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Entourage Effect and Analytical Chemistry: Chromatography as a Tool in the Analysis of the Secondary Metabolism of <i>Cannabis sativa</i> L.

[ Vol. 29 , Issue. 6 ]


Fresia Melina Silva Sofrás and Martin Federico Desimone*   Pages 394 - 406 ( 13 )


Cannabis sativa L. has been used as medicine for thousands of years. Since the early identification of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in 1960, pharmacological activities were attributed to a group of unique structures named cannabinoids. For decades, research and development were applied to determine different cannabinoids and their medicinal properties. Nowadays there is evidence that the therapeutic benefits of the plant are based on the synergy of cannabinoids and other secondary metabolites such as terpenes and flavonoids. Differences between the medical performance of isolated compounds like cannabidiol (CBD) or THC and full-spectrum plant extracts are notable. Indeed, the superiority of the last one is provoked by the synergy between various different compounds. This improved medicinal effect is called the entourage effect. Chromatography has become the method of choice for the determination of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, so it represents an excellent tool for a proper characterization of the plant and plant derived products. The objective of characterization relies not only in analyzing the fingerprint of cannabis, but also to identify different chemotypes for medical purposes. To understand the contributions of each natural product to this “entourage effect”, this review presents an in-depth analysis of the utilization of High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), Gas chromatography (GC) and other methods for the analysis of phytocomponents of Cannabis sativa L. In this sense, a representative number of examples and advances made in the field together with limitations and future needs are provided. It can be concluded that standardized protocols and quality control policies and procedures are necessary for the comprehensive analysis of cannabis extracts and derivatives.


Entourage effect, synergy, inflorescences, cannabis, medicinal plant, trichomes, cannabinoids, chemotypes, chromatography.


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