May 2021

Government Chemist team publish a tutorial review of cannabinoids

CBD edible products are now regulated as novel foods. They must also be compositionally safe and correctly labelled. Wide variation in compliance with CBD label claims has been recorded and the presence of controlled cannabinoids is a known risk.

To assist regulation and trade the Government Chemist has published a tutorial review of the common names, abbreviations, regulation, psychoactivity and analytical methodology for the principle cannabinoids. Their chemical structures and IUPAC nomenclature have also been included.

Dr Michael Walker, who led the review, said, "There is confusion about cannabinoid names, CBD, THC, CBG and so on, what do the abbreviations mean, are they related, which of these are psychoactive, and what levels of controlled cannabinoids might be tolerable in regulated CBD-products sold as foods or supplements? This paper reviews and explains these and many other aspects. We hope it will be of help to food businesses, those who regulate them and anyone with an interest in this fascinating topic."

The abbreviations, common names and chemical structures for 16 cannabinoids are listed along with their International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) names, the unique scientific reference.

The paper is available at the Journal of the Association of Public Analysts (JAPA) and, as with all JAPA papers, the full text is open access through the support of the Association of Public Analysts.

For enquiries related to food and feed regulatory testing or information about the work of the Government Chemist contact Government.Chemist@lgcgroup.com or visit the Government Chemist website here.​