Since legalization first started rolling out in the U.S., states have been struggling with how to tell THC cannabis from hemp in lab tests without putting in a significant amount of work. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation has new equipment that will finally help make that distinction. 

“BCI’s new ability to differentiate between marijuana and hemp creates a valuable resource for officers who depend on our laboratory services, offered at no cost to them,” said  Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, who oversees BCI and its crime lab, in a statement, according to I am Ohio

Before this equipment was identified, chemical color testing and microscopic testing were the only way to determine the content of cannabis and whether THC was present. Now, a whole, new system is being worked out that can prosecute cannabis cases or clear hemp cases. 

“We’ve got the staff and equipment in place to continue to process the cases,” said Steve Irwin, a BCI spokesman. “It’s just a different process.”

Drug Testing in Ohio

In total, Ohio has invested $968,602 for drug testing equipment, and from that total, $700,000 has been spent on the instruments necessary to conduct quantitative analysis, and the rest of the money will also be spent on other equipment to test cannabis. 

“BCI did significant research on instruments and methodology, including on other states (that test for THC levels), the National Institute of Standards and Technology, cannabis labs, and various vendors,” Irwin said.

The next step will be for the state crime lab to work on testing edibles in order to see their contents and how much THC they contain. This will be an even more complex test due to the other ingredients in edibles besides just cannabis. 

While many hope that the future holds a world in which persecuting cannabis cases won’t be necessary, or the reason for this kind of testing, it’s still valuable to be able to tell THC and CBD cannabis from hemp with a simple, chemical test.

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