Validation of an UHPLC/DAD method for the determination of cannabinoids in seized materials: Analysis of 213 samples sold in Belgian CBD shops.
Forensic Sci Int. 2020 Mar 03;310:110234
Authors: Deville M, Dubois N, Denooz R, Charlier C
PURPOSE: Nowadays, (-)-cannabidiol (CBD) is gaining popularity for the treatment of various problems and can be found easily in many stores in Belgium. However, such product must comply with the law: if the total tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content [(-)-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol + (-)-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid A (THC-A)] is higher than 0.2%, it is considered as narcotic by the Belgian legislation. In this context, we have developed a method to quantify major cannabinoids (THC, THC-A, CBD, cannabidiolic acid, cannabigerolic acid, cannabigerol and cannabinol) in plant material.
METHODS: After drying, a liquid-liquid extraction was performed on plant materials, followed by dilutions. Extracts were analyzed by ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography combined with a photodiode array detector. Mobile phases consisted of methanol and 0.1% formic acid in water applied in a 16-minute gradient mode. After validating the method, it was applied to 213 samples seized by the police in CBD shops.
RESULTS: The method fulfilled the criteria in terms of specificity, calibration curve, precision, trueness and dosing range. Total THC content ranged from 0.14 to 1.17% (median 0.38%) with 110 samples exceeding the Belgian legal threshold of 0.2%. The amounts measured in the samples varied greatly, some were 6 times below the amount labelled on the packaging, others showed a concentration 4 times higher than stated on the package. Same strain also showed concentration differences from shop to shop.
CONCLUSION: Our method was successfully validated and applied to samples seized in CBD shops. Half of the products exceeded the Belgian legal threshold. THC and CBD concentrations discrepancies showed that products sold in CBD shops are not pharmaceutical grade.
PMID: 32200307 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]