Unraveling the Cannabinome
Legalized cannabis is an exploding market that offers exciting opportunities – and challenges – for analytical scientists. Here, we offer an overview of the fast-emerging field of cannabinomics and the analytical methods being employed.
Scott Kuzdzal and William Lipps |
The cannabis plant contains more than 500 unique compounds; we have a long way to go before understanding the health benefits of all of them (see Figure 1) – or appreciating the synergies between cannabinoids, terpenoids and flavonoids. For more than 80 years, cannabis chemistry has been suppressed, and the industry itself needs to recover. In the USA, there are currently 24 states (and the District of Columbia) that have legalized medical marijuana and another four states that have legalized recreational marijuana. The analytical upshot? Cannabis sold for either medicinal or recreational use needs testing for potency and to reduce the risk of contamination. Indeed, cannabis-testing laboratories are sprouting up across the USA; they are vital to accurate cannabis product labeling, as well as cannabis quality control. Cannabis testing also serves to determine peak harvesting times for growing operations.
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