Fundación CANNA: Cannabis research, scientific studies and analysis

Fundación CANNA: Cannabis research, scientific studies and analysis
© iStock/tvirbickis

Fundación CANNA is committed to promoting cannabis research and education– because everyone has the right to know what they are consuming.

Fundación CANNA is a non-profit organisation founded in 2012 by CANNA España SL, a multinational company that produces high-quality fertilisers for fast-growing plants. Its headquarters is located in Barcelona, Spain. Fundación CANNA has its own laboratory at the University of Valencia where it carries out cutting-edge cannabis research and performs different types of analytical chemistry tests.

What are the objectives?

Fundación CANNA believes that everyone has the right to know what they are consuming. It also considers that it is essential to support and fund research projects aimed at studying the active principles of cannabis and to provide information that helps people to minimise the risks entailed in its consumption.

Fundación CANNA’s aim is to research and study the cannabis plant and its compounds to educate and inform people in a way that is easy to understand and always based on science.

The idea behind Fundación CANNA was conceived from the need to respond to the great demand for quality control in cannabis testing and to expand cannabis research to address scientific problems. The foundation particularly focuses on promoting studies and scientific research on the effects of cannabis on the human body.

Its ongoing mission is to inform people and to support the worldwide medical cannabis movement. It regularly publishes new content on its website in collaboration with scientific researchers and distinguished members of the cannabis community.

Importance of education

It is important to the foundation to share knowledge about the cannabis plant and, in particular, the endocannabinoid system in humans and all related subjects. It invests a great deal of energy into making cannabis users aware about the importance of testing cannabis, oils and derivatives using scientific methods. People still require a lot of education about cannabis and the endocannabinoid system in the human body and the potential therapeutic use of cannabinoids in medicine.

Fundación CANNA’s website therefore offers various articles on cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, the endocannabinoid system, reports about the dangers of contaminants such as heavy metals, and also the nutritional benefits of hemp seeds, etc. Readers can also find studies that the foundation helps to fund and organise on medical cannabis users’ health and quality of life, studies on microbiological contamination, methods for quantifying cannabinoids and variations in terpene profiles in different cannabis strains.

There is also plenty of content on the plant’s possible therapeutic applications, as well as risk prevention and interviews with the most distinguished members of the scientific community – all written by active experts and researchers.

The foundation has also produced brief informative videos on cannabis and the endocannabinoid system to reach the public.

Fundación CANNA has supported several scientific associations and events such as the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine (IACM), the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS), the Spanish Cannabinoid Research Society (SEIC) and other scientific events around the world.

It also co-produced the documentary The Scientist about the life of Dr Raphael Mechoulam, who has received several international awards and recognition for his work.

The foundation has Facebook and Twitter pages and a YouTube channel to reach the general public and cannabis users to provide them with quality information and to react to the large quantity of misleading information on social media.

It has carried out a wide range of tests in its laboratory, such as preparing cannabinoid profiles to determine their potency, making terpene profiles and checking for the presence of contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticide residues and microbiological contamination.

Discover the analytics

Fundación CANNA’s analytical testing services are intended for internal studies and for European companies that want to analyse their medicinal products based on cannabis or industrial hemp. It works according to the ISO 17025 standard, which guarantees the best possible analytical quality.

The foundation is convinced that it is imperative to analyse cannabis to promote greater safety for users and to guarantee quality to consumers, which should be the goal of all companies and entities that operate in this market. It believes that there is a need for regulation at the European level regarding cannabis analytics, which is one of the foundation’s future projects. It can also use all of these results to promote internal cannabis studies and to identify trends in the market.

Specifically, the cannabinoids that can be identified and quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) are:

  • Cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Cannabigerol (CBG)
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • Cannabinol (CBN)
  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)
  • Cannabicyclohene (CBC)
  • Acid cannabinoids CBDA, CBGA and THCA.

New cannabinoids, such as cannabidivarina (CBDV) will also be incorporated soon.
Terpene analysis enables plants to be selected that are best adapted to individual needs and, based on the proportion of terpenes present, to identify and classify the varieties more accurately than by simply assigning names or definitions such as Indica or Sativa.

What are the dangers?

Cannabis and hemp oils and extracts have become very popular all over the world. However, due to the lack of regulations and standards, contamination and other impurities are often found in the oils.

There is mould and bacteria everywhere. Some of these micro-organisms are harmful to humans. Cannabis, like any other product, may contain micro-organisms acquired during cultivation, drying, processing, handling and conservation. The total number of micro-organisms present in a sample of these extracts can be determined by performing specific microbiological tests that provide an idea of their quality.

Cannabis has proven to have a high capacity to accumulate heavy metals in its tissue. Research has been undertaken for its use in decontaminating soils with a high presence of heavy metals. Cultivating cannabis in contaminated soils using low-quality fertilisers in cannabis crops may result in high levels of these metals in the final product. Fundación CANNA has a service for analysing heavy metal waste in plant material, extracts and oils from products derived from industrial hemp.

The cannabis plant is susceptible to various pests and diseases throughout its cultivation and it is common to use various pesticides to combat them. However, due to the lack of regulation, there are no non-organic pesticides authorised for use on cannabis plants intended for consumption, which poses a risk to users due to pesticide residues that may remain in the plant. This is especially important in the case of extracts, since the cannabinoids and pesticide residues present in the plant material are concentrated in them.

Fundación CANNA has an analysis of pesticide residues in products derived from hemp.
All the funds raised by donations and the commercial laboratory testing service are invested into supporting initiatives related to medical cannabis research and funding new studies around the world.

If you are interested in Fundación CANNA’s activities, would like to suggest new studies or contribute to helping the foundation to achieve its aims, please visit its website www.fundacion-canna.es/en or email info@fundacion-canna.es.

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Please note, this article will appear in issue 10 of Health Europa Quarterly, which will be available to read in July 2019.

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