A rapid method to determine nine natural cannabinoids in beverages and food derived from Cannabis sativa by liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry on a QTRAP 4000.Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom 2018; 32(19):1728-1736RC
Phytocannabinoids are natural compounds produced by Cannabis spp. Some of these compounds show psychotropic effects on humans and are therefore used as drugs of abuse. These compounds are present in food and beverages containing ingredients from hemp, and thus can reach consumers. The Italian Ministry of Health planned to evaluate the intake of cannabinoids from food containing hemp ingredients. Thus, we were asked to develop and validate a multi-residue test method to determine nine phytocannabinoids in beverages and food.
Nine natural phytocannabinoids, hereafter called cannabinoids, were cleaned up from food by solid-liquid extraction, while beverages were simply diluted prior to analysis. The cannabinoids were separated by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography, and on-line determination was carried out by tandem mass spectrometry using a 4000 QTRAP mass spectrometer with a TurboIonSpray source, in multiple-reaction monitoring mode, using both positive and negative ionization.
Each compound was determined down to 0.25 ng/mL in solvent. In-house validation was carried out; the mean recoveries ranged from 83.4% to 101.2% in food, and from 84.5% to 104.5% in beverages. The limits of quantification were 20 μg/kg for food and 2 μg/L for beverages.
A reliable and rapid method for the identification and quantification of the psychotropic Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol, its non-psychoactive precursor Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinolic acid A, and seven other cannabinoids was developed and validated, to monitor the content of these substances in food and beverages produced using hemp seeds, flour and oil as ingredients.