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NEW RESEARCH: The influence of drying and storage conditions on the volatilome and cannabinoid content of Cannabis sativa L. inflorescences


Key Findings:

  1. Drying Methods:

  • Tray Drying (TD): This method involves drying the cannabis flowers at controlled temperature (18-21°C) and humidity (50-55%) for about five days. Tray drying was found to maintain a richer VOC profile but led to more decarboxylation, converting acidic cannabinoids to their neutral forms.

  • Freeze Drying (FD): This involves freezing the flowers and then drying them under vacuum conditions. Freeze drying better preserved the cannabinoid content, particularly the acidic forms, but resulted in a significant loss of VOCs, which are essential for the characteristic cannabis aroma.

  1. Storage Conditions:

  • Glass Bottles (GB): Storing cannabis in glass bottles helped retain the initial VOC profile better than other methods but led to more decarboxylation, increasing the levels of neutral cannabinoids at the expense of acidic forms.

  • High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Boxes and Open to Air Trays (AT): Both these storage methods resulted in similar VOC profiles, suggesting that oxidation reactions were more prevalent in these conditions compared to glass storage.


Methodology:

  • The study used advanced analytical techniques such as solid-phase microextraction (SPME) two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (SPME-GC×GC–MS) for VOC analysis and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) for cannabinoids analysis.

  • Samples from three different commercial cannabis varieties were used to ensure broad applicability of the results.


Conclusions:

  • Tray drying is recommended for preserving the VOC profile, while freeze drying is better for retaining cannabinoid content.

  • Storage in glass bottles is beneficial for maintaining VOC profiles but can lead to higher levels of neutral cannabinoids.

  • HDPE boxes and open air trays have similar effects on VOCs, indicating that the permeability of HDPE might lead to conditions similar to open air storage.

  • The study highlights the need for further research to find an optimal storage method that preserves both VOCs and cannabinoids.


Implications:

This research provides valuable insights for the cannabis industry, helping producers choose the best drying and storage methods to maintain the quality and potency of their products. It underscores the trade-offs between preserving aroma (VOCs) and cannabinoid content, suggesting that different methods may be preferable depending on the specific goals for the cannabis product.


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