Detection and identification of cannabis by DNA

Adrian Linacre, James Thorpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


The unambiguous identification of illicit substances, including Cannabis sativa, is a major concern of law enforcement agencies. Current methods of cannabis identification involve the use of techniques such as HPLC and GC to identify cannabinoids. A method for the identification of cannabis using DNA-specific primers has been developed and is described here. The nucleotide sequences between the trnL and trnF genes in the chloroplast of Cannabis sativa have been determined and Cannabis sativa-specific nucleotide sequences within the intergenic spacer between the trnL 3' exon and trnF gene identified. Primers, made to these sequences, have been tested on a range of different plant extracts but only give a PCR product in the presence of Cannabis sativa. The successful production of a PCR product using these primers identifies the presence of cannabis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-76
Number of pages6
JournalForensic Science International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Cannabis
  • Chloroplast
  • Drug trafficking
  • Forensic


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