Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Semi-quantitative analysis of cannabinoids in hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) using gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry

De Prato, L., Timmins, M., Ansari, O., Ruthrof, K.X., Hardy, G.E.St.J., Howieson, J. and O’Hara, G. (2022) Semi-quantitative analysis of cannabinoids in hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) using gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Journal of Cannabis Research, 4 (1). Art. 51.

PDF - Published Version
Download (3MB) | Preview
Free to read:
*No subscription required



Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is a producer of cannabinoids. These organic compounds are of increasing interest due to their potential applications in the medicinal field. Advances in analytical methods of identifying and quantifying these molecules are needed.


This study describes a new method of cannabinoid separation from plant material using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) as the analytical tool to detect low abundance cannabinoids that will likely have implications for future therapeutical treatments. A novel approach was adopted to separate trichomes from plant material to analyse cannabinoids of low abundance not observed in raw plant extract. Required plant sample used for analysis was greatly reduced compared to other methods. Derivatisation method was simplified and deconvolution software was utilised to recognise unknown cannabinoid compounds of low abundance.


The method produces well-separated spectra and allows the detection of major and minor cannabinoids. Ten cannabinoids that had available standards could be identified and quantified and numerous unidentified cannabinoids or pathway intermediates based on GC-MS spectra similarities could be extracted and analysed simultaneously with this method.


This is a rapid novel extraction and analytical method from plant material that can identify major and minor cannabinoids using a simple technique. The method will be of use to future researchers seeking to study the multitude of cannabinoids whose values are currently not understood.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Food Futures Institute
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd as part of Springer Nature
Copyright: © 2022 The Authors.
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year