Modern laboratory with HPLC equipment for accurate cannabis and hemp THC testing

Navigating THCA Testing in Hemp Cultivation: The Precision of HPLC Over GC

When it comes to testing your hemp crops, especially if you’re keen on staying within the legal THC limits, you’ve got two main players in the game: High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and Gas Chromatography (GC). Now, each of these methods has its own strengths, but for someone like you, who’s looking to get accurate readings of THC levels in hemp, there’s a clear winner.

HPLC: Your Go-To for Accurate THC Levels

  • Think of HPLC as the reliable, detail-oriented workhorse. It’s known for its accuracy and doesn’t mess with the natural state of cannabinoids in your samples. This means it can tell the difference between THCA (the non-psychoactive stuff) and THC (the part that gets you high) without converting one into the other.
  • For a hemp grower, this is key. You want to make sure your product has low THC, right? HPLC won’t lead you astray by mistakenly converting THCA into THC and giving you a false high reading.

GC: Great for Terpenes, Not So Much for THC

  • Now, GC is great in its own right. It’s particularly handy for analyzing terpenes and other components. But here’s the catch: GC uses heat, and that heat can change THCA into THC. This could make your hemp look like it’s got more THC than it actually does. Not ideal if you’re trying to stay compliant with THC regulations.

Why This Matters to You

  • As a seasoned grower, you know the importance of staying compliant and ensuring your product is what you say it is. By choosing a lab that uses HPLC for your THC testing, you’re making sure you get the real picture of your hemp’s D9-THC content. No surprises, no legal headaches.

A Quick Note on Labs and Quality

  • Remember, not all labs are created equal. Some follow strict practices like Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) or have ISO accreditation, ensuring the reliability of their tests. So, when you pick a lab, it’s not just about the testing method; it’s also about their quality standards.

In summary, if you’re in the business of producing top-notch hemp with compliant THC levels, HPLC is your friend. It gives you that accurate, no-nonsense profile of your product, letting you stay confident in what you’re growing and selling. And hey, that’s what being a top-tier breeder in this game is all about, isn’t it?

Labs that use HPLC


  • SC Labs – They offer a wide range of testing services for various cannabis products, including flowers, concentrates, e-liquids, isolates, and infused products like tinctures and edibles. SC Labs is committed to bridging the gap between quality assurance and regulatory compliance in cannabis testing.
  • Gobi Labs – Recognized as one of the most highly awarded testing facilities in Colorado, Gobi Labs conducts a variety of tests including potency, microbial, residual solvents, pesticides, and terpenes. They are ISO/IEC 17025 accredited and licensed by the Colorado Department of Revenue.
  • Kaycha Labs – With a focus on a comprehensive range of testing services, Kaycha Labs conducts potency, terpene, heavy metal, residual solvent, microbial, and mycotoxin testing among others. They are equipped to handle hemp testing and cannabis products.
  • Nordic Analytical Laboratories – They offer a diverse selection of testing services for both recreational and medical cannabis. Nordic Analytical Laboratories utilizes HPLC for all cannabis potency tests, ensuring high-quality and accurate results. Their services are available at two locations in Colorado.
  • The Good Lab – Specializing in cannabis lab testing and analytics, The Good Lab offers a 10-cannabinoid potency profile using HPLC with Photo Diode Array (PDA) for enhanced detection. They provide comprehensive analysis of therapeutic compounds found in cannabis.

North Carolina

  • High North Laboratories: This lab offers a range of services, including cannabinoids testing via HPLC. They can test for a comprehensive list of cannabinoids, including CBDV, CBDA, CBGA, CBG, CBD, THCV, CBN, Δ9-THC, Δ8-THC, CBC, and THCA. High North Laboratories also provides testing for pesticides, terpenes, residual solvents, mycotoxins, heavy metals, and microbials.
  • Avazyme, Inc.: Located in Durham, NC, Avazyme is a DEA and State Certified Laboratory that offers a wide array of testing services. They can perform tests for Δ 9 THC, CBD, 12 Cannabinoid Profiles & Potency, Terpenes, Pesticide Residues, Extraction Efficiency, Shelf-Life Stability, Residue Solvents, Flavors, Aromas, Mycotoxins, Nutrition Panel, Food-Borne Pathogens, Moisture, & Heavy Metals. Avazyme is known for providing customized testing solutions and is actively involved in supporting the industrial hemp program in North Carolina.

Other States

The National Cannabis Laboratory Council (NCLC), formed by Perkins Coie and various lab scientists and operators, is advocating for unified testing standards. Labs like PSI Labs, Kaycha Laboratories, Green Scientific Labs, Smithers, and Rocky Mountain Reagents, are working towards that approach. These labs and others involved in the NCLC may be good points of contact for HPLC testing needs across different states.

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