Naturally occurring cannabinoids, the main biologically active components of the cannabis and hemp plant, form a complex group of closely related compounds, of which 70 are known and well described. Of these, the primary focus has been on Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) due to its pharmacological and toxicological characteristics, upon which strict legal limits have been enforced.
Cultivators and Processing labs often focus on Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A), as it is the naturally occurring precursor to THC and is readily decarboxylated to THC via the drying and/or heating of cannabis.
Our application describes a method for the chromatographic separation and quantitative monitoring of twelve primary cannabinoids, including THC, THC-A, CBD, and CBD-A, in cannabis flower extracts and edibles by HPLC combined with PDA detection. This technique employs our Flexar™ HPLC system, including a quaternary pump, autosampler with Peltier cooling, column heater and PDA (photodiode array) detector.
HPLC can identify the acid components of THCA and CBDA before conversion to their corresponding free forms of THC and CBD. This is often preferred for edible materials and extracted tinctures. This procedure can also be used for the original plant material potency testing and cannabinoid ratio calculations.
In addition, our Spectrum Two FTIR™ with near-infrared reflectance module (NIRM) and sample spinner determines THC/CDB potency ratio in ground cannabis flower. It is a quick and nondestructive method that requires little to no sample preparation, no hazardous chemicals, and allows the sample to be reused in other analyses.