How To Test THC & CBD Levels In Cannabis Products
5 min

How To Test THC & CBD Levels In Cannabis Products

5 min

When browsing for cannabis strains, we often see THC and CBD content expressed as percentages. While this is a good indication of what you can expect from your chosen strain, how is that number worked out? Well, wonder no more. We delve into how the THC and CBD levels of your favourite strains, concentrates, and edibles are determined, and how you can even perform this at home.

When we talk about determining the THC and CBD levels of cannabis products, the first instinct would be to have a professional handle it. Perhaps send it to a lab or have an expert do all the work.

What if we told you there is a way to do it yourself? Yes, you can determine cannabinoid levels using reliable at-home test kits.

In this article, we’ll zero in on two products: the Alpha Cat Cannabinoid Test Mini Kit, and the EZ Test THC. The main difference between the two is that the latter focuses only on THC level.

If you’re wondering how these devices work, you've come to the right place. We’ll walk you through each process step by step to give you a clearer idea.

Why Test THC & CBD Levels in Cannabis Products?

Why Test THC & CBD Levels in Cannabis Products?

Since medical marijuana rose to prominence over the last decade, experts have begun to familiarise themselves with cannabis and its varying effects. They’ve come to learn how high THC levels, for example, may potentially do more harm than good.

As recent research has shown, the ideal CBD:THC ratio is 1:1. Studies suggest that, in this proportion, the psychotropic effects brought on by cannabis consumption are mitigated.

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Through testing cannabinoid levels, experts are now able to make recommendations in terms of dosage. It also gives the recreational user an idea of what strain to go for if they’re looking for a specific experience.

This process also does wonders for growers. They no longer need to play the trial and error game with each strain. Through testing, they’re able to develop a better understanding of the chemical composition of each plant.

And, as we live in an era of legalization, business is also booming for black-market cannabis distributors. But, with the help of a reliable test kit, you’ll be able to determine whether or not your products contain other harmful substances, like synthetic THC.

How To Test THC & CBD Levels in Cannabis Products

How To Test THC & CBD Levels in Cannabis Products

It used to be that you could only test THC levels in a lab using gas chromatography or similar processes that require a specialised hand. Today, there are dedicated test kits to determine the CBD and THC levels in all manner of cannabis products. These devices give an accurate-enough reading; not as close as professional testing, but pretty close.

But, more notably, they are much cheaper and easier to use. You get results in a matter of minutes, as opposed to waiting to hear back from a lab.

Let’s take THC test kits, for example. All you need is a small sample from your product to find out the potency.

Another advantage of using test kits is that you already have all the materials you need in one bundle. While there is the option to source all the materials separately, it will likely cost you a lot more. Results will also come in a lot later, which adds to the inconvenience.

Testing With the Alpha-Cat Cannabinoid Test Mini Kit

Testing With the Alpha-Cat Cannabinoid Test Mini Kit

The Alpha-Cat Cannabinoid Test Mini Kit is a portable cannabis testing lab on its own. One kit contains all the essential materials you’ll need, from test plates, fluids, and dyes to trays, jars, and syringes. You’ll also have a manual to guide you through.

The Alpha-Cat Mini Kit can test for a full spectrum of cannabinoids, including both THC and CBD, as well as several minor cannabinoids.

Efficiency is the name of the game when it comes to the Alpha-Cat Mini Kit. One kit is sufficient for conducting 2–8 tests.

Which Cannabis Products Can You Test With the Alpha-Cat Cannabinoid Test Mini Kit?

Which Cannabis Products Can You Test With the Alpha-Cat Cannabinoid Test Mini Kit?

Cannabis buds are a given. Through the Alpha-Cat Cannabinoid Test Mini Kit, you’ll be able to take a deeper look at the background, potency, and cannabinoid levels of your favourite strains.

But these kits aren’t limited to flowers. As long as there is cannabis present in the product, the Alpha-Cat will get a reading done. It works well with concentrates, tinctures, resins, and even edibles.

Which Cannabinoids Can Be Detected by the Alpha-Cat Cannabinoid Test Mini Kit?

Which Cannabinoids Can Be Detected By The Alpha-Cat Cannabinoid Test Mini Kit?

We mentioned earlier that the Alpha-Cat Cannabinoid Test Mini Kit can do a reading on a full spectrum of cannabinoids.

Apart from the popular CBD and THC, it also covers CBN, THCV, CBC, and CBG. It can also analyse cannabinoid acids, such as THCA and CBDA. This type of analysis provides more insight into the quality of curing and sample age of the sample.

The Alpha-Cat Mini Kit can test for percentages within a 0.5% range for the aforementioned cannabinoids. Requiring only 100mg of each sample, you’ll be able to get comprehensive results within 45 minutes. It can also analyse multiple strains at the same time.

Ultimately, the Alpha-Cat testing procedure can help you determine the physical and mental effects you’re likely to experience.

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How To Test for THC & CBD Levels With the Alpha-Cat Cannabinoid Test Mini Kit

The Alpha-Cat cannabinoid testing method involves a process known as thin layer chromatography. In a nutshell, it’s a process of separating mixtures to identify compounds and determine their purity.

