In its youth, the cannabis industry can use some direction. Certifying chemists under good professional guidance can build a more professional industry, but is the same true for cannabis?
As the industry evolves, forebearers penalized as criminals are becoming teachers. Young, fresh minds, just as passionate as legacy pioneers, now enter a less restrictive field. Slowly, a pillar of misinformation built by ancestors of the DEA is falling to reveal a more honest culture.
Out with old laws, in with current science
Federal agencies continue to approve Bills that restrict THC isomers without sound science. Processors respond by converting a massive overstock of CBD biomass into delta-8 THC, with or without safety oversight. And if you try to regulate it, processors will simply hydrogenate the molecule. What’s next; the disappearance of pyran rings and the emergence of more super agonists?
Intricate science stands between cannabis processors and the Agencies that regulate them. Now, however, the Cannabis Chemistry Subdivision of the American Chemical Society has engaged with the National Registry of Certified Chemists (NRCC). Applications for the CANN-C certification are finally available for qualified cannabis chemists. This means that individuals with credible experience in the field can be notarized through a professional process.
The Emerald Decade
Washington legalized cannabis in 2012. However, the Environmental Protection Agency did not establish federal oversites. Unfortunately, standards put in place were — and are still — frankly left for individual states to adopt.
Emerald Scientific stepped in and established a notoriety program for licensed cannabis labs. Under Emerald’s internal oversight, credited labs must follow more strict proficiency tests. Whereas the new certifications offered by CANN in collaboration with the NRCC, an organization approved by a critical regulatory division, can accredit individual chemists.
Who is the ACS and NRCC?
In 2017, the National Registry of Certified Chemists began building the CANN-C program. Naturally, this was in collaboration with the cannabis subdivision of ACS known as CANN. Collectively, both organizations are instrumental in the program.
CANN was officially put together by the ACS in 2015, now headed in Washington, DC. But the American Chemical Society itself was founded in 1876 at the University of New York. Two papers published in the ACS’s highly reputable science journal are led by Amber Wise, Ph.D. and regard heavy metals in vape pens and analytical methods to detect them.
The NRCC’s history rather dates back to its foundation in 1967. Before expanding under a revised name, the NRCC certified Clinical Chemists and Clinical Chemistry Technologists.
Cannabis chemistry contributors
Russ Phifer serves as the current Executive Director of the NRCC. And from the American Chemical Society, Julia Bramante is the Chair of CANN. Next to Julia at CANN is Vice-Chair, Kyle Boyar. Of course, a village deserves credit for the program. And so, the following list is just a small few, but major hands in the project.
- Russ Phifer — Executive Director, NRCC.
- Julia Bramante — Chair, CANN. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
- Kyle Boyar — Vice-Chair, CANN. Research associate, University of California San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy.
- Amber Wise — Ph.D., Scientific Director, Medicine Creek Analytics.
- Brandon Canfield — Ph.D. Associate, Professor Northern Michigan University.
- Michael Coffin, Chair of the ElSohly Award, Chair Awards Committee, CANN.
What is CLIA approval?
The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) are a set of US federal standards that have applied to clinical labs for the past 44 years. While these standards do not apply to clinical trials, they do cover in vitro research on human specimens.
CLIA requires labs to register with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for certification. The Amendments ensure accurate, standard test results from labs across the nation. Overall, only nine accreditation boards have approval from the Human Health Services (HHS); an exclusive list that includes the NRCC.
As an approved CLIA Board for certification of Laboratory Directors of High Complexity Testing labs, I believe we have a basis for eventual acceptance by governments at the state and federal level.
Russ Phifer — Director of the NRCC
NRCC and the ACS have set up the most strict notoriety program for cannabis chemistry to date. With that, certified chemists can instill the professionalism the cannabis industry requires.
Let us know in the comments if you think certified chemists are a cannabis market requirement.