Cannabis Testing Reference Standards

The complexity and diversity of cannabis products poses unique challenges to accurate, quality testing. Cannabis-testing laboratories must meet the needs of varying state and federal requirements to ensure products are safe, effective, and consistent. Meanwhile, the incredible range of products – from unrefined dried Cannabis sativa flowers to cannabidiol oils and THC-infused food and beverage products – requires rigorous solutions that allow for comparable results regardless of matrix.

The increased use of mass spectrometry (MS) in cannabis testing has enabled testing facilities to offer a degree of accuracy and precision not possible with other methods. MS testing allows laboratories to test potency of the cannabinoids and for the presence of adulterants and pesticides.

Cannabis Testing Standards – Cannabinoids and Common Pesticide Contaminants


The primary compound of interest in cannabis analysis is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-9-THC), the psychoactive compound, but many of the 80-100 other compounds found in the cannabis plant are of increasing interest to researchers and the cannabis industry. The full effects of these compounds are still being explored. 

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is often extracted and included in consumer goods without THC. It is used in the treatment of pain, psychiatric disorders, and seizures, and in 2018 the FDA approved CBD-based drugs for the treatment of two syndromes that cause epileptic seizures in children.1,2,3 Cannabinol (CBN) is a compound formed when THC breaks down over time.

Cannabidivarin, or CBDV, is of interest due to its anticonvulsant effects and is being explored for the treatment of seizure disorders. Cannabigerol, or CBG, is primarily known as the precursor of the better-known cannabinoids, but also may have benefits in the study of Huntington’s disease.4 Cannabichromene, or CBC, is the third most common cannabinoid in marijuana strains, and is of interest in cancer research and for its potential anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.5,6 Cannabivarin (CBV) is a constituent of hashish as well as of C. sativa.

CIL offers top-quality deuterated and unlabeled cannabinoid reference standards for these cannabinoids to aid in product testing, labeling, and new research. We also offer high-quality analytical reference standards for heavy metals and pesticides to help ensure cannabis products meet applicable safety regulations.

Related Products

Frequently Asked Questions

Are CIL’s cannabinoid products restricted under US law? CIL cannabinoid standards are excluded from the US DEA Controlled Substances Act (CSA) regulatory controls — no customer permits or licensing is required to ship within the US.

For shipments outside of North America, contact your local sales representative/distributor or CIL customer service. International shipment limitations may apply.

Can CIL provide other labeled cannabinoids on request? Yes, provided they can be synthesized. Please submit your request to your local sales representative or complete the online Custom Synthesis Form. Please provide the structure(s), desired quantities, and labeling pattern(s) (if applicable). We will contact you shortly thereafter regarding feasibility.


1. García-Gutiérrez, M.S.; Navarrete, F.; Gasparyan, A.; et al. 2020. Cannabidiol: A potential new alternative for the treatment of anxiety, depression, and psychotic disorders. Biomolecules, 10(11), 1575. PMID: 33228239
2. Mlost, J.; Bryk, M.; Starowicz, K. 2020. Cannabidiol for pain treatment: Focus on pharmacology and mechanism of action. Int J Mol Sci, 21(22), 8870. PMID: 33238607
3. Arzimanoglou, A.; Brandl, U.; Cross, J.H.; et al. 2020. Epilepsy and cannabidiol: a guide to treatment. Epileptic Disord, 22(1), 1-14. PMID: 32096470
4. Stone, N.L.; Murphy, A.J.; England, T.J.; et al. 2020. A systematic review of minor phytocannabinoids with promising neuroprotective potential. Br J Pharmacol, 177(19), 4330-4352. PMID: 32608035
5. Anis, O.; Vinayaka, A.C.; Shalev, N.; et al. 2021. Cannabis-derived compounds cannabichromene and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol interact and exhibit cytotoxic activity against urothelial cell carcinoma correlated with inhibition of cell migration and cytoskeleton organization. Molecules, 26(2), 465. PMID: 33477303 
6. Appendino, G.; Gibbons, S.; Giana, A.; et al. 2008. Antibacterial cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: a structure-activity study. J Nat Prod, 71(8), 1427-1430. PMID: 18681481