Is it Hemp or Cannabis? Just ask GemmaCert

The hemp industry received a major boost with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill last December. Consequently, hemp was no longer considered a controlled substance so long as the plant material contains less than 0.3% dry weight tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. Since the bill was passed, 34 states have made it legal for farmers to grow hemp and about 16,000 farmers have been licensed to grow the crop. Industry experts forecast the U.S. hemp market to generate more than US$ 25 billion in sales by 2025.

Despite the federal legalization of hemp and the promise of riches, industry stakeholders still face many challenges. One of the more pressing obstacles involves having to deal with an unexpected development concerning the inability of law enforcement bodies across the United States to effectively distinguish between hemp and cannabis.  This has resulted in confusion and tensions between industry players confident they are abiding by the law and police departments doing their job fighting illegal drug trafficking. Recently, New York police arrested Ronen Levy, owner of Green Angel CBD NYC, for supposedly dealing in marijuana. Mr. Levy claims that the 106 pounds of plant material confiscated by NYPD is not marijuana, but rather legalized hemp and he has the lab reports to prove so. The case will soon be heard in court.

Meanwhile, earlier this year the Drug Enforcement Agency publicly asked for proposals for a portable and robust device to be used by their agents in the field to effectively distinguish between marijuana and hemp. This challenge is complicated by the fact that THC levels can vary among individual flowers, even within the same plant, depending on multiple factors, including the plant genetics, climate, soil and cultivation practices. Field tests used by law enforcement officers are not sensitive enough to detect whether the level of THC is above or below 0.3%. This is the case with thin liquid chromatography (TLC) kits, which can detect and identify different cannabinoids but cannot quantify them. When testing a sample of cannabis or cannabis product with a TLC kit, a highly specific coloring reaction will be generated if THC is present. This, however, is not useful for generating an accurate quantification of the THC, critical for determining if the amount detected is above or below the permitted threshold. Drug-sniffing dogs also do not solve the problem since they will alert on both cannabis and hemp.

One technology which may solve the problem is near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). It uses the light spectrum to assess the chemical contents of a test subject. NIRS is not new. It has been is use for over 50 years in the agricultural industry, while the FDA recognizes it as a well-established method for pharmaceutical analysis and supports its adoption by drug manufacturers. In recent years, NIRS solutions have also made it into the cannabis industry. Several players compete in the space, such as Sage Analytics and GemmaCert. These companies provide NIRS-based solutions to test cannabis potency, specifically to measure the amounts of of THC and CBD. NIRS may also be particularly suitable for law enforcement agents since it can be made available in compact and rugged designs, while the technology is easy to use and produces quick and reliable results. GemmaCert’s CEO, Dr. Guy Setton, said that “we already have a proven solution in the market which can effectively distinguish between hemp and marijuana within minutes.” NIRS-based solutions may yet make things easier for everyone in the hemp industry.

The Power of Potency

Why is potency important?

Just as anything you would reach for in your local supermarket or pharmacy has a nutrition label and ingredient information displaying the contents contained in the product, the rise in cannabis popularity has brought with it the demand for the same accuracy and transparency tied to other consumables. As the old saying goes, our bodies are our temples; so why worship at the feet of the unknown?

The minimal industry standards that are currently in place frequently consist of unreliable labeling and inconsistent testing protocols, underlying issues in the indisputable need to create standardization around the newly emerging global market.

For those turning to cannabis for medicinal reasons, the ability to obtain information for proper dosing and educated consumption is a major hurdle in relying on cannabis as a consistent and accurate medication.

As states and countries around the world rapidly legalize cannabis, all those along the cannabis supply and consumer chain are left to grapple with creating and implementing proper testing protocols for the good of quality assurance.

What can be mislabeled about cannabis?

Cannabis is a varied and complex plant. So much so that scientists and researchers are still discovering just how complex the plant really is and the immense powers it holds. But as understanding of the plant grows, so does our ability to properly harness its powers in educated and insightful ways for maximin benefit.

