In the last few years, there has been a boost in the use of cannabis-based extracts for medicinal purposes, although their preparation procedure has not been standardized but rather decided by the individual pharmacists. The present work describes the development of a simple and rapid high performance liquid chromatography method with UV detection (HPLC-UV) for the qualitative and quantitative determination of the principal cannabinoids (CBD-A, CBD, CBN, THC and THC-A) that could be applied to all cannabis-based medicinal extracts (CMEs) and easily performed by a pharmacist. In order to evaluate the identity and purity of the analytes, a high-resolution mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-QTOF) analysis was also carried out. Full method validation has been performed in terms of specificity, selectivity, linearity, recovery, dilution integrity and thermal stability. Moreover, the influence of the solvent (ethyl alcohol and olive oil) was evaluated on cannabinoids degradation rate. An alternative extraction method has then been proposed in order to preserve cannabis monoterpene component in final CMEs.
Keywords: Cannabinoids extraction; Cannabinoids stability; Gas chromatography; Liquid chromatography; Mass spectrometry; medicinal cannabis.
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