Natural Products Chemistry & Research

ISSN - 2329-6836


Terpenoid Chemoprofiles Distinguish Drug-type Cannabis sativa L. Cultivars in Nevada

Orser C*, Johnson S, Speck M, Hilyard A and Afia I

An unintended consequence of state-mandated cannabis testing regulations has been the resulting database from the analysis of thousands of individual cannabis flower samples from artificially restricted geographical regions. The resulting detailed chemical database can serve as the basis for the development of a chemotaxonomic classification scheme outside of conjectural cultivar naming by strain. Chemotaxonomic classification schemes for cannabis cultivars have previously been reported by others based largely on cannabis strains grown in California under an unregulated testing environment or in Europe from strains grown by a single cultivator. In this study 2,237 individual cannabis flower samples, representing 204 individual strains across 27 cultivators in a tightly regulated Nevada cannabis testing market, were analyzed across 11 cannabinoids and 19 terpenoids. Even though 98.3% of the samples were from Type I cannabis strains by cannabidiolic acid/tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) ratio of <0.5 CBDA, principal component analysis (PCA) of the combined dataset resulted in three distinct clusters that were distinguishable by terpene profiles alone. Further dissection of individual strains by cultivators within clusters revealed striking fidelity of terpenoid profiles and also revealed a few outliers. We propose that three terpenoid cluster assignments account for the diversity of drug type cannabis strains currently being grown in Nevada.