Monday 8 March 2021

Cannabis For Medical And Pharmaceutical Purposes – Part 2: Analytical Quality Control


As the use of medicinal cannabis becomes more widespread (and in parallel, recreational cannabis),together with several examples of cannabis-based pharmaceutical products in development, the quality aspects (safety and efficacy) that would apply to any healthcare or pharmaceutical product need to be rigorously applied.

This article, which follows on from an introductory article about medicinal and pharmaceutical cannabis, provides an overall assessment of pharmaceutical and medicinal cannabis and the quality aspects, focusing on analytical methods and outcomes. There are various analytical tests that might be required to test the quality of the cannabis product.  These include tests for potency, moisture content, residual solvents, contaminants (heavy metals and pesticides). Most methods are based on chromatography equipment, in order to separate, identify and quantify each component, or cannabinoid at low levels (parts/million).


The article also refers to some recent advances with production processes, designed to bring production to scale, together with other aspects of commercialization like modes of drug delivery, such as inhaled, ingested, absorbed-transdermal and mucosal or injected.   A follow-up article looks at a different type of risk, in the form of the microbiological quality aspects.


Sandle, T. (2020) Cannabis For Medical And Pharmaceutical Purposes – Part 2: Analytical Quality Control, Journal of GxP Compliance, 24 (6):


Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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