J Chromatogr A. 2021 Jun 1;1651:462304. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2021.462304. Online ahead of print.
Hemp and cannabis industry is undergoing a renewed interest due to legalization of marijuana (a topic that all countries are discussing, especially in recent years) and the growing importance of therapeutic properties of cannabinoids. Together with an increment in the production of hemp and recreational cannabis, there has been an increasing demand for accurate potency testing of products (i.e. quantification of main cannabinoids present in the plant in terms of weight percentage) prior commercialization. This translates in an urgent need of reliable analytical methods to characterize cannabis and hemp samples. Cannabis and hemp preparations are commercialized under various forms (e.g., flowers, oils, candies or even baked goods) usually containing a large number of often very similar compounds making their separation very challenging. Strictly connected to this, another emerging topic concerns the need for the developing of large scale separation techniques for the purification of cannabinoids from complex matrices and for the preparation of analytical-grade standards (including the chiral ones). This paper reviews the most recent achievements in both these aspects. Cutting-edge applications and novel opportunities in potency testing by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with UV detection (which is becoming the golden standard, according to several pharmacopeias, for this kind of measurements) are discussed. The focus has been given to the very important topic of enantio-discrimination of chiral cannabinoids, for which supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) appears to be particularly suitable. The last part of the work covers the purification of cannabinoids through preparative chromatography. In this regard, particular attention has been given to the most innovative multi-column techniques allowing for the continuous purification of target molecules. The most recent advancements and future challenges in this field are discussed.
Source: ncbi 2