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Wendi Young on Cannabinoid Testing in Extracts

By Alexander Beadle

Published: Dec 07, 2022   
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On November 23, 2022, the third annual Analytical Cannabis Expo Europe Online 2022 was held, giving experts and industry thought leaders a platform to discuss the latest developments affecting cannabis regulation and the testing sector, with a focus on emerging trends, new technologies, method development and cutting-edge research.

Wendi Young, president and CEO of Triverity Laboratories, was one of these key experts. Last year, Young told audiences of the importance of stability testing and how to properly conduct shelf stability studies that are effective for a wide variety of cannabis products.

Returning to the Analytical Cannabis Expo Europe Online virtual stage for 2022, Young again highlighted a critical aspect of modern cannabis testing: effective cannabinoid profiling.

Improving cannabinoid profiling methods

Before founding and becoming the president and CEO of her own cannabis testing and compliance laboratory, Young was the vice-president of regulatory and compliance at Mile High Labs. It was here, Young said at the time, that she realized the difficulty of finding other third-party testing labs that fitted her specific standards for data integrity.

“This year [at the expo], I’m talking about cannabinoid profile testing of extracts. And the reason I chose that is because that’s really the reason why we started Triverity Laboratories. Because when I was working at Mile High labs, I couldn’t find a lab that was giving accurate data consistently,” Young told Analytical Cannabis.

“Really, the main reason is that folks would develop one method for cannabinoid profiling, and then just use it for a multitude of different [applications], whether it be extracts, or isolates, or products.”

To Wendi Young, specificity is key. For example, one would expect a lab to handle a topical or an edible product differently to how they might treat a pure isolate.

Cannabinoid isolates are a great example of why such specific sample preparation methods are so important. When profiling a very pure CBD isolate, it is expected that there will be a very large peak in the chromatogram that correlates to CBD. But this large peak does have the potential to swamp other analytes that may also be present in that isolate.

“You have got such a tight specification range on those isolates, a lot of them are 98 or greater than 99% pure,” Young said. “So your method really needs to be designed with that in mind – you can’t have five to 10% variability and expect to get results that are acceptable to the customers.”

In addition to highlighting the importance of specificity in cannabinoid testing, Young’s talk will also focus on limits of detection (LOD) and limits of quantification (LOQ) as they relate to cannabinoid profiling, and discuss method validation strategies for testing labs.

International compliance and testing expertise

Triverity Laboratories currently operates two physical labs, one based in Loveland, Colorado, and one in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

“We opened our laboratory in the UK in the first quarter of last year, and then came back to the US and opened our lab here. Both of them are ISO 17025 accredited and we’ve been spending the last year really building up our method repertoire,” Young told Analytical Cannabis. “We have methods for the extracts – that’s where we started – but [also] things like honey and chocolate and gummies.”

“We actually added additional testing so we can test the chemical markers in manuka honey,” Young added. “That’s not part of our ISO scope yet, but we’ll do that when we get our next extension.”

Triverity Labs also has a finger on the pulse of broader compliance issues. Having just opened their facility in Northern Ireland, for example, the Triverity team were affected first-hand by some of the uncertainty over novel foods applications in the UK. The lab is also currently going through a Colorado state certification audit, which it can expect to receive in the next month.

In addition to operating two accredited testing facilities on two continents, Triverity Labs also offers a consulting service to help other operations meet their goals and act in compliance with local laws.

“We’ve got different extractors that we work with,” Young said.

“One of them we worked over the course of the last year to get them ISO 17025 [accredited]. And the other one, we’re providing support to the analysts, their training, getting their methodology up to scratch so that they can generate accurate results.”

This article first appeared in the Analytical Cannabis Digest - November 2022.

Alexander Beadle

Science Writer

Alexander Beadle has been working as a freelance science writer since 2017 and has covered the cannabis industry for Analytical Cannabis since 2018. He has also written for our sister publication, Technology Networks, and the cannabis industry consultant firm Prohibition Partners, among others. Alexander holds a Master's in Materials Chemistry from the University of St. Andrews, where he won a Chemistry Purdie scholarship, and conducted research into zeolite crystal growth mechanisms and the action of single-molecule transistors.


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