21 Mar 2018

Cannabis Business Executive: Inside a Cannabis Science Lab

What Really Goes into Chemical Formulation and Product Development?

By Dr. Dot Colagiovanni, VP Product Development, Next Frontier Biosciences

As the cannabis industry matures it is becoming increasingly sophisticated.  However, despite significant progress, there remain distinct knowledge gaps in cannabis science and technology.  Many products are produced in facilities that lack appropriate equipment for chemical formulation. Much of this stems from the unfortunate fact that as an industry, we are resource limited for capital equipment thus hindering our ability to conduct research and product testing. That said, there are a number of established methods in place for producing safer, more consistent and trustworthy products if the expenses are warranted.

 

Lab Best Practices

Our team includes analytical chemists, chemical engineers and scientists working together in a dedicated laboratory facility.  We have weekly lab meetings to review our experiments and results; we use electronic notebooks to capture our data and we read the scientific literature to remain informed as to progress in the field of cannabis research.

We employ standard procedures used in academic and pharmaceutical industry labs to create formulations optimized for lipophilic substances, such as the cannabinoids. Two techniques allow us to readily assess cannabis products: high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) and mass spectrometry (MS). HPLC is a technique in analytical chemistry used to separate, identify, and quantify each component in a mixture. It relies on pumps to pass a pressurized liquid solvent containing the sample mixture through a column filled with a solid adsorbent material. Each component in the sample interacts slightly differently with the adsorbent material, causing different flow rates for the different components and leading to the separation of the components as they flow out of the column

Read more at the February 19, 2018 article in Cannabis Business Executive Industry News – Science and Technology section.