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Hemp Quality Standards: Perspectives and Resources from USP & AOAC

Published: Sep 02, 2021   

Speaking at the Analytical Cannabis Expo East Online 2020 in October , Dr Holly Johnson, Chief Science Officer of American Herbal Products Association and Dr Nandu Sarma, Director, of Dietary Supplements and Herbal Medicines US Pharmacopeia presented an update on hemp quality standards.

Abstract: Hemp and hemp-extract based ingredients are increasingly being introduced in dietary supplements, and in food and beverage products. Products marketed as dietary supplements are required to comply with the cGMP (21CFR111) expectation of quality attributes. For hemp, this may include 1) laboratory verification of identity, including a limit to THC content as required by regulation; 2) quantitative composition and limits of naturally-occurring cannabinoids; and 3) tests to help ensure minimal exposure to contaminants such as pathogenic microorganisms, toxic elemental contaminants, mycotoxins, residual solvents and pesticide residues. Testing laboratories need scientifically valid fit-for-purpose procedures among the numerous methods for hemp analysis published in the scientific literature. Establishing public standards as quality controls will help mitigate public health risks associated with contaminated, substandard, or adulterated products.

Science-based standards development organizations, the United States Pharmacopeia and AOAC International, have formed volunteer expert committees to evaluate the specifications and test methods necessary to define cannabis and hemp quality attributes based on plant parts and preparations. In this session, representatives from the USP and AOAC will describe the work of each organization and how they complement to contribute to the quality of hemp and hemp extracts.

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