One of the most common causes of mislabelling is the inaccuracy of the products THC count. This can come in the form of ‘under-labeling‘ (understating the amount of THC contained in the product) or ‘over-labeling’ (overstating the amount of THC contained). Wherever the mislabelling falls, the desired result will not be produced for the user potentially causing negative side effects, or simply not being effective.

Because the current industry standard for potency analyses entails outsourced lab testing, great expense, and a lack of speed, the downfalls of the current ‘gold standard’ have lead researches to newer, more accessible ways of cannabis quality assurance.

GemmaCert is an in-house solution for cannabis potency testing, filling the cannabis potency vacuum. With it’s sleek and portable design, it’s ease of everyday use, and the ability to be operated by everyone on staff, GemmaCert is leading the potency revolution, changing the industry one flower at a time.

NIRS- The Breakthrough Technology for Potency Analysis

With the increasing legalization and use of cannabis worldwide has come the growing demand for regulations surrounding the substance. Consumers now call for tighter and more consistent testing protocols surrounding the safety of their cannabis. One of the major contributing factors in cannabis quality control is accurately testing and labeling potency- an important hurdle to meeting appropriate cannabis regulations.

Potency accuracy is not only important for consumers who rely on correct labeling for consistent medicinal dosing, but for those all along the cannabis supply chain. For cultivators, producers, and other commercial retailers, potency profiling is key for correctly assessing the monetary value of the product.

How is potency testing performed?

Until now, the industry standard for those that are able to gain access to proper potency testing has been cumbersome, expensive, and out of reach for the average individual.

High-performance liquid chromatography, or HPLC, the current ‘gold standard’ for potency testing is time-consuming, labor intensive, and costly in both the price of actual testing and resulting materials lost.

Other Drawbacks of HPLC

  • HPLC testing is effective for single flower accuracy but not ideal for reaching analytical conclusions related to larger batch consistency.
  • Requires materials to be ground, destroying the sample and causing loss of profit. The flower tested is not returned to the batch and sold, further contributing to inaccurate batch labeling.
  • Cannabis heterogeneity is part of the natural variance found in cannabis crops. Despite the precision of a testing laboratory in measuring cannabinoids, the plant’s inherent diversity plays a significant role in potency inaccuracy.
  • Large, expensive equipment.
  • Highly trained analytical chemists are needed to operate the machine.
  • Hazardous solvents are used and subsequently need to be discarded.
  • A single HPLC analysis can take 30-45 minutes (if you are able to get your results tested right away by the lab!)

These drawbacks have led cannabis industry pioneers to turn to other, less invasive and more practical ways of cannabis potency testing. Near-infrared spectrometry, or NIRS as it is more commonly known, is one of the newest ways the need for accessible potency testing is being met.

How NIR Spectroscopy is Overcoming the Limitations of HPLC

With the interest and demand for potency testing on the rise, new scientific and technological breakthroughs have allowed advancements in testing methods like Near-Infrared Spectrometry- NIRS.

NIRS Explained

  • NIRS is able to detect and provide consistent analyses of the sample’s active ingredients (cannabinoids) and their concentration (potency) without harming the sample. Other advantages of NIRS include:
  • Ability to provide more accurate readings for large batches. Although other popular testing methods like HPLC can be appropriate for single sample analyses, NIRS can more effectively test a larger number of flowers drawing a more precise analysis by averaging results of multiple samples.
  •  NIRS can evaluate a sample without destroying the flower’s value or efficacy, ideal for those who want to test the cream of their crop without destroying any of their most valued samples.
  • Environmentally friendly and produces zero hazardous waste.
  • Quick; may deliver results in a matter of seconds.
  • Significantly less technically complicated than HPLC allowing most anyone to be able to perform analyses without training. This leads us to our next point.
  • NIRS is not only extremely user-friendly but wallet-friendly as well.  NIRS allows for significant financial savings by:

a) reducing dependency on skilled staff technicians to work

b) enabling affordable in-house testing; not all analytical needs need to be outsourced to a professional lab

c) Selling the samples analyzed rather than having to account for their destruction.

