Accumulation of bioactive metabolites in cultivated medical Cannabis

PLoS One. 2018 Jul 23;13(7):e0201119. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0201119. eCollection 2018.

Abstract

There has been an increased use of medical Cannabis in the United States of America as more states legalize its use. Complete chemical analyses of this material can vary considerably between producers and is often not fully provided to consumers. As phytochemists in a state with legal medical Cannabis we sought to characterize the accumulation of phytochemicals in material grown by licensed commercial producers. We report the development of a simple extraction and analysis method, amenable to use by commercial laboratories for the detection and quantification of both cannabinoids and terpenoids. Through analysis of developing flowers on plants, we can identify sources of variability of floral metabolites due to flower maturity and position on the plant. The terpenoid composition varied by accession and was used to cluster cannabis strains into specific types. Inclusion of terpenoids with cannabinoids in the analysis of medical cannabis should be encouraged, as both of these classes of compounds could play a role in the beneficial medical effects of different cannabis strains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cannabinoids / analysis
  • Cannabinoids / biosynthesis
  • Cannabis / chemistry
  • Cannabis / growth & development*
  • Cannabis / metabolism*
  • Crop Production
  • Environment, Controlled
  • Flowers / chemistry
  • Flowers / growth & development
  • Flowers / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Medical Marijuana / analysis
  • Medical Marijuana / metabolism*
  • Phytochemicals / analysis
  • Phytochemicals / biosynthesis
  • Phytochemicals / metabolism*
  • Plant Extracts / analysis
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plant Leaves / growth & development
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Species Specificity
  • Terpenes / analysis

Substances

  • Cannabinoids
  • Medical Marijuana
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts
  • Terpenes

Grant support

MOC, LRU, and RDR received support from the Agricultural Experiment Station at New Mexico State University. This funder provided support in the form of salaries for authors MOC, LRU, KL, RF, RDR, but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. In addition, Rio Grande Analytics, a commercial licensed medical marijuana testing laboratory provided access to research space licensed for analysis of the plant material in this report. All material costs and salaries of staff working on this project were paid through the Agricultural Experiment Station at New Mexico State University. RDR is an owner of Rio Grande Analytics, in addition to his full-time position at NMSU, however, Rio Grande Analytics did not provide salary support or have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.