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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Cannabinoid Profile and Elemental Uptake of Cannabis sativa L. as Influenced by Soil Characteristics1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 67 No. 4, p. 491-497
    Received: Nov 14, 1974

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  1. C. B. Coffman and
  2. W. A. Gentner2



The consumption of Cannabis products (marihuana) derived from domestic and foreign sources persists in the United States despite its illegality and health hazards. The objectives of this investigation were: 1) to evaluate relationships between soil and plant elements, cannabinoids, and growth of Cannabis sativa L., and 2) to evaluate the practicality of using chemical analysis of Cannabis products to determine their geographic origin. Knowledge of geographic origin is useful to governmental agencies investigating illicit narcotic traffic.

Cannabis sativa L. was grown on 11 different soils for 45 days in the greenhouse. Soils differed significantly in 15 measured elements and pH. Plants were grown from seed of Afghan origin. The following cannabinoids were extracted and measured from leaf tissue: cannabicyclol (CCC), cannabidiol (CBD), Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9THC), and cannabinol (CBN). Fifteen elements measured in leaf tissue and correlated with soil and cannabinoid measurements. Soil pH was negatively correlated with leaf concentrations of Mn, Fe, Zn, and S. Extractable soil Mg was negatively correlated with N, Δ9THC and CBD concentrations in leaf tissue (p < 0.05). Plant height was negatively correlated with Δ9THC concentration, suggesting enhancement of the narcotic principle of marihuana when grown under stress. Extractable soil P2O5 was negatively correlated with CBD concentration while extractable soil Zn was positively correlated with CCC concentration. Several correlations between soil and plant characteristics having potential value for determination of geographic origin of marihuana were elucidated. However, environmental, harvesting, and analytical procedures used by different workers which do not conform to one another could result in changes in the soil-plant correlations reported herein. Thus, additional studies are required before determination of the geographic origin of Cannabis products by foliar analysis becomes feasible.

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