THC and Total THC Explained, Compliance Labelling

Article by Travis Cesarone, Cannabis Life Network

THC AND TOTAL THC EXPLAINED, COMPLIANCE LABELLING TRAVIS CESARONEJANUARY 5, 2021 ASK AN EXPERTCANNABIS 101CANNABIS CANADACANNABIS NEWSEDUCATIONFEATUREDMARIJUANA NEWSSCIENCE0 VIEWS We previously explored how cannabinoid content is displayed on cannabis labels in some Canadian provinces, such as BC. Whether those quantities are given as a percentage or in milligrams per gram, two different values of THC and CBD can be strangely advertised. We will explain the differences between THC and the THC total based on Health Canada’s compliances and beyond.

We previously explored how cannabinoid content is displayed on cannabis labels in some Canadian provinces, such as BC. Whether those quantities are given as a percentage or in milligrams per gram, two different values of THC and CBD can be strangely advertised. We will explain the differences between THC and the THC total based on Health Canada’s compliances and beyond.

D9 versus Total THC

As detailed in our previous installment, we spoke with CLN’s contributing scientist, Dr. Markus Roggen, to gain a more precise understanding of cannabis labelling. We were surprised to learn the involvement behind interpreting a THC quantity from a licensed lab to a consumer.

Legal cannabis labels are filled with perplexing gimmicks and characteristics across Canada. Why is THC separated from Total THC?

The reason behind that is cannabis flower producers THC acid [THCa]. So, if you buy flower it will have say 21% THC acid and maybe 2% [D9] THC. If you were to only label THC, you would have flower with 2% THC, no one would buy that. But, if you displayed THC acid, no one would care.

Dr. Roggen

Can you just add THC and THC acid together for a Total?

Right, so there’s a problem with that. We read the weight in percentage. So, it’s the weight of those molecules divided by the weight of the flower. But, THC acid is a bigger molecule than THC. In decarboxylation, you account for the weight loss as THC acid turns into THC. The weight decreases by 12.3%. So, if you have 21% THCa and 2% THC and you actually decarboxylate that flower, it will not be 23% THC. It will only be 22% THC because of the loss of weight as you decarboxylate THC.

So, that’s why you need to do Total THC as a correction for the weight loss of THC acid turning into THC.

Dr. Roggen

Inflating THC’s weight

THCa turns into the intoxicating D9 form while it is smoked or cooked (decarboxylated). Typically, the 12.3% drop in weight has been accounted for when we see a THC percentage on the black market.

When we emailed BCLDB and asked if their Total THC values will seem inflated compared to the black market. They responded to say we will have to follow-up with a licensed producer. Yet, they detailed that,

Minus 12.3% is now thought to be variable and we cannot offer an explanation on this ourselves.

BCLDB

Thankfully, a founder and CEO of an approved cannabis research lab with a Ph.D. in Chemistry, such as Dr. Roggen, is more familiar with the process.

So way back, the black market added the two percentages of THC and THCa [post-calculation]. That’s the same thing as Total THC on Canada’s cannabis labels.

Dr. Roggen

Total THC = (THCa x 0.88) + D9 THC

So, the legal market has adopted the black market’s strategy but has simply left an additional piece of data. THC simply denotes the trace amount of active THC before it is smoked or activated, whereas the Total THC consists of the total amount of active THC post-decarboxylation.

Who asked an expert to start counting the molecules in my weed?

Overall, how accurate is this decarboxylation equation when used to display THC quantities?

It has a duty for end consumers but it’s not a good way to regulate cannabis flower.

Because, what we did is, we had twenty molecules of THC acid and two molecules of THC. They both have weight. So, THC has a weight of one and every molecule of THC acid has a weight of, let’s say 1.1 since THC acid is a little bit heavier.

If we think about it that way, you can just say from the beginning there were 20 molecules of THC acid and two molecules of THC. I don’t care about how much they weigh. In total there were 22 THC molecules.

Dr. Roggen

Read the full article here.

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