Ultrasound-Assisted Extraction of Cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa for Medicinal Purpose

The article published by Pharmaceutics reports the results of a study conducted by Innovhub SSI and the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Milan with the purpose of comparing different methods of extracting cannabinoids from hemp inflorescences and introducing an innovative method of extraction using an ultrasound system.


Over the past 20 years, the interest in Cannabis oily extracts for medicinal use compounded in pharmacy has consistently grown, along with the need to have preparations of adequate quality. Hot maceration (M) is the most frequently used method to compound oily solutions. In this work, we systematically studied the possibility of using an ultrasonic homogenizer and a sonotrode (US) as an alternative extraction method. Oily solutions were prepared using two available varieties of Cannabis for medicinal use, called FM2 and Bedrocan. All preparations resulted with an equivalent content in CBD and THC, with the advantage of a faster process using US. In particular, 10 min sonication at the amplitude optimized for the sonotrode used (2 or 7 mm) provides not statistically different total Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (M-FM2: 0.26 ± 0.02 % w/w; US-FM2: 0.19 ± 0.004 % w/w; M-Bedrocan: 1.83 ± 0.17 % w/w; US-Bedrocan: 1.98 ± 0.01 % w/w) and total cannabidiol (M-FM2: 0.59 ± 0.04 % w/w; US-FM2: 0.58 ± 0.01 % w/w) amounts extracted in refined olive oil. It can therefore be confirmed that sonotrode is an efficient and fast extraction technique and its use is without negative consequence on the solvent properties. Despite DSC evidencing that both maceration and sonication modify the Tonset and enthalpy of the event at about -10 °C, the qualitative characteristics of the oil remained constant for the two treatments and similar to the starting material.


- Antonella Casiraghi - University of Milan Pharm. Sci. Dept.
- Andrea Gentile - University of Milan Pharm. Sci. Dept.
- Francesca Selmin - University of Milan Pharm. Sci. Dept.
- Chiara G.M. Gennari - University of Milan Pharm. Sci. Dept.
- Paola Minghetti - University of Milan Pharm. Sci. Dept.
- Eleonora Casagni - University of Milan Pharm. Sci. Dept.
- Gabriella Roda - University of Milan Pharm. Sci. Dept.
- Gloria Pallotti - Innovhub SSI
- Pierangela Rovellini - Innovhub SSI

For more information please contact Pierangela Rovellini (pierangela.rovellini@mi.camcom.it).