Remote Sensing of Cannabis; the First Step Towards Standardization and Closing the Learning Cycle

Oded Shoseyov, Multidisciplinary Center on Cannabinoid Research,The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, GemmaCert Ltd. Raanana, Israel

Cannabinoid testing cannabis presents unique challenges. Principally, the non-homogeneity of cannabinoids within the plant, between strains, and even within a single sample—hinders the accurate testing and labeling of products. A potency test of one cannabis flower will not adequately represent other flowers from the same crop or from the same plant. Current testing practices struggle to overcome the problem of cannabis’ chemical non-homogeneity in an affordable, practical way. Industry-standard high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) tests are slow, require significant equipment overhead, and are not appropriate for the needs of cultivators, wholesalers, or consumers. While chromatography is invaluable and well-justified in many applications, it cannot satisfy the testing needs of a wholesale transaction or assure consumers of product potency at the point of sale. Additionally, chromatography destroys the test sample, creating a Catch-22 for consumer testing needs. To address cumbersome and destructive testing practices, some cannabis professionals are turning to spectroscopic methods that are far quicker and cheaper. But these technologies are, on their own, questionably accurate. An emerging hybrid method offers a solution to impracticable or otherwise inaccurate testing. By collating multiple spectroscopic tests from every angle of the cannabis flower and refining the technology with digital image analysis we have found an accurate method for non-destructive testing. Backed by robust data science and intensive calibration against industry-standard chromatography, the new technology prove ideal for potency testing cannabis flowers. The ability nowadays to link each and individual flower to its NIR spectra and possibly to the physiological effect of that flower on individual patients, opens now the opportunity to close the learning cycle in medical cannabis.

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