We've all been there. That moment when you eat a brownie (or three) and an hour later start feeling a little funky, wishing you had maybe skipped that second helping. Those moments might soon be a thing of the past.
A new technique for measuring just how strong edibles are was presented last week at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, science news site EurekAlert! reports. During their research, scientists found that only 17 percent of edibles they tested were labeled accurately: "Producers of cannabis edibles complain that if they send off their product to three different labs for analysis, they get three different results," Melissa Wilcox explains. "The point of our work is to create a solid method that will accurately and reliably measure the cannabis content in these products."
The labeling is particularly timely, as more than 30 states (plus D.C.) have decriminalized weed or allowed it to be used for medical purposes.
Here's how the new method works (warning: best read pre-, not post-brownie).
Food samples infused with cannabis [were placed] into a cryo-mill with dry ice or liquid nitrogen. Then they added abrasive diatomaceous earth—a silica-based compound sometimes used to keep snails out of gardens—and ground the mixture to create a homogenous sample. They separated out the various chemical components using a technique called flash chromatography. This allowed them to inject liquid containing only the cannabinoids into an HPLC for analysis.
The team of scientists is still testing out the method, but so far it produces accurate results for brownies, cookies and gummy bears. (Mmm, gummy bears.)