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The role of derivatization techniques in the analysis of plant cannabinoids by gas chromatography mass spectrometry

Fodor, B., Molnár-Perl, I.
Trends in analytical chemistry 2017 v.95 pp. 149-158
acylation, cannabidiol, derivatization, drugs, esterification, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, tetrahydrocannabinol
Derivatization is the most powerful contribution to the identification and quantification of plant cannabinoids (p-CBDs) by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS): providing volatile derivatives with eminent properties (high selectivity, outstanding sensitivity and mass spectrometric peculiarities). These derivatives are excellent candidates to determine the main p-CBDs, like tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), tetrahydrocannabidivarin (CBDV), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabicyclol (CBCL), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), 11-hydroxy-Δ9-THC (11-OH-THC) and 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC (THC-COOH). Identification and quantification of p-CBDs is required – partly as trace constituents in complex biological matrices of drug users, partly as main components in seizure samples: in both cases, in extremely different ratios. GC proposals published between 2000 and 2017, along with outstanding pioneer contributions, are reviewed. Procedures, without derivatization and applying various alkylsilyl, acylation and/or esterification techniques were listed, compared and criticized. Further sorting was based on the reagent type, on examined matrices, on enrichment/detection related acquisition protocols and on analytical performance characteristics.