Department Chair

M. Scott Goodman, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry

Date of Award


Access Control

Campus-Only Access

Degree Name

Forensic Science, M.S.


Chemistry Department


Joonyeong Kim

Department Home page

First Reader

Joonyeong Kim

Second Reader

M. Scott Goodman

Third Reader

Douglas Ridolfi


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. Marijuana is the byproduct of dried leaves from plant Cannabis sativa, which contains several cannabinoids with the main psychoactive component being Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is federally listed as a schedule 1 drug, because, according to the U.S. government, there is no accepted medical usage and a high potential for abuse. Recently, New York Senator Chuck Schumer announced plans to introduce legislation to decriminalize marijuana at a federal level. Currently, the Erie County Crime Lab is looking for a better way to extract and quantify THC from chocolate-based products.

The capabilities of gas chromatography coupled to a flame ionization detector (GC-FID) was explored for the quantification of several cannabinoids present in chocolate-based products and compared to those obtained from a conventional technique, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The results showed that GC-FID yields higher cannabinoid/internal standard peak area ratios resulting in a more linear calibration curve. In addition, the average recovery rate of a cannabinoid extraction from chocolate products was 93.2% across varying concentrations. A products’ claim to a non-detectable amount of THC resulted in inconclusive data to support or deny the claim despite evidence of trace amounts of THC found in the product.

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