Drawbacks of NIRS

  • To reach HPLC accuracy and for NIRS chemical quantitation, multiple calibration and correlations are needed. Not all NIRS solutions come with the high-level algorithms required for accuracy and reliable analysis.
  • Not all NIRS solutions are able to deal with the heterogeneous nature of the cannabis flower and consequently require that the user ground the flower to create a more representative sample for analysis. Grinding destroys flower value and efficacy.

How GemmaCert Solves these Drawbacks

  • GemmaCert’s propriety hardware setup, involving multiple optical sensors, coupled with its advanced algorithms, effectively deals with the flower’s heterogenous nature while avoiding the need for sample destruction.
  • GemmaCert’s NIRS-based solution gives forward-thinking businesses a small testing unit to refine their products, increase quality control, and to impress regulators, business partners and customers.

For more information about GemmaCert’s breakthrough technology in potency testing, email us at

Cannabis- Improving the lives of those who helped protect ours

Being the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave’ does not come without a price for those brave – sometimes a tremendously heavy one at that.

More than 2.7 million U.S. army men and women have been sent to military combat zones since 2001. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – the governmental body responsible for providing healthcare and other benefits to veterans – as many as 20% of returning soldiers are at risk for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This is one of the countless mental and physical ailments veterans suffer from.

One of the tools veterans use to cope with these life-altering post-war traumas is cannabis. In a nutshell, cannabis improves the quality of life for those who put lives on the line to protect others. Unfortunately, many veterans do not have proper access to medicinal cannabis or are afraid that the use of it will come with detrimental repercussions.

“For too long, our veterans have been denied access to highly effective medical marijuana treatment for conditions like chronic pain and PTSD. Medical marijuana has shown proven benefits for treating these conditions and denying our veterans access to them is shameful,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer.

Veterans & Cannabis

According to an American Legion survey, nearly 1 in 5 U.S veterans engage in cannabis use for medicinal purposes. Because the substance is still classified as illegal in many states, veterans do not have proper access to medical cannabis and therefore cannot benefit from its therapeutic benefits.

“What do you tell a veteran who has brought back invisible scars and those opioids aren’t doing a darn thing for them?” said California Rep. Lou Correa.

As their official stance, the VA does not endorse or even acknowledge the positive effects of cannabis in helping many of their veteran’s cope. Citing the federal illegality of cannabis as grounds, the VA does not promote, recommend, or allow the prescribing of medical cannabis, even in states where it is legal. As the largest resource for veterans, the VA’s tough anti-cannabis stance prevents many veterans the relief they are seeking via the plant.

The Red, White & Green; How Cannabis is Helping Veterans

Turning a blind eye to cannabis’s benefits for those suffering from PTSD and other health issues, the VA prefers more pharmaceutical routes to treat their veterans. Moreover, veterans who disclose their use of cannabis are at risk of losing many of their federal benefits received from the VA.

“There’s still a lot of fear from the veterans’ point of view…you become an outcast at the VA when you start mentioning cannabis,” said Stephen Mandile, veteran and cannabis advocate.

Although America still clings to an outdated approach when it comes to medical cannabis and their veterans, officials might benefit from taking a cue from other countries who have embraced cannabis for medicinal use in those who served. In Israel, one of the world’s leading countries for cannabis research, the use of medical cannabis among its reserve soldiers is not only used but accepted. The Israeli Defense Force, IDF, permits its reserve soldiers holding a medical cannabis license to continue its use even while on active reserve duty.  “Medical cannabis is given to treat various diseases under the civilian system….and the fitness of a citizen to undergo reserve duty is based on medical condition, not on cannabis consumption,” said the IDF in a published statement.

Instead of embracing this progressive approach, the VA prefers turning to more common Western medical practices like opioids, heavy pain killers, and antidepressants, to treat symptoms commonly found in veterans, such as chronic pain. These potent prescriptions frequently trigger other issues with potentially debilitating side effects. While the answer has been to throw pills at the problem until it is dull enough to live with, the quality of life for many veterans remains compromised.

