Development of a ternary mobile phase in thin layer chromatography testing for distinctions between hemp and marijuana


  • Kaitlyn Lovell
  • Sara Selvidge
  • Courtney Lapointe


The illegal use of recreational drugs has led to an increase of presumptive drug testing in the law enforcement field. These tests can be faulty, and there is a need for improved testing methods. The enhanced ability to distinguish Cannabis from other related substances through presumptive testing would allow officers to have better information regarding making arrests. This project involves the use of thin layer chromatography (TLC) to create a new presumptive test that is more effective. Different compounds will be added to the current mobile phase to decrease the acid appearance on the TLC plates which is visualized by streaking. The ideal ternary mobile phase will be able to maintain successful extraction of the Cannabinoids and reduce the appearance of acid streaking on the TLC plates. The reduction of the streaking effect will give clearer results, this will allow officers to make better decisions based on the test kit. The test kit will show different colors in the presence of Cannabis compared to other similar substances making a clear indication for the presence of THC. If successful, this project holds the potential to provide officers with a safe and effective field testing kit.