New Methods for the Comprehensive Analysis of Bioactive Compounds in Cannabis sativa L. (hemp).


“Cannabis sativa L. is a dioecious plant belonging to the Cannabaceae family. The main phytochemicals that are found in this plant are represented by cannabinoids, flavones, and terpenes. Some biological activities of cannabinoids are known to be enhanced by the presence of terpenes and flavonoids in the extracts, due to a synergistic action.

In the light of all the above, the present study was aimed at the multi-component analysis of the bioactive compounds present in fibre-type C. sativa (hemp) inflorescences of different varieties by means of innovative HPLC and GC methods. In particular, the profiling of non-psychoactive cannabinoids was carried out by means of HPLC-UV/DAD, ESI-MS, and MS². The content of prenylated flavones in hemp extracts, including cannflavins A and B, was also evaluated by HPLC.

The study on Cannabis volatile compounds was performed by developing a new method based on headspace solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME) coupled with GC-MS and GC-FID. Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and cannabidiol(CBD) were found to be the most abundant cannabinoids in the hemp samples analysed, while β-myrcene and β-caryophyllene were the major terpenes. As regards flavonoids, cannflavin A was observed to be the main compound in almost all the samples.

The methods developed in this work are suitable for the comprehensive chemical analysis of both hemp plant material and related pharmaceutical or nutraceutical products in order to ensure their quality, efficacy, and safety.”

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Cannflavins from hemp sprouts, a novel cannabinoid-free hemp food product, target microsomal prostaglandin E2 synthase-1 and 5-lipoxygenase

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“Hemp seeds are of great nutritional value, containing all essential amino acids and fatty acids in sufficient amount and ratio to meet the dietary human demand.

Hemp seeds do not contain cannabinoids, and because of their high contents of ω-3 fatty acids, are enjoying a growing popularity as a super-food to beneficially affect chronic inflammation.

Seeds also lack the typical phenolics of hemp leaves and inflorescences, but we found that sprouting, while not triggering the production of cannabinoids, could nevertheless induce the production of the anti-inflammatory prenylflavonoids cannflavins A and B.

This effect was especially marked in Ermo, a cannabinoid-free variety of Cannabis sativa L. Microsomal prostaglandin E2 synthase (mPGES-1) and 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) were identified as the molecular targets of cannflavins A and B, solving an almost three-decade old uncertainty on the mechanism of their the anti-inflammatory activity.

No change on the fatty acid profile was observed during sprouting, and the presence of lipophilic flavonoids combines with the high concentration of ω-3 essential acids to qualify sprouts from Ermo as a novel anti-inflammatory hemp food product worth considering for mass production and commercial development.”

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