Following reports of vaping-related illnesses in the news and a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) specifically implicating vitamin E acetate, we saw interest in testing for this compound increase. Our clients were looking for a fast and accurate method for identifying and quantifying vitamin E acetate in vaping products.
Many labs have developed an LC-UV method for vitamin E acetate. We were hesitant to use this approach because vitamin E is naturally present in cannabis and UV is not ideal for identification.
We use the SCIEX Triple Quad™ 3500 LC-MS/MS System at our lab because we find it reliable and robust. Since vitamin E and vitamin E acetate are UV active, most labs have developed an LC-UV method for vitamin E acetate. We were hesitant to use this approach, however, because of the complexity of the matrix, which significantly increases the possibility of a false positive result. Using a non-specific detector, such as UV, is not ideal for identification. The specificity of the LC-MS/MS method provided much higher confidence in the analytical results.
We developed an accurate and precise method for both vitamin E and vitamin E acetate on the SCIEX Triple Quad 3500 System in a very short amount of time. Vitamin E-d6 was used as an effective internal standard given the high degree of matrix effects seen with vaping products. We also conducted a study investigating over 112 products for vitamin E acetate, and none of the legal cannabis products contained vitamin E acetate at levels above the limits of detection (LOD).