Industrial Hemp ( Cannabis sativa L.) Inflorescences as Novel Food: The Effect of Different Agronomical Practices on Chemical Profile

Foods. 2022 Nov 16;11(22):3658. doi: 10.3390/foods11223658.


In this study, the effect of several agronomical practices on the chemical composition of hemp inflorescences, a potential novel food that needs to be further studied, was observed. Here, the case study of inflorescences from Ferimon cultivars is discussed and submitted to different agronomical practices (irrigation and fertilizers) in different years, and the inflorescences harvested in different periods were analyzed by a multimethodological approach. Targeted and untargeted methodologies allowed cannabinoids, total phenolic content, metabolite profile and antioxidant activity to be determined. The biomass and inflorescence yields were also reported. The whole data set was submitted to ANOVA-simultaneous component analysis. The statistic results allowed us to observe that irrigation was responsible for the (-)-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) increment. THC, cannabichromene (CBC), cannabigerol (CBG), succinate, and fructose resulted as higher in full female flowering than in the period of seed maturity. On the other hand, nitrogen supplementation led to an increase of iso-leucine, valine, and threonine. The obtained results underlined both the potential food application of hemp inflorescences, due to the rich chemical profile, and the strong effect of agronomical practices, mainly irrigation and harvesting, on the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of its metabolite profile.

Keywords: agronomical practices; chemical profile; fertilization; harvesting; industrial hemp.