Stable isotope models to predict geographic origin and cultivation conditions of marijuana. Academic Article uri icon


  • Here we describe stable isotope based models using hydrogen and carbon isotope ratios to predict geographic region-of-origin and growth environment for marijuana, with the intent of applying these models to analyses of marijuana trafficking in the USA. The models were developed on the basis of eradication specimens and border specimens seized throughout the USA. We tested reliability of the geographic region-of-origin and growth environment models with a "blind" set of 60 marijuana eradication specimens obtained from counties throughout the USA. The two geographic region-of-origin model predictions were 60-67% reliable and cultivation environment model predictions were 86% accurate for the blind specimens. We demonstrate here that stable isotope ratio analysis of marijuana seizures can significantly improve our understanding of marijuana distribution networks and it is for that purpose that these models were developed.

published proceedings

  • Sci Justice

altmetric score

  • 7.6

author list (cited authors)

  • Hurley, J. M., West, J. B., & Ehleringer, J. R.

citation count

  • 38

complete list of authors

  • Hurley, Janet M||West, Jason B||Ehleringer, James R

publication date

  • January 2010