When NoCo Hemp Expo 2019 Is Your First NoCo Hemp Expo

Greetings, fans of The Good Lab! I’m Joe Zemek, the Lab’s outreach coordinator. I’m what many of y’all recognize as an industry newbie: I’ve supported hemp and cannabis legalization from the sidelines, and, in my previous political work, by connecting candidates with knowledge and endorsement opportunities. Now, I have taken the plunge into working in the industry, to play a more direct role in supporting and promoting hemp in Colorado and nationwide. As with any entry into a new industry, there is A LOT to learn, so I was very excited about my first NoCo Hemp Expo.

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The attendees fill the floor!

Friday

We knew the event was gonna be big, following the Farm Bill, the move to the larger venue, and the completely full parking within a mile of Crowne Plaza. Even so, when we walked in, my bosses Greg and Teri gasped – it was jam-packed, we were sardines in seconds. Decked out in our tie-dyed lab coats, we waded into the loud crowd to find our friends and meet new people.

On the floor of the exhibitor hall, the variety of 225 exhibitors spanned each aisle: seeds were sold next to soaps, farm equipment next to legal services, tinctures next to extractors. From the massive GenCanna space set apart from the aisles as an island in the floor, to the smallest booths for grassroots folks like Hemp Fuel Group, you could find just about anything short of a graphene production setup. Here’s the floor plan and exhibitor list from the program.

So began a day of slowly negotiating the aisles, having conversations, exchanging business cards, weaving between folks, forgetting to take pictures, and trying to remember what I was learning as I was learning it. To a newbie, everything is impressive. There is tremendous competition and variety among CBD retailers. Tincture bottles were omnipresent.

It was also fun when my political buddy, Governor Jared Polis, toured the aisles following his speech to the Business Conference, taking some time to chat with attendees and participate in selfies.

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The news caught my dyed side

Saturday

Concurrent with the exhibition floor were numerous talks and presentations in three separate conference rooms separate from the floor. On Friday, these presentations were for the Business Conference; on Saturday, they were for the Farm Symposium. After the hectic and massively extroverted nature of Friday, I was glad to be able to—after doing the rounds and taking some pictures in the morning—sit down and listen to panels and speakers in the conference rooms on Saturday.

First though, I had to choose. Organic Regenerative Agriculture, OR Best Farming Practices?  Evolution of Hemp Genetics Panel, OR Industrial Vs Cannabinoids Checklist To Success? This is why one event, even as comprehensive as NoCo Expo 2019, isn’t nearly enough for the beginner. Even someone with plenty of knowledge under their belt looking to expand would have at some point faced a difficult choice when looking at their program and choosing a session. This is a good problem to have… but it is still kind of a problem.

In a lineup of passionate speakers, the most impassioned speaker I listened to Saturday was native activist and hemp farmer Winona LaDuke. With the hemp industry on the rise, we have an opportunity to ensure that native farmers, producers, and business people are included and valued in all facets of the hemp industry.  If hemp is seen as just another opportunity to get rich quick, we will forsake its promise to help change and perhaps even save the world. Native voices are critically important to uplift as we form our growing and producing communities that will insulate us from Big-Business-as-usual when it inevitably comes to buy out small farms and take over the hemp industry with conventional economies of scale approaches, and all the dehumanization that comes with that.

At the end of the presentations on Saturday, I was beat and ready to go home and try to remember everything I had learned. On the way out I stopped by 710 Spirits to say hi to my friends Liz and Cortland, who tried to get me to come to the after party with enticements of karaoke, which I love, but not when I am zapped. Next time, though, when it’s less overwhelming, absolutely.

We’ve posted more photos on our Facebook and Instagram pages. I hope you’ll take a look. And if you want to talk hemp, especially about how The Good Lab can help you, I’m available.

Marijuana Math: Calculating milligrams per milliliter in liquids

Accurately converting percentage to milligrams per milliliter can be confusing, and it’s easy to get it wrong if you don’t factor in the density of the liquid suspension.

You know how oils typically float to the top when mixed in water, while other substances like honey sink to the bottom? That’s because their density and molecular weight are different. One is lighter and less dense, while the other is heavier and more dense.

In order to accurately calculate milligrams per milliliter, you’ll need the following information: Potency percentage, Density of the suspension, and Volume of the liquid.

Dosing Infused Oils

Let’s say you want to know how many mg are in a 50 ml bottle of ethanol tincture at 2% potency:

Potency Percentage = 2%
Density of ethanol* = 0.789 g/ml
Volume of liquid = 50 ml

Step One: Convert Density from g/ml to mg/ml:
0.789 x 1000 = 789 mg

Step Two: Multiply Density in mg/ml by Potency Percentage:
789 x 2% = 15.78 mg/ml

Step Three: Multiply mg/ml by Volume of liquid:
15.78 x 50 = 789 mg in 50 ml

For this example, let’s assume you’re putting .5 ml of infused MCT (liquid coconut oil) into capsules:

Potency Percentage = 3%
Density of MCT* = 0.955 g/ml
Volume of liquid = 0.5 ml

Step One: Convert density from g/ml to mg/ml:
0.955 x 1000 = 955 mg

Step Two: Multiply Density in mg/ml by Potency Percentage:
955 x 3% = 28.65 mg/ml

Step Three: Multiply mg/ml by Volume of liquid:
28.65 x 0.5 = 14.33 mg in 0.50 ml

Let’s say you’re planning to bake some edibles and want to know how many milligrams are in a tablespoon of butter with a potency of 0.5%.

