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Terpenes in Impinger Extracts of Kryptonite and Blueberry Strains of Medical Cannabis

16 Mar 2014

As noted in my earlier post, Terpenes in Medical Cannabis, terpenes are an important class of aroma compounds that may contribute to the medicinal benefits of cannabis, via the so-called “entourage effect”.  I profiled some of the terpenes listed as important for medical cannabis using our 30m x 0.25mm x 1.40µm Rxi-624Sil MS, achieving a promising separation on a standard I put together.  Shown below are some impinger extracts provided by SRI Instruments for Kryptonite and Blueberry strains of medical cannabis.  Importantly, these extracts do NOT contain any cannabinoids, which would elute late, if at all, from the thick-film 624Sil MS column, nor do they contain chlorophyll, another compound that plays havoc with GC inlet liners and stationary phases.  Part of the beauty of headspace extraction techniques for terpenes is leaving the involatile material behind, and in this case, compressed air was used to sweep the terpenes from the cannabis to a vial containing methanol for trapping the terpenes.

As you look at the chromatograms below, it is important to note that this is ONLY qualitative work at this point and that different headspace methods (e.g. purge-and-trap, static headspace, SPME, etc.) could yield much different chromatograms.  Solvent extraction or steam distillation, would likely be even more different, including resulting in more intense peaks for later eluting (less volatile) terpenes.  The point of this work is to show initial efforts to characterize chromatographic elution order for some medical marijuana terpenes and analyze the first “real world” samples to show how terpene profiles for different medicines can be dissimilar.

Restek continues to support the medical cannabis analysis community with GC and LC columns, accessories, and reference materials. 

Terp Kryptonite 01


Terp Blueberry


Terp Kryp Blue Zoom 01


Terp Kryptonite 03


Terp Blueberry 03