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Introducing Cannabis Authentomics

With the influx of interest in cannabis products worldwide, regulatory bodies are closely examining the safety and effectiveness of products for both recreational and therapeutic purposes. However, because of the complex nature of cannabis chemistry, a more comprehensive approach is required – which is where metabolomics and big data could play an important role. 

A team of researchers (1) from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada have explored research into “authentomics” – which is already used in the food industry to identify fraud – in search of potential cannabis applications. Their hope? That big data, combined with targeted and non-targeted analysis, and comparisons to authenticated historical data, could be used to successfully verify the quality of cannabis products and meet ISO standards. 

“By incorporating the advances made in the authentomics analysis of food products, the cannabis industry can ensure that its products are of the highest quality and that consumers can have confidence in their safety and efficacy,” say the authors. “This authentomics platform technology would meet the needs of the cannabis industry to provide a robust analysis of target substances while collecting information that would capture currently intangible aspects of cannabis chemistry. The combination of targeted and untargeted analysis is essential to monitor the complex chemistry of cannabis products.”

The authors also wisely recognize that untargeted metabolomics demands a big data approach to make sense of important variability that would otherwise be dismissed as “unknown.” In short, the cannabis industry has plenty to learn from an industry that has been battling authenticity issues and fraud since humans first started trading good things to eat…

Are you ready for authentomics?

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  1. P D Jadhav et al., A Metabolomics and Big Data Approach to Cannabis Authenticity (Authentomics) (2023). DOI: 10.3390/ijms24098202.
About the Author
Jessica Allerton

Associate Editor, The Analytical Scientist

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