Test the Potency or your Herb Anywhere


Test the Potency or your Herb Anywhere


"Now, anyone with half a brain can prove if their Medical Marijuana is legit." - 420EvaluationsOnline 


If you're an epileptic that depends on medical marijuana to stop seizures, it is critically important to medicate with the right herb.  It could be a matter of life and death.  Marijuana growers generally want to know everything about their plants and especially the content of the most important medicinal ingredients; the cannabinoids.  Now it's possible for anyone to affordably test their marijuana's potency anywhere - anytime using a technology called thin layer chromatography (TLC).  

A basic on-site test kit (10-20 tests) costs in the neighborhood of $100.  This same type of test is used by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime as a quick and easy way to determine the controlled substance THC in the field. The US Food and Drug administration also recognizes the TLC analytical technique.


Illustration (above): The center rectangle is an image of a marijuana test result where the different marijuana components (cannabinoids) approximate content is determined.

Medical Marijuana contains varying amounts of medicinal compounds called cannabinoids and terpenes.  The major cannabinoids used in therapy today are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol). Both THC and CBD serve to alleviate or mitigate many serious symptoms and conditions afflicting man.  THC is the psychoactive ingredient which makes people stoned, an effect that is not enjoyed or desired by all.   CBD on the other hand is non-psychoactive and has little to no psychoactive effects while being highly effective to treat many conditions.

"Not all pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and food companies test Cannabis raw materials or provide cannabinoids dosage information of derived products, leaving patients in the dark about what they're inhaling or ingesting." - MMJ Researcher

Somewhere in the 1960's marijuana breeders began manipulating the content of the THC upward, in an effort to increase its potency, i.e. yields a stronger high.  In time the THC content of the buds was 20% or more.  While this type of marijuana is still medicinal, the other non-psychoactive and valuable cannabinoids are negligible in content.  As the medical benefits of marijuana became apparent, researchers noted that strains containing other cannabinoids were more effective in treating certain cases and conditions.   

While the science of medical cannabis is complicated, the topic can be simplified.  Strains that are balanced in the main cannabinoids THC & CBD afford the best results generally speaking.  High CBD strains with low THC are best for those that cannot take THC for whatever reason.  High THC and low CBD can be most effective for certain individuals with selected maladies.


"Having worked closely with a number of local dispensaries in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada over many years, we have come to observe repeatedly the therapeutic effects of different strains of cannabis and related this to cannabinoid profiles." - Dr. Paul Hornby

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Medical marijuana is unique in its extremely low toxicity and side effects, especially as compared to pharmaceutical drugs such as steroids, opiates, etc. In many cases, the side effects of medical marijuana are even desirable.  For example, a patient may medicate with marijuana to control their migraines and they might also stop obsessing about eating or some other hang-up.

Common medical uses for CBD and THC include:


  • Appetite stimulant

  • Antioxidant

  • Anti-insomnia

  • Anti-eye pressure (glaucoma)



  • Reduces anxiety
  • Reduces epileptic seizures

  • Mitigates psychotic behavior

  • Aids neurodegenerative disease recovery

  • Anti-bacterial agent

  • Balances blood sugar

  • Stimulates bone growth

  • Reduces psoriasis

  • Reduces artery blockage risk

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THC and CBD together

  • Relieves and manages chronic pain

  • Reduces inflammation

  • Curbs depression

  • Reduce spasms

  • Reduce nausea

  • Inhibits cancer cell growth


"Having worked closely with a number of local dispensaries in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada over many years, we have come to observe repeatedly the therapeutic effects of different strains of cannabis and related this to cannabinoid profiles." - Dr. Paul Hornby


Today there are many very fine medical marijuana strains and derivatives available for purchase your local dispensary, delivery service or internet provider.THE PROBLEM IS - HOW CAN YOU TRUST THAT A GIVEN SUPPLIER IS TELLING THE TRUTH?  - that the potency and claims are legit?




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It is a shame that some sheisters are advertising CBD oil or some such that contains only minute quantities of the active ingredients. In addition, a strain that worked well in the past might no longer be available.  When choosing a new supplier or variety, one wants to match the CBD and THC content as closely as possible.

Until now, expensive lab testing was the only way to assure potency and quality.  Recently, home testing kits that yield reliable results are available to consumers and small scale growers.  Anyone of reasonable intelligence can test their own pot.  


Three Way Split : Medical Marijuana



To test THC/CBD levels of your medicine, mix a small amount of cannabis a test fluid.  Using a pipette, a drop of this mixture i and the mixture is placed onto a small sheet of glass (called a THC plate) coated with a layer of silica. The bottom of the TLC plate is placed in a pool of solvent (ie. alcohol). In lab lingo, the solvent is called the mobile phase.  The solvent rises slowly up the THC plate, reaching the cannabis extract droplet, where the different compounds in the sample travel up the plate at different rates - due to their varying chemical makeup.  The magic of this test is that each cannabinoid appears as a specific color in a distinct location on the slide.

To verify the accuracy of the test kits, results are compared with sophisticated test methods using Gas Chromatography (GC) and Liquid Chromatography (HPLC).  These types of "on-site" test kits are ideal to test marijuana plants and their oils.  

