The Future of CPC - Answering Your Cannabis Purification Questions

Often touted as a cure-all for any kind of ailment by its many proponents, scientists and biomedical companies are still trying to study the effectiveness of active compounds found in the cannabis plant. In one of the biggest natural product chemistry booms of the modern age, cannabidiol (CBD), and other chemical compounds in cannabis are receiving intense focus from researchers worldwide. The use of CBD extracts for medical and therapeutic reasons is set to increase globally. By 2018, 20 different countries and 29 US states began allowing the use of cannabis for either medical or recreational purposes.

Answering Your CPC Cannabis Purification Questions

According to a market study from 2019, CBD sales worldwide will reach $2.1 billion in 2020, and some predictions say that US consumption could grow by as much as 49% Compound Annual Growth Rate (GAGR) until 2024. Due to the rapid growth, the future of centrifugal partition chromatography (CPC) is likely to find a permanent place in labs and production facilities tasked with cannabis purification for medical applications. For organizations looking to get started with R&D in the cannabinoid boom over the next decade, here are some of the pressing questions regarding CPC cannabis purification methods and tools.

Why is it Necessary to Purify Cannabis?

Historically, people used cannabis in raw form or, more recently, in crudely extracted compounds. Although this may satisfy the consumer market, it meant the final product contained various active cannabinoid compounds at varying concentrations. One batch of raw material may have greater potency than another, leading to inconsistencies in quality that influence the therapeutic result. Unpurified cannabis will also contain psychoactive compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that has intoxicating effects on consumers.

In medical settings, it is vital to isolate, measure, and control which compounds end up in the final product. Not only are the research and efficacy claims dependent on identifying the exact active compounds involved, when it is time to scale production for a specific therapeutic, laboratories and manufacturers will need consistent, repeatable results regardless of the number of raw input materials.

WEBINAR: Natural Product Purification & Remediation by CPC

In this webinar, Lauren Kaiser, Field Application Specialist, provides an in-depth look at CPC and the many benefits it has for natural product purification, including:

  • No replacement columns or silica recycling
  • Low solvent consumption
  • High efficiency, sustainability, and reproducibility

What Levels of Cannabis Purity are Achieved Using CPC?

CPC is a variant of Counter Current Chromatography (CCC) that delivers preparative, pilot, and industrial-scale production of the active compounds found in cannabis. CPC is a cost-effective solution for natural product purification as it doesn’t depend on coated or non-coated silica columns. During the research and development stage of a new naturally derived cannabis medicine, scientists can use CPC to purify compounds and achieve 95% recoveries with greater than 99% purity.

The process uses fewer solvents and doesn’t require replacing the silica columns, meaning CPC is scalable to industrial production levels without compromising quality. Gilson has a range of CPC purification systems suitable for any kind of lab, pilot, or production needs.

How Does CPC Purification Differ from HPLC?

Both CPC and High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) provide a platform for analytical and preparative sample purification. HPLC is well suited to the separation of cannabis compounds and yields high-purity samples but requires the correct silica resins and laboratories to replace the solid support columns frequently.

Unlike HPLC, CPC doesn’t require solid support as it uses two immiscible liquid phases during the purification process. Additionally, CPC disks work in either ascending or descending modes, allowing you to have either the lightest or the heaviest phase as the mobile phase - analogous to normal or reversed-phase separations. With lower solvent consumption, no column replacement, and a higher flow rate, CPC cannabis purification is a viable alternative to classical LC purification. You can find more information about CPC versus HPLC here.

The process uses fewer solvents and doesn’t require replacing the silica columns, meaning CPC is scalable to industrial production levels without compromising quality.


What are the Benefits of CPC Cannabis Purification?

According to Brian Reid (Chief Scientific Officer at ebbu, a Colorado company that specializes in cannabis purification), CPC is capable of ripping a single active ingredient out of a complex mixture of chemicals. As the system offers faster flow rates than other methods and requires fewer solvents, it’s ideal for analyzing any one of the active cannabinoid compounds.

Growing evidence suggests that cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabivarin (an appetite-suppressant) and cannabichromene (useful in treating pain and inflammation) are also worthy of research. With a CPC laboratory purification system, scientists can accurately isolate, study, and identify the effects of these compounds for medicinal purposes.

Researching Cannabinoids Depends on Improved Cannabis Purification

“There are all these other phytocannabinoids, most of which have never been investigated,” said Roger Pertwee, who works as a pharmacologist at the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom.

CPC is ideal for researchers, pilot studies, and, most importantly, industrial-level production of these emerging medicines. Mark Ware, a pain medicine specialist, says, “Cannabis, the plant, has been described as a pharmaceutical treasure trove.” He believes we are still at the early stages of understanding how the components work in their mechanisms and interactions.

The “Green Boom” is just getting started, and with researchers at startups leading the way, an accurate and cost-effective purification system is essential for progress. Gilson’s CPC platforms can cater to both small production, pilot-scale labs, and larger industrial-scale production. Our solutions are adaptable enough without expensive reconfiguration, and when you scale up your operations, it won’t introduce new issues into the process.

Safe, Flexible, and Powerful Purification

By adopting CPC as your preferred cannabis purification system, the next big medical breakthrough may come from your laboratory. Contact us to learn more.