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Publication Title | SUPERCRITICAL FLUID EXTRACTION OF TETRAHYDROCANNABINOL FROM MARIHUANA STUDY OF THE EFFECT OF PARTICLE SIZE

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SUPERCRITICAL FLUID EXTRACTION

OF TETRAHYDROCANNABINOL FROM MARIHUANA STUDY OF THE EFFECT OF PARTICLE SIZE

Lél EÖRY1, Béla DÁNOS1, Tibor VERESS2

1Eötvös L. University, Department of Plant Anatomy, Budapest, Hungary 2Institute for Forensic Sciences, Budapest, Hungary

ABSTRACT: In order to obtain reproducible quantitative result for constituents of plant materials, the grinding of sample and extraction of a sieve fraction with a pre- defined average particle size is advised. The aim of the present study is to investigate the influence of particle size of marihuana on the extraction recovery of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) applying supercritical fluid extraction as well as the study of the effect of sieving of the sample on the quantitative results obtained by high performance liquid chromatography. It could be stated that marihuana sam- ples can not be characterised in terms of potency by determination of the THC con- tent of a selected sieve fraction of the ground material and subsequent calculation for the content of the whole sample, because owing to the significant inhomogenity of the different sieve fractions as far as the morphological composition is concerned, false THC content can be calculated for the whole sample.

KEY WORDS: SFE; Marihuana; THC; Particle size; Extraction recovery. Problems of Forensic Sciences, vol. XLVII, 2001, 322–327

Received 19 April 2001; accepted 15 September 2001

INTRODUCTION

Marihuana is the most frequently encountered illicit drug in Hungary. The quantification of its psychotropic principle, the delta-9-tetrahydro- cannabinol (THC) is often requested. Supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) is a versatile automated sample preparation technique assuring reproducible recovery needed for reliable quantification. SFE is suitable for the extrac- tion of THC from both marihuana and hashish by using carbon dioxide as ex- traction agent. Previously a procedure [3] for the determination of the sys- tematic error caused by the non-extracted ratio of THC by SFE was reported but the effect of particle size on the extraction recovery was not investigated.

For the extraction of plant materials, as a rule of thumb, the grinding of sample and extraction of a sieve fraction with a predefined average particle size is advised in most of the analytical determinations [1, 2, 4]. The aim of

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