Chemical Characterization of Leaves, Male and Female Flowers from Spontaneous Cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.) Growing in Hungary

Chem Biodivers. 2019 Mar;16(3):e1800562. doi: 10.1002/cbdv.201800562. Epub 2019 Feb 12.


Spontaneous forms of hemp (Cannabis sativa L., often reported as Cannabis sativa var. spontanea Vavilov) with a low content of psychoactive cannabinoids can be considered as a valuable source of other phytoconstituents to be used in nutraceuticals or for their health promoting properties. Chemical data on this hemp variety are rather scarce. In this article, we report a comprehensive phytochemical characterization of leaves, male and female inflorescences of C. sativa growing wild in Hungary. For the purpose, the essential oil along with polar extracts were analyzed using GC/MS, NMR and LC-DAD-MS techniques, respectively. The results indicated that female inflorescence essential oil contains high amounts of the CB2 agonists, (E)-caryophyllene (28.3 %) and cannabidiol (CBD; 24.9 %), whereas leaves and male inflorescence essential oils contained lower amounts of both compounds. HPLC/MS allowed to quantify cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabidiolic acid (CBD-A) in the ethyl acetate extracts from leaves, male and female inflorescences; they were 0.3, 0.8 and 0.9 %, and 0.2, 0.3 and 0.4 %, respectively. Flavonoids of this spontaneous form of hemp were formed by C-glycosides and glucuronic acids of kaempferol and apigenin with a total content of 3.8, 6.1 and 7.8 mg/g in methanolic extracts from leaves, male and female inflorescences, respectively. Based on these results, spontaneous C. sativa may represent an important source of CB2 agonists and bioflavonoids to be used in nutraceuticals, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

Keywords: Cannabis sativa; GC/MS; HPLC-DAD-MS; NMR; cannabinoids; essential oil; flavonoids; phytochemistry.

MeSH terms

  • Cannabinoids / chemistry*
  • Cannabinoids / isolation & purification
  • Cannabis / chemistry*
  • Cannabis / growth & development
  • Flavonoids / chemistry*
  • Flavonoids / isolation & purification
  • Flowers / chemistry*
  • Flowers / growth & development
  • Hungary
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry*
  • Oils, Volatile / isolation & purification
  • Phytochemicals / chemistry*
  • Phytochemicals / isolation & purification
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plant Leaves / growth & development
  • Sex Characteristics


  • Cannabinoids
  • Flavonoids
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Phytochemicals