Complete Cannabis Testing Solutions for the Canadian Market

More solutions to meet regulatory guidelines

Canada’s legalization of cannabis creates a wealth of new opportunities for today’s testing laboratories. Whether your business is just getting started or growing bigger, your analyses need to keep up with the latest regulations. Look to our proven track record with the broadest available offering of cannabis testing solutions and expertise for your growing cannabis business.

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Thermo Fisher Scientific does not support, encourage or promote the use of its products or services in connection with any illegal use, cultivation or trade of cannabis or cannabis products. Thermo Fisher Scientific products are intended to be used only in compliance with all applicable laws in a manner that promotes public safety and/or in connection with any lawful and approved scientific or medical research activities.


Spotlights


Events and news

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The Science of Cannabis

Technology Networks Online Symposium
September 27, 2018


Complete cannabis testing solutions

Routine targeted pesticides analysis

LC, LC-MS, GC-MS

Safety and regulatory standards for cannabis testing are in their infancy; what is at the lower end of permissible pesticide residue analysis results today, may be at the upper end tomorrow.

Our innovative technologies help laboratories stay ahead of the curve. We provide powerful workflow solutions and expertise for ever-evolving pesticide residues analysis, to help modern testing labs ensure cannabis quality, product safety and regulatory compliance. From sample input to actionable knowledge about your sample, we’ve got you covered.

In addition to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), producers may also have to detect and identify unknown compounds in cannabis. These unknowns either exist in global databases but are not on the current list of targets for cannabis, or they likely haven’t been detected yet but are resulting from human formation/manipulation or biological modifications in the production of cannabis. Analysis for unknown compounds in cannabis can be done with high resolution accurate mass (HRAM) mass spectrometry and a combination of software packages.


Workflow solutions

Mycotoxins and aflatoxins analysis

LC, LC-MS

Natural toxins are chemicals that are naturally produced by living organisms. Toxins are found in a staggering range of matrices, including grains, fruits, spices, meat, seafood, milk, nuts and animal feed—and also cannabis. These toxins are a major concern to the worldwide economy because of annual revenue lost due to contamination, the toxicity of the toxins to both animals and humans (many are known carcinogens), and because they are persistent throughout multiple food processing steps. Thermo Fisher has many rugged and sensitive techniques for the analysis of natural toxins and biotoxins, as well as solutions for high-throughput laboratories.

In addition to VOCs, producers may also have to detect and identify unknown compounds in cannabis. These unknowns either exist in global databases but are not on the current list of targets for cannabis, or they likely haven’t been detected yet but are resulting from human formation/manipulation or biological modifications in the production of cannabis. Analysis for unknown compounds in cannabis can be done with high resolution accurate mass (HRAM) mass spectrometry and a combination of software packages.


Workflow solutions

Potency and cannabinoids analysis

LC, LC-MS, GC, GC-MS

Measuring the amount of specific cannabinoids including THC, THCA, CBD, CBDA and CBN can help consumers identify the type of product to use. The THC/CBD ratio determination is important to discriminate medicinal potency from recreational cannabis, with consequent economical implication. Potency testing is important for infused oral products which take longer to feel the effects. Analytical methods involve gas and liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry, GC-MS and LC-MS.

A dual channel GC equipped with an FID detector and an MS is suitable for identification, confirmation, and quantitation of cannabinoids and terpenoids profiling, as well as for residual solvent analysis (VOCs). HPLC and LC-MS are also used in potency testing to identify the acidic forms (THCA and CBDA) before their conversion to the free forms THC and CBD.

Terpenes and terpenoids, which are naturally occurring compounds in cannabis, affect the variations in product scent. Knowing the terpene content can help consumers choose a product to match a desired aroma or effect.

In addition to VOCs, producers may also detect and identify unknown compounds in cannabis. Unknowns may exist in global databases but are not on the current target lists for cannabis, or they haven’t been detected yet, resulting from human manipulation or biological modifications in cannabis production. Analysis for unknown compounds can be done with high resolution accurate mass (HRAM) mass spectrometry and a combination of software packages.


