The Analytical Chemistry of Cannabis

The Analytical Chemistry of Cannabis

Quality Assessment, Assurance, and Regulation of Medicinal Marijuana and Cannabinoid Preparations

1st Edition - December 1, 2015

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  • Authors: Brian F. Thomas, Mahmoud A. ElSohly
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128046463
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128046708

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A volume in the Emerging Issues in Analytical Chemistry series, The Analytical Chemistry of Cannabis: Quality Assessment, Assurance, and Regulation of Medicinal Marijuana and Cannabinoid Preparations provides analytical chemistry methods that address the latest issues surrounding cannabis-based products. The plethora of marketed strains of cannabis and cannabinoid-containing products, combined with the lack of industry standards and labelling requirements, adds to the general perception of poor quality control and limited product oversight. The methods described in this leading-edge volume help to support the manufacturing, labelling, and distribution of safe and consistent products with known chemical content and demonstrated performance characteristics. It treats analytical chemistry within the context of the diverse issues surrounding medicinal and recreational cannabis in a manner designed to foster understanding and rational perspective in non-scientist stakeholders as well as scientists who are concerned with bringing a necessary degree of order to a field now characterized by confusion and contradiction.

Key Features

  • Addresses current and emerging analytical chemistry methods - an approach that is unique among the literature on this topic
  • Presents information from a broad perspective of the issues in a single compact volume
  • Employs language comprehensible to non-technical stakeholders as well as to specialists in analytical chemistry


Analytical chemists, pharmacologists, medical doctors, clinical trials specialists, public health officials, international food and drug monitoring agencies, forensics specialists, law enforcement officers; Advanced undergraduate and graduate level courses in pharmacy, pharmacology, experimental therapeutics, analytical chemistry, and forensics

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1. The Botany of Cannabis sativa L.

    • Abstract
    • Botanical Description
    • Chemical Constituents and Phenotypes of C. sativa L.
    • Cannabis Biosynthesis
    • Selection of Elite Clones for Plant Propagation
    • Plant Growth and Cultivation
    • Indoor Cultivation
    • Outdoor Cultivation
    • Harvesting and Processing
    • Conclusion
    • References

    Chapter 2. Biosynthesis and Pharmacology of Phytocannabinoids and Related Chemical Constituents

    • Abstract
    • Phytocannabinoid Constituents in Cannabis
    • Monoterpenoid, Sesquiterpenoid, and Diterpenoid Constituents of Cannabis
    • Phenylpropanoid Constituents of Cannabis
    • Therapeutic Indications for Medicinal Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Dosage Formulations
    • Pharmacological Effects of Cannabis Constituents
    • References

    Chapter 3. Medical Cannabis Formulations

    • Abstract
    • Cannabis Inflorescence and Hashish
    • Teas, Tinctures, Oils, and Extracts
    • Consumables
    • Formulations for Parenteral Administration
    • Smoking and Vaporizing
    • Bioavailability for Enteral and Transmucosal Administration
    • Bioavailability for Other Parenteral Routes of Administration
    • References

    Chapter 4. Analytical Methods in Formulation Development and Manufacturing

    • Abstract
    • General Considerations in Sample Preparation for Analytical Characterization
    • Direct Analysis of Cannabis Inflorescence and Its Extracts
    • Separation and Analysis of Cannabis Using Gas Chromatography
    • Separation and Analysis of Cannabis by Thin Layer, Liquid, and Convergence Chromatography
    • Broad-Spectrum Chemical Profiling
    • Targeted Quantitative Analytical Approaches and Compendial Methods
    • References

    Chapter 5. Quality Control and Stability Assessment

    • Abstract
    • Challenges in Quality Control and Safety of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Drugs
    • Variability in Composition and Strength
    • Content and Labeling Inaccuracies and Violations
    • Foods and Pharmaceuticals
    • Best Practices and Quality Control
    • Release Testing and Characterization of Chemical Delivery
    • Stability Assessment
    • Additional Considerations
    • References

    Chapter 6. The Roles of Research and Regulation

    • Abstract
    • From Herbal Medicines to Controlled Substances
    • Implications to Consumers
    • Implications to Suppliers
    • Implications to Researchers
    • Implications to Regulators
    • References

    Chapter 7. The Future of Cannabinoid Therapeutics

    • Abstract
    • References

Product details

  • No. of pages: 132
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2015
  • Published: December 1, 2015
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128046463
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128046708

