The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has recently started the Cannabis Quality Assurance (CannaQAP) program. The program is aimed at helping labs to accurately measure key compounds in cannabis products. The goal is to help labs increase the accuracy of hemp and cannabis product labels, and help differentiate between hemp and marijuana.
The institute is a physical science agency run as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, with the purpose of setting standards for industries that will help the U.S. compete globally.
Participating labs will be sent samples of hemp oil by NIST so that they can measure concentrations of chemical compounds like THC and CBD, and then report those results back to the NIST.
The identities of individual labs will be protected with anonymized samples. The laboratory methods will be evaluated to help determine which methods produce better results. Hopefully, this collaborative effort will end up with more consistent measurements of samples in the future.
As the project progresses, the type of plant material and cannabis products used will increase and the number of things tested will increase as well. Tests will start to look for terpenes, fungi, heavy metals, and pesticides.
Reference material is being developed for labs to be able to tell how accurate their tests are. The sample would come with known and accurate values of compounds like THC and CBD to show how accurate a lab is being.
The NIST has already produced similar standards and reference materials for industries like dietary supplements. Labs are currently encouraged to take part in CannaQAP and can register for the program until August 31.