At the last count, the Cannabis Trades Association UK estimated the number of people regularly taking hemp derived supplements to be 375,000. Although the CBD industry is not fully regulated, it is still regulated under General Food Law and under Trading Standards. There are products in the market place that may not be compliant in one or both of these areas. Until such time as a fully regulated and traceable market for hemp and CBD products can be established in the UK, whether you are a seller, a distributor, a manufacturer or a consumer, it’s worth considering having your products tested by a laboratory you can trust. At PhytoVista Laboratories we are passionate about what we do. Along with our custom-built facilities, we have the expertise and skills to deliver you accurate results, every time.
Hemp is from the Cannabaceae family of plants which also includes Hops, and just like it’s cousin the hop plant, hemp produces a vast array of terpenophenolic compounds. In the case of cannabis sativa L. (Hemp), these compounds are referred to as cannabinoids, and there are around 100 of them. The most abundant cannabinoid in hemp is Cannabidiol (CBD), we can quantify this and an additional 13 cannabinoids; CBDA, THC, THCA, CBCA, CBC, CBCA, CBG, CBGA, THCV, THCVA, CBDVA, CBDV and CBN.
Terpenes are produced by many plants, and they are what is responsible for their distinctive tastes and aromas. All essential oils are terpenes that have been distilled and concentrated and are commonly used in aromatherapy to affect mood and vitality. PhytoVista Laboratories uses a fully validated gas chromatography (GC) methodology, enabling us to provide an accurate report of 21 terpenes.
Supercritical CO2 extraction is commonly used to make hemp extracts, though this method can leave flavonoids and other interesting polar (water-soluble) compounds behind. Solvents are permitted to be used in the processing of foodstuffs under EU regulations, however, the types of solvent and amount of residue considered safe are clearly defined. Isolates are also generally manufactured with the use of solvents, and depending on the manufacturing process, they may not all be removed. So whether you are a manufacturer looking to check conformity with the specification, or a consumer looking for assurance that your product doesn’t contain unsafe residues, PhytoVista Laboratories can help.
Pesticide residues are commonly found in many products destined for human consumption, however, many pesticides have been banned from being used and those that are allowed have strict limits as to how much is allowable as a residue. Even organic products may contain traces of pesticide, either through unauthorised use, environmental persistence, or contamination from adjacent crop spraying. Products that use an extraction and concentration process can also result in a concentrating effect of pesticide residues, so it is important that these have been tested. PhytoVista Laboratories uses a combination of LC-MS/MS and GC-MS to quantify up to 310 pesticides.
Mycotoxins are naturally occurring compounds produced by certain types of moulds. They are toxic even in small quantities and are known carcinogens. For this reason, the amount of mycotoxins allowed in the food chain is strictly controlled. As with pesticides, mycotoxins can be concentrated at the extraction stage, therefore, it is important to test extracts and products made from extracts.
For hemp products, we recommend Aflatoxins B1, B2, G1 G2 and Ochratoxin A. Others are available including ergot alkaloids. PhytoVista Laboratories uses highly sensitive and specific methodology utilising UHPLC-MS/MS to produce accurate and reliable results.
Cannabis Sativa L. (Industrial Hemp) is a good phytoremediator, meaning it is able to remove heavy metals from the soil and trap them in the plant material. This means that depending on the condition of the soil being used to cultivate the hemp, elevated levels of heavy metals may be found in the plant and of extracts. PhytoVista Laboratories uses ICP-MS, which is the most widely accepted gold standard in such analysis, to quantify trace heavy metals with an extremely high degree of sensitivity. In accordance with regulations, we quantify; Lead, Mercury, Cadmium and Arsenic.
The presence of microbes is common in all-natural products. Microbial and fungal values are not typically reported on a pass/fail basis. Rather, acceptable limits have been established and written into regulation. In the case of Bile Tolerant Gram-Negative Bacteria (eg. E.coli) the product should be tested to show that they are absent. Responsible cultivation, processing and manufacturing mitigate the risks associated with microbiological contamination, but as with many aspects of final product testing, evidence of safety is a requirement to ensure your products are compliant with regulations.