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Robust Terpene Analysis in Cannabis by Using Liquid Injection

Introduction

Terpenes are a classification of aromatic compounds that are nearly ubiquitous throughout nature. Terpenes are primarily found in plants, but can also be observed in marine organisms, insects, and, to a lesser extent, higher-order animals. They are present in cannabis in significant concentrations and are one of the most interesting and diverse aspects of cannabis. They provide the unique aroma of the plant and are critical to the cannabis experience; however, understanding the role that they play in the psychoactive experience of cannabis consumption is still not well understood. Terpenes themselves are built from repeating five-carbon units called isoprene. Their classification as a monoterpene, diterpene, etc., is dependent on the number of isoprene units in their structure. Terpene content in cannabis is typically not regulated, but can provide unique insights into the “flavor profile” of the cannabis flower. Demand for terpene testing has increased significantly in the past few years as consumers become increasingly interested in the terpene profiles of the cannabis strains they consume. Cannabis has a high abundance of mono- and sesquiterpenes, and the majority of terpenes present in the flower fall into these classifications.

This study presents a comprehensive gas chromatography- mass spectrometry (GC-MS) method for the analysis of 22 terpenes in cannabis flower, with a focus on developing a rapid and robust method for the analysis of terpenes in a commercial laboratory.

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