Why do we need to distinguish between THC- and CBD-containing hemp?

Cannabis contains more than 100 active substances, so-called cannabinoids. Cannabidiol - CBD, for short – is one of them. In contrast to THC, the psychoactive main active substance of cannabis, CBD is not psychoactive and therefore does not cause intoxication. While THC – short for Δ-tetrahydrocannabinol – still falls under the Narcotic Drugs Act in many countries CBD is commercially available as an oil, a solid or an e-liquid, as well as in food products. It is marketed medically, mostly over the counter, for its anti-convulsant, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, and anti-nausea properties. Distinguishing between THC- and CBD-containing hemp is therefore, most importantly, a question of legality. This is relevant in two areas, for the following reasons:


Police, customs & penal institutions

Before selling or further processing hemp, pharmacies in most countries are obliged to check whether it is CBD- or THC-based. That's where we come in. Our toxicological substance tests are renowned for their 'Made in Germany' quality. Before carrying out thin layer chromatography, which is both expensive and very time-consuming, it is worth first using our substance tests to identify medical marijuana. The result is indicated by a clear colour change.

It is impossible for the naked eye to determine whether you are dealing with marijuana plant containing pure CBD, or a psychoactive variant with a high THC content. A suspect may tell you one thing, but our substance tests will give you a clear result by way of a colour change.


The ESA THC/CBD ampoule test

For decades, we have been renowned for the 'Made in Germany' quality of our tests. They promise reliable information to guide your decision-making on-site - in medical as well as forensic settings.

The benefits of our ampoules over test strips:



Our ampoules cost a fraction of what other manufacturers charge for test strips

A chemical rapid test is more robust than a test strip and less susceptible to environmental influences (humidity, temperature)



In contrast to a test strip, our chemical test ensures THC and CBD hemp are clearly distinguishable from one another.

The test is produced in Germany and does not have to be imported and is therefore environmentally friendly and of high quality

Easy to use


Open the ampoule, introduce the substance, add the buffer, read the results

The test is validated in accordance with the specifications of our certified quality management department


Results can be interpreted after just 3-5 minutes, whereas a test strip requires at least 5 and often 10 minutes


The most common questions - our answers

How does the test work?

Easy as can be in just 3 steps: Open the ampoule, introduce a small sample of the plant material and add some liquid from the dropper bottle. After just a few minutes, the result can be read based on the colour change. Simply use our practical ampoule opener to conveniently and safely open our test ampoules.

How do I know whether the hemp contains THC or CBD once I have added a sample of the plant material to the ampoule?

If the hemp contains THC, the reagent colour change is different than if the active substance is predominantly CBD or if the two concentrations are approximately equal. With the help of the package insert, you can compare and read the colour changes. And when we say colour change, we mean colour change. It is so clear that there can be no doubt.

Can I also test CBD oil and solids containing CBD?

Yes, with our ampoules you can test oils as well as solids.

The allowable THC content differs from country to country. Up to what limit does the test indicate CBD?

In many EU countries hemp with a high CBD content and low THC content of less than 0.2% can be legally cultivated and freely sold as industrial hemp. In Switzerland the THC limit is 1%, and that is what we have oriented ourselves towards. Chemistry sets limits here too. Evaluation of a THC content under 1% is almost possible and, in any case, drug hemp has a significantly higher THC content.

Still have questions?

Our sales team is on hand to answer any questions you may have at:

+49 941 / 290 10-12

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