Workflow solutions

Cost-effective trace metals analysis

ICP-MS or ICP-OES

Testing for toxic metals like Cd, Hg, As and Pb, is mandatory under the new regulations. The levels of detection required may be attained using an ICP OES but typically, an ICP MS should be used to offer more flexibility for additional dilutions during sample preparation. Heavy metals such as these are known for their acute, chronic, and cumulative toxicity. Other toxic elements like Os, Se, and Tl can also be tested along with basic plant nutrients like Ca, Na, Mg, Zn, B, Fe, K and more.

With today’s advanced technologies, multiple elements in different concentration ranges are often analyzed in a sample—all in one run. However, different elements have unique properties and are often present as multiple chemical species that affect sample preparation, ionization conditions, spectral interferences. Some elements are in multiple chemical forms than can be separated by speciation. For example, in the Health Canada Regulations, if the total Hg concentration fails, the Hg in the sample can be separated by speciation and only the methyl mercury reported. Therefore, the right solutions, along with our expert's tips and tricks for analysis, are often the most valuable parts of the equation.


Workflow solutions

Residual solvents analysis

GC

Solvents are often used to extract cannabinoids and terpenoids from plant material. They vary from solvent-free CO2 to harsher chemicals, and, depending on the extraction method, residual solvents (considered volatile organic compounds or VOCs) may exist in the final cannabis concentrate. To meet government regulations, producers must ensure their products are free from toxicologically significant levels of VOCs.

The typical workflow in testing laboratories uses a headspace autosampler to automate the volatiles enrichment in the gaseous phase and transfer it to a gas chromatograph (GC) for separation and detection. The typical detector is a flame ionization detector (FID).

In addition to VOCs, producers may also have to detect and identify unknown compounds in cannabis. These unknowns either exist in global databases but are not on the current list of targets for cannabis, or they likely haven’t been detected yet but are resulting from human formation/manipulation or biological modifications in the production of cannabis. Analysis for unknown compounds in cannabis can be done with high resolution accurate mass (HRAM) mass spectrometry and a combination of software packages.


Workflow solutions

Microbial detection

Traditional Media, PCR

Molds, bacteria, and other microorganisms are present during the growth, harvesting, and processing of the cannabis plant. The majority of these microorganisms are harmless, but cannabis contaminated by certain molds and bacteria pose serious health implications when consumed or inhaled. Mold spores can trigger allergic reactions; toxins produced by mold and bacteria can lead to illness or death.

The mold Aspergillus is a eukaryotic microorganism that grows as spore-producing multicellular filaments. There are four pathogenic Aspergillus species – A. flavus, A. fumigatus, A. niger, and A. terreus – of concern to the cannabis industry. A. flavus produces aflatoxin, a carcinogenic mycotoxin, and all four species can cause the lung infection Aspergillosis and severe allergic reactions.

Salmonella spp. and Escherichia coli are fast-growing unicellular bacteria commonly found as food contaminants. Gastrointestinal distress is the primary symptom of most Salmonella infections. Typhoidal Salmonella infections are more severe and can result in death. Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) such as strain O157:H7 also cause life-threatening infections.

All of the above organisms can be reliably detected by qPCR. Thermo Fisher Scientific is the world leader in qPCR, with trusted solutions for every step of the workflow.


Workflow solutions

Foreign materials detection

X-Ray Systems, Metal Detectors, Checkweighers

Just like in highly-regulated food testing, cannabis testing often involves the identification of any physical hazards and contaminants in the final product. Those hazards could include bone, stone, metal fragments, wood, glass and plastic and other foreign material. Preventive controls for physical hazards include testing using metal detectors and X-ray detection and other inspection systems.

