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A message from the Colorado Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Program

To All Current Industrial Hemp Program Registrants:

Recently we have received many questions regarding our THC hemp testing and whether we calculate delta-9 THC only or “total THC” concentration. The State of Colorado Colorado Department of Agriculture has always tested for Total THC. This is NOT a new policy resulting from the USDA IFR.

Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, is one of several cannabinoids that the plant produces; THC, CBD, CBN, CBV, and a whole host of others. These cannabinoids are producE by the plant primarily in an acid form. THCA, the acid form of THC, is not psychoactive but is converted to the psychoactive drug THC through a process called decarboxylation. Our laboratory utilizes a Gas Chromatographic (GC) method which provides a decarboxylated total THC result. This equates to the post decarboxylated statement in the USDA IFR. Private laboratories may provide growers with results obtained utilizing High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). This technique produces the same result but requires the combination of detected amounts THC plus 87.7% of detected THCA to determine total THC. When reviewing results from a private laboratory please ensure you are looking at the total THC value and not just the calculated THC component.


CDA samples the top two inches of female hemp plants as defined in statute. While it is not required, it is highly recommended as good practice. You perform voluntary testing to monitor your own crops. Registrants that participate in voluntary private testing are not exempt from being select for regulatory inspections and sampling by CDA. Who may test up to 100% of industrial hemp registrants. Please review the information on the CDA website on the Voluntary Testing tab to understand. The differences between voluntary testing and CDA regulatory testing.

Attached is an additional informational sheet written by our lab.

There is also a powerpoint on our website that gives a more scientific overview of exact lab procedures.