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The Most Effective Ways To Identify Cannabis and Related Products

Identify Cannabis and Related Products

The use of cannabis is prevalent throughout the globe. Even though this substance is illicit in some countries, there is still an increasing supply and demand for cannabis, forcing lawmakers to come up with ways to analyze samples of suspected cannabis content to find out who the perpetrators are.

Here are some of the most common methods of identifying cannabis and analyzing cannabis products:

Color tests

One of the most common cannabis tests that almost always provides accurate results is the color test. However, there are a few plants, including nutmeg, henna, and mace, whose results are sometimes false positives. A positive color test result points to the presence of cannabis material. But, these results do not identify cannabis definitively. For this reason, it is best to combine the color test with another more definitive cannabis test like thin-layer chromatography.

Gas chromatography-flame ionization detection (GC-FID), without and with derivatization

What you intend to achieve at the end of this trace THC testing will determine whether or not derivatization is necessary. Silation is the most common derivatization process. Failure to perform dilation before THC and THCA analysis will cause decarboxylation of the latter. However, since most legal systems recognize THC as the most relevant parameter, there may not be a need to conduct derivatization. However, whenever THCA reports are required performing prior derivatization is a must.

Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)

This test is almost similar to GC-FID analysis. The process is straightforward and convenient since there are reference spectra available for the most popular cannabinoids whether you choose to conduct derivatization or not.

High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)

Of all methods of THC content analysis for cannabis identification, HPLC provides valid results. The study begins after extracting herbal cannabis with chloroform and then conducting derivatization.


This test is perfect for biological samples and drug substances that contain even the slightest amount of cannabis material. However, immunoassays are expensive and unreliable because the results do not hold much power of proof.

Ion mobility spectrometry

Although this method can help identify cannabis material to some extent, it is not ideal because factors like humidity can negatively influence results, causing complications in testing.

Thin-layer chromatography

This test involves qualitative and semi qualitative TLC methods. Other things involved in the identification process include TLC plates which are stationary phases that help group the cannabis materials in a sample. Without solvent systems and spit visualization techniques, thin layer chromatography would not work.

What are the additional analytical techniques for cannabis analysis?

GC-FID profiling of seizures of cannabis products

This cannabis analysis technique relies on GC profiles to make chemometric classifications of cannabis. A standard column is perfect for this type of analysis. However, a terpenoid range assists in cluster analysis. Researchers have connected the chemical signatures of cannabis specimens and their geographic origin.

Solid phase-micro extraction (SPME)

This technique involves the preparation of solvent-free samples. Most of the time, these samples assist in sampling and analyzing volatile chemical markers in suspected cannabis material.

Stable isotope ratio-mass spectrometry (IRMS)

This analytical technique involves variations of stable isotope ratios of specific elements, including carbon and nitrogen. This method can help determine the geographical origin of plant materials, especially since cannabis, unlike other illicit drugs like cocaine, is a natural drug that does not undergo manipulations like chemical processing. For this reason, cannabis plants have a unique ability to maintain their original element profiles.

Also check about – How Cannabis Can Prevent AIDS

Parameters that analyze cannabis isotopic profiles can help indicate the geographical origin of a cannabis plant. However, growing techniques like the location of growth, amount of watering, and medium of cultivation can affect the overall isotopic composition of cannabis plants and thus limit the authenticity of results.

Varieties – if you are a type of person who doesn’t stick to only one type and wants to try every type of cannabis to get different flavors and aromas, then buying weeds online is the best option. The reason behind this is that an online dispensary will always offer you all types of weeds that exist, so you will not have to worry about trying the same type. You have the liberty to switch to the new type whenever you want to.

DNA profiling

This analytical technique helps create a link between cannabis products. Lawmakers can leverage DNA profiling to discover the genetic code behind specific cannabis products. Implementing this technique can be helpful for ongoing investigations because they can link popular products to particular producers and traffickers. However, there should not be overdependence on this technique because, unlike human DNA, the genetic code of cannabis plants is not necessarily unique and can be subject to cloning.

A positive result may not always mean that two plants originated from the same grower.

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