Residual Solvent Testing for Cannabis Products

What are organic solvents? How are they used in cannabis product production?

Carbon-based organic solvents dissolve or disperse another substance. They are a type of volatile organic compound (VOC).  Cannabis concentrates are extracted from the cannabis plant using organic solvents.

What risks do residual solvents present in cannabis products?

Several different organic solvents may be used to concentrate cannabis materials; many of these solvents may be toxic or carcinogenic. Depending on the methodology used to extract cannabis products from the plant, some residual solvents may remain in the final product. Over time, the consumer may ingest an appreciable quantity of these harmful materials. Cannabis products should be tested for residual solvent contamination to ensure consumer safety.

The Kanabolytix approach to residual solvent testing.

Kanabolytix uses gas chromatography (GC) with mass selective detection (MSD) and head-space analysis to detect levels of residual volatile organic compounds in your product. With this method, the residual solvents are heated to further volatility, allowing for quantification of VOC within the sample. Confirming the lack of residual VOC in your product offers you and your customers confidence the product is safe for consumption.

ICHA Classification of Solvents:

Category 3: Low-Toxicity Compounds

  • Acetic acid
  • Acetone
  • Heptane

Category 2: Toxic Compounds

  • Acetonitrile
  • Methanol
  • Toluene

Category 1: Carcinogenic Compounds

  • Benzene
  • Carbon tetrachloride
  • Trichloroethane