NIST’s New Hemp Reference Material Will Help Ensure Accurate Cannabis Measurements

NIST’s New Hemp Reference Material Will Help Ensure Accurate Cannabis Measurements

NIST chemist Brent Wilson passes ground hemp through a sieve to produce a reference material with a consistent particle size.

Credit: NIST

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is now selling a hemp reference material that will help laboratories accurately measure key components in cannabis plant products. This will help law enforcement agencies accurately distinguish between hemp and marijuana and will help manufacturers and regulatory agencies ensure that cannabis products are safe and accurately labeled.

Hemp and marijuana both come from the Cannabis plant. Before 2018, all cannabis plant material or products were controlled substances under federal law. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, which it defined as any cannabis material with 0.3% total THC or less. Cannabis with more than that amount of total THC is considered marijuana and is still a controlled substance under federal law.

This means that, to determine whether a material is a controlled substance, labs now have to measure the amount of total THC in it. However, recent studies, including one by NIST researchers, have found that THC measurements as shown on product labels are not consistently reliable, causing potentially serious safety and regulatory challenges.

The new hemp material from NIST will help address this issue by serving as a reference material — that is, a material that labs use to ensure the accuracy of their measurements.

Hemp Reference Material to Support Accurate Cannabis Measurements

NIST's new Hemp Reference Material will help labs accurately measure the amount of THC in cannabis plant materials. This will help forensics labs accurately distinguish between hemp, which is legal in all 50 states, and marijuana, whic ..

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