Issues with Low Concentrations in Drinks

We perform a lot of testing on drinks. Many of the test results show lower concentrations than what was formulated. Review of the lay literature and trade publications reveals that adsorption (not absorption) losses to the plastic can liner are well-known and continue to plague the beverage industry. The losses are attributed to the partitioning of the lipophilic cannabinoids into the lipophilic plastic liners. The rate at which this partitioning occurs is not well-characterized and is reported to differ with different formulations and liner materials.

Carbonated beverages are reported to lose cannabinoids to the liner more rapidly than non-carbonated beverages. Plastic bottles are typically not used for cannabis beverages because losses are more rapid. Losses with glass containers have not been reported to the same extent so the glass container is the best but is not used widely due to economic factors like cost, weight, non-standard filling mechanisms, shipping, and others. Manufacturers are advised to submit their beverages for testing quickly after manufacture so that the cannabinoid content is closer to the target. Conventional wisdom is that they should be tested within a week of manufacture.

Producing cannabis beverages that deliver the labeled content is a challenge for the cannabis industry. Although the use of glass containers has been cited as the solution, cannabinoids are subject to photodegradation so it is necessary to demonstrate their stability in glass containers.

At KCA we have developed methods that have shown to account for the missing cannabinoid concentrations in drinks. Recent tests have shown up to 10mg of cannabinoids missing in the testing of the liquid that is due to the packaging.

If you are experiencing this issue we’d like to help and provide supporting evidence that the packaging is the culprit through our testing.


True dat!


I’ve definitely seen all of these things. I’ve also seen that there are additives that prevent this. I’ve also seen this in glass containers depending on the kind of cap. And I’ve seen other issues with glass (light degradation, oxygen intrusion through the cap, etc.) that make it not the be all end all that is out there.

There are some decent private studies available from two of the biggest emulsion houses, including a new one done with the EMA in the EU.

In Michigan - they care about issues with packaging adsorption / leeching / potency loss. So we had to learn how to control this here. We also do bulk tank testing, direct after fill testing, retention testing, and stability work.

If you are looking for help with formulation stuff - feel free to hit the DM. Because @kcalabs is very right. If you aren’t doing the work to prevent this - then you are losing efficiency (having to put more in to get a solid COA) or your product is not stable and you might get caught after the fact for mislabeling after some degradation sets in.

There is also some good evidence that dissolved oxygen plays a role in degradation and loss. So there are multiple options for control - some which work better than others.