A pilot study on the use of neutron activation analysis and multivariate statistics for the provenance of Jamaican Cannabis sativa L (Marijuana)

Forensic Sci Int. 2022 Jun:335:111303. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2022.111303. Epub 2022 Apr 8.


The aim of this study was to use instrumental neutron activation analysis and multivariate analysis to determine the provenance of Jamaican Cannabis sativa L. Sixty-three samples were collected from various areas in Jamaica, with no other data but their known or self-reported growing regions. The samples were analysed for Al, As, Br, Ca, Cd, Co, Cs, Fe, K, La, Mg, Mn, Na, Rb, Sb, Sc, Sm, Sr, V, and Zn. The resulting elemental data were statistically evaluated using agglomerative hierarchical cluster analysis and principal component analysis. Cluster analysis was able to group the samples into their known or reported growing regions with a high degree of accuracy. Principal component analysis was also able to elucidate some of the underlying geochemical factors that could explain the clustering. These included the underlying bauxitic geochemistry and the influence of fertilizer inputs. Of the analysed elements, Al, As, Cd, Co, Fe, K, La, Mg, Mn, Sc, Sm, V, and Zn appear to be most significant in identifying the growing regions of the cannabis samples. Results indicate the promise of this methodology with an increased dataset and potentially further refinement of the identifying elements.

Keywords: Cannabis sativa L; Geographic origin; Marijuana; Multivariate analysis; Neutron activation analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Cadmium / analysis
  • Cannabis*
  • Humans
  • Jamaica
  • Neutron Activation Analysis / methods
  • Pilot Projects
  • Trace Elements*


  • Trace Elements
  • Cadmium