Article by David Yasvinski, Growth Op
Police forces of the future may come equipped with handheld lasers.
Similarities in the appearance and odour of hemp and marijuana plants have confounded authorities for years, prompting researchers to step up efforts to develop a reliable method of distinguishing the difference between the two.
A team of researchers at Texas A&M University may have done just that, according to Marijuana Moment. The researchers found that by using Raman spectroscopy (RS), a laser-based analytical tool, they were able to determine whether plant material is hemp or cannabis with 100 percent accuracy.
“This analytic technique is based on inelastic light scattering of photons, which excite molecules in the sample to higher vibrational or rotational states,” researchers explained in the published study.
“After these inelastically scattered photons are collected by a spectrometer, the change in the photon energy is determined. Since the change in the photon energy will directly depend on the vibrational properties of the sample, RS can be used to probe structure and composition of analyzed specimen,” they wrote.
Researchers noted they have previously used the technique to identify the presence of urine on a police uniform and to “diagnose biotic and abiotic stress in plants.”
The spectrometer has also shown the potential to distinguish between various strains of marijuana by measuring plant potency, researchers said. It does this by detecting delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) — a non-intoxicating compound — that is converted to THC when heated.
“(W)e can speculate that RS allows to predict the amount of THC in the analyzed sample without necessary oxidation of THCA to THC,” they said.