For veterans in pain, the goal is to function as fully as they can by reducing their pain as much as possible while improving their overall quality of life. For many, this relief comes in the form of cannabis.

“Every day they find new medical uses for cannabis; it’d be sad if we continued to keep putting our heads in the sand,” said Washington Rep. Lou Correa.

Research concerning the effect of cannabis on veterans has only recently begun to gain widescale acceptance and moment. However, there has already been an overwhelming amount of evidence linking the positive effects of cannabis to the relief of common symptoms. These include chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, and most predominantly PTSD.

 “There’s a consensus among clinicians that existing pharmaceutical treatments such as antidepressant simply do not work. In fact, we know very well that people with PTSD who use marijuana — a potent cannabinoid — often experience more relief from their symptoms than they do from antidepressants and other psychiatric medications”, said Dr. Alexander Neumeister, psychiatrist and neuroscientist

A 2009 study researching PTSD and nightmares found that “…many patients stated that the quality and duration of sleep improved, while daytime flashbacks and sweating at night also decreased. The study also showed that cannabinoids could serve a much more effective role than many prescription medicines and antidepressants that were proving to be futile in comparison”.

In America, although some 33 states now allow the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, its classification as a federally illegal drug places tight restrictions of medical testing. Despite the hurdles, research with cannabis and veterans is continuing, with promising results on the horizon.

The open discussion, recommendation, and best practices for medical cannabis veteran patients should not only be accepted, but encouraged.

“It’s crazy to think that the solutions to those problems have been out there the whole time, but veterans just haven’t had access to them,” said Jeff Herlond, a Navy veteran and COO of a Dispensary. “Research is so important. That’s how you normalize it.”

And normalize we will!

Dizzy Duck storefront

Dutch & Go. The Uncertainty behind Netherlands’s Cannabis

While the Netherlands has long been praised for its liberal approach to cannabis creating one of the largest cannaba-toursim markets in the world, in many ways, the Dutch cannabis paradise has a long way to go when it comes to standards for its green.

Even though it’s legal for Dutch citizens to buy up to five grams of cannabis for personal use, the government has limited regulations in place to ensure what its citizens are buying is up to standards…. any standards.

In Amsterdam, the industry’s legal status does not require coffeeshops to test their cannabis before selling it to consumers making it a gamble for what products people are actually getting.

While potency labeling (accuracy aside) has become a standard for retail cannabis in the United States, most Dutch coffeeshops do not provide users any lab-backed cannabinoid content or batch information making cannabis quality control nearly non-existent.

With somewhere around 400 coffeeshops in the Netherlands, there is certainly some questionable quality cannabis circulating. But a growing group of coffee shop owners have decided to take things into their own hands and set quality standards for their product.

Tara van der Poel, owner of a coffee shop called Dizzy Duck, is one of the first coffeeshops in the Netherlands to perform batch testing on their cannabis.

Dizzy Duck storefront

“There’s a lot of bad weed around. All kinds of stuff is added to increase weight. That’s why I’m so happy that everything is tested now” Van der Poel told Leafly magazine in a recent interview.

Despite the large group of those lobbying for looser regulations around cultivation, distribution and testing protocols, it remains difficult for coffeeshop owners who want to create quality assurance to do so. One of the biggest obstacles is the prohibition around coffeeshops altering their flowers in any way, which is the way most potency testing has been performed until recently.

What’s accounting for the lack of quality control?

As countries around the world begin legalizing cannabis, the once progressive nation is starting to lag in its country’s grip on cannabis. Cannabis in the Netherlands is still technically illegal but decriminalized and ‘tolerated’ for recreational use in limited amounts.

Because growing more than five cannabis plants is still very much illegal, exactly how coffeeshops get their supplies is rarely investigated. However, similar to the outdated stance by the United States army, the Dutch government takes on a sort of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to its nations coffeeshops. The perpetual turning of a blind eye does not go without harm to its country’s cannabis users.

“The most difficult thing about having a coffee shop in the Netherlands is that it’s allowed to sell it, but it’s not allowed to buy it” said Joachim Helms, co-owner of Green House Coffeeshops in Amsterdam.

