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.

Working Groups

AOAC working groups 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.

CASP Official Methods of Analysis

  • 2018.10 Cannabinoids in Dried Flowers and Oil
  • 2018.11 Quantitation of Cannabinoids in Cannabis Dried Plant Materials, Concentrates, and Oils
  • Method for the Quantification of Cannabinoids in Edible Chocolate by High-Pressure Liquid Chromatography: Single Laboratory Validation
  • Quantitating Cannabinoids in Edible Chocolates Liquid Chromatographic Separation with Photodiode Array Detection
  • Determination of Heavy Metals in a Variety of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products
  • Matrix Extensions of OMA 997.02 and OMA 2002.11 for Total Yeast and Mold in Cannabis

NEW: Cannabis/Hemp PT Program

AOAC INTERNATIONAL and Signature Science, LLC, have entered a 3-year Memorandum of Understanding under which Signature Science will produce hemp and cannabis proficiency test samples for AOAC’s new Cannabis/Hemp Proficiency Testing (PT) Program. The partnership was formed to help hemp and cannabis testing laboratories achieve the highest levels of product safety, testing quality, and regulatory compliance through a quality PT program using relevant matrices. With the launch of the program, AOAC became the industry’s only PT provider offering actual >0.3% (low, mid, and high delta-9-THC cannabis) and/or hemp flower as a matrix.

The Cannabis/Hemp PT Program was developed based on feedback from over 500 stakeholders representing more than 200 labs, including state regulatory laboratories, industry laboratories, and state and federal agencies, as well as national and international accrediting bodies, through the AOAC Cannabis Analytical Science Program (CASP).

Get Involved

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: