|Authors: ||S. Casano , G. Grassi, V. Martini , M. Michelozzi|
|Keywords: ||aroma volatiles, cannabinoids, chemosystematic studies, medical effects, monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes|
Secondary compounds of the plant are indispensable to cope with its often hostile environment and the great chemical diversity and variability of intraspecific and interspecific secondary metabolism is the result of natural selection.
Recognition of the biological properties of secondary compounds have increased their great utility for human uses; numerous compounds now are receiving particular attention from the pharmaceutical industry and are important sources of a wide variety of commercially useful base products.
Medical and other effects of Cannabis sativa L. are due to concentration and balance of various active secondary metabolites, particularly the cannabinoids, but including also a wide range of terpenoids and flavonoids.
A wide qualitative and quantitative variability in cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids contents in Cannabis species are apparent from reports in the literature.
Terpenes are strongly inherited and little influenced by environmental factors and, therefore, have been widely used as biochemical marker in chemosystematic studies to characterize plant species, provenances, clones, and hybrids.
This study investigated the variability of terpene profiles in C. sativa. The terpene composition in inflorescences of samples collected from progenies of 16 plants derived from different strains was analysed by GC/FID. The amount of each terpene (in sufficient quantities to be considered in statistical analysis) was expressed as a percentage of total terpenes.
Results showed a large variation between different strains in the relative contents for several mono-terpenes (α-pinene, camphene, β-pinene, sabinene, Δ-3-carene, α-phellandrene, β-myrcene, α-terpinene, limonene, 1.8-cineole, γ-terpinene, cis-β-ocimene, trans-β-ocimene, α-terpinolene) and one sesquiterpene, β-caryophyllene.
This variability in terpene composition can provide a potential tool for the characterization of Cannabis biotypes and warrant further research to evaluate the drug’s medical value and, at the same time, to select less susceptible chemotypes to the attack of herbivores and diseases.
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