Metabolomics Services

The composition of bioactive compounds in cannabis-based products can differ, even if the starting material is homogeneous and standardized. This is due to the many different production practices employed in the manufacture of cannabis-based products. ICCI’s Accredited Metabolomics Services allow for the precise and detailed analysis of plants, extracts, oils, and other cannabis products. We offer several approaches to metabolomic analysis, and can customize the methods used for your samples so they are fit-for-purpose and meet your specific needs. 

Metabolomic profiling / fingerprinting

Metabolomic profiling / fingerprinting is the non-selective determination of all ionizable and detectable low molecular organic compounds that are present in a product. A metabolomic profile can be obtained by employing sample-specific analytical techniques, and combining them with high-resolution mass spectrometry as follows:

  • Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART) coupled with High Resolution Mass Spectrometry (HRMS)

  • Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography (U-HPLC) coupled with Tandem High Resolution Mass Spectrometry (HR MS/MS)

  • Gas Chromatography (GC) coupled with Tandem High Resolution Mass Spectrometry (HR MS/MS)

  • Supercritical Fluid Chromatography (SFC) coupled with Tandem High Resolution Mass Spectrometry (HR MS/MS)


The main benefits of HRMS are high accuracy, high specificity, low detection and quantification limits, and the ability to identify biomarkers of effect.

Metabolomic analysis is a scientific breakthrough technology, which, when applied to cannabis-based products, allows for superior speed and accuracy in identifying and characterizing product constituents.


Target screening / profiling of phytocannabinoids and other bioactive compounds

ICCI has amassed an analytical database of over 240 phytocannabinoids, and 150 other bioactive compounds (e.g. flavonoids, phenols, terpenoids, amides, fatty acids, phytosterols, spermidine alkaloids, etc.). This database, coupled with the use of the U-HPLC–HRMS/MS technique, allows us to precisely identify and create a complete metabolomic profile of all major and minor phytocannabinoids, as well as other bioactive compounds that may play a significant role in the overall biological effect of the cannabis plant or cannabis-based product.


For example, the below profile of four different cannabis extracts, with detected phytocannabinoids (in green) and other bioactive compounds (in red). The detailed report that accompanies these plots includes a list of the identified compounds and their associated characteristics. 

Library of metabolomics data

ICCI has built a unique biological library of cannabis cultivar and whole plant product metabolomics data, that characterizes and catalogs the full spectrum of compounds (known and unknown) from each analysed cannabis matrix. This library is an invaluable tool for many applications including matching cannabis metabolomics profiles with specific medical conditions for optimal clinical trial design and personalized treatment recommendations, as well as addressing challenges in cannabis cultivation and agriculture systems.

Metabolomic tools

Applications of ICCI’s Metabolomics Services include:

  • Identification of new cannabis compounds with unique structures and/or therapeutic effects

  • Matching of metabolomics profiles with specific medical conditions for optimal clinical trial design and treatment recommendations

  • Evaluation of plant breeding and quality 

  • Evaluation of a plant’s metabolic changes in response to environmental conditions

  • Comparison of the total metabolite, phytocannabinoid and other bioactive compound profiles found in different cannabis varieties and chemotypes, or plant parts (e.g. flowers, seeds, leaves, stem, roots, etc.)

  • Identification of optimal extraction methods and conditions that lead to a high yield of phytocannabinoids and other desired compounds 

  • Documentation of metabolite changes after heat exposure

  • Authentication of cannabis plants or products

  • Standardization of cannabis plants, products or production technologies (e.g. batch-to-batch comparison) for various healthcare sectors

  • Preparedness for entry into markets where medical cannabis is subject to strict regulations



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