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Analysis of Terpenes in Hemp by Headspace/Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry

C.E. Credits: Florida CE P.A.C.E. CE
Speaker

Abstract

The objective of this study was to produce a fast, accurate, and precise method for analyzing terpenes in hemp using headspace/gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Modern interest in terpenes and terpene analysis has grown significantly as the recreational and medicinal use of hemp has expanded across the globe. There is research that suggests terpenes provide a synergistic “entourage” effect, compounding the suggested medicinal benefits from CBD usage. Research into the relationship between the endocannabinoid system and terpenes has grown significantly.

Terpenes are built from repeating five carbon units called isoprene. Their distinction as monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, diterpenes, etc. is dependent on the number of isoprene units utilized in their biosynthesis. These compounds have traditionally been measured using liquid injection gas chromatography systems. Liquid injection presents a number of problems in a production environments such as dirty injection ports, persistent maintenance, and column contamination. The use of headspace eliminates these issues and provides robust sample introduction. The use of mass spectrometry allows for the separation and quantification of co-eluting peaks. This in turn allows for the rapid analysis of samples as chromatographic separation becomes less critical. Traditional use of FID (flame ionization detectors) demands complete chromatographic separation and extended run times (upwards of one hour per sample).

Learning Objectives:

1. Explain why terpenes are important in the hemp experience

2. Explain the basics for terpene analysis is hemp

3. Identify the importance of good sample preparation prior to terpene analysis


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