Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Government Chemist develops methods for measuring CBD and cannabinoid concentrations

A cross-government, international ring trial on CBD and controlled cannabinoids in consumer products is the subject of a report to be published later this month. Spearheaded by the UK Government Chemist, Dr Julian Braybrook DSc, CChem, FRSC, the project began in April 2020 with the aim of finding methods which can accurately determine the concentration of CBD and controlled cannabinoids in order to regulate the safety & authenticity of CBD-containing food products. 

Reporting to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, Dr Braybrook wrote, “…we have developed high accuracy methods for the determination of CBD and related impurities (with a focus on the four, out of the twelve, controlled cannabinoids for which commercial standards are available (THCV, Δ8THC, Δ9THC and CBN); THCA is not controlled but can easily form Δ9THC and so it will also be monitored).”

Jointly funded by the Home Office, the Food Standards Agency, the Office of Product Safety and Standards in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Food Standards Scotland, and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, the ring trial involved 34 different laboratories nationally and internationally. The various departments and agencies met monthly as the project evolved.

“Through these regular discussions,” wrote Dr Braybrook, “it became apparent that a collaborative approach to the transfer of the methods developed by the GC via a ring trial would provide value for money of government funds, avoid duplication and ensure fit for purpose methods [were] available by 31 March 2021 to enforce regulations and ultimately protect the consumer.

“In addition, through these regular discussions, it became apparent that the ‘controlled drug’ content ‘threshold’ of one milligram in a product or preparation referred to in the Home Office Drug Licensing Factsheet – Cannabis, CBD and other cannabinoids was presenting difficulties in interpretation and analysis. Thus, my team, with contributions from other government departments, has produced ‘Guidance on Analytical Limits for Controlled Cannabinoids in Specified Products Containing Cannabidiol (CBD).”

Correspondence between Dr Braybrook, the ACMD and Kit Malthouse MP, Minister for Crime and Policing, has been published on the government website.

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