The Impact of Extraction Protocol on the Cannabis Chemical Profile
The last two decades have seen a dramatic shift in cannabis legislation around the world. Cannabis products are now widely available and commercial production and use of phytocannabinoid products is rapidly growing. However, this growth is outpacing the research needed to elucidate the therapeutic efficacy of the myriad of chemical compounds found primarily in the flower of the female cannabis plant. This lack of research and corresponding regulation has resulted in processing methods, products, and terminology that are variable and confusing for consumers. Importantly, the impact of processing methods on the resulting chemical profile of full spectrum cannabis extracts is not well understood. As a first step in addressing this knowledge gap we have utilized a combination of analytical approaches to characterize the broad chemical composition of a single cannabis cultivar that was processed using previously optimized and commonly used commercial extraction protocols including alcoholic solvents and super critical carbon dioxide. Significant variation in the bioactive chemical profile was observed in the extracts resulting from the different protocols demonstrating the need for further research regarding the influence of processing on therapeutic efficacy as well as the importance of labelling in the marketing of multi-component cannabis products.