Cannabinoid Profile & Potency Analysis

What is Potency Testing?

What's Potency Testing?

Potency analysis identifies these compounds and measures their levels of strength. Cannabis potency testing normally focuses on the compounds called cannabinoids. Cannabis is made up of over 500 chemical compounds. The most commonly tested cannabinoids are: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), Cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabidivarin (CBDV), Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabichromene (CBC), Cannabigerol (CBG) and Cannabigerivarin (CBGV).

Cannabinoid profile and potency screening aids growers, processors, dispensaries and quality control laboratories in knowing the level of cannabinoids in their samples. This research shows the compound profiles of different strains and is necessary for accurate labeling of both medicinal and recreational products.

The two most common means to accurately quantitatively determine the potency of cannabinoid constituents are Gas and Liquid Chromatography (GC, HPLC).

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Liquid Chromatography Potency Analysis Method

GC Potency Testing

Chemists use High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) instruments with an ultra violet wavelength detector known as Diode Array Detector (DAD) or Photodiode Array Detector (PDA) to identify the potency of cannabinoids.

An HPLC is often the preferred instrument for testing cannabis edibles and liquids because samples are tested at room temperature and they do not undergo any heat-catalyzed reactions. HPLC's can identify THC Acid (THCA) and CBD acid (CBDA) while gas chromatography cannot.

Browse our inventory of cannabinoid LC potency testing instruments:

Gas Chromatography Potency Analysis Method

GC Potency Testing

The potency analysis of cannabinoids can be performed using a Gas Chromatography system with a Flame Ionization Detector (GC/FID). Samples are introduced using a headspace autosampler. When using a GC/FID, potency testing is based on the concentration of decarboxylated THC and CBD therefore GC does not detect THCA or CBDA directly. Cannabinoids can be further identified with the addition of a Mass Spectrometer Detector.

Potency testing using the GC/FID method is often preferred due to its simplicity and speed. Gas chromatography separates individual components of a test sample by heating them, this process can generally mimic the conversion process during smoking. The vaporization process of GC separation is good when testing samples that are intended to be heated when used such as cannabis flowers and concentrates.

Browse our inventory of cannabinoid GC potency testing instruments:



Learn more about potency testing in cannabis extracts on our Cannabis Educational Resources.

*GenTech is an analytical equipment provider. Please reference your government, state and local regulations for testing requirements