AOAC’s Cannabis Analytical Science Program (CASP) is a forum where the science of hemp and cannabis analysis can be discussed and cannabis standards and methods developed.
Consumption of cannabis products is legal or becoming legal in a growing number of US states and Canada. Consumable products include beverages, brownies, butter, chews, cookies, gummies, honey, edible oils, and more. CASP was formed to provide the consensus-driven standards and methods to promote accuracy in label potency claims and to address public safety issues such as pathogens and residual solvents.
With the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (commonly known as the ‘Farm Bill’), the hemp-derived CBD market is projected to reach $22 billion by 2022. CASP is developing analytical tools for accurate measurement of CBD in hemp plants and derived ingredients, in dietary supplements, and in pet foods.
Scope and Objectives
- Develop SMPRs for cannabis and hemp
- Extend a Call for Methods for each of the completed SMPRs
- Empanel an Expert Review Panel to review candidate methods with a goal of delivering consensus-based First Action and Final Action Official Methods.
Currently, four AOAC working groups are developing standards for analytical methodology:
- The Microbiological Contaminants working group is chaired by Dr. Julia Bramante of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. This group has developed several SMPRs for microbial contaminants in cannabis and is now working to develop guidelines for cannabis microbiology.
- The Product Centric working group is co-chaired by Dr. Holly Johnson of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and Dr. Julie Kowalski of JA Kowalski Science Support. This group was formed by merging the original Cannabinoids working group and Chemical Contaminants working group at the request of the CASP Advisory Panel. It focuses on cannabinoid content and chemical contamination of cannabis finished products on a per-product basis. Most of this work will be to develop SMPRs, but they may also develop guidelines or other standards as per the requirements of the community and the CASP Advisory Panel.
- The Training and Education (T & E) working group is chaired by Dr. Toby Astill, Senior Business Manager, Cannabis and Hemp Markets for PerkinElmer. The group works to identify the training and education needs of the cannabis community and seek opportunities to collaborate with other training and education programs.
- The Proficiency Testing working group is chaired by Dr. Walter Brent Wilson, who is a Research Scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dr. Wilson is coordinating the CSD Cannabis research program at NIST with a focus on developing Cannabis reference materials and a Quality Assurance Program (CannaQAP). The proficiency testing working group will identify the proficiency testing needs of the cannabis community, and seek opportunities collaborate with other proficiency testing programs.
Note: This working group is managed by the AOAC Laboratory Proficiency Testing Program. Please contact Shane Flynn at [email protected] with any questions.
CASP Official Methods of Analysis
The CASP analytical community comprises government, academic, and private sector laboratories and organizations. Together, they are supporting this initiative through direct financial support and by contributing their expertise.
For businesses, participating in the development of consensus standards and methods positions your organization as a leader in the cannabis and hemp analytical community. AOAC may also offer use of a specially designed AOAC CASP certification mark.
Scientists, academics, and government contributors gain reference methods that result in reliable data to support effective compliance-driven quality control of products and enhance public health.
There are many ways to get involved:
Scientists interested in working on CASP are encouraged to contact Chris Dent, CASP Program Leader at AOAC, at [email protected] or by phone at 301-924-7077 ext. 119.