Cannabis business expanding - we want an HPLC. Where to even start?

Good afternoon all,

First off, I want to thank this community for the wealth of knowledge I've been slowly absorbing these last few weeks as a lurker, I've learned a LOT! Now, about me! My partner and I own and operate a licensed cannabis company, we've been in operation for three years and we've been rapidly expanding. For right now, we're testing some samples in-house with an Orange Photonics LightLab3, but we want to make the step into HPLC so that we can sell our services and further grab onto this rapidly growing industry.

You're probably wondering - no, none of us have laboratory experience, nor do we carry chemistry degrees or logged lab hours. None of us have gone to school for Business either - yet we've built out a number of locations with a rapidly growing network that's been steadily rising with nearly two dozen employees. We're fast learners and we feel the next step is for myself - well, more of my partner, is to outfit our latest location with HPLC equipment and control our own testing. There simply isn't enough information available for the "regular man" who doesn't have a foot in the door already to find out *where we start*. I see Agilent offers training programs, but I'm not seeing much in the way of specific Cannabis-based training.

Moving on... We're looking at picking up an Agilent 1100 unit as they appear to be modular, so we can add modules while we go. There's a number of different units on the market that would likely perform similarly, but the pricepoint, as well as parts availability, makes 1100 desirable to us. It appears that some of the most prominent cannabinoid testing labs utilize Agilent 1100's, including Botanacor - a company we've spent tens of thousands of dollars with. Right off the bat, we'd like to test for cannabinoid potency as well as terpenes. The second phase would be to offer a full panel test which would include pesticides, microbials, residual solvents etc... 

If the community has suggestions on which units we should consider, it would be greatly appreciated. With those suggestions, I'd approach Agilent University and see what my partner and I should sign up for. If we're simply in over our heads with zero lab experience, I'd be open and receptive to hear criticism. But don't underestimate my ability to uptake information, we're sponges. It's likely that we'd hire a full-time, degree-holding lab technician once this kicks off - both my partner and I want to be knowledgeable and "able" in every aspect of our dealings.

Thank you very much, any and all replies will be greatly appreciated!

  • Good afternoon all,

    First off, I want to thank this community for the wealth of knowledge I've been slowly absorbing these last few weeks as a lurker, I've learned a LOT! Now, about me! My partner and I own and operate a licensed cannabis company, we've been in operation for three years and we've been rapidly expanding. For right now, we're testing some samples in-house with an Orange Photonics LightLab3, but we want to make the step into HPLC so that we can sell our services and further grab onto this rapidly growing industry.

    You're probably wondering - no, none of us have laboratory experience, nor do we carry chemistry degrees or logged lab hours. None of us have gone to school for Business either - yet we've built out a number of locations with a rapidly growing network that's been steadily rising with nearly two dozen employees. We're fast learners and we feel the next step is for myself - well, more of my partner, is to outfit our latest location with HPLC equipment and control our own testing. There simply isn't enough information available for the "regular man" who doesn't have a foot in the door already to find out *where we start*. I see Agilent offers training programs, but I'm not seeing much in the way of specific Cannabis-based training.

    Moving on... We're looking at picking up an Agilent 1100 unit as they appear to be modular, so we can add modules while we go. There's a number of different units on the market that would likely perform similarly, but the pricepoint, as well as parts availability, makes 1100 desirable to us. It appears that some of the most prominent cannabinoid testing labs utilize Agilent 1100's, including Botanacor - a company we've spent tens of thousands of dollars with. Right off the bat, we'd like to test for cannabinoid potency as well as terpenes. The second phase would be to offer a full panel test which would include pesticides, microbials, residual solvents etc... We found the Agilent 7850 ICP-MS but we aren't sure if this will fulfill our needs as it appears to do about the same as the Orange Photonics LightLab3 which we currently use.

    If the community has suggestions on which units we should consider, it would be greatly appreciated. With those suggestions, I'd approach Agilent University and see what my partner and I should sign up for. If we're simply in over our heads with zero lab experience, I'd be open and receptive to hear criticism. But don't underestimate my ability to uptake information, we're sponges. It's likely that we'd hire a full-time, degree-holding lab technician once this kicks off - both my partner and I want to be knowledgeable and "able" in every aspect of our dealings.

    Thank you very much, any and all replies will be greatly appreciated!

  • Hi

    It would be a huge risk to you to look at the 1100 series HPLC modules.  These systems are no longer guaranteed to be supported by Agilent, and haven't been since 2015 (https://www.agilent.com/cs/library/flyers/public/Agilent%201100%20Post-EGS%20Offerings.pdf).  You might get them cheaper than the current models, but that may turn out to be a false economy.  The safer bet for me would be a 1260 Infinity II system, just like the one that Agilent promote for the type of analysis that you want to do.

    The bigger companies might well get away with using the older systems, because they have plenty of them (redundancy) and lots of experience of maintaining them.

    I assume that you've seen the Agilent Solutions site for cannabis testing: https://www.agilent.com/en/solutions/cannabis-hemp-testing - from the HPLC perspective, unless you find someone with the relevant scientific/technical background, it would be easier for you to go with a vendor supported solution.

    Kind regards

    Andy

  • Hello ,

    Thank you for your post. I would recommend that you contact your local Agilent Customer Care Team as they will be able to connect you with the Instrument Sales Team who can recommend options and give you more info on relevant HPLC models (most of them are modular). The Instrument Sales Team also have applications specialists that you can consult with. The customer Care Team can also pass your inquiry on training to our Support & Services Division who can recommend relevant training courses.

    Please let us know if we can assist with anything else.

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