marijuana infused products [3]. In the legal hemp market, a subset of consumers mandate hemp products with essentially zero THC, and these products tend to demand a higher retail market price. Therefore, manufacturers benefit significantly from accurate labeling of potency, and they desire a quick and transparent means of sharing those results with their consumers. Accurate and reliable methods for determining potency in consumer product goods (CPGs) is required to ensure consumer faith and maintain product consistency and consumer therapeutic experience in all segments of the growing cannabis (hemp and medical/recreational marijuana) markets.

Technology Summary:

The Cann-ID Potency Testing Platform [4] is a subscription based in-house analytical testing solution provided by Ionization Labs. The Cann-ID Potency Platform consists of HPLC hardware, Cann-ID instrument control and cloud-based reporting software, and recurring analysis consumables, all billed on a per test subscription basis. The result is fully supported laboratory-grade HPLC potency results generated in-house, with the full-support of Ionization Labs, an ISO 17025 accredited potency testing laboratory [4].

At a fraction of the cost compared to 3rd party analytical testing, Cann-ID is built for high-volume potency testing in-house, throughout the cannabis product development lifecycle. Cann-ID Software simplifies the hardware-reporting interface, making complex potency analysis and results interpretation accessible to novice users. Results are published to the cloud so they can be easily shared with stakeholders inside and outside the organization. Cann-ID comes with sample prep, analysis, data validation methods built in, and with dedicated support from Ionization Labs’ team of chemists.

Experimental Description and Results:

Five different hemp-based CPGs were purchased from a local retail store and tested using standardized protocols from the Cann-ID Potency Testing Platform. The products tested and summarized in this report consist of an olive oil infused with hemp extract (Product 1), a full spectrum hemp spray (Product 2), a hempseed oil infused with hemp extract (Product 3), a hemp oil soft gel (Product 4), and a gummy infused with purified CBD isolate (Product 5). Cann-ID potency results were compared to the label claim and 3rd party COAs. The results are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1. Comparison of product label claims, dosing per serving, to results from Cann-ID Potency Testing Platform and 3rd party testing labs. The Cann-ID results summary for each product are linked in the table. The Cann-ID results presented in the table are formatted to mimic the third party COA results for simple comparison.

Product Description Product ID Serving Size Label Claim 3rd Party Result Cann-ID Result

Olive Oil

Product 1

2 Droppers, 1mL

7mg (minimum total CBD)

7.5mg CBD

7.48mg CBD

Spray

Product 2

2 Sprays

1mg CBD

1.16mg CBD

1.06mg CBD

Hempseed Oil

Product 3

1 Dropper, 1mL

12.5mg CBD

---

16.21mg CBD

Soft Gel

Product 4

1 Capsule

15mg CBD

15.69mg CBD

15.71mg CBD

Gummy

Product 5

1 Gummy

25mg CBD

26.69mg CBD

24.20mg CBD


Five products were tested against their label claims using the Cann-ID Potency Testing Platform and compared to 3rd party COAs. In all cases where 3rd party COAs were available the Cann-ID test results agreed within 10%. This between-lab agreement of less than 10% was considered “Excellent” in an analysis performed by Leafreport [5]. The Cann-ID results agreed within 7% of the stated label claim for Products 1, 2, 4, and 5. Product 3 did not provide a 3rd party COA with their product and the Cann-ID results show the dosing to be approximately 30% above the stated label claim. Since there are no gradations on the dropper, it is difficult to accurately dose using Product 3.

Summary:

Cann-ID Potency Testing Platform was successful in verifying the label claims of five hemp-based consumer product goods (CPGs). The standard sample prep and analysis protocols included in the Cann-ID Potency Testing Platform were extended to include olive oil, spray, hempseed oil, soft gel, and gummy matrices.

Currently, there are many concerns about cannabis products on the market that do not agree with their stated label claim [5][6]. Whether this is due to inaccurate formulation of the product or poor dosing control, a lack of rigorous internal quality control erodes both customer and regulatory faith in all segments of the quickly growing cannabis market. To maintain trust between all stakeholders in the industry, accurate and robust hardware and software solutions are required to verify product consistency, and ensure quality checkpoints are met in-house. This report shows that Cann-ID Potency Testing Solution can be deployed with confidence for quality control and formulation verification for a wide array of cannabis infused consumer product goods.


References:

[1] FDA Dietary Supplement Labeling Guide, (2018), Accessed online Aug 5, 2020

[2] Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), Subtitle G, Accessed online Aug 5, 2020

[3] Florida veterans are fighting a proposed THC limit on medical marijuana, Orlando Weekly, Feb 26, 2020, Accessed online Aug 6, 2020

[4] Cann-ID Potency Testing Solution, Ionization Labs, (2020) www.IonizationLabs.com

[5] Market Report: CBD Industry Has Come a Long Way in Improving The Quality and Accuracy of its Products, Leafreport, July 12, 2020, Accessed online Aug 5, 2020

[6] Leading CBD brands still have some inaccurate dosages, even if their numbers have improved, Chicago Tribune, Jun 17, 2020, Accessed online Aug 5, 2020