Characterizing the Smell of Marijuana by Odor Impact of Volatile Compounds: An Application of Simultaneous Chemical and Sensory Analysis

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Abstract

Recent US legislation permitting recreational use of marijuana in certain states brings the use of marijuana odor as probable cause for search and seizure to the forefront of forensic science, once again. This study showed the use of solid-phase microextraction with multidimensional gas chromatography—mass spectrometry and simultaneous human olfaction to characterize the total aroma of marijuana. The application of odor activity analysis offers an explanation as to why high volatile chemical concentration does not equate to most potent odor impact of a certain compound. This suggests that more attention should be focused on highly odorous compounds typically present in low concentrations, such as nonanal, decanol, o-cymene, benzaldehyde, which have more potent odor impact than previously reported marijuana headspace volatiles.

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Rice, S., & Koziel, J. A. (2015). Characterizing the Smell of Marijuana by Odor Impact of Volatile Compounds: An Application of Simultaneous Chemical and Sensory Analysis. PLoS ONE, 10(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0144160

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