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Qualitative terpene profiling of Cannabis varieties cultivated for medical purposes

Perfil de terpenos de variedades de Cannabis cultivadas para uso medicinal


With the upcoming medical Cannabis regulation, quality control methods on raw material will be required. Besides testing for contaminants and potency, there are also pharmaceutical and forensic interests in the determination of the terpene profile in different strains of Cannabis as complementary identification methods. A simple non-destructive HS-SPME GC-MS method was used to identify the terpene content in twelve Cannabis samples, four of them were of the hemp type (Harle-tsu), seven from various marihuana types and one of the intermediate type. They all were previously analyzed by HPLC to determine the potency (THC and CBD content). Spectral library matching was used to identify the terpenes compounds. Thirty terpenes compounds were detected, nine of them were present in all Cannabis samples and used to find their terpene profile: α-pinene, β-pinene, β-myrcene, D-limonene, terpinolene, linalool, caryophyllene, α-bergamotene and humulene. Three of them, caryophyllene, α-pinene and β-myrcene were found as larger components in most of samples. A principal components analyses (PCA) was performed. The four hemp type samples showed two different profiles, two samples showed caryophyllene as main component and the others two with β-myrcene as such. The marihuana type samples showed wider profiles with no clear patterns at all, which is not surprising because of the low number of samples. The simple methodology shows viable to set the terpenes profile for analyses of raw Cannabis material. Suitability for differentiation between different sorts of types needs more studies, with increasing numbers of samples.

Cannabis; chemical profile; GC-MS; HS-SPME; terpenes

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