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CPC 250: Purification of Cannabidiol from Cannabis sativa

Technical note from Gilson

Published: May 25, 2017   

Trichomes on the surface of a cannabis plant. Credit: Cannabis Pictures on flickr

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a major component of the Cannabis sativa plant. CBD is of special interest because it is non-psychotropic and studies suggest that it has therapeutic medicinal properties for the treatment of conditions including pain, inflammation, epilepsy, and cancer. Recent changes in the legal status of Cannabis compounds for medicinal use, as well as the decriminalization of marijuana in some locations, has led to increased interest in purification, formulation, and detection of CBD. Although CBD is still classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized clinical trials to evaluate the use of CBD to treat children with rare forms of epilepsy.

Cannabinoids are concentrated in a sticky resin found within the glandular trichomes, hairlike structures on the surface of the plant. Although most cannabinoids are nearly insoluble in water, they can typically be dissolved in oils, alcohols, and other non-polar solvents. To ensure consumer safety it is critical to develop standardized CBD products that are free of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other contaminants. Gilson has developed a rapid and reproducible method for large-scale purification of CBD using centrifugal partition chromatography (CPC) . The method can be adapted from milligram to multi-kilogram scale, requires little solvent, and recovers close to 100% of the CBD from a complex crude extract. 

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