Rapid presumptive test kit that differentiates between hemp and marijuana using thin layer chromatography
The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, legalizing cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC (Hemp), creates problems for law enforcement. Due to the presence of low levels of THCA and THC present in most commercial hemp crops, law enforcement needs to acquire the ability to distinguish between hemp and marijuana using a presumptive test kit. Our approach involves the development of an efficient, mobile, rapid thin layer chromatography (TLC) kit that provides presumptive (qualitative) forensic evidence of the chemical extract of a bud or other plant material. The evidence would later be sent to a crime lab for definitive analysis of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. This research has focused on the utilization of TLC plates along with the spectroscopic and spectrometric identification of resolved cannabinoids. The method presented takes no more than five to six minutes to complete. The successful differentiation between fifteen lots of hemp and seven lots of marijuana will be presented along with spectroscopic and spectrometric identification of resolved cannabinoids.