About the Authors

Brian F. Thomas

Brian F. Thomas
Brian F. Thomas earned his doctoral degree in 1992 from the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University, USA. He then joined Research Triangle Institute and assumed the role of Principal Investigator on National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) research contracts titled “Purity Specifications, Storage and Distribution for Medications Development,” “Preparation and Distribution of Research Drug Products,” and “Production, Analysis and Distribution of Cannabis, Marijuana Cigarettes and Related Materials.” Serving in these roles, he coordinated the preparation and analysis of research drugs and substance abuse treatment medications at RTI for over 28 years. In addition to contract research, Dr. Thomas served as Principal Investigator on several NIDA R01 grant-funded research awards involving the characterization of cannabinoid ligand-receptor interactions and their relationship to in vivo pharmacological effects. In 2019, he joined Canopy Growth Corporation as Senior Director, Analytical Chemistry, Discovery Sciences, and Pharmaceutics, where he had management oversight of drug substance and product testing to support preclinical and clinical studies of cannabinoids in accordance with regulatory guidance. He also directed the integration of medicinal chemistry and in vitro pharmacological screening approaches to support development of consumer products and drive clinical drug discovery and therapeutic product development and commercialization efforts. He was subsequently recruited by The Cronos Group to serve as the Director of Analytical Sciences, with management oversight of scientists at production and research and development facilities in the United States, Canada, and Israel. He also engaged with the US Hemp Roundtable and other trade and scientific organizations to provide critical input to regulations and regulatory oversight by state, federal, and international regulatory authorities. He is currently providing pharmaceutical consulting services as the Principal Scientist at Empirical Pharmaceutical Services, LLC. He also serves on the Scientific Advisory Boards of Bright Green Corporation and Biopharmaceutical Research Company, two of the cannabis companies selected by the US government to grow, manufacture, and sell, legally under federal and state laws, cannabis and cannabis-related products for research, pharmaceutical applications, and export. He has authored or co-authored over 120 peer-reviewed manuscripts and numerous book chapters, coauthored a book, and served as the Series Editor of Elsevier’s Emerging Issues in Analytical Chemistry.

Affiliations and Expertise

Principal, Empirical Pharmaceutical Services, LLC, Manteo, NC, USA

Mahmoud A. ElSohly

Mahmoud A. ElSohly is a Research Professor at the National Center for Natural Products Research and Professor of Pharmaceutics in the Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery, School of Pharmacy, University of Mississippi, USA. He is the Project Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse Marijuana Project at the University of Mississippi (1981 to present). He is President and Director of ElSohly Laboratories Incorporated, Oxford, MS, a small company providing precision analytical testing and manufacturing services for the drug testing industry since 1985. He obtained a Ph.D. degree in Pharmacy (Pharmacognosy) from the University of Pittsburgh in 1975. Dr. ElSohly holds more than 30 patents dealing with the processing, testing, and detection of drugs of abuse along with other patents dealing with biologically active natural products. He has authored over 300 peer-reviewed scholarly articles published in top-tier international journals. He is a member of 14 scholarly scientific societies and was recognized by The Scientist (April 17, 1995) and ScienceWatch (January 1995) as the second most cited author in forensic sciences in the world for the period 1981–1993.

Affiliations and Expertise

Research Professor in the National Center for Natural Products Research and Professor of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery, School of Pharmacy, University of Mississippi, USA

Ratings and Reviews

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  • DarrylKnight Mon Feb 17 2020

    I haven't read it all yet

    Nice book

  • DaveWilliams Wed Dec 26 2018

    Analytical chemistry of cannabis

    A broad overview with good references for further info. A good starting point.

  • AnitaUhlir Fri Jul 20 2018

    The analytical chemistry of cannabis

    Extremely informative, w/o taking sides on the issues. While i have only gotten about 25% into the text, i am finding the level of information to be quite high and still written so a non-chemist like myself can mostly follow the technical material.

  • GeoffreySmith Fri May 11 2018

    Good Introduction to Cannabis science

    This book is primarily an introduction to Cannabis science including the current regulatory environment. The title suggests that this is an analytical chemistry book but it is light on analytical chemistry. Nonetheless, I found the book very useful in providing me with background on the topic. The book is very well written and the authors have extensive experience with the different facets of Cannabis science.