Development and validation of LC-MS/MS method with QuEChERS clean-up for detecting cannabinoids in foods and dietary supplements.

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a rapid and simple liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method was developed and validated for the determination of cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) using a QuEChERS (Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged, and Safe) clean-up for a variety of foods and dietary supplements (DS). QuEChERS is widely used in extraction or clean-up procedures to eliminate interference of matrices such as sugars, organic acids, lipids, and fatty acids. The samples were categorised into three types, and various pretreatment methods were compared for each type. In all types, the QuEChERS was superior and selected as the final pretreatment method. The optimised method was validated for specificity, limit of detection (LOD), limit of quantification (LOQ), linearity, recovery, precision and accuracy. All of the validation results met the requirements of the international guidelines for all types of samples. The validated method was applied to 30 commercial food samples, CBD was detected in 17 samples, with 2 of them detected below the LOQ level and the rest detected in a range of 70 μg/kg to 31305 mg/kg (3.1%, w/w). Meanwhile, THC was detected in 14 samples; 2 of them were detected below the LOQ level and the rest detected in a 0.08-98.62 μg/g range. These results indicated that the validated method can be successfully applied for the determination of cannabinoids in a variety of samples. Furthermore, it will be useful for controlling the illegal distribution of cannabinoids.

Keywords: Cannabinoid; LC-MS/MS; QuEChERS; cannabidiol; tetrahydrocannabinol.

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