Simultaneous quantification of delta-9-THC, THC-acid A, CBN and CBD in seized drugs using HPLC-DAD.Forensic Sci Int. 2014 Oct; 243:107-11.FS
An HPLC-DAD method for the quantitative analysis of Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid-A (THCA-A), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabinol (CBN) in confiscated cannabis products has been developed, fully validated and applied to analyse seized cannabis products. For determination of the THC content of plant material, this method combines quantitation of THCA-A, which is the inactive precursor of THC, and free THC. Plant material was dried, homogenized and extracted with methanol by ultrasonication. Chromatographic separation was achieved with a Waters Alliance 2695 HPLC equipped with a Merck LiChrospher 60 RP-Select B (5μm) precolumn and a Merck LiChroCart 125-4 LiChrospher 60 RP-Select B (5μm) analytical column. Analytes were detected and quantified using a Waters 2996 photo diode array detector. This method has been accepted by the public authorities of Switzerland (Bundesamt für Gesundheit, Federal Office of Public Health), and has been used to analyse 9092 samples since 2000. Since no thermal decarboxylation of THCA-A occurs, the method is highly reproducible for different cannabis materials. Two calibration ranges are used, a lower one for THC, CBN and CBD, and a higher one for THCA-A, due to its dominant presence in fresh plant material. As provider of the Swiss proficiency test, the robustness of this method has been tested over several years, and homogeneity tests even in the low calibration range (1%) show high precision (RSD≤4.3%, except CBD) and accuracy (bias≤4.1%, except CBN).