The Universidad Nacional del Litoral (UNL) in Santa Fe, within the framework of its institutional policies of research and commitment to public health, will begin to provide the service of quality control of cannabis-derived products. The service will start on Monday, June 7th, and will be carried out through the Drug Quality Control Laboratory (LCCM) of the Faculty of Biochemistry and Biological Sciences (FBCB-UNL).
The service, which is mainly aimed at consumers, growers, solidarity producers, and health professionals, will guarantee the necessary controls to determine the quali-quantitative composition of cannabinoids in oils, resins, extracts, tinctures, creams, and other products; as well as the content of solvents used in the elaboration process. To access the service it is necessary to enter the official web platform where all the corresponding information is hosted.
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Solutions to the community.
“We are really very pleased that the FBCB-UNL once again can provide solutions to the community through a service so long-awaited by health professionals, growers, consumers, and civil groups that bring them together. We know that handmade products derived from cannabis are successfully used for the treatment of pain, nausea, insomnia, anxiety, and the reduction of symptoms of neurological diseases, so it is necessary to carry out exhaustive quality control of its components,” said Adriana Ortolani, dean of the FBCB-UNL.
The team integrated by seven biochemists and Biotechnology graduates is led by Yamile Soledad Caro, María Silvia Cámara and headed by Mercedes De Zan, director of the LCCM. The laboratory is located on the fourth floor of the FBCB-UNL, which is located in the university city of the Universidad Nacional del Litoral and provides analytical services to the pharmaceutical industry under a quality management system.
Satisfaction and expectations
Regarding the development of this service, De Zan explained that “during the process, we analyzed several samples that proved to have very different compositions and concentrations. In some products purchased online, for example, we found only very low amounts of THC, when their label indicated ‘high concentration of CBD’; therefore, it was a fraudulent product that should not be consumed. When we processed instead resins and oils obtained by producers from different parts of the country, we were able to identify and quantify up to thirteen different cannabinoids, which are partly responsible for the well-known “entourage effect”, which enhances or modulates the effect of the main cannabinoids. In these products, we have been able to verify very different cannabinoid profiles depending on the plant variety used and the extraction process employed. On the other hand, controlling the solvent content in products of questionable origin is also important to verify that they do not contain compounds such as methanol, benzene, toluene and halogenated solvents that are of proven toxicity.”
In this line, the Director of the LCCM expanded: “The information we will provide on the composition of the samples analyzed chromatographically will then allow us to formulate and use the products in a safer and more appropriate way for the treatment of each pathology, for which we always recommend the accompaniment of a health professional specialized in the subject. We hope that this service will benefit all those people who have found in the use of cannabis products a way to improve their quality of life, accessing a more standardized and safer treatment”.
How to access the service
Those who wish to access the service can go to the official website: https://www.fbcb.unl.edu.ar/controldecannabis/. There they will find all the necessary information on how to contract the service, select the type of tests requested, how to send the samples to the laboratory and the cost of the services. It should be noted that the service can be contracted anonymously if the user prefers; but to ensure the correct reception of the samples to be analyzed, the site has a protocol to be followed for their preparation and/or delivery. Once the requested quality control has been completed, the user will receive an analysis report by e-mail within two weeks of receiving the sample.
What type of samples will be analyzed?
Currently, the service deals with the quality control of extracts, tinctures, resins, oils, creams and other products for therapeutic use derived from the different varieties of cannabis sativa. In the future, the analysis of plant components such as flowers and leaves of cannabis plants will also be incorporated.
The LCCM is authorized by the National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Technology (ANMAT) of the National Ministry of Health to perform analytical tests on samples derived from cannabis.
The Argentine Republic established a regulatory framework for medical and scientific research on the medicinal, therapeutic and/or pain palliative use of the cannabis plant and its derivatives, guaranteeing and promoting comprehensive health care (Law 27.350 and Decree 738/17). For its part, the Province of Santa Fe established the incorporation of cannabis-based medicines and derived pharmaceutical forms into the Public Health System (Law 13,602/16 and Decree 820/17).
Scope of this service to the community
Regarding the institutional responsibilities implied by this service, De Zan clarified: “It is important to point out that neither the LCCM nor the FBCB-UNL sponsor, distribute or market any oil or other type of cannabis-derived products. Nor do they prescribe treatments based on their use. This service only performs analytical tests to collaborate with the quality control of preparations made at home, coming from own or solidarity crops. We also analyze products purchased in local stores, on the Internet or abroad. In any of the cases, the LCCM is not responsible for the misuse, commercialization or other use of the information resulting from the results of the analyses performed”.
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