The HempList #49: In House HPLC Chromatography Testing For Hemp & Cannabis w/ Cann-ID

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In Summary

Alex has a background in the Wine industry, and shares how they’ve had similar experiences with inconsistent testing with wine. Now with Cann-Id Alex brings their experience to the Hemp & Cannabis industry with Cann-ID which opens up even small to medium sized farms to in house testing. Chase & Alex talk about why testing is important in the cannabis industry, how they got into the industry, and what’s next on the horizon (psilocybin?!).

Cann-ID’s kit includes an HPLC Chromatography system and all the guidance needed. Learn more about the process and see if it’s a good fit for you in this quick podcast!

Learn more about the process and see if it’s a good fit for you in this quick podcast!

Transcript (Auto-Generated)

hey everybody chase nobles here founder
i’ve got alex andraws from canna id and
ionization labs here today super excited
about the show how are you alex
you’re doing very well chase thank you
for having me on the show and
uh it’s a pleasure to be speaking with
you today yeah absolutely i’ve been
looking forward to this interview and
i’m glad we got you on the show because
you all do something that um is 100
necessary in this space it’s um
quite regulated people need to know the
potency and the in the content of their
from a safety and regulation standpoint
and you all have solved a problem with
that with canada id
in your testing software so before we
jump into exactly what you all do
i’d love to know how did you get into
the space and and what made this
such a pain point that you wanted to you
start a company that solved that problem
so um well first of all thanks for
having me on and uh
and really this bk this really started
as an obsession so
um i i come from the alcohol space
that’s where i spent you know 20 years
of my career
and um i made a couple of investments in
the cannabis industry
specifically in media um but
you know i i realized that very wine and
they follow a very similar trajectory
with the exception of the fact that
cannabis is really medicine
and wine is has a medicinal aspect i
mean it’s our cannabis has
the medicinal aspect to it and they’re
both heavily regulated by the states
and you know there’s some regulation at
the federal level in alcohol
but there’s really no uh there’s not
enough or there’s really
no federal regulation other than it’s
prohibited at the federal level
but we all know where it’s all going
it’s just a matter of time and that
time is fast approaching and it’s
even it’s every week that i turn on the
it’s moving faster and faster and faster
and we’ve already passed that event
um and now it’s just simply a matter of
just you know people putting together
the pieces of the puzzle
that enable um a a
a domestic uh uh high potency cannabis
where product can move around and and be
traded and
sold and logistically moved um
insured and banked right so the minute
that the industry has access to banking
and finance
then operators have a cheaper way of
obtaining capital
and but it’s very difficult to do with
this product because
you know there’s still banking issues at
the federal level
and so i looked at all i started to look
at all these things and it all comes
down to the potency of cannabis
right it all comes down to um you know
successfully detecting and measuring thc
delta nine and thca and then
those other cannabinoids are you know
they’re just kind of
the um the victims of circumstance
right they’re the they’re the other
there’s 100 plus cannabinoids
but there’s two that stop this plant
from becoming federally legal
um and that’s just like you said
cannabis is federally legal we just call
it hemp
so uh right but those two right there in
concentrations over one percent
plus or minus ten percent is the
difference between
a plant that looks and smells the same
but is legal or not at the federal level
but even hemp is distressed today
because it doesn’t have the protections
that it needs for banking and finance
and trade
and so you know until that happens it’s
still going to be
you know a risky proposition for people
in the hemp industry or in
the high potency markets so the goal
would be you know in my in
in my mind and my business partner’s
mind is to
you know harness that and say okay
that’s the hub and everything else just
and so when you look at people’s pitch
decks in the cannabis industry you’ll
notice that
some people are vertically integrated
and some people are super cultivators
and some people
provide technology and some people
provide this and that
but really you know when it comes down
to it all those points have one thing in
that’s the potency of the plan so we’re
like okay let’s build the information
highway specific to that
and it all starts with testing and then
it starts with then
followed by that is track and
traceability and so once you have those
then the pharmaceutical industries get
to be able to
you know they put pressure on the
federal government to
move even faster towards the
legalization aspect
and then you have more consistent
product now you know today
if you go to colorado and you go to
california and you buy the same product
the same brand owner saying you know if
you test them they will test differently
and you know for the consumers that are
out there who are
never had cannabis a cannabis product or
they’re in the aging population and
they’re looking for
you know symptoms uh something to to to
help with some symptoms like pain or
