The detailed chemical database resulting from the analyses of thousands of cannabis flower samples from an artificially geographically restricted area can serve as the basis for the development of a chemotaxonomic classification scheme outside of conjectural cultivar naming by strain. Chemotaxonomic classification schemes for cannabis cultivars have previously been reported by others based largely on cannabis strains grown under an unregulated testing environment or in Europe from strains grown by a single cultivator. In this study 2,237 individual cannabis flower samples, representing 204 individual strains across 27 cultivators in a tightly regulated Nevada cannabis testing market, were analyzed across 11 cannabinoids and 19 terpenoids. Even though 98.3% of the samples were from Type I cannabis strains with high THCA content, principal component analysis (PCA) of the combined chemometric dataset resulted in three distinct clusters that were distinguishable by terpenoid profiles alone.
Dr. Cindy Orser commented, “We propose that three terpenoid cluster