Checkweighing helps ensure that the correct amount of product is in the package. Exceeding package weight is giving away product while too little in the package is shortchanging the customer.


Workflow solutions

Routine targeted pesticides analysis

LC, LC-MS, GC-MS

Safety and regulatory standards for cannabis testing are in their infancy; what is at the lower end of permissible pesticide residue analysis results today, may be at the upper end tomorrow.

Our innovative technologies help laboratories stay ahead of the curve. We provide powerful workflow solutions and expertise for ever-evolving pesticide residues analysis, to help modern testing labs ensure cannabis quality, product safety and regulatory compliance. From sample input to actionable knowledge about your sample, we’ve got you covered.

In addition to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), producers may also have to detect and identify unknown compounds in cannabis. These unknowns either exist in global databases but are not on the current list of targets for cannabis, or they likely haven’t been detected yet but are resulting from human formation/manipulation or biological modifications in the production of cannabis. Analysis for unknown compounds in cannabis can be done with high resolution accurate mass (HRAM) mass spectrometry and a combination of software packages.


Workflow solutions

Mycotoxins and aflatoxins analysis

LC, LC-MS

Natural toxins are chemicals that are naturally produced by living organisms. Toxins are found in a staggering range of matrices, including grains, fruits, spices, meat, seafood, milk, nuts and animal feed—and also cannabis. These toxins are a major concern to the worldwide economy because of annual revenue lost due to contamination, the toxicity of the toxins to both animals and humans (many are known carcinogens), and because they are persistent throughout multiple food processing steps. Thermo Fisher has many rugged and sensitive techniques for the analysis of natural toxins and biotoxins, as well as solutions for high-throughput laboratories.

In addition to VOCs, producers may also have to detect and identify unknown compounds in cannabis. These unknowns either exist in global databases but are not on the current list of targets for cannabis, or they likely haven’t been detected yet but are resulting from human formation/manipulation or biological modifications in the production of cannabis. Analysis for unknown compounds in cannabis can be done with high resolution accurate mass (HRAM) mass spectrometry and a combination of software packages.


Workflow solutions

Potency and cannabinoids analysis

LC, LC-MS, GC, GC-MS

Measuring the amount of specific cannabinoids including THC, THCA, CBD, CBDA and CBN can help consumers identify the type of product to use. The THC/CBD ratio determination is important to discriminate medicinal potency from recreational cannabis, with consequent economical implication. Potency testing is important for infused oral products which take longer to feel the effects. Analytical methods involve gas and liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry, GC-MS and LC-MS.

A dual channel GC equipped with an FID detector and an MS is suitable for identification, confirmation, and quantitation of cannabinoids and terpenoids profiling, as well as for residual solvent analysis (VOCs). HPLC and LC-MS are also used in potency testing to identify the acidic forms (THCA and CBDA) before their conversion to the free forms THC and CBD.

Terpenes and terpenoids, which are naturally occurring compounds in cannabis, affect the variations in product scent. Knowing the terpene content can help consumers choose a product to match a desired aroma or effect.

In addition to VOCs, producers may also detect and identify unknown compounds in cannabis. Unknowns may exist in global databases but are not on the current target lists for cannabis, or they haven’t been detected yet, resulting from human manipulation or biological modifications in cannabis production. Analysis for unknown compounds can be done with high resolution accurate mass (HRAM) mass spectrometry and a combination of software packages.


Workflow solutions

Cost-effective trace metals analysis

ICP-MS or ICP-OES

Testing for toxic metals like Cd, Hg, As and Pb, is mandatory under the new regulations. The levels of detection required may be attained using an ICP OES but typically, an ICP MS should be used to offer more flexibility for additional dilutions during sample preparation. Heavy metals such as these are known for their acute, chronic, and cumulative toxicity. Other toxic elements like Os, Se, and Tl can also be tested along with basic plant nutrients like Ca, Na, Mg, Zn, B, Fe, K and more.

