Comparison of three advanced chromatographic techniques for cannabis identification.Bull Narc. 1994; 46(2):109-21.BN
The development of chromatography technology, with the increasing availability of easier-to-use mass spectrometers combined with gas chromatography (GC), the use of diode-array or programmable variable-wavelength ultraviolet absorption detectors in conjunction with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and the availability of scanners capable of reading thin-layer chromatography (TLC) plates in the ultraviolet and visible regions, has made for easier, quicker and more positive identification of cannabis samples that standard analytical laboratories are occasionally required to undertake in the effort to combat drug addiction. At laboratories that do not possess the technique of GC combined with mass spectrometry, which provides an irrefutable identification, the following procedure involving HPLC or TLC techniques may be used: identification of the chromatographic peaks corresponding to each of the three main cannabis constituents-cannabidiol (CBD), delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC) and cannabinol (CBN)-by comparison with published data in conjunction with a specific absorption spectrum for each of those constituents obtained between 200 and 300 nm. The collection of the fractions corresponding to the three major cannabinoids at the HPLC system outlet and the cross-checking of their identity in the GC process with flame ionization detection can further corroborate the identification and minimize possible errors due to interference.