Comparison of the Cannabinoid and Terpene Profiles in Commercial Cannabis from Natural and Artificial Cultivation

Molecules. 2023 Jan 13;28(2):833. doi: 10.3390/molecules28020833.


Interest in cultivating cannabis for medical and recreational purposes is increasing due to a dramatic shift in cannabis legislation worldwide. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of the composition of secondary metabolites, cannabinoids, and terpenes grown in different environmental conditions is of primary importance for the medical and recreational use of cannabis. We compared the terpene and cannabinoid profiles using gas/liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry for commercial cannabis from genetically identical plants grown indoors using artificial light and artificially grown media or outdoors grown in living soil and natural sunlight. By analyzing the cannabinoids, we found significant variations in the metabolomic profile of cannabis for the different environments. Overall, for both cultivars, there were significantly greater oxidized and degraded cannabinoids in the indoor-grown samples. Moreover, the outdoor-grown samples had significantly more unusual cannabinoids, such as C4- and C6-THCA. There were also significant differences in the terpene profiles between indoor- and outdoor-grown cannabis. The outdoor samples had a greater preponderance of sesquiterpenes including β-caryophyllene, α-humulene, α-bergamotene, α-guaiene, and germacrene B relative to the indoor samples.

Keywords: GC-MS; LC-MS; cannabinoids; commercial cannabis; terpenes.

MeSH terms

  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists / metabolism
  • Cannabinoids* / analysis
  • Cannabis* / chemistry
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Hallucinogens* / analysis
  • Terpenes / analysis


  • Cannabinoids
  • Terpenes
  • Hallucinogens
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.