PubMed: OILVEQ: an Italian external quality control scheme for cannabinoids analysis in galenic preparations of cannabis oil

PubMed: OILVEQ: an Italian external quality control scheme for cannabinoids analysis in galenic preparations of cannabis oil

Clin Chem Lab Med. 2024 May 13. doi: 10.1515/cclm-2024-0311. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: Italy legalized cannabis oil for specific medical conditions (neuropathic pain, refractory epilepsy and other established pathologies) in 2015, but mandates titration of principal cannabinoids before marketing each batch using iphenated techniques coupled with mass spectrometry. To assess reliability of laboratories from the Italian National Health Service in charge of titrating the batches, the Italian National Institute of Health set up an quality control program on determination of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol l (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid A (THCA-A) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) in cannabis oil preparations.

METHODS: Two rounds of exercises have been carried out since 2019, involving sixteen Italian laboratories. Five different cannabis oil samples (19-1A and 19-1B for the first round and 22-1A, 22-1B and 22-1C for the second one were prepared and 1 mL amount of each sample was sent to the laboratories. The quantitative performance of each laboratory was assessed calculating the z-score value, a statistical measurement for value’s relationship to the mean of a group of values.

RESULTS: In the first round, eight out of fourteen laboratories employed an LC-MS while the remaining six used GC-MS. Differently, in the second round, six out of eleven laboratories employed a GC-MS while the remaining five used LC-MS. In the first round, only 28.6 % laboratories achieved an acceptable performance (z-score±2), and all of them used LC-MS as analytical method. In the second round, none of the laboratories achieved an acceptable performance. Satisfactory results, based on z-scores, were generally low (0.0-75.0 %), with only one exception of 100 % for THCA-A determination in sample 22-1B. In the second round, three false negatives (two THC and one CBD by GC-MS determination) were reported while no false positives were described in the blank sample. The two rounds yielded a mean ERR% of 42 % approximately and a mean CV% around 70 % in GC-MS determination. When applying LC-MS determination, the two rounds yielded a mean ERR% of 36 % approximately and a mean CV% around 33 %.

CONCLUSIONS: The obtained results underline the need for a clear and consistent protocol to be adopted by all laboratories intending to include the titration of oily cannabis-based products into their routinely analytical techniques. This emphasis on methodology standardization and participation to quality control schemes is essential for ensuring reliable and accurate measurements, ultimately enhancing the overall effectiveness and reliability of medical cannabis treatments.

PMID:38727000 | DOI:10.1515/cclm-2024-0311 May 10, 2024 10:00 am