With today’s advanced technologies, multiple elements in different concentration ranges are often analyzed in a sample—all in one run. However, different elements have unique properties and are often present as multiple chemical species that affect sample preparation, ionization conditions, spectral interferences. Some elements are in multiple chemical forms than can be separated by speciation. For example, in the Health Canada Regulations, if the total Hg concentration fails, the Hg in the sample can be separated by speciation and only the methyl mercury reported. Therefore, the right solutions, along with our expert's tips and tricks for analysis, are often the most valuable parts of the equation.


Workflow solutions

Residual solvents analysis

GC

Solvents are often used to extract cannabinoids and terpenoids from plant material. They vary from solvent-free CO2 to harsher chemicals, and, depending on the extraction method, residual solvents (considered volatile organic compounds or VOCs) may exist in the final cannabis concentrate. To meet government regulations, producers must ensure their products are free from toxicologically significant levels of VOCs.

The typical workflow in testing laboratories uses a headspace autosampler to automate the volatiles enrichment in the gaseous phase and transfer it to a gas chromatograph (GC) for separation and detection. The typical detector is a flame ionization detector (FID).

In addition to VOCs, producers may also have to detect and identify unknown compounds in cannabis. These unknowns either exist in global databases but are not on the current list of targets for cannabis, or they likely haven’t been detected yet but are resulting from human formation/manipulation or biological modifications in the production of cannabis. Analysis for unknown compounds in cannabis can be done with high resolution accurate mass (HRAM) mass spectrometry and a combination of software packages.


Workflow solutions

Microbial detection

Traditional Media, PCR

Molds, bacteria, and other microorganisms are present during the growth, harvesting, and processing of the cannabis plant. The majority of these microorganisms are harmless, but cannabis contaminated by certain molds and bacteria pose serious health implications when consumed or inhaled. Mold spores can trigger allergic reactions; toxins produced by mold and bacteria can lead to illness or death.

The mold Aspergillus is a eukaryotic microorganism that grows as spore-producing multicellular filaments. There are four pathogenic Aspergillus species – A. flavus, A. fumigatus, A. niger, and A. terreus – of concern to the cannabis industry. A. flavus produces aflatoxin, a carcinogenic mycotoxin, and all four species can cause the lung infection Aspergillosis and severe allergic reactions.

Salmonella spp. and Escherichia coli are fast-growing unicellular bacteria commonly found as food contaminants. Gastrointestinal distress is the primary symptom of most Salmonella infections. Typhoidal Salmonella infections are more severe and can result in death. Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) such as strain O157:H7 also cause life-threatening infections.

All of the above organisms can be reliably detected by qPCR. Thermo Fisher Scientific is the world leader in qPCR, with trusted solutions for every step of the workflow.


Workflow solutions

Foreign materials detection

X-Ray Systems, Metal Detectors, Checkweighers

Just like in highly-regulated food testing, cannabis testing often involves the identification of any physical hazards and contaminants in the final product. Those hazards could include bone, stone, metal fragments, wood, glass and plastic and other foreign material. Preventive controls for physical hazards include testing using metal detectors and X-ray detection and other inspection systems.

Checkweighing helps ensure that the correct amount of product is in the package. Exceeding package weight is giving away product while too little in the package is shortchanging the customer.


Workflow solutions


DNA Sequencing / Genomic Profiling

DNA Sequencing / Genomic Profiling

•  Complete Solutions for NGS DNA Sequencing
•  Complete Solutions for Sanger DNA Sequencing
•  DNA sequencing for strain identification
•  DNA sequencing for microbial identification
•  NGS sequencing of cannabis microbiome

•  Genome sequencing for profiling of CBDA & THCA pathways
•  Targeted NGS sequencing of cannabinoid genome


Resources

Capabilities

Growers and regulatory agencies can turn to us for all their cannabis testing needs. We are the only provider to offer a complete end-to-end solution of diverse technologies for Canada’s emerging cannabis testing market.