With the Alpha-Cat Mini Kit, users get a visual representation of the cannabinoids present in a sample. Upon completion of a test, each cannabinoid is separated and identified through a series of brightly coloured spots.

Not only can users identify the existing cannabinoids, but they can also interpret the concentration. The higher the concentration, the more intense these coloured spots get.

What makes the Alpha-Cat an effective test kit is that it paints a clear picture of the cannabinoid composition of your product. In turn, the prospective effects of each strain are better determined.

It also makes use of a chemotype-effect chart that helps users foresee the specific side effects of each strain. The kit also utilises a symptom-curing guide, which pinpoints certain strains that work best in possibly treating various symptoms.

Now, let’s take a look at the testing procedures. We’ve simplified these steps to provide a more concise look at the entire process:

  1. Extract the cannabinoids into the liquid: All you need is 100mg of dried cannabis. Place it into the extraction tube, add 1ml of the test fluid, and shake for ten seconds. The entire process takes two minutes to complete.

    Alpha-Cat Cannabinoid Test Mini Kit: Extract The Cannabinoids Into The Liquid

  2. Drop the liquid sample mixture into a test plate: Dip a capillary tube into the extraction fluid. Using the lower end of the said tube, gently let it touch the coated surface of the test plate.

    Alpha-Cat Cannabinoid Test Mini Kit: Drop the liquid sample mixture into a test plate

  3. Heat the test plate in the oven: The oven should be at 100°C (212°F). Place the plate in the oven for 40 seconds, then let cool for 20 seconds.

    Alpha-Cat Cannabinoid Test Mini Kit: Heat the test plate in the oven

  4. Develop the test plate: Using a pipette, add 2ml of the test fluid into a glass development container. Then, place the heated test plate into the container and allow it to soak for 25 minutes.

    Alpha-Cat Cannabinoid Test Mini Kit: Develop The Test Plate

  5. Reveal the test results: Ultimately, you should see the plate turn a reddish hue once it gets exposed to light and air. Results will appear in dot form.

    Alpha-Cat Cannabinoid Test Mini Kit: Reveal The Test Results

If you’re looking for a more detailed explanation of these steps, you can refer to the Alpha-Cat Test Kit Manual.

Testing for THC Presence With EZ Test THC

Unlike the Alpha-Cat kit, which covers a wider range of cannabinoids, the EZ Test THC is solely for determining THC level. It is good for one-time use only, and only offers a yes or no answer to whether or not there is THC present.

EZ Test THC is more for medical marijuana users who want to avoid the psychotropic effects of THC. For those with such preferences, it provides a good gauge of whether or not they should use a particular strain.

Which Cannabis Products Can You Test With EZ Test THC?

Which Cannabis Products Can You Test With EZ Test THC?

Just like the Alpha-Cat kit, the EZ Test THC isn’t only limited to buds. You can also test out both hash and hash oil.

However, the EZ Test THC does not detect synthetic cannabinoids. But, there is a specific EZ test kit dedicated to this that will determine the type of synthetic agents present.

These days, synthetic cannabis has been a hot commodity among recreational users. Its psychotropic effects are said to be more intense than regular cannabis. But with that are equally extreme episodes of paranoia and anxiety. Some people experience a total loss of control in behaviour. At worse, some go through life-threatening experiences.

But, with a synthetic cannabis test kit like EZ Test, it is easier to prevent the usage of such substances.

Which Cannabinoids Can Be Detected With EZ Test THC?

Which Cannabinoids Can Be Detected With EZ Test THC?

As the name suggests, EZ Test THC only tests for THC. It is not able to detect any other cannabinoids.

When it comes to revealing results, the standard test kit can only determine whether or not THC is present. It cannot identify potency levels to give a more comprehensive reading.

How To Test for THC Presence With EZ Test THC?

Using the EZ Test THC kit is very straightforward. It involves four simple steps that will give you results within a few moments.

Once you get a test kit, you’ll find a glass ampoule—your primary piece of equipment. Inside is a chemical reagent absorbed in silica gel, which will help render the results.

Here are the steps:

  1. Crack open the lid of the glass ampoule.

    EZ Test THC: Crack Open The Lid Of The Glass Ampoule

  2. Place a small amount of your sample material inside.

    EZ Test THC: Place A Small Amount Of Your Sample Material Inside

  3. Put the lid back on and shake the ampoule well.

    EZ Test THC: Put The Lid Back On And Shake The Ampoule Well

  4. Take note of the colour change and compare it with the corresponding chart.

    EZ Test THC: Take Note Of The Colour Change And Compare It With The Corresponding Chart

It’s important to note that the EZ Test THC will give you an accurate reading, but, if you want to be on the safest side, it would be wise to get a second opinion from a reputable testing agency.

Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
With an AB Mass Media and Communications degree, Miguel Ordoñez is a veteran writer of 13 years and counting and has been covering cannabis-related content since 2017. Continuous, meticulous research along with personal experience has helped him build a deep well of knowledge on the subject.
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