Because licensed coffeeshops can buy and sell limited quantities of cannabis, they have begun to turning to the black or grey market to fulfil the high demand for product. Although you can call the black and grey markets lots of things, reliable and transparent probably won’t be one of them.

“Right now, you are allowed to buy the milk, but you can’t know anything about the cow,” said Vera Bergkamp, a Dutch lawmaker.

It only takes a few determined individuals to change things, and we have faith the wonderful coffeeshop owners dedicated to improving quality assurance for the safety and benefit of their customers will overcome the often-challenging Dutch regulations.

As new potency testing tools allowing for easier, cheaper, and less destructive in-house testing hit the market, there is new hope that the nations quality control in cannabis will turn over a new leaf.

Field-Testing Cannabis

Overcoming the plant’s chemical non-homogeneity for accurate potency results

Executive summary

Potency testing cannabis presents unique challenges. Principally, the non- homogeneity of cannabinoids, within the plant, between strains, and even within a single sample, hinders the accurate testing and labeling of products. A potency test of one cannabis flower will not adequately represent other flowers from the same crop or from the same plant.

Current testing practices struggle to overcome the problem of cannabis’chemical non-homogeneity in an affordable, practical way. Industry-standard high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) tests are slow, require significant equipment overhead, and are not appropriate for the needs of cultivators, wholesalers, or consumers.

While chromatography is invaluable and well-justified in many applications, it cannot satisfy the testing needs of a wholesale transaction or assure consumers of product potency at the point of sale. Additionally, chromatography destroys the test sample, creating a Catch-22 for consumer testing needs.

To address cumbersome and destructive testing practices, some cannabis professionals are turning to spectroscopic methods that are far quicker and cheaper. But these technologies are, on their own, questionably accurate. An emerging hybrid method offers a solution to impracticable or otherwise inaccurate testing. By collating multiple spectroscopic tests from every angle of the cannabis flower and refining the technology with digital image analysis researchers have found an accurate method for non-destructive testing. Backed by robust data science and intensive calibration against industry-standard chromatography, the new technology may prove ideal for potency testing cannabis flower.

As legal cannabis expands into a projected $34.1 billion international industry by 2021, [Zhang] active ingredient testing becomes increasingly important. The legitimization of cannabis as a medicine calls for pharmaceutical dosage consistency, and recreational legalization requires labelling similar to alcohol and tobacco products. For cultivators, wholesalers, and others in the supply chain, accurate testing is equally important.

Companies need to know the quality (i.e., chemical composition) of the crop they’re buying or they open themselves to significant risk; sellers need to properly batch their crops to ensure clients receive consistent potency; and consumers want to feel assured of the products they’re consuming. Yet the need to accurately and quickly test cannabis presents myriad challenges.

The Challenge of Non-Homogeneity

Relative to other pharmaceutical and food products, cannabis sativa is hard to potency test. In part, this is because the cannabinoid content of the plant varies widely [Potter].

In cannabis, chemical non-homogeneity occurs:

  • between strains and within strains [Royal Seeds]
  • between crops of the same strain [Figure 1]
  • between individual plants of the same crop [Potter]
  • between the flowers from the same plant [Namdar]
  • …and even within the divided material of individual flowers [Wilks]

The cause of non-homogeneity is threefold. Through decades of cannabis horticultural, cultivators have bred plants to enhance desirable characteristics and diminish crop vulnerabilities. These manipulations have manifested customized strains exhibiting higher or lower tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) compositions. Secondly, within any species of animal or plant, individuals will have closely-related, yet slightly different, genotypes (defined as the genetic material dictating the range of characteristics that an organism may express). Within that strain-specific range of genotype possibilities, environmental conditions will determine a phenotype (defined as the observable characteristics expressed by an individual plant).

Even plants clonally propagated from the same “mother” plant will exhibit phenotypic traits based on their environmental histories. And within a selection of plants displaying similar phenotypic traits, different chemotypes (defined as the chemical constitution of an individual plant) may occur independently of readily observable characteristics. Microclimates in the grow room or outdoors, inconsistencies in the fertigation system, pests, or other factors can affect plant-to-plant potency.

