Within the unavoidable variability of various origins in the characteristics of essential oils, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the distillation time on the chemical composition and biological activity of Cannabis sativa essential oils (EOs). The dry inflorescences came from Carmagnola, Kompolti, Futura 75, Gran Sasso Kush and Carmagnola Lemon varieties from Abruzzo region (Central Italy), the last two being new cultivar here described for the first time. EOs were collected at 2 h and 4 h of distillation; GC/MS technique was applied to characterize their volatile fraction. The EOs were evaluated for total polyphenol content (TPC), antioxidant capacity (AOC) and antimicrobial activity against food-borne pathogens and spoilage bacteria. The time of distillation particularly influenced EOs chemical composition, extracting more or less terpenic components, but generally enriching with minor sesquiterpenes and cannabidiol. A logical response in ratio of time was observed for antioxidant potential, being the essential oils at 4 h of distillation more active than those distilled for 2 h, and particularly Futura 75. Conversely, except for Futura 75, the effect of time on the antimicrobial activity was variable and requires further investigations; nevertheless, the inhibitory activity of all EOs against Pseudomonas fluorescens P34 was an interesting result.
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