In House analytics

Seems like we could use a discussion on the tools and techniques for in house cannabis analysis.
I assume most folks are doing potency & possibly terpenes. What are you using?

  • None
  • TLC plates
  • SRI GC
  • HP/Agilent GC
  • HPLC
  • Sage Analytics Profiler or Beacon
  • Orange Photonics LightLab
  • Shimadzu Cannabis Analyser
  • other

0 voters

I’m running an SRI 8610c GC with an FID, I purchased it used from a dispensary. For a while OR was requiring testing, but not requiring 3rd party testing. So I grabbed a GC, and an incubator & some petri film. I took me a couple of weeks to get everything set up and dialled in, but it passed for state mandated testing for almost six months, and was well worth the expense.

in no particular order…

Products | Sage Analytics
Cannabis Analyzer for Potency : Shimadzu Scientific Instruments


Gc-fid ! Where’s my checkbox?


not an sri or HP/agilent? too late to add it at this point without getting the mods involved. :frowning:


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I’d be curious to see how many people use an auto injector.

certainly the technician doing the injections is the biggest source of error on my rig. manual head space for terps or residual solvents is simply a non-starter imo.

so additional surveys would be “manual” vs “auto” sample injection & “which analyses”, which might not lend itself to multiple choice.


Yeah, for each their own. Injection speed needs to be documented for a repeatable result. It also helps to have just one person run it. That can eliminate some day to day varyables.


Just got off the phone with Sage Analytics.
At ~$20k MSRP their product looks like a useful tool for some.

Pros: non-destructive testing of flower and concentrates in 9 seconds!
Cons: currently only programmed to distinguish THC(A) and CBD(A).

So you can’t look at edibles or tinctures & you’ll learn nothing about those mystery peaks in your distillate. Without the ability to see CBN, it also can’t be used in a mobile 3rd party lab model in Oregon, because OR requires CBN numbers.

The Orange Photonics LightLab is a transportable HPLC with a diode array for a detector. It uses a proprietary MeOH based solvent and disposable columns.

It can’t tell you anything about terpenes, but does cover more cannabinoids than the SAGE. at $13.5K it’s cheaper too. analysis times are on the order of 10 min.

it will do infused products if you extract up front. unlike the GC w/FID approach, it can tell acidic cannabinoids from their decarboxylated buddies.

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Shimadzu’s Cannabis Analyser has a list price of $65k. Made in Canby OR.

It’s a full blown, turn-key HPLC system that comes with the right column and cannabinoids standards in addition to all the other bits and pieces you need.

might be overkill for some. It’s on my christmas list…although I tend to go with used or repurposed equipment whenever possible.


Oh god! The ebay mystery gcms! Ahhhh!

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GC-MS? nah, I’m still pondering using a UV/Vis spec.

I blame the Shimadzu sales-engineer (WTF is a “sales-engineer”?!?).


We have not purchased it yet, doing some shopping around, but the SRI GC/FID just has the most capability for the least amount of money. Especially on your consumables!

Sage analytics are off their cracker with the cost of those devices. And $50 for a sheet of 250 stickers? So much nope.

HP/Agilent… well, who wouldn’t want one. Oh yeah, people working a budget.

Orange, not bad but limited.

Shimadzu, very nice instrument. But weirdly more limited than the SRI. You might be able to change the columns but they don’t even mention terpenes or solvents.

SInce this is in houseHPLC is overkill, and I’m not sure how much it would take but I remember putting a fricken jug of methanol or some solvent on top of our instruments about 10 years ago. I just dont want to deal with that.

I just want to know the concentrations and my terps. Any safety check will be done at the licensed lab at the end of my run.

My 2c. Worth exactly what you paid.


They claim they can measure THCA, I had wondered about that.

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You can quantitate acidic cannabinoids on a GC with an FID. You just have to derivativize the carboxyl group. But as “decarboxylation” is how our bodies join amino-acids together, I can’t take the risk that the stoners I work with will manage to get it in their coffee. At least until I can lock them out of the QC lab.


derivative? Could you expand on this please. Are we talking mathematically or based on something else we derive the answer with some known?

And nobody comes in my lab without I say so. If they see my secrets i gag them with Parafilm and burn out their eyes with my bunsen burner! lol, just kidding. About the bunsen burner, but seriously NOBODY comes in my lab without me there. :smirk:


chemically modify so decarb doesn’t happen in the injector or 30meter tube leading to the eternal (internal?) flame.

poisonous: because if you can’t join amino-acids to make proteins, you’re dead.

I find coffee cups, beverages of all description, and occasionally a half smoked joint or cigar on the bench with the GC. constantly having to move flammables off the GC itself. as if it’s a great place to store packages.


Out comes the whip! Or perhaps we should use old gc columns…?


nice, thank you very much! Looks easy as pie. Looked up the MSTFA, doesn’t look to unhealthy. Mostly one exposure when you make your standard and then minor off gassing when using a septum.

You make me appreciate my private, little, windowless, airflow free box in the back of the building.

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I derivitized chlorinated herbicide extracts for drinking water, waste water and other analytical tests. Those tests involved a diazomthane generator and had serious safety measures that needed to be implimented.