Potency Percentage = .5%
Density of butter* = 0.911 g/ml
Volume of liquid = 15 ml (approximately 1 tablespoon)

Step One: Convert density from g/ml to mg/ml:
0.911 x 1000 = 911 mg

Step Two: Multiply Density in mg/ml by Potency Percentage:
911 x 0.5% = 4.56 mg/ml

Step Three: Multiply mg/ml by Volume of liquid:
4.56 x 15 = 68.4 mg in 15 ml (1 tbsp)

*Each suspension will have a different density. Here are some common ones.
Ethanol: .789 g/mL
Vegetable glycerin = 1.26 g/mL
Coconut oil = .926 g/mL
Olive oil = .915 g/mL
Safflower oil = .921 g/mL
Butter = .911 g/mL
MCT Oil = .955 g/mL
Honey = 1.43 g/mL
(Most oils have a density between 0.90 to 0.95)

Bring your infused oils to The Good Lab for a Cannabinoid Potency Profile. We can help you figure out the milligrams per milliliter. Contact us to schedule a time to drop off your sample.

 

Testing for THC in hemp

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We folks at The Good Lab were concerned about SB17-090, a bill regarding how THC is calculated in hemp, and how it might negatively impact hemp producers if certain adjustments in the calculations weren’t considered.

So we wrote this email to the bill’s sponsors:

After reading SB17-090 regarding how THC is measured in hemp, we’re concerned that there is a calculation error that could negatively and unfairly impact hemp farmers. Simply adding THC-A and delta-9-THC together will not give an accurate or fair result. Considering that Amendment 64 specifies delta-9-THC, factoring in a correction value to account for decarboxylation is important.

Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases carbon dioxide (CO2). When THC-A is decarboxylated and converted to delta-9-THC, there is a reduction in the molecular weight that will affect the final percentage calculation. The molecular weight of THC is less than that of THC-A due to the loss of the carboxyl group.

At our lab, we calculate the delta-9 potential in hemp or cannabis using a factor of 0.877. I’ve attached a sample potency report so you can see how we make our calculations.

This article from High Times further explains the error in the current bill’s calculation and why you can’t simply add THC-A and delta-9-THC together to get the accurate number you’re looking for..
http://hightimes.com/grow/thca-vs-thc-how-to-read-a-lab-result/

We respectfully recommend an amendment to SB17-090 correcting this calculation error.

Apparently, the sponsors passed our concerns onto the Colorado Department of Agriculture. We were excited to get the following response from Mitch Yergert, Director, Division of Plant Industry:

This bill (SB17-090) only affects the testing being conducted by CDA at our lab. We have no desire to affect how the private labs conduct testing for hemp producers. We know most (if not all) of you use HPLC and will continue to do so. We were very specific in the bill to not require a certain piece of equipment or methodology to accommodate this and additionally our approach could change in future years to HPLC or even something else if a better type of machine comes along. We don’t believe the bill language would prevent this in the future.

Currently we use a GC for our analysis as it is more cost effective for the program and the hemp producers. Because of this we don’t have the issue with needing to calculate the THC-A conversion. We would recommend you use the 0.877 molecular weight value as the most conservative approach. We have seen some reports that actual yield from decarboxylation will be less than the exact .877 and that makes scientific sense. We have seen numbers as low as 0.700 in one study. But we don’t have sufficient data to select a specific number less than 0.877 that we would stand behind.

As your testing is not regulatory and we don’t base our regulatory decision on those numbers, by using the .877 number you are providing a conservative estimate to the grower which provides the highest potential THC for the crop. That seems to be the best number for the grower to consider. They can make the decision how to move forward with their crop based upon that. It is conceivable if they are minimally over in your testing using HPLC and the 0.877 conversion and we run a GC analysis, that the value could come in at 0.3 or slightly under, but that is good for everyone.

I believe the variability in sampling conducted by the grower versus CDA is probably a much bigger variable in the process than whether the private labs use HPLC and we use GC. So comparing the two numbers just based on the lab values may not be that productive.

What was really exciting was the validation we got from the CDA about the importance of private labs like ours.

The private labs perform a very valuable function for the hemp producers as the industry tries to get established. We appreciate you efforts to work with them and us on this issue.

We’re excited to work with the CDA, hemp farmers as well as other private cultivators to produce and develop high-quality hemp and cannabis products.

For more information on how The Good Lab might help you, please give us a call at (303) 455-3801.