Editor's Note: An ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatographic method coupled with photodiode array and single quadrupole mass spectrometry detectors was developed and validated for quantitative determination of 11 cannabinoids in different Cannabis sativa samples. A sample preparation study was conducted and method validation data are presented. A total of 32 Cannabis samples including hashish, leaves, and flower buds were analyzed.

Planta Medica
DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-124873
December 20, 2017


Abstract 
Cannabinoids are a group of terpenophenolic compounds in the medicinal plant Cannabis sativa (Cannabaceae family). Cannabigerolic acid, Δ 9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid A, cannabidiolic acid, Δ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabigerol, cannabidiol, cannabichromene, and tetrahydrocannabivarin are major metabolites in the classification of different strains of C. sativa. Degradation or artifact cannabinoids cannabinol, cannabicyclol, and Δ 8-tetrahydrocannabinol are formed under the influence of heat and light during processing and storage of the plant sample. An ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatographic method coupled with photodiode array and single quadrupole mass spectrometry detectors was developed and validated for quantitative determination of 11 cannabinoids in different C. sativa samples. Compounds 1 - 11 were baseline separated with an acetonitrile (with 0.05% formic acid) and water (with 0.05% formic acid) gradient at a flow rate of 0.25 mL/min on a Waters Cortec UPLC C18 column (100 mm x 2.1 mm I. D., 1.6 µm). The limits of detection and limits of quantitation of the 11 cannabinoids were below 0.2 and 0.5 µg/mL, respectively. The relative standard deviation for the precision test was below 2.4%. A mixture of acetonitrile and methanol (80 : 20, v/ v) was proven to be the best solvent system for the sample preparation. The recovery of all analytes was in the range of 97 - 105%. A total of 32 Cannabis samples including hashish, leaves, and flower buds were analyzed.

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