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Publication Title | Quantitation of Terpenes in Cannabis Products Using the Triple QuadTM 3500 LC-MS/MS System

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Quantitation of Terpenes in Cannabis Products Using the Triple QuadTM 3500 LC-MS/MS System

KC Hyland1, Christopher Borton1, Paul Winkler1, Simon Roberts1 and Matthew Noestheden2

1 SCIEX, Redwood City, California, 2 SCIEX Concord, Ontario (Canada)

Overview

With the recent legalization of cannabis in several states, there is a growing need for robust, cost-effective analytical methods to facilitate routine testing. While testing of potency (and for pesticide and herbicide residues) is important, manufacturers of cannabis products also need fit-to-purpose analytical methods that provide information on the sensory profile of their products to ensure lot-to-lot consistency. Here, we present an LC-MS/MS method that uses atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) and the budget-friendly SCIEX Triple QuadTM 3500 LC- MS/MS system for the analysis of terpenes (major determinant of aroma) in cannabis products. Examples of accurate quantitation are shown for a variety of cannabis products.

Introduction

At least 200 terpenes have been identified in Cannabis sativa (cannabis), with unique strains presenting different terpene profiles1, 2. The terpenes present have a well-defined role in the perceived aroma and user preference for specific cannabis strains. Moving beyond a role in sensory perception, recent studies suggest that many cannabis terpenes have pharmacological properties of their own and may also act synergistically with cannabinoids2. As such, sensitive, selective, accurate and economical analytical methods are needed to assess these key compounds.

Historically, terpenes have been analyzed by GC-MS due to their predominantly aliphatic composition. However, labs performing routine testing of cannabis will need to test potency and, once regulations are established, test for pesticides and herbicides. LC-MS/MS represents an ideal analytical platform to address all of these testing needs. Herein, we present an LC-MS/MS method that uses atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) and the budget-friendly SCIEX Triple QuadTM 3500 LC- MS/MS system for the analysis of terpenes in cannabis products. The price-to-performance ratio of the Triple QuadTM 3500 system is ideally suited to the analysis of terpenes, cannabinoids and pesticides/herbicides in cannabis products. The method focuses on the seven terpenes typically found in cannabis, with examples of accurate quantitation shown for a variety of cannabis products (Figure 1).

Experimental

Standards and Internal Standards (IS)

Standards, internal standards (ISTDs), ACS grade ammonium acetate, formic acid and distilled- in- glass grade methanol were used as received. High purity water was produced by passing reverse osmosis water through a Barnstead NANOpure water purification system. All standard solutions and samples were stored at 5 ± 3°C and allowed to reach room temperature before analysis.

CH3 CH2

HO

CH2 CH2

CH3

H3C CH3 Terpinolene

CH3

H3C CH2

Limonene

CH3

CH3

Humulene

H2C

CH3

H

CH3

H3C

Linalool Myrcene

CH3

H3C H3C H3C

CH3 H3C CH3

H

H3C α-Pinene

CH3 β-Caryophyllene

Figure 1: Chemical structures of terpenes evaluated in this study.

p1

Image | Quantitation of Terpenes in Cannabis Products Using the Triple QuadTM 3500 LC-MS/MS System



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