Photograph by Raina and Wilson
Marijuana is the most widespread abused, trafficked, and consumed drug in America. Although marijuana remains illegal by federal law, approximately two-thirds of the state governments have legalized it for medical or recreational purposes. In this paper we examine the chemical complexities of cannabis sativa with an overview of profiling techniques. This provides the forensic community with insight on the use of different profiling methods as potential tools in assessing the identification and origin of cannabis samples to support interdiction efforts. Additionally, this study provides forensic practitioners with relevant information about specificity, discriminatory power, scope, and limitations of different profiling methods for the determination of the source origin of marijuana samples. Ultimately, chemical profiling techniques offer forensic laboratories a path forward in establishing links between grow operations, trafficking routes and supply chains, which can ultimately assist in interdiction efforts and unwarranted unnecessary prosecutions.