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Series: Talkin’ bout Terpenes #3 – Technical Analysis of Terps and Cannabinoids – CHEMISTRY!

September 21, 2019

Ok, so we’ve gathered how much we love terpenes here at Peak City CBD and how much we value what God has done for us here with CBD and the Entourage Effect, right? If you’ve not gathered that yet (!), please rinse and repeat and look at these blogs and podcasts by Peak City CBD:

Talkin’ bout Terpenes #1

Talkin’ bout Terpenes #2

Podcast from Guys Who Do Stuff that talks about my fave terps

Today, I wanted to use this time to talk a little about CBD analysis: how we know what terpenes and cannabinoids are actually in the products. I mean, these are tiny chemical compounds. Of course you cannot see the CBD, alpha-bisabolol, humulene, or cannabinoid molecules with your eyes and count them….so, how do we know they are there and we are doing good things?

There are a few different ways to analyze cannabis products.  Many people use a technique called HPLC (high pressure liquid chromatography).  HPLC is a great way to see what cannabinoids (including terps!) are in hemp and CBD products.  The way HPLC works in a nutshell is as follows:

  1. A liquid is injected into an analyzer
  2. This liquid is injected at a very high pressure. Think of the garden hose on full blast, except the carrier to push the liquid through is usually a gas under pressure.
  3. The liquid goes into a column that is packed with a dense material. This material interacts with the CBD and terps in different ways.  So, what I mean is that humulene might interact with the column material in a different way than limonene does, and differently than CBD does.
  4. Because the CBD, limonene, humulene, and other cannabinoids interact differently with the column material, these compounds can be separated.
  5. What happens is the different chemical compounds come out the other side of the column at different rates.
  6. These different compounds can then be identified, and we can figure out how much of a certain compound is in our mixture

HPLC is used in our Certificate of Analysis data to show CBD and THC contents.  It is a very common way to do this.  HPLC equipment can be very costly.

At Peak City CBD, we also have another method at our fingertips.  It is a technique that we have in our lab and is called Infrared Spectrometry.  You might have heard about it a little at our Podcast.  Our IR spectrometer can determine CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids in our hemp biomass and in our products (oils, lotions, etc.).  The way IR spectrometry works is as follows:

  1. A sample is placed on the analyzer
  2. A harmless beam of infrared light hits the sample
  3. When this happens, the molecules in the sample vibrate. They vibrate in a very specific way depending on the molecule and type of chemical bond that exists
  4. This level of vibration is captured by a detector
  5. Because of the unique and specific vibration levels, we can determine what compounds are in the hemp or oil or lotion, and we can determine how much

That’s a lot to cover and take in – I get it.  But, we wanted to share with you a little more on the technical side so you can appreciate what goes into the goodness and magic of quality CBD product creation.

Here is a recent analysis done on our IR spectrometer that shows some of the terpenes present in our CBD mixes:

As the founder of Peak City CBD and also a chemist, I love to talk about the chemistry of CBD. Here at Peak City CBD we are always learning but we do know that we can offer a super high quality, effective, and organic CBD product for you.

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