MAR 27, 2019 12:00 PM PDT

Use of Gas Chromatography for the Analysis of Cannabinoids and Terpenes

C.E. Credits: P.A.C.E. CE Florida CE
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, The University of Texas at Arlington
      Allegra Leghissa graduated with her PhD in analytical chemistry from the University of Texas at Arlington in July 2018, working under the direction of Prof. Kevin A. Schug. She was born and raised in Bologna, Italy. She left Italy in August 2014 after completing an undergraduate Chemistry degree at the University of Bologna.


    With the legalization process currently taking place in the US, finding new techniques for the fast, cheap, and comprehensive analysis of Cannabis sativa components has become a major point of interest. Different analytical tools have been widely used for the characterization of the main components of the plant, cannabinoids and terpenes. Both these classes of compounds can be analyzed with the use of the gas chromatograph coupled with the mass spectrometer (GC-MS), and with the vacuum ultraviolet detector (GC-VUV). 

    In this research, we used these two technologies to analyze cannabinoids and terpenes found in C. sativa; the sensitivity of the multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mode used in the GC-MS allowed for the analysis of impurities, while the GC-VUV was more adapt for a potency testing. Terpenes were analyzed on GC-VUV due to the possibility of the instrument to differentiate between isobaric compounds, and to deconvolve coeluting peaks that otherwise would need a longer chromatographic separation.

    Learning Objectives: 

    1. Why GC is a necessary tool for R&D and QC labs in the Cannabis world.
    2. How new technologies are advancing to give a more comprehensive understanding of the plant.

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