By Matthew Murray 
BELLEVILLE – Loyalist is the first college in Canada to get Health Canada’s approval to analyze medical marijuana in its campus research lab.
Health Canada approved the school’s request for a Controlled Drugs and Substances Licence for research and analysis of medicinal cannabis, Loyalist announced Tuesday. The research will look to “extract and evaluate the medically significant components of the cannabis plant,” the college’s press release said.
Biosciences professor Dr. Kari Kramp will lead the research project in the college’s Supercritical CO2 Extraction Applied Research Lab. The lab has been used for almost 10 years to research and extract chemicals out of natural products with eco-friendly technologies, she said. The lab’s machines put carbon dioxide under pressure and temperature changes to pick and extract specific chemicals, she added.
Loyalist first applied for the licence from Health Canada three years ago, Kramp said. The research approval makes Loyalist College the only academic institution in Ontario and the only college in the country to have a Narcotics Control Regulations approved lab  by the Canadian government. The school had to ensure it would exceed regulations for security, personnel training and proper documentation  before the licence was granted, Kramp said.
The main focus of the project is to analyze and be able to quantify the amount of medical components such as tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabinol in medical marijuana, she said. Detecting any traces of heavy metals and pesticides in the marijuana is also a goal, she added. With this research, Kramp said, the lab is looking to respond to the needs of the medical-marijuana industry.
“One of our goals is to be a leader in this field, … providing opportunity for industry to advance this field.”