Posted on: January 11, 2021 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is developing more reliable methods to distinguish hemp from its legal counterpart in the state-licensed cannabis market and aims to have these methods fully developed or evaluated by the end of the year. This effort is one part of NIST’s cannabis program, which includes a Cannabis Quality Assurance Program to help, in part, assess cannabidiol levels in CBD products and to develop reference materials.

NIST researchers are working to establish new analytical methods to determine tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels in hemp, NIST research chemist Brent Wilson told Hemp Grower. The research will focus on the development of isotope dilution, gas chromatography–mass spectrometry methods, extraction protocols, a single laboratory validation study, and evaluations of benchtop and portable infrared spectrometers used lab and in the field.

These new methods are meant to address concerns of both hemp growers and law enforcement agencies raised during stakeholder meetings about the limited accuracy of current testing methods, Wilson said. Such precision is essential as, under the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp that exceeds the current 0.3% THC threshold is destroyed, which can be financially devastating for a grower.

According to Joy Beckerman, principal and founder of Hemp Ace International, a hemp consulting firm, the study is the first of its kind by the federal government. Such research is “absolutely critical” for the hemp industry, she said.

Better, more accurate testing leads to more certainty surrounding hemp crops, which Beckerman said will