Photo : Justin Sullivan ( Getty Images )  Your next chocolate casserole may be more or less potent than the brand, suggests new preliminary research. It was found that chocolate-based products can sometimes provide inconsistent laboratory readings on the amount of THC contained in them.
Researchers at CW Analytical, a California cannabis testing lab, had begun to notice that their potency readings for THC – the chemical most associated with weed hay – were sometimes apart from the same chocolate edible. This led to them conducting an experiment. They tested two different concentrations of ground milk chocolate from an edible one for their THC strength: a 1000 milligram sample and a 2000 milligram sample. They also performed the comparative tests using different volumes of a typical solvent.
Regardless of the amount of solvent used, the team found, the average readings from the 1,000 milligram samples were higher and more accurate than those drawn from the 2000 milligram samples. The team's findings were presented this week at the annual conference of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
"It is quite surprising – it is absolutely contrary to what I would consider basic statistical representation of samples," lead author David Dawson said at a press conference on Tuesday. "Theoretically, if you have more chocolate in a vial, you should have a more representative idea of the sample."
To continue, Dawson and his team ran experiments where they blended cannabis-free chocolate with known amounts of THC. And again, the more chocolate there was in a vial, the less accurate the readings became. It strongly indicates that there is something about the chocolate itself that is causing malfunctioning.
The study's results are not peer-reviewed yet, so some skepticism is still warranted. And Dawson doesn't think any of the potential labeling discrepancies they found would pose any danger to the public (though edible things might be less safe than other forms of cannabis use. But provided the findings are true, they may cause a nuisance to cannabis testing laboratories as well as to the industry at large.
In California, for example, edible products dissolved for testing must be very close to the THC value placed on a label. is less powerful than advertised, it can trigger a costly remark. If it is higher, the entire supply of edible items can be destroyed.
"It's no concern for public health – it's not that crazy of a dose difference," Dawson said . ”The chocolate bar itself is perhaps 5 percent stronger than its values if it comes in. [But] It can erroneously cause a failure for the manufacturers, which can force them to re-brand. "
More work needs to be done to figure out an uncertain way to ensure accurate THC readings in their tests," Dawson said. It will involve finding out exactly what chocolate causes inaccurate readings. But based on experiments made so far with chocolate bars, cocoa powder, baking chocolate and white chocolate, the team's main suspicion is the abundance of fat sources found in chocolate. THC, Dawson noted, is known to be fat-soluble, so enough fat in one sample can inhibit the recovery of THC through their current testing methods.
Meanwhile, smaller chocolate samples (1000 milligrams) still appear to be accurate for testing, though Dawson described it as a "band-aid strategy" for now.
"Obviously a bigger goal is to alleviate the problem completely," he said.