On. Oct. 8, 2015, the American Chemical Society’s division of Chemical Health and Safety voted to form the Cannabis Chemistry Subdivision, also known as CANN. The subdivision’s membership will include cannabis specialists in chemistry, research and industry regulations, with a shared goal of standardizing cannabis laboratory practices.
According to Jahan Marcu, senior scientist at Americans for Safe Access and vice chair of the newly formed CANN subdivision, “We were told the process of becoming an official subdivision might take years, but the amazing response from members that recognized the importance of this work made the process much faster.”
“We have the opportunity to recognize those that are taking every effort to be ethical and compliant while also informing those who are not. We can also educate the general public and illustrate how consumer awareness can drive best industry practices,” said Ezra Pryor, President of EZ Chem Consultancy Inc. and CANN subdivision chair.
According to Americans for Safe Access, “Since 2011, the number of cannabis testing laboratories has grown from two to more then two dozen, in some instances these laboratories are tasked with performing testing required by state law.”
With the number of cannabis testing labs likely to increase with the spread of legalization, the American Chemical Society’s approval of CANN indicates that the industry may be gaining the scientific legitimacy it needs to inform public policy and perception.
According to Steph Sherer, ASA’s executive director, “The CANN subdivision represents another important milestone in the professionalization of cannabis science.”
ASA previously collaborated with the American Herbal Products Association to create scientific cannabis guidelines and the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia to create the cannabis monograph, a document on quality control criteria in cannabis lab testing.
“ASA has worked to fill the void in cannabis science left by federal inaction with the APHA cannabis standards and the cannabis monograph, the approval of CANN allows us to work with America’s top chemists to promote the harmonization cannabis laboratory regulations and create effective and precise standards so that patients can have confidence in their medicine,” Sherer added.
In addition to CANN encouraging advancements in cannabis science, it will also foster professional networking to promote best practices and research developments, as well as to attract chemists to career opportunities in the legal cannabis industry.