you know anxiety or whatever there’s
trepidation there because
they you know they want to know that the
product is safe and they want to know
that if they try it once
that they can go back to it for
consistency and there’s nothing that
turns people off
from a product that they consume or use
than inconsistency right and so what
we’re offering
to the industry is really a solution
that improves outcomes improves
consistency improves formulation
collapses time and reduces costs and
obviously opens the door to small to
medium-sized businesses to get in
and i think this is so you didn’t you
didn’t you didn’t accidentally make a
really powerful
batch of brownies and then decide there
needs to be a better way to solve this
because that’s that’s
that’s what i was expecting and alex no
no no
i i did not i in fact the way that i the
way that this was conceived in my mind
was i would go out and buy wine barrels
and i would go and try every barrel and
i would try to make a blend of wine
and i would take samples and i would
send them to three labs and i’d get
three different results
and so i was like that’s a problem you
know and and
it became a problem for me and then in
the cannabis industry
you know the first time i realized it
was a problem was when
you know we were experimenting with the
concept of the business
but we actually asked for three samples
of products that we could test them you
know one
high thc low cbd one high
cbd you know basically three different
three different
you know bags from a dispensary and we
asked them to be blind
and when they came to us you know
we tried we tested two of them out and
you know the cannabinoid profile was
different but the terpene profile
of of two of those bags was actually
dead on and that’s impossible
so the brand names were different but
the terpene profile was
like dead on and that basically tells us
that somebody took
product and changed the name of it so
that it would sell
because they they wouldn’t sell it as
this product but when you put blue dream
on it
or sour diesel on it it moves like that
the reality is is we figured out at that
point in time that strain names really
don’t mean a whole lot
no that’s it i love that you bring this
up alex because
so many people put so much weight behind
the strain name
but the strain name in many cases is
created based on hyper trend and yes
there are your consistent
you know strain names that people have
exclusively and things like that
but if you have you know 50 pounds
of a strain it’s called a strain that
that isn’t selling what is the easiest
way to sell that product
right and that you you see a lot of that
a surprising amount of that so i’m it’s
i’m glad you brought that up because not
that many people know that about the the
and hemp industry yeah and that’s
because nobody’s watching and nobody’s
paying attention you know and
the easiest way to attach a strained
and and create meaning for it is to
build what’s called a scatter diagram
and that’s basically taking all the
chemical data so you measure
you know 100 samples of different sour
and you build a pattern along a line and
too far out is not really sour diesel
and anything close in
is you know part of the sour diesel
family and then you can name it sour
diesel and then people have more
confidence in that
but that that’s all based around
chemical data
right and so what our goal is is to
provide that to people
so that they’re confident in buying
because they’re either going to sell it
as that or they’re going to take that
and then they’re going to extract it
down to create consistent oil
or consistent you know for a tincture or
for a cream
or whatever so now being an expert
in wine and having spent a lot of time
in that industry making these blends
and you know kind of going art and
on that on that industry what are the
similarities in the testing
what kind of testing are you doing and
how did that apply to
the hemp and cannabis industry as you’re
working on now with
with can id well so you know
usually when you’re making a product um
out there right and you’re and you know
depending on whether you’re taking
um isolated compounds and you’re buying
them from chemical companies
that have been around historically that
provide you know compounds for the
pharmaceutical industry
um you know you’re you’re blending
things that are pure
into something and you can produce
consistency that way
right but in this case what you’re doing
is you’re taking plant matter
that’s ever changing so cannabis will ch
you can have the same feedstock same
different wavelength of light and the
plant will be completely different right
it’ll have higher concentrations of cb
you know cbd cbda you know thcv
all these other compounds first and
foremost in greater
uh and greater numbers would be cbd
and uh thc and their assets if you
harvest it too early you’ll get a batch
of cbg flour right cb it
all starts off with cbga cb and then it
goes cbg and then from that point on
and you know so the goal really because
it’s because
uh cannabis is so ever-changing
and it changes the change in cannabis
is so substantially greater than most
other plants including grapes
that if you change the wavelength of the
light the barometric pressure
the climate the nutrients the water
any of those variables the plants will
change drastically
right especially wavelength of light and
that’s why there’s a lot of problems in
the hemp industry because it’s all
outdoor so there’s a lot more variables
there it’s like it’s not
a contained environment where you’re
