Same sample prep. Same hardware. New data.

The new Terpenes+ module adds even more capability to Orange Photonics’ LightLab cannabis analyzer. The Terpenes+ module allows LightLab to measure three new components without any changes in sample preparation or hardware upgrade:

  • Terpenes (semi quantitative): LightLab reports terpene content in flower samples as Low, Medium or High terpene content offering a great first-line analysis that can help cultivators and processors understand and value their product when terpene rich products are the end goal.
  • Degraded THC: Distillates can provide pure and potent samples. Not all distillates are the same, however. In some cases, distillation can break down the THC molecule into by-products, reducing the potency of the product and affecting the taste. LightLab can measure the amount of degraded THC, allowing distillation operators to ensure their product is pure and potent while maintaining high throughput.
  • Cannabichromene (CBC): LightLab can now analyze a seventh cannabinoid, Cannabichromene. CBC is often present in hemp and CBD containing plants. Since many laboratories do not yet measure CBC, the Terpenes+ module will allow hemp farmers, CBD growers and processors to select for higher CBC plants and differentiate their product with a new cannabinoid. Note the Terpenes+ module will only report CBC in products containing CBD/CBDA.

Terpenes+ Module Brochure


What is LightLab Terpene Analysis? LightLab analyzes terpenes in any flower or plant material that contains less than 2% CBD and reports Low, Medium or High terpene content.  The terpene content is relative to average terpene content typically seen in flower samples. A low reading generally means terpene content is in the bottom third of typical terpene values for flower. A medium result means terpene content is in the middle third, and a high means, yes you guessed it, the top third of flower terpene content.

Why is the analysis “Semi-Quantitative”?  In a perfect world terpene analysis would require no sample preparation and analyze 100 different terpenes with perfect accuracy. The reality is that terpenes are a complex, volatile group of chemicals that aren’t easy to measure even in laboratory conditions. Rather than try to duplicate the laboratory analysis, which would require expensive equipment and difficult sample preparation, we took a different approach. We make some assumptions about your product and then measure the terpenes together as a single chemical class. This information can help cultivators and processors understand and value their product when terpene rich products are the end goal.

What assumptions are made during the analysis? Terpenes present in cannabis typically fall into two groups: monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. About 80% of the terpenes in cannabis are monoterpenes. LightLab focuses on the monoterpenes only and assumes the sesquiterpene content is typical. In addition, not all monoterpenes are created equal, so they don’t have the exact same response in the LightLab. We assume that the monoterpenes present in your sample contain mostly common cannabis terpenes. This means if your sample contains exotic terpenes not typically present, or much more sesquiterpenes than are typically seen, LightLab may report a high terpene sample as either medium or low terpene content. The good news is that if a sample reads High or Medium on LightLab, you can be sure it’s terpene rich.

Why can’t I use the Terpenes+ Module for concentrates?  There are two reasons we don’t report Terpenes in concentrate samples:

  1. The assumptions we rely on for accurate analysis of flower samples may not hold true in concentrates. Producers can, and do, add exotic terpenes or vary the ratios of terpenes in concentrates. That means the resulting concentration calculation could be wrong.
  2. There is no common range of terpene content for concentrate samples. Some may contain 50% terpenes, while others contain none at all. It would be difficult for us to put the same “Low, Medium and High” results given the wide variation in terpene content seen in concentrates today.

What sample preparation is required to analyze Terpenes? No additional steps are required beyond the standard liquid extraction used for LightLab cannabinoid analysis.  In addition, no additional analysis time is needed- LightLab calculates the terpene content at the same time as cannabinoid analysis.

What is Degraded THC? Most people recognize that Delta-9 THC (D9THC) eventually converts to Cannabinol (CBN).  While this is true, CBN is only one stop along the degradation pathway.  There are many different intermediaries that occur before D9THC becomes CBN, and in many cases D9THC will degrade to something else entirely.  We have analyzed the degradation pathways that involve degradation in the presence of heat, oxygen and water because these are the conditions that D9THC is exposed to during distillation.  Most pathways lead to some form of dihydroxy THC, which is the largest component of the “Degraded THC” measurement. In reality the actual measurement is a mix of several degradation components of D9THC, of which at least some are non-psychoactive.

Why should I care about degraded THC? While little is known about the degradation products of THC, one thing is certain: If you have significant amounts of degradation, you are not making a pure product and you are not maximizing potency. The goal of distillation is to make a pure product, and so minimizing degradation is important for the flavor, psychoactive and medicinal characteristics of the products. In short, if you start with a 60% D9THC material, then spend time, effort and money to convert it to a distillate only to find it is 65% D9THC, you’ve just wasted time and money.

What can I do to reduce Degraded THC in my distillates? Distillation, much like extraction, is a game of efficiency. In some cases, trying to distill too fast will cause degradation. Similarly, distilling the “tails” too long can cause degradation. In both cases, you might get good throughput but poor quality. Degradation occurs when there is oxygen and heat present.  Ensuring you are setting your heat correctly, pulling a good vacuum and stirring your product well during the process will help. Ultimately, each batch is different and may require a different process. Using a LightLab with the Terpenes+ Module will allow you to fine tune your process to get the maximum throughput without damaging your end product.

What is Cannabichromene (CBC)? CBC is a phytocannabinoid much like D9THC and CBD. CBC is exhibited in plants that contain the correct pathways to convert CBGA (the precursor to D9THC, CBD and CBC) into CBC.  In most THC-containing plants, the CBC pathway is not present; however, in many CBD rich strains, CBC is created as well, typically in the 1-5% range. There are myriad potential medical uses of CBC; though that information is easily found elsewhere.

Why do I care about CBC?
CBC is a minor cannabinoid, though in many plants it exhibits at relatively high levels, up to 5%. Since there is often a desire from consumers to purchase products with more exotic cannabinoids, products that contain significant CBC could be worth more, and could be made into products that take advantage of this additional cannabinoid.

What products can LightLab Terpenes+ Module test CBC in?
LightLab will automatically detect and display CBC content in any product that contains CBD.  For flower, you will see CBC content results in any plant that contains more than 2% CBD.  For concentrates and infused products, it will depend on the sample preparation and sample type used.  No user input is required, LightLab will automatically determine whether the sample can be analyzed for CBC and report the results.