The ability of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) inflorescence extract to counteract lipid oxidation was studied in stripped linseed oil. The ethanolic extract was characterized in terms of terpenes (6.00 mg/mL), cannabidiol (4.99% w/w), phenolic compounds (1.80 mg gallic acid equivalents (GAE)/mL), antiradical, and metal ion-chelating activities (50% effective concentration (EC50) of 2.47 mg/mL and 0.39 mg/mL, respectively). The stripped linseed oil, used as control (CO), was mixed with hemp extract (HO) or α-tocopherol (EO) at a ratio of 0.6% (w/w) and stored for 7 days in darkness at 40 °C. Hemp extract reduced the oxidation and lipolysis processes. At the end of the storage, HO showed a significantly higher level of α-linolenic acid (ALA; 26.64 g/100 g), lower peroxide value (PV) (21.19 meq O2/kg oil), and lower hexanal content (7.67 mmol/kg oil) than those found in the control. In contrast, EO showed a marked lipolysis (the free fatty acids increased by 42.57%) and a noticeable oxidation, since the ALA content decreased by 2.10% and a PV of 50 meq O2/kg oil was observed. This study demonstrates that hemp inflorescences can be used as a source of natural antioxidants in vegetable oils and lipid products to retard their oxidation, especially those characterized by a high degree of unsaturation.
Keywords: Cannabis; antioxidants; linseed oil; lipid oxidation; terpenoids.