going to have reproducibility
hour to hour minutes minute you know and
air quality that you can measure and all
these things you can measure right
but um the similarity is that you know
you have something that’s changing all
the time and wine changes all the time
in barrels
and sometimes it’s not for the better so
in in wine
sometimes if your so2 levels are too
high or volatile acidity is too high
you then have to remediate just like in
the head industry if your
thc levels are too high you either have
to destroy the crop or you have to
it’s expensive to remediate so and the
only way to prevent that from happening
and the only and the one way to
guarantee your outcome in the hemp
industry or
medical recreational cannabis industry
is to have chemical data at your
so you can optimize and then harvest
at the peaks of the specific target
compounds that you’re
going for and some of those compounds
are extremely valuable like t
you know all these new that they’re
discovering right now that they think
relevancy for specific you know medical
ailments that you know that they’re
you know that they’re looking for you
know for the next
uh the next thing i mean cbd the prices
of cbd went down
that doesn’t mean the other compounds
went down right some of those other
compounds just
continue to pain or actually have gone
up because they’re so scarce
now understanding the problem and
from the risk of you know having a
consistent product safety regulations
things like that
say you’re a farmer what does
canal canada id what is the actual
solution here
say say they say they’re hearing
everything that you’re saying and they
go okay i do want in-house testing i do
want to have this data at my fingertips
they call you all up shoot you an email
whatever what’s the actual solution that
they get
whenever they they reach out to you all
so we have
uh we our solution is it comes in two
forms one is just the software by itself
and those are for people who already
have the instrumentation and the
and they can you know they’ve done this
and then the other one is a can solution
which includes hardware
software and consumables that are sent
every month
like a data plan like a cell phone data
plan and that’s a
that’s a one-stop shop right and you
know in one
in one area we provide you with the data
and the pipeline so you can manage all
that data and so you can kind of run
you know run all your processes yourself
and then on the other side on the other
we basically deliver everything to you
and make sure that
based on you know your volume of tests
you can increase or decrease
how many tests you do every month
depending on seasons and what have you
but um you know really what we offer is
we offer the ability to collapse time on
r d testing
people have more confidence when they
use can id because
we have reproducibility on a
decentralized network
so we’ve got clients in 18 states and
four countries
um you know we’ve got government
entities that are extremely interested
in using this as nationwide testing in
you know different parts of the world
right now and they’re actively looking
at it and
you know including domestically and so
what we offer is we offer a standardized
that gives not just you as the farmer or
you as the extractor confidence in what
you’re doing at every step every
interval every day
but it also gives your business partners
the people who are the buyers of your
assurances that you are doing everything
you can do to maintain consistency and
quality of your product
and so what it also does is it gives two
people who actually use
technologies the concept of shared
so labs have different methods different
sample preparation processes and if you
call that lab and you ask them for
calibration data or chromatography data
most of them won’t supply that to you
right we make it transparent
we want people to know how often they’ve
performed calibration
because we want to make sure that they
are in that calibration
window to where they can run
successfully all the time
and so our software simplifies all of
these processes for you so you don’t
have to be an analytical chemist
you just have to be a smart person
that’s it and now
when it comes when it comes to the
hardware alex what what type of hardware
are we talking
gas liquid chromatography what are they
actually getting
in the box right it’s it’s an hplc
manufactured by
agilent technologies so it’s a tried and
true we tried every single hplc out
there in the market
we looked at them from a function of
cost reproducibility
um you know just how long they’ve been
in the industry
and we basically benchmark tested them
against each other we benchmark tested
them against mass spec
and you know really what we found is
that agilent has
probably the most robust piece of
hardware for the price
and so agilent hplc with an auto sampler
is what we deliver
so and do you need a phd to operate this
no you don’t i can okay i don’t have a
phd i have a bachelor’s in economics i
i the requirement was i need to be able
to use this so from the day that we
deliver the
the day that you place an order and you
within 30 to 45 days you know we ship
the systems to you that have been
benchmark tested
um and then from the day that you
receive it
the next day we walk you through
installation over zoom
or video conference call and then
by the end of the next day you’re
testing and
it you know you’re you and we watch you
perform these tests and you have access
to our chemists here in austin texas
who will walk you through problems help
