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Cannabis Analysis by FTIR

Cannabis analysis by FTIR is a great and portable tool to identify different cannabinoids.

All around the world the effects, benefits, dangers and thus legality of different cannabinoids is subject to open discussion, making reliable cannabis analysis even more valuable.

Just 100 years ago, cannabis was still present in all pharmacies as a medicinal plant for various purposes. It was only in the course of its abuse as an intoxicant that it was increasingly demonised and ultimately banned.

With the increasing demand and production of cannabis and processed products containing cannabinoids, quality control is also gaining in importance. Plants, extracts and their active ingredients must be analysed and quantified to ensure customer satisfaction and safety.

FTIR makes cannabis analysis smarter

Usually, complex techniques like HPLC and GC are used to quantify and analyze active ingredients, while type assessment of plant parts is usually performed by microscopy.

In a recently published suisse paper [1] infrared spectroscopy was trialed to make cannabis analysis quicker and much more convenient and they succeeded.

Differentiation between CBD and THC cannabis is easily feasible from the unprocessed plant parts! First the buds were placed on an ATR crystal, a very simple sampling method for infrared spectroscopy. Afterwards, the analysis directly performed, yielding immediate results.

Cannabis buds are placed directly on the instrument, an ALPHA II FTIR spectrometer.

Other methods such as first extracting the THC and CBD and afterwards analyzing the obtained oils were also tested, and results were equally amazing.

It is also possible to use FTIR as a quantification method to exactly determine how much CBD or THC is in your oil, edible or solution. Who could use this? Pharmacies, narcotics agents, cannabis producers and manufacturers of processed cannabis products.

You want to know more? Check out our AppNote on cannabis analysis or visit our website! You can also browse our Blog to learn more about other Applications of the ALPHA II, e.g. ammonia analysis in parquet flooring


[1] Schorno, H.J.X., Koch, H.C. Differenzierung von THC-Cannabis und CBD-Cannabis mittels FT-IR (2018).