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Managing Influences on Moisture Content in Cannabis for Optimization of Sample Throughput, Accuracy and Precision of Results

May 24, 2021


Determining the moisture content of cannabis and products derived from it is critical throughout the entire manufacturing process - from harvesting to packaging of the finished product.  Water content influences a variety of factors including – product weight, active ingredient concentrations (THC), shelf life, susceptibility to contamination, flavor profiles, product consistency and more.  Excess moisture can subject cannabis and related products to a higher risk of microbial contamination, including bacteria, fungi, and various forms of yeast.  Contamination due to elevated moisture levels can thus prematurely shorten the shelf life of cannabis products. Consequently, an accurate analysis of moisture content in cannabis ensures product safety, as well as compliance with numerous state and local regulations.

Various methods can be used to determine the moisture content. Common methods are Karl Fischer titration and the loss-on-drying method, which can be very time-consuming.

In this study, we compare the classical oven (loss-on-drying) method with the infrared method, in which two moisture analyzers, Mark3 HP and MA160 from Sartorius, are tested with regard to analysis times and result precision as a function of both sample quantity and initial moisture content. The analysis of the results can assist those looking to optimize moisture determination in their cannabis products with regards to operating efficiencies and sample consumption. With the growing legality of cannabis and related products, the need for moisture-content analysis will surely increase. As a result, cannabis industry professionals will require easy, accurate, and fast methods of moisture analysis that can handle increasing levels of sample throughput.

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