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Development of Matrix Matched Quality Control Materials and Sample Preparation Techniques for the Analysis of Marijuana Infused Products and their Application to Edible Testing

NCJ Number
Carl E. Wolf
Date Published
February 2022
46 pages

This is the Final Report of an NIJ-funded research project with the goal of developing matrix-matched quality-control materials and sample-preparation techniques for the analysis of marijuana-infused products and their application to edible testing.



The legalization of marijuana in the United States for both medicinal and recreational use has increased in the past few years. Marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate nor enforce manufacturing restrictions on formulations of THC as Marinol and cannabidiol (CBD) as Epidiolex, which have limited approved therapeutic uses. In 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act (Farm Bill) legalized hemp; however, this legislation and the approved pharmaceutical preparations do not address the formulation of beverages, nor do they address the standardization of methods for potency analysis of cannabinoids in edibles and beverages. Forensic laboratories are receiving an increasing workload of cannabinoid products for analysis. The analysis of these products may be questioned since there are limited published methods for analysis and no known publications of storage and stability of cannabinoids in various “medible” and beverage matrices. In addressing these issues, the current project had three major goals. First, it sought to develop and optimize sample preparation techniques for the analysis of cannabinoids in edible matices (brownies, chocolate, and gummies), using a previously optimized ultrahigh pressure liquid chromatography system with tandem mass spectrometer detector. A second goal was to develop quality-control materials for three common edible matrices to determine cannabinoid stability in these materials. Third, it sought to determine cannabinoid stability in quality-control materials under storage and time variables. The research design, methods, and analytical and data analysis techniques are described, and results are reported. A list of study products and dissemination activities is provided.