Laboratory Testing

CDX Analytics has heavily invested in state-of-the-art instrumentation that is distinguished in producing all results required by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and is also proficient at the highest level of current marijuana research. Our facility allows us to ensure state compliance and push the envelope in product optimization.

Potency

Cannabinoids (THC, THCA, CBD, CBDA, etc.) are accurately quantified in plant samples using liquid chromatography ultraviolet spectroscopy (LC-UV). More complex samples, such as extracts and marijuana infused products (MIPs) are tested using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MSMS).

Pesticides

The MDPH requires analysis of 9 pesticides, which we handle with two powerful systems. The complexity of these pesticides necessitates liquid and gas chromatographic instruments, both of which are equipped with tandem mass spectrometers (LC-MSMS and GC-MSMS). These two instruments are inarguably second-to-none in the pesticide analysis arena.

Residual Solvents

Extracts, resins and MIPs are tested for residual solvents using a specialized form of analysis called headspace gas chromatography with flame ionization detection (HS-GC-FID). This technique is specialized for volatile compounds, which make it a premium choice for quantification of extraction materials.

Heavy Metals

Potentially carcinogenic metals are detected with the latest generation of inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). This system is capable of detecting the four metals required by the MDPH at levels far below the set limit, which allows identification of potential contamination long before compliance is at risk.

Microbiological

We employ state-of-the-art DNA polymerize chain reaction technology (PCR) to circumvent issues common to widely used plating techniques. PCR technology is an advanced method, which significantly reduces false positives and cuts waiting time down to hours instead of days. One reason false positives are reduced by PCR is because it is based on quantitation of DNA using a fluorescence spectrometer, while plating is based on manually counting groups (colonies) of any organism that is capable of growing on the plating platform. PCR is faster than plating because it takes less time for DNA extraction and fluorescence detection than it takes for organism growth to reach visual detection. Though PCR is much more labor-intensive than plating, CDX Analytics takes pride in going the extra mile in the name of scientific integrity.

Water Content

Determination of water content is arguably the most important test of all. Compliance limits set by the MDPH are weight ratios (weight %, ppm, ppb, and CFU/g), which means that the determined level of analyte (pesticide, metal, etc.) in the sample has to be divided by the dry weight of the sample to calculate results to report. If the dry weight of a sample is not accurately measured, it will cause all reported results to be inaccurate.

After careful surveying of all the ways to scientifically determine dry weight, we selected the Karl Fischer method. It turns out that the most accurate way to measure dry weight is not to dry the sample and weight it, but rather to measure the number of water molecules and subtract their weight from the sample! We use gas-phase Karl Fischer analysis to measure water content which ensures the sample dry weight is determined as accurately as possible. This in turn guarantees greater accuracy of all reported results.

Terpenes

Terpenes are the largest and most diverse class of chemicals produced by plants. They are currently widely used in food, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries. Terpenes have unique therapeutic affects on humans at ppb (ng/mL) serum levels. We provide quantification of a large array of terpenes using our GC-FID, and are always happy to develop additional methods for terpenes that are of special interest to our customers.

Plant Sexing

Plant sexing is done using a DNA amplification technique called Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), which is best suited for answering the male or female question. LAMP can also be used to give cannabinoid production tendencies of plants, so that the males with high CBD capabilities can be identified.