1 February

Confidently Perform Cannabis Extraction with Porvair Sciences Deep Well Plate

With increasing legalization of cannabis for medicinal and research purposes, demand for accurate and high-throughtput analysis of its active ingredients has dramatically risen.

Cannabis plant material contains several cannabinoids for which the human brain has evolved receptors. The two most important are the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the analgesic cannabidiol (CBD) which has therapeutic uses. The ratio of THC and CBD is crucial for differentiating medicinal versus recreational cannabis. This ratio is important for taxation authorities, medical regulators and growers alike. Typically, medicinal marijuana has a higher CBD content and lower THC, whereas recreational cannabis has higher THC levels. Getting the THC ratio right is instrumental for determining the use of the end product,

The Analysis

THC is derived from the cannabis plant’s the major cannabinoid THC Acid (THCA) through decarboxylation using heating methods such as smoking or cooking. Without heat treatment, significant levels of both THCA and CBDA remain in the plant extracts. Efficient sample preparation of cannabis samples is crucial for downstream analysis such as high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). This method is one of the most accurate and therefore, the preferred approach for cannabis products and tinctures consumed orally.

To accurately analyse the THC/CBD ratio, we suggest randomly selecting samples of cannabis leaf, bud and flower and weighing approximately 50mg of dried plant material into each well of a Porvair Plant Genomics plate. If you prefer to start with fresh material, you can use a Porvair Minivap to dry the material inside the plate. When you take this approach, make sure to weigh the plate before and after drying to determine the moisture content of the fresh material.

Traditionally, samples are prepared using bead-beaters or grinding mills to homogenise the materials. However, the extreme force these machines apply on polypropylene microplates can often damage them, leading to cracking, leaking and ultimately, cross contamination.

We’ve used our thirty years of experience in microplate manufacture to solve this problem. By applying modern design concepts and mould analysis, we created a microplate solid enough to withstand the applied forces in bead-beaters. Our plant and seed genomics deep well plate features reinforced walls at the bottom of the well, backed with supporting ribs on the underside of the plate, so you can safely and confidently perform Cannabis extraction.

The new Polypropylene microplates provide a generous working volume and can withstand four minutes of bead-beating at 1750 rpm with a 6mm steel ball with no apparent damage. The polypropylene used has been rigorously tested to ensure you get no contamination from the plate.

Read the full Preparation of Cannabis plant samples app note.


Porvair Sciences Ltd (www.porvair-sciences.com) is a global leader in bespoke and specialty microplate manufacture based in the UK. For further information on preparation of Cannabis plant samples for analysis of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) using our Plant Genomics Microplate, contact Porvair Sciences on +44-1978-661144 / info.wrexham@porvairsciences.com.

Established in 1992, Porvair Sciences is one of the largest global manufacturers of ultra-clean microplates for life science, synthetic chemistry and many other applications.  Porvair Sciences Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Porvair plc.