Cannabinoid Analysis: Challenges Caused by the Proliferation of THC Isomers and Analogues

Life Sciences, Laboratory Technology, Fundamental Research,
  • Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, or Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, allowed for the removal of hemp from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) list of controlled substances. Since the passage of the Farm Bill, the hemp market has become saturated. The 2023 National Hemp Report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reported over 30 million pounds of hemp produced in 2022, down from 39 million pounds produced in 2021.

Unrestrained hemp production has led to an excess of hemp’s most abundant phytocannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD). The CBD market has largely targeted health-conscious individuals in search of alternatives to pharmaceuticals. CBD is promoted in the health and fitness industry to enhance muscle recovery, reduce inflammation and pain and decrease cortisol levels.


While the CBD market was projected to continue to grow, the market has become saturated with CBD products. As a result of this saturated market, CBD has been used to synthesize a variety of natural and unnatural tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) isomers and analogues. These products advertise the presence of THC isomers, and other analogues such as hexahydrocannabinol (HHC), tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP) and THC-acetate (THC-O).

These cannabinoids are commercially available and are often sold as “hemp-derived” and “legal.” Despite some of these compounds being found naturally in the plant material, the reported concentrations of marketed products exceeded the concentrations found naturally. With increasing number of cannabinoid derivatives being synthesized, there is a continuing need to develop methods for cannabinoid analysis.

In this webinar, the expert speaker will focus on the intricate dynamics of the CBD market and the direct correlation between the CBD market’s saturation and proliferation of THC isomers and analogues. The speak will also discuss the analytical challenges posed by emerging THC analogues due to their structural similarities, necessitating the use of advanced methodologies for accurate analysis.

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Moreover, the speaker will discuss the prevalent mislabeling practices in commercially available THC analogue products, often leading to the presence of additional, unreported analogues, emphasizing the need for stringent regulatory oversight and consumer awareness.

Register for this webinar today to gain insights into the challenges of cannabinoid analysis owing to the proliferation of THC analogues and the use of advanced methodologies for accurate analysis.


Kimberly Karin, Federal Aviation Administration

Kimberly Karin, Chemist, Federal Aviation Administration

Kimberly Karin earned her Master of Science in Forensic Science and her PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology from Virginia Commonwealth University. Kimberly has conducted e-cigarette research, evaluated extraction methods for Traditional Chinese herbal medicines and analyzed various commercially available products for the presence of phytocannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids as a part of the Laboratory for Forensic Toxicology Research. During her doctorate, Kimberly studied endocannabinoids and evaluated N-acyl amino acids in models of nicotine dependence. Kimberly is currently a chemist in the Forensic Sciences section at the Federal Aviation Administration.

Message Presenter

Who Should Attend?

This webinar will appeal to those working in laboratories that perform tests for:

  • Forensic toxicology
  • Forensic drug chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Drugs of abuse

What You Will Learn

Attendees will learn:

  • How the saturation of the CBD market has led to the emergence of a variety of THC isomers and analogues, which continue to evolve
  • Why emerging THC analogues pose analytical challenges given their structural similarities
  • How commercially available products containing THC analogues are often mislabelled and may contain additional analogues

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SCIEX offers 50 years of expertise in LC-MS/MS technology combined with a comprehensive portfolio of preconfigured LC-MS/MS methods, libraries and software designed to push the limits of speed and sensitivity for both quantitative and qualitative analyses. Our Triple Quad™, QTRAP® and QTOF systems provide enhanced sensitivity and usability enabling rapid screening, identification, and quantitation of hundreds of the most challenging compounds in a single analysis with confidence. SCIEX provides the expertise to help a new lab run smoothly, as well as first-of-its-kind personalized online learning programs.

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