AOAC Approves Heavy Metal Detection Method For Cannabis

A method to detect the presence of heavy metals in cannabis has gained approval from an international association focused on the safety and integrity of food and other products.

North Carolina-based CEM Corporation on Wednesday announced that AOAC International had approved its Heavy Metals in a Variety of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products analytical method.

The process focuses on the analysis of toxic metals in cannabis and products that contain cannabis.

According to CEM, the method, OMA 2021.03, uses high throughput microwave digestion and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) to solubilize and analyze elements like arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead in cannabis and cannabis products.

“The cannabis industry is still in its infancy and looks to experts in the fields of sample preparation and analysis to accurately determine contaminants in their products,” says CEM President and CEO Mike Collins. “CEM is proud to have combined efforts with our colleagues at Agilent to further the development of official methodology that will guide legislation and help cannabis labs worldwide deliver higher quality products to the market.”

CEM says a panel of analytical science experts rigorously reviewed the new method, which is the first one that AOAC-approved for heavy metals in cannabis.

According to CEM, the accuracy and precision of the ICP-MS method met AOAC’s Standard Method Performance Requirements for Determination of Heavy Metals in a Variety of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products (SMPR 2020.001) for all elements of interest.

CEM says OMA 2021.03 development helps cannabis labs determine the heavy metal content in their cannabis through simple high throughput sample digestion and analysis instrumentation.

CEM says that the process’ First Action AOAC Official Method status represents a large step forward in cannabis testing.