Finally, the chemical non-homogeneity of cannabis flowers occurs naturally based on their location within the plant structure or even within a single flower. Cultivators commonly observe, and research has documented, more potent flowers at the top of the canopy as compared to those at the bottom. Proximity to the light source plays a causal role in determining the potency of individual flowers [Namdar] so intra-plant potency variance is unavoidable.

Testing Blind: The Problem of Sampling

Industry stakeholders have come to acknowledge a critical problem, one that bypasses even world-class testing technology:

In a large crop of non-homogeneous cannabis, which individual flowers do you select for testing?

Some experts believe that poor sample selection practices and improperly “batched” crops can cause mislabeled potencies varying up to 75% from actual. [T&T Magazine] For health-compromised consumers who rely on cannabis as a medicine, such wild irregularities are clearly unacceptable.

For solutions to the non-homogeneity problem, field-testing should look to how government regulators and laboratories address the issue. Though their elaborate chromatography methods are not feasible for transactional testing, their approach to sampling sheds light on how to mitigate non-homogeneity in the field. Current testing methods estimate an averaged potency with extensive and random crop sampling. Some jurisdictions require random flower selections totaling 0.7% of the overall batch weight. [CA regs] Flowers are selected from the top, middle and bottom of the batch to ensure a representative and random sample. Then, the sampled flowers are ground together, and the mixture is assumed homogenous. But, as sources note, [Sexton] [Rigdon] glandular trichomes, the most potent part of the plant, may fall through the grinding mechanism or settle at the bottom of the mixture. Cannabis testing presents challenges even to HPLC.

HPLC isn’t a feasible solution for field-testing, but the method of combining multiple samples illuminates the solution to flower-to-flower non-homogeneity. Faced with the need to test non homogenous crops, the food industry has turned to quick, spectroscopic testing methods for some applications. But for cannabis, the chemical variations within a single flower warrant a more refined approach.

Near-Infrared Spectrometry

Near-infrared spectrometry (NIRS) is a spectroscopic form of testing: it uses the light spectrum to assess the chemical contents of the test subject. By beaming particular wavelengths of light onto an object and detecting the wavelength intensities that bounce back, spectrometers estimate the chemical contents of a test specimen without altering it. For testing high-dollar crops, this non-destructive technique is valuable indeed!

NIRS is not as precise as chromatography. For any single test, HPLC is no doubt more accurate. Yet NIRS is appropriate for many applications and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for medical procedures, [Scheeren] pharmaceutical testing, [Morisseau] and food testing. [Osborne]

Non-homogeneous crop analysis has employed NIRS by averaging the results of multiple samples. And, because NIRS testing takes around 60 seconds (rather than 45 minutes), the “collate and average” approach has worked. For foraging materials like hay, sampling 20 test specimens has allowed farmers to overcome the crop’s non-homogeneity to find an acceptably accurate active ingredient profile. [Putnam]

For NIRS to be viable for a given chemical’s quantitation, spectroscopic engineers must carefully calibrate the equipment for that chemical of interest. Scientists repeatedly correlate the wavelength/intensity results of the spectrometer against gold-standard technologies like HPLC to ensure accurate results. The greater the number of correlations against HPLC, the more robust the NIRS results. [European Medical Agency]

Because cannabinoids are a new test subject for NIRS, the number of correlations and calibrations against HPLC results are scant. Many cannabis-specific NIRS units on the market now are not sufficiently correlated with HPLC and, without an extensive database of cannabinoid specific algorithms, their accuracies suffer.

But the key issue plaguing existing NIRS cannabis technology isn’t an inherent lack of accuracy potential; it’s the way a spectrometer reads its test subject, and, again, the problem stems from cannabis non-homogeneity. Because only a few square millimeters are exposed to the light source during the test processes, and because trichrome distribution on the flower is uneven, current NIRS testers struggle for accuracy.