"TLC can be the method of choice if the target is to carry on a big number of samples in a rapid, visual and simultaneous. Unlike the comparison of two samples in order to assess whether they are the same (or different), when quantitative analysis is essential, assessment of origin is qualitative, since the sample under study and the reference samples are, in fact, different. There is thus little point in using more powerful techniques such as HPLC as the quantitative information provided is likely to confuse the picture" - Dr. Baker et al.



Test kits can provide users with a visual color indication for the THC, THCV, CBD, CBC,CBG, CBN content and other ingredients in cannabis.  To validate (prove the precision and accuracy of the test) users only need to compare their results by performing a test on a sample of certified lab-tested marijuana. A certificate of analysis from a accredited laboratory looks something like this (below).  



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Above - A home TLC test kit for THC-CBD.  Source:  Cannalytics Supply

The Cannalytics Test Kit illustrated above uses a technique called “Thin Layer Chromatography” or TLC, which is designed specifically for testing medical marijuana. It is patent pending and registered product, originally certified by the University of Leiden in Amsterdam.


Montana BioTech - "MMJ On-site" Test Kits

THC – CBD Test Kits

The Montana Test kit is inexpensive and uses a tiny sample–100 milligrams of cannabis sample to be analyzed, and indicates the presence and quantity of THC and 5 other cannabinoids including : THV, CBC, CBG, CBD, and CBN. CAT.  It also determines the amount of acids, giving an indicator of the age of the sample. The test takes less than one hour. Most importantly (to most ) the test quantifies % THC (potency).



Components of a standard THC CBD test kit

  • plates with special coating that quantifies and identifies cannabinoids

  • coloring powder

  • test fluid or solvent

  • developing container

  • plastic reaction tubes

  • capillary tubes

  • extraction bulb

  • glass pipette

  • spray bottle


420EvaluationsOnline:  To set up your own home grow operation properly, the very first thing you'll need is a valid cultivation permit.  If you know how, getting a legal grower's permit is an easy thing to do in California.  

We at 420EvaluationsOnline specialize in supplying legal medical cannabis documents that allow for the possession, transport, consumption and cultivation in the State of California.  Our services are much cheaper than a visit to most doctor's offices or medical clinics.


What 420Evaluations does:

  • 420 Evaluations and Recommendations by Licensed California Medical Doctors

  • Cannabis ID Cards with online validation

  • Grower's Permits

  • 24 / 7 Verification of all our 420 Recommendations, ID cards and other permits

  • Online Chat and Help - Monday–Sunday: 7 a.m.–11 p.m.

420EvaluationsOnline complies with the Medical Board of California Protocol for Telehealth Services




Comparative study for the quantification of THC, CBD and CB using the Alpha-CAT TLC method & GC-FID
TLC is a low-cost method for cannabinoid analysis and approved by the United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for Cannabis routine control of cannabinoid content and of Cannabis origin (Laboratory and Scientific Section UNODC, 2009).

Alpha-CAT (Cannabinoid Analysis Test) enable Cannabinoid spot to be calibrated by, taking ratio of pixel counting/surface area within each cannabinoid % range by using Photoshop and Excel computer programs. It is obtained a regression curve, which showed a linear correlation. From the regression line of CBD, CBN, THC, THCV, CBG and CBC; spot area calibration charts were designed as rulers to have an handy and visual way to measure % according to spot size revealed on a TLC plate.

In order to verify how accurate cannabinoids % can be read with the alpha-CAT's rulers, it was performed a blind comparative study by using the GC-FID instrumentation (standard test), property of Fundacio?n CANNA, and alpha-CAT TLC kit for the quantification of THC, CBD and CBN.



Alpha-CAT is a Cannabinoid Analysis Tool which combines the simple analytical technique of thin-layer chromatography (TLC) with specific thin-layers and developing fluid.

The Cannabis Test Fingerprint;  Thanks to this new protocol the main active ingredients of the cannabis plant parts can be visualised due to a highly specific colouring reaction which represent the cannabinoids present in the sample of cannabis or cannabis product. Alpha-CAT‘s method enables the detection and identification of six of the main cannabinoids present in cannabis:

  • Cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Cannabinol (CBN)

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)

  • Cannabigerol (CBG)

  • Cannabichromene (CBC)

Only 0.10 grams is needed per sample to gather a unique cannabinoid profile in various Cannabis plant parts including trichome resins, oils, tinctures and edibles products.

Alpha-CAT assesses a Cannabis strain's:


  • THC and CBD strength and potency

  • Chemotype / cannabinoid profile which categorizes the variety

  • Chemotype-effect chart indicating the expected pharmacological effects

  • A symptom-cure guide which helps determine which strain works best to alleviate specific symptoms in a given individual.


Thin Layer Chromatography Cannabis Testing Kits

GMP-compliant and U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention Certified (USP) sets standards for the identity, strength, quality, and purity of medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements manufactured, distributed and consumed worldwide. USP’s drug standards are enforceable in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration, and these standards are used in more than 140 countries.


Grow Buddy Pro™ and Grow Buddy™, Test for THC, CBD, CBN at Home Thin Layer Chromatography T.L.C. Kit

How to determine percentages THC & CBD using  Grow Buddy Pro™ T.L.C. Plates and software by Sweday. Use the Just TLC software, by Sweday to quantify percentages of THC, CBD, CBN.

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