you solve problems or if you have in the
if you have new products and you want to
develop a sample preparation process for
a new product
you know you call us up and we will walk
you through because chances are
you know we’ve seen this before and we
can help you
faster than you can just do this
yourself so now how
frequently do you have to calibrate this
machine to maintain the accuracy
of the results that you’re getting
simple cal checks once a week
uh full-on calibration once a month
got it okay and that’s not too involved
then no it’s basically
just running a five-point calibration
curve so it’s basically
you know uh running through our
simplified sample preparation process
and then um and you know performing an
injection into a system letting it uh
baseline and read and then from that
point in time it says system check
go and then you’re testing keep going
all right final question on the hardware
what all can you test for
specifically cannabinoids can you test
for terpenes can you test for
any kind of pesticides what what are you
going to get i know that it probably
can’t do
everything because this is an at
location machine
there’s no what can you get there’s no
machine that will do it all we
we worked when we started this company
we sat down with
you know the top scientists uh head of
mass spec
over at mit harvard and texas tech and
all these universities
um there’s no one machine that’ll do all
of this
so we we went after the hardest one we
went after cannabinoids we have the top
14 cannabinoids we’re adding
three or four more here fairly shortly
to the library that is future proofed
uh for our clients but what we’re also
adding is you know
in short order we’re adding terpene
it’ll be a different hardware piece of
hardware and we’ve already started
work on integration of uh mass spec for
pesticide residual
pesticide pesticide detection so you
we’re going after we’re either
partnering with
or developing the chemical data pipeline
to essentially hook into other
instruments so that all of your chemical
data can be managed from one centralized
shared internally so we do not own your
our clients own their data we don’t
share our clients data with anybody
they have to share it but they can make
it available to share
inside their organization or to an
outside entity
if they so choose right on that sounds
now you’ve had great success in the
space you’re a leader in the space when
it comes to testing
but you’re looking at another space
right now psilocybin
yes this is a frontier industry
just like hampton cannabis has been what
drew you there
and how how are you looking to enter the
market that’s
incredibly nascent yeah
incredibly difficult to enter into but
somebody has to do it
and the reason why we’re getting into
this industry is because
you know most people inside this
organization everybody pretty much
um including myself are big believers
that the biggest problem in the world
today is depression
um you know and uh ptsd there’s a lot of
people who have been out
you know they’ve experienced something
traumatic in their life
whether it’s you know going into combat
so veterans or
experiencing you know abuse or something
right you know there’s all these bad
things going on in the world and we all
went through a whole year
of being locked down and ambiguity and
just craziness with this pandemic
that you know what surfaced was hey you
know the world needs
some help on mental health and
in our belief is the leader of all of
psychedelics of all of the medic you
know potential emerging therapies that
are out there
it’s probably the one that has the most
um it’s probably the safest
uh in terms of micro dose format that
has the greatest results
there are others mdma certainly and also
you know ketamine is also interesting
the ketamine is also manufactured by
you know manufacturers who are
pharmaceutical grade who supply it for
other use in the pharmaceutical industry
so you know there’s not really a need
for from our perspective for purity on
ketamine because it comes from a
comes from doctors and so um comes from
pharmaceutical companies two doctors and
then it’s administrate
administered in that format but
there’s just not enough data because
it’s been schedule one and schedule one
is on the same level as
you know methamphetamine and we know
that it has medicinal use just like
cannabis does
and our mind is like it doesn’t matter
to us
that it is schedule one what matters is
hey if
maybe if we develop the testing pipeline
that the restrictions will ease sooner
and faster so people can actually
perform clinical trials
so people can get better faster and so
if we can just
create an environment where people can
you know perform rnd faster then we’ve
served our purpose
right on that’s a that’s amazing to hear
it’s exciting to hear somebody getting
into that space
um from this angle because uh you’re
right that legitimacy and that trust in
the product is gonna be really important
so alex everybody should check you out
can id ionization labs you’ve got a lot
going on a beautiful story
great company excited to be working with
you can’t wait to see you at the texas
hem convention this year
and uh great interview this has been a
lot of fun thank you so much for joining
us today
it’s like life thank you so much it’s
been a pleasure and can’t wait to
share a glass of wine or something with
you and next
you know as soon as possible so right on
alex well be safe and we’ll talk soon
all right thanks again
take care

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