The Role of Cannabis in 2019

Over the past two decades there has been a significant change in both the scientific consensus around, and the public perception of, medicinal cannabis. As a result, approximately 60% of Americans are now against the prohibition of Cannabis in the United States.

Image sourced from AZOM

Image sourced from AZOM

The change in public opinion has been supported by research on the low associated risks of cannabis use. In response the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) has made sure to highlight that risk still exists in abusing cannabis and the possible correlation observed between the decriminalization of cannabis and higher cannabis dependency.

More research is required to support new cannabis legislation to regulate what has quickly become a highly profitable industry. This research requires high-specification analytical equipment to determine the concentrations of different therapeutic and psychoactive compounds found in different cannabis samples.

Laboratory Equipment for Cannabis Research

The determination of the different compounds found in cannabis samples is often achieved via distillation and analysis, using equipment such as evaporating flasks and heating mantles. Distillation can be used to separate the components in samples on the basis of their weight.

The quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) of cannabis samples is particularly important, meaning reliable lab equipment must be used. These steps are used to ensure that the samples contain the correct levels of therapeutic compounds such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or CBD (cannabidiol), and are especially important in countries where high concentrations of THC are regulated.

THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis and is the compound associated with getting ‘high’ whereas, CBD is believed to regulate the psychoactive impact that THC has and is associated with many of the health benefits of cannabis.

Research into the varying levels of THC and CBD in cannabis resin and plant trimmings has been carried out by scientists from King’s College London and the University of Bath. This research was carried out with the aim of determining how the potency and price of cannabis varies across Europe; including the EU, Norway and Turkey.

The research found that between 2011 and 2016 both types of cannabis samples in the EU had an increasingly high THC concentration. Over this time period the concentration of THC climbed by 10-17%, whereas the concentration of CBD was relatively constant. This data is worrying as the scientific consensus is that CBD regulates the harmful effects of THC.

Reliable analytical equipment can help researchers and legislators work together in determining safe THC and CBD concentrations in concentrations for recreational and therapeutic uses. This research should be a high priority as cannabis legalization movements continue to grow globally.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Glas-Col.

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