Development of a validated method for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of cannabinoids in plant biomass and medicinal cannabis resin extracts obtained by super-critical fluid extraction

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2019 Mar 1;1109:76-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jchromb.2019.01.027. Epub 2019 Jan 30.


The social push for the therapeutic use of cannabis extracts has increased significantly over recent years. Cannabis is being used for treatment for conditions such as epilepsy, cancer and pain management. There are a range of medicinal cannabis products available, but the use of cannabis resin obtained by super critical fluid extraction, often diluted in oil, is becoming increasingly more prominent. Much of the research on cannabis has focused on plant biomass or the final therapeutic product with a concerning lack of information on the intermediate resin. This study aims to bridge the gap between current methods of analysis for biomass and the final therapeutic product by describing a fully developed and validated ultra-high-performance-liquid-chromatography method with diode array detection (UHPLC-DAD) for the qualification and quantification of the cannabinoids CBDA, CBD, CBN, THC, CBC and THCA, in medicinal cannabis biomass and resin obtained by super-critical fluid extraction (SFE). The method was validated for specificity, linearity, limit of detection (LOD), limit of quantitation (LOQ), precision, accuracy, robustness, spike recovery and stability in accordance with the Validation of Analytical Procedures: Text and Methodology Q2 to meet the requirements of the International Council for Harmonisation (ICH), Therapeutic Goods Authority (TGA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) test method validation regulations.

Keywords: Cannabidiol (CBD); Cannabinoids; Cannabis resin; Medicinal cannabis; Quantitation; UHPLC.

MeSH terms

  • Biomass
  • Cannabinoids / analysis*
  • Cannabis / chemistry*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Chromatography, Supercritical Fluid / methods*
  • Drug Stability
  • Limit of Detection
  • Linear Models
  • Medical Marijuana / chemistry*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Resins, Plant / chemistry*


  • Cannabinoids
  • Medical Marijuana
  • Resins, Plant