At the MCR Labs Cannabis Science Fair held on December 9, 2023, Kevin Casey presented data compiled by Willow Industries’ scientists, Karen Quinto and Carly Bader. The showcased poster, titled “Ozone Treatment: Preserving Terpene and Cannabinoid Potency for Cleaner Quality Cannabis,” summarized the findings of the corresponding white paper published by Willow Industries in 2023.

Background

Cannabis cultivators face a critical decision when implementing one of the several available decontamination methods for cured cannabis products. Considerations like safety and quality are imperative for businesses to address in order for them to thrive in a competitive market. Potency degradation is regarded as one the most valuable opportunity costs when cannabis goes through the process of remediation, as terpene and cannabinoid potency loss affect both quality and price.

Methods/Results

Research and Development data gathered from several participating cultivators and verified through 3rd party laboratories show that ozone does not significantly change terpene and cannabinoid potency of cannabis flower. Paired T-test statistical analysis on terpene potency data points (N=329 paired sets) of untreated vs. treated cannabis, indicate that the difference is not significant between untreated and treated cannabis, sample mean (M) = 0.1, standard deviation (SD) = 0.3, t(329) = 0.07, p = .948. Averaged THC potency data points (N=60 paired sets) conclude that statistical results of the paired t-test show the difference is not significant between untreated (M = 19.6 ,SD = 4.8) and treated (M = 19.4 ,SD = 4.2), t(60) = 0.4, p = .665.

Conclusions

Representative photos of a pre- and post-treatment show that the number of trichomes present does not reduce with cannabis ozone treatment, although the post-treated flower exhibit crystallization and elongation of trichomes. Visually, the structures remain intact, including the number of trichome heads. Overall, potency testing results for both terpene and cannabinoid content show no significant difference from control, denoting that trichome structure does protect cannabinoids from oxidative degradation from ozone exposure, concluding that ozone is both efficient and safe for the decontamination of cannabis products.

View More Case Studies | See More Cannabis Science Fair 2023 Projects