how to test for cbd content

How to test for cbd content

H ow much THC does your favorite cannabis product contain? The answer may not be as straightforward as reading the “total THC” number that is (hopefully) printed on the label. There is no official industry standard for calculating the total THC of a cannabis product, and different producers and testing facilities calculate it in different ways. As a consumer, what you’re really after is the amount of THC or CBD that will be available for your consumption, which will depend on the content of the product, the route of administration, and the method of consumption.

How to assess THC and CBD levels in cannabis strains and products

To better understand how different consumption methods affect decarboxylation rates and the final THC content in cannabis products, Leafly spoke with Rudolf Brenneisen, PhD. His lab at the University of Bern, in Switzerland, has extensively studied how decarboxylation rates and THC availability are influenced by different products (specifically, vaporizers) and routes of administration.

THCA, THC, and reading cannabis product labels

First, THC isn’t quite as heavy as THCA, so we need to account for that. This makes sense if you look at the chemical structures for THCA vs. THC (Figure 1). THC is just THCA after a piece gets chopped off. So, THC is lighter—it’s 87.7% of the molecular weight of THCA. That’s why total THC on the above label is 21.35% instead of 24.1%. When you see something like “Total THC” on a product label, they should be getting that number using a calculation that takes this into account (see Method 2 in Figure 3 below).

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