The impact of extraction protocol on the chemical profile of cannabis extracts from a single cultivar

As with preparing samples in other fields of science, the processing method for cannabis in order to measure its analytes can vary, sometimes significantly. However, some standardized processes for, e.g., extraction protocols, do exist, though one process may still differ slightly from another. According to Bowen et al. of Colorado State University and Charlotte’s Web, Inc., a knowledge gap exists concerning what the composition results of varying extraction protocols are on cannabis. In this 2021 paper, the authors seek to address that knowledge gap, using a single proprietary cannabis cultivar and 20 commercial extraction procedures. The authors conducted principal component analysis (PCA) using a variety of gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS), ultra high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS), and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) techniques. They found discrepancies in the bioactive chemical profiles across the different extraction protocols, leading them to conclude a definitive “need for further research regarding the influence of processing on therapeutic efficacy, as well as the importance of labeling in the marketing of multi-component cannabis products.”

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