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The patent application I’m covering today is a first in two different ways. It’s the first patent I’m covering owned by Aphria (now Tilray) and the first patent I’ve covered that wasn’t filed in English! I’ll be relying on the google patent translation for this analysis so there may be nuances missed due to poor/inaccurate translation. The patent application is titled “Methods for qualitatively and/or quantitatively detecting substances contained in a hemp plant and kit for use therein”.
Starting with the abstract:
“The present invention relates to a kit, comprising: a) an ampoule; b) a material comprising a hemp plant or parts thereof; and c) a color indicator, which can react, with a change in the color of the color indicator, when brought into contact with the hemp plant and/or at least one part thereof, the material and the color indicator being arranged in the ampoule. The present invention further relates to a method for qualitatively and/or quantitatively detecting one or more substances contained in the hemp plant using the kit.”
It describes a method for testing the cannabinoid content in a sample, intended for people who don’t have access to analytical equipment like pharmacists or family doctors (according to the patent). It can also be used as a quick test by the grower to see cannabinoid content in a growing plant. This is an example colour representation the test would show:
“Fresh hemp plants immature drug hemp: violet reddish mature blue-green. Ripe EU industrial hemp: violet reddish. Thymol: deep blue. Cannabidiol (CBD): violet pink. Tetrahydrocannabiol (THC): green-blue. Cannabinol (CBN): blue”
Beyond this description there’s no information or data showing the sensitivity or comparing results to those obtained from proper analytical instrumentation. If the sample contained many different cannabinoids it would be difficult to interpret their presence using the human eye, you could use a spectrophotometer but that kind of eliminates the reason for using the test (not having access to analytical equipment). The test doesn’t provide a concentration of the cannabinoids so it’s practical applications are limited. I have a hard time believing pharmacists or medical professionals would use the test since cannabis goes through, at minimum, cannabinoid quantification before being sold. The results from the analytical test would be much more useful to medical professionals than a qualitative test interpreting shades of different colours.
A farmer growing hemp for CBD may find a use for the test in determining the best time to harvest. The test is quick, mobile and doesn’t need to be terribly accurate for the farmer to know if his crop is reaching a point where they can harvest. They’d just need to know which shade of colour represents when his plants are reaching their maximum CBD potential, determined by how their plants tested in the previous harvest. This way they’d only have to send the initial crop off for testing before harvest, keep a sample, and when the results come back from the analytical test showing high CBD content they see what colour that sample shows and harvest all future crops when they also show that colour.
In summary, the patent doesn’t offer much detail or verification that the test works or doesn’t generate false positives. If it works, it could have limited applications with hemp farmers or others that need a very quick test to determine if a sample contains cannabinoids.
The preceding is the opinion of the author, and is in no way intended to be a recommendation to buy or sell any security or derivative. The author holds no position in Aphria (Tilray)