M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentFutoran Yekaterina
SubjectComprehensive Mass-Spectrometry Based Characterization of
Clinically Used Cannabis Strains in Israel
DepartmentDepartment of Biology
Supervisor DR. David Meiri
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


A few million people worldwide are currently using physician-prescribed medical Cannabis for many different conditions. The therapeutic effects of Cannabis lie in its biomolecular contents and ratios and the main suspects for its pharmaceutical potential are likely: A) the phytocannabinoids that are unique to the Cannabis plant, and B) the terpenoids which are abundant throughout the plant kingdom. However, beyond the knowledge of a few phytocannabinoid’s effects, physicians typically do not prescribe a specific strain nor dosage since the total chemical composition of a medical Cannabis strain is generally unknown. Therefore, without data on the flowers, or extract’s, total chemical composition, the medicinal effects of a prescribed Cannabis strain or Cannabis preparation also remain undefined. In this research, we suggest using LC/MS and LC/MS/MS to identify and quantify 10 subclasses of phytocannabinoids. Since the extraction process of active ingredients from the plant is a crucial first-step for chemical analysis of dried Cannabis flower preparations, we used the suggested method to perform and compare the analysis of six different extraction methods. In addition, the extraction samples were analyzed for terpenoid content by GC-FID. To better understand variation between strains, this novel mass spectrometric approach was used to identify and quantify 94 phytocannabinoids in 36 different medical Cannabis strains ethanolic extracts. Among the analyzed samples, not a single extract shared the same phytocannabinoid chemical profile in regard to types, quantities, or ratios.

The diverse chemical profiles of the resulting Cannabis strain extracts highlight the importance of fully characterizing phytocannabinoid and terpenoid contents. This novel technique can enable researchers and physicians to better analyze the clinical effects of specific Cannabis compositions and to help researchers determine a mechanism of action for an observed Cannabis effect.