Cannabis Heavy Metal Testing
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CAS: 7761-88-8 Molecular Formula: AgNO3 Molecular Weight (g/mol): 169.872 MDL Number: MFCD00003414 InChI Key: SQGYOTSLMSWVJD-UHFFFAOYSA-N Synonym: argenti nitras, argerol, lunar caustic, nitrate d'argent, nitric acid silver i salt, silbernitrat, silver i nitrate, silver mononitrate, silver nitrate, silvernitrate PubChem CID: 24470 ChEBI: CHEBI:32130 IUPAC Name: silver;nitrate SMILES: [N+](=O)([O-])[O-].[Ag+]
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CAS: 7722-84-1 Molecular Formula: H2O2 Molecular Weight (g/mol): 34.014 MDL Number: MFCD00011333 InChI Key: MHAJPDPJQMAIIY-UHFFFAOYSA-N Synonym: albone, hioxyl, hydrogen dioxide, inhibine, interox, kastone, oxydol, perhydrol, peroxaan, superoxol PubChem CID: 784 ChEBI: CHEBI:16240 IUPAC Name: hydrogen peroxide SMILES: OO
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CAS: 7681-11-0 Molecular Formula: IK Molecular Weight (g/mol): 166.003 MDL Number: MFCD00011355 InChI Key: NLKNQRATVPKPDG-UHFFFAOYSA-M Synonym: asmofug e, kali iodide, kisol, knollide, pima, potassium diiodide, potassium iodide, potassium iodide ki, potassium monoiodide, thyro-block PubChem CID: 4875 ChEBI: CHEBI:8346 IUPAC Name: potassium;iodide SMILES: [K+].[I-]
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CAS: 7722-64-7 Molecular Formula: KMnO4 Molecular Weight (g/mol): 158.032 MDL Number: MFCD00011364 InChI Key: VZJVWSHVAAUDKD-UHFFFAOYSA-N Synonym: algae-k, argucide, cairox, chameleon mineral, condy's crystals, insta-perm, permanganate of potash, potassium permanganate, solo san soo, walko tablets PubChem CID: 516875 IUPAC Name: potassium;permanganate SMILES: [O-][Mn](=O)(=O)=O.[K+]
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Cannabis, like other plants, can absorb heavy metals from the soil, water, and air. These elements can contribute to cancer, heart disease, and other health problems, which may be an issue for immunocompromised patients who use the products.
Ideally, cannabis for human consumption should be entirely free from heavy metals. However, contamination levels will vary by farm and the uptake rates of the particular cannabis strain.
Regardless of the source, cannabis can be expected to contain at least some heavy metals. These can come from fertilizers and pesticides or be naturally present in the soil and water. Heavy metal contamination can also occur during processing.
Levels of heavy metals are monitored to ensure that products comply with local and national regulatory guidelines, which can vary considerably. Most testing includes arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury, and some areas also require testing for barium, chromium, selenium, and silver.
Cannabis heavy metal testing can be performed in multiple ways, including atomic spectrometry, atomic absorption (AA), inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP/OES) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP/MS). Various chromatography reagents and ICP standards are available to support this testing.
The AA method would need to have a greater sensitivity, and a graphite furnace atomic absorption (GFAA) is recommended. Mercury measurements may require cold vapor atomic absorption spectroscopy (CVAAS) to reach the required detection limits in the low parts per billion (ppb).
Whereas AA measures one element at a time, ICP and ICP/MS can simultaneously measure multiple elements. Cannabis testing may also require introduction with an ultrasonic nebulizer (USN), which can increase the sensitivity 10-fold.
Arsenic testing may require special sample preparation because arsenic can appear in the organic form or the more-toxic inorganic form.