NIRS and Single-Flower Non-Homogeneity

Extensive research by GemmaCert Ltd. has documented the issue of single-flower non-homogeneity. And, similar to other research into flower non-homogeneity [Wilks], the results show significant variations in potency within the material of a single cannabis flower. To further our understanding of non- homogeneity and potential solutions.

GemmaCert scientists partitioned twenty cannabis flowers into three to six parts, depending on size. Then, each flower partition was potency tested for THC and CBD via industry standard HPLC techniques. Large variations were observed within the flower, with some differences amounting to +/-25% of the averaged potency. This research shows that, because NIRS units test only a small area of a few square millimeters, single- flower potency variance may skew results significantly.

A compromise solution would be to test a single sample multiple times with NIRS to achieve an averaged result. Presumably, this could overcome the potency variations within the sample as in other food industries.

Running several tests on different areas of the material would still be significantly faster than HPLC testing and, assuming an adequate library of HPLC-correlated results, improve accuracy to acceptable levels. Yet additional research and development has turned up new techniques. By incorporating supporting technologies, NIRS testing for cannabis can be more accurate, and quicker, while still leaving the test material unaffected.

The Hybrid Testing Solution

The GemmaCert tester is built on a foundation of NIRS testing and the “collate and average” approach. But the proprietary design of the GemmaCert unit uses adjunct technologies to fully realize the benefits of the NIRS, while avoiding the drawbacks. GemmaCert uses NIRS, and motion mechanics. The GemmaCert unit takes multiple measurements, depending on user-preferred settings, reflecting trade-off between accuracy and duration. By testing multiple surfaces on the whole-flower sample, the unit provides a highly-accurate, “collated and averaged” result, yet still keeps test durations in the 1-to-3-minute range. And because the accuracy of NIRS technology is critically dependent on the distance of the test material from the detector, careful manipulation of the detector versus the specimen not only improves accuracy but advances the overall NIRS science.

GemmaCert uses visual analysis

A simplistic examination of a cannabis flower, even without a microscope or magnifier, can reveal uneven trichrome distribution. Because anindividual NIRS test accesses only a small surface area, understanding trichrome distribution and flower shape can improve results, even in the case of advanced “collate and average” approach. Advanced digital image analysis helps ensure optimal calibration of the machine.

GemmaCert uses data science and machine learning

NIRS technology is only as good as the quantity and quality of its correlations with HPLC. With over 2,500 flowers correlated with HPLC results, the GemmaCert has far surpassed the data point libraries of other cannabis-specific NIRS testers. That means each of the multiple measurements it performs during a single test has industry-leading accuracy.

The GemmaCert benefits from machine learning too. Cloud-based software analyzes the multitude of results to identify any outlying data. In a continual refinement of accuracy, the software analyzes its own analysis for constant improvement. Then, the test results data is made available to users via
smartphone or laptop.

By combining leading-edge NIRS methodology, visual image analysis, extensive data science, and machine learning, GemmaCert provides a testing solution that’s more than the sum of its parts.

For more information on GemmaCert and how GemmaCert technologies can benefit your company, visit or email

Company Bio
GemmaCert is a biotechnology company, based in Israel since 2015, aiming to become a market leader in medicinal plant composition and potency analysis, starting with cannabis. GemmaCert’s skilled team of chemists, molecular biologists, biotechnologists, data scientists and programmers work tirelessly to advance cannabis analytical solutions. In the long run, GemmaCert’s breakthrough technology will enable patients and doctors to correlate cannabis composition with specific health conditions, significantly enhancing therapeutic treatment by cannabis and transforming the medical cannabis industry.

Postal address: 8 Hamasger Street, P.O.Box 4377, Ra’anana Israel Web:
Trademarks and Copyright GemmaCert is a Trademark of GemmaCert Ltd. Copyright @ 2017 GemmaCert Ltd. All rights reserved

Information in this document is subject to change without notice and does not represent a commitment on GemmaCert Ltd.
GemmaCert Ltd is not liable for errors contained in this document or for incidental or consequential damages in connection with furnishing or use of this material.
GemmaCert products are protected by U.S. and international copyright laws.



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