Characterization of Algerian-Seized Hashish Over Eight Years (2011-2018). Part II: Chemical Categorization.

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. 2020 Aug 13.

doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.14533. Online ahead of print.

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Yacine Boumrah et al. J Forensic Sci. .

Abstract

In Algeria, large quantities of hashish are seized every year. This study aimed to investigate the total content of major cannabinoids in the illicit seized hashish in Algeria over an 8-year period (2011-2018) in order to establish the chemical profile of North African hashish. A total of 3265 hashish samples were analyzed using a validated high-performance liquid chromatography-diode array detection (HPLC-DAD) method, allowing the simultaneous quantification of both the acidic and the neutral forms of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabinol (CBN). The results revealed a slight upward trend in the mean THC content, from 7.0% in 2011 to 9.4% in 2018, with an overall mean value of 8.4%. The overall means of CBD and CBN content were 3.5% and 0.8%, respectively. The number of high-potency hashish samples gradually increased to reach 6% in 2018. Two distinct hashish chemotypes were identified: the highly populated chemotype II, corresponding to the traditional medium-potency hashish ([THC + CBN]/CBD ~ 2.16), and chemotype I, containing hashish samples of relatively high THC levels and low levels of CBD (ratio ~ 4.90). Both chemotypes I and II were characterized in the ternary plot, and the proportions (THC:CBD:CBN) were about 85%:13%:2% and 60%:35%:5%, respectively.

Keywords: North African hashish; cannabidiol; cannabinol; cannabis; criminalistics; forensic science; high-performance liquid chromatography-diode array detection; potency; Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol.

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