High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC): How Does It Work

High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC): How Does It Work
February 18 07:20 2020 Print This Article

Following the passing of the 2018 hemp bill in the US and legalization of cannabis in many countries, a lot of businesses have entered the industry. While this is a great thing because people are able to enjoy more diversity, there is a risk of getting poor grade cannabis products. The solution is third party lab testing CBD.

3rd party testing is done in independent laboratories to ascertain the quality of CBD products. In this post, we are going to look at high-performance liquid chromatography, one of the top lab testing methods used by 3rd party laboratories to test hemp product.   

What is High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)?

This is the standard method of CBD testing that is preferred by most laboratories out there. 

The process involves dissolving a product sample and passing it through high-pressure columns to determine the available components based on their characteristics such as density, color and movement rates. HPLC has the ability to identify components in a sample, even when the concentration is as low as parts per trillion. So how does it work? 

The Three Phases of a High-Performance Liquid Chromatography 

To understand how HPLC works, we are going to look at the different phases: from the moment a product is taken to the laboratory to the closure.

  • Phase-one

The first step when using HPLC is dissolving the sample under consideration using a reliable solvent. The aim of this stage is to make sure that all components of the sample are free and can move freely.  

  • Phase-two

After dissolving the sample, it is placed in tubes and pressure applied from one end. This is crucial because different components in samples have varying movement characteristics when subjected to equal pressure.  

  • Phase-three

In this phase, the solvent is injected into a HPLC column that contains packing materials. These materials are crucial to driving further separation.

To make the detection of different components in a high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) more effective, the third phase also contains another component, detector. The detector easily notes the different components in a solvent (call it your sample) and immediately records the results on a computer.

The detector is so important because there are some components that do not manifest easily through color changes. This is one of the reasons why HPLC preferred in most 3rd party lab testing for CBD.  

What Else Do You Look for In a Lab that Uses HPLC? 

When you set off looking for a laboratory to test your CBD products, you want top results, right? In addition to using HPLC, here are additional things to look for: 

  • The third party lab testing CBD should not have any affiliation with suppliers or dealers. This is crucial because the lab will not have an interest in the success of any party in the hemp supply chain.
  • The laboratory’s operations should be based on the need to deliver high customer value.  This is crucial in ensuring that the cannabis testing is done professionally and with great precision. 
  • The lab should be able to do all the tests that are needed on your CBD sample. For example, the lab should be able to use HPLC and other such as Polymerase Chain Reactions (PCR Testing) for testing terpenes, CBD profile, organic solvents, and bio-contaminants. 

If you are in the hemp business, your success is based on being able to deliver high-quality products. Well, do not trust all what suppliers say or indicate on the packets of cannabis products. 

Studies have established that some products have fewer compounds than indicated in their adverts. Others exceed the legally allowed threshold of various components, such as THC. Therefore, use the only sure way of determining the constituents of hemp products: cannabis testing. 


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Nathaniel Little
Nathaniel Little

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