Thin Layer Chromotography

I’m trying to test for cannabinoid contents on my isolate, and was wonder if someone could recommend a good thin layer chromatography kit. Also any advice when testing would be appreciated, I am a noob on this.

there is a TLC kit linked in in house analytics.

haven’t tried it.

I have used the Cannatest setup for state mandated testing in OR. accuracy is operator dependant, and without a densitometer is also rather subjective.

testing isolate should be less problematic than testing flowers. but if you’re distilling, and manage to degrade/isomerize your product, figuring that out via TLC will take some work.

Cannatest’s website is still up, but they don’t seem to be responding to emails. I assume they’ve moved on.

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This would work. Anything similar will work. Message me with your phone number and I can fill you in on some cheap tek to make this happen.

Please dont buy some cannabis industry kit they are a waste of money.

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Carolina Biological is a great company. I would absolutely recommend getting your consumables from them.

I agree with @QGA that paying $500 for a kit is dumb. get the $150 kit. the pipet tips, plates, solvent, etc are all available cheaper elsewhere once you’ve got the tek down.

I would still recommend starting with a kit marketed to this industry unless you have someone to hold your hand (and @QGA has offered) or are already familiar with TLC.

$150-$160 will get you started with a cannabis specific kit. you might be able to put that together for $90 from Carolina Biological…with some help.

The kit comes with a couple of things Carolina don’t supply. 1) a protocol for cannabinoids. 2) a plastic sheet with spots on it that substitutes for the desitometer.

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Thank you guys, I think the starter kits are probably a good place to start.

Just got off the phone with Cannatest. They are still in business, but sell their kits through Alpha-Cat.

when they say mobile lab, they mean it. Cannatest mounted something like this on a motorcycle and would come to you to test material.

Check what comes with this kit. you should probably get yourself much of what is on there if you don’t have it after your $150 kit comes in. You might be able to talk @QGA into providing the training course :wink:


Very nice!

This paper will help people who have not ran TLC on cannabis compounds. Message me for questions or message me your phone number and I will call you.


Pretty sure the lab I worked with was using neat chloroform as extraction solvent & eluent…

chromatograms didn’t look near as pretty.

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Thats pretty neat, never tried it. Might be useful to use deuterated chloroform would make an nmr a little more convienient but that would be expensive.

20% ether, 80% hexanes is what is reported in that paper

I know I’m reviving a thread from the dead here but waste-not want-not and all that. I’m looking to try to get some information on how people generally run TLC quantification of cannabinoids. I assume silica 60g and heptane/ethyl acetate are pretty commonly used for stationary/mobile phases (they certainly work just fine for DCVC with the same media). Is there any downside/worthwhile alternative that might serve better?

Secondly, what’s the ghetto tek for visualization/quantification. Fast blue? UV? I read in Zubrick about using H2SO4 and baking to visualize in a manner that seems like it would allow easy upload to one of the many web apps for quasi-absorption style quantification but I have no idea what kind of resolution it would lend (if effective at all).

Lastly, most of the TLC kits I see just give Rf charts for cannabinoid locations, which doesn’t give much in the way of quantification. Does anyone go so far as to spotting standards from Restek et. al.? Or is the resolution too poor to make it worthwhile?

I know this is bordering substantially on spoon lending by the metrics of this board but it doesn’t hurt to ask as certainly some (many?) of you have gone down this road before.

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yeah maybe. :wink:

I think there probably is almost enough information lying around here on that subject for that to be true.

once upon I time I ran tlc for state testing in OR. For like two weeks. installed a good friend there, and she lasted for a couple of months (she needed the money). Also hung out with the Cannatest folks up in Bainbridge WA who developed the SOP we were using and were actually franchising at that point (I believe).

it’s been so long I forget what the label on the plates read. pretty sure we used chloroform as the mobile phase & the extraction solvent. we ran standards for Rf and using fast blue we also got color coding.

“densitometry” consisted of holding up a printed template and eye balling it (one of the reasons I couldn’t stay…). I did drag in a flat bed scanner and tried to get that worked into the SOP, but had other battles to fight and didn’t solve that one.

Cannatest thought they had it pretty well dialed. with duplicates +/- 10% might be possible. using glass capillaries for spotting chloroform extracts required way too much care, I’m not sure a micropipetter would be better, but I’ve heard it is.

edit: most of that is also up thread. @QGA also points you at appropriate plates…and might even show up at some point, although I don’t know that he’s posted in eons.

I can give you his number if you DM.


You can email me at and I can help with TLC

Thanks @cyclopath for the shoutout, I dont have much left to say on here other than we can do THC remdiation better and cheaper than anyone <3 haha


Thank you gentlemen both very much for the insight and the offer for assistance.

@QGA in the interest of self-educating, I’m going to mess around a bit, make a few mistakes and probably hit you up when I get confused enough to merit your attention.

@cyclopath I appreciate the information and clarification/confirmation of the information that you’ve already provided. I’d like to think that I’m helping future curious people by goading you into answering a whole bunch of questions all in one place but the reality is that I probably just don’t have the mental faculty to keep all the pieces together on my own.

I’d be lying if I said I’m not going to try the super hacky way of doing this while I wait on the real supplies to come in: sometime this week I’m going to try rasping some drywall to get a little pile of gypsum that I can mix with the silica 60 I already have, mix it up on a couple microscope slides and give her a shot. Fortunately I do have some chloroform on hand but it is stabilized with ethanol. I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t going to try without having to wash the ethanol out because I am deadly afraid of phosgene and also quite lazy. I can attest that pipetting it with a micropipette only works if you’re quick because the chloroform eats the tips almost on contact. I’m sure there’s an expensive right tool for the job that I don’t have.