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Study of part of locally cultivated cannabis on Belgian market of the drug (GEOCAN)

Research project DR/34 (Research action DR)

Persons :

Description :

Cannabis is the most frequently used drug of misuses in Europe. Three million European people are using cannabis each day; 20 millions have consumed cannabis at least one time during the past year. The 20th century has discovered a new problem: cannabis is now cultivated and produced locally, in Europe. However, cannabis cultivation is prohibited, if hemp is not dedicated to textile industry.
Our project has two goals:

- to analyze cannabis seedlings regularly during the growth, in different conditions, in order to evaluate THC and CBD concentrations in relation with age and variety of the plants (drug type or fibber type);

- when dried flowers or “herb” are discovered, it is important to know if samples are collected from locally cultivated cannabis or from imported plants (national or cross-border production or importation).

In order to achieve these goals, we will use a large panel of methods:
• first, this project will realize a juridical comparison of different laws concerning cannabis cultivation and detention in Europe;
• an evaluation of THC/CBD in plants at different times of growth of different species will be performed;
• use of various analytical methods (DNA analysis, IRMS, ICP-MS and GC-MS) will be performed to try to identify a particularity that could be specific for locally cultivated cannabis in order to differentiate the production area and, if possible, to establish positive links between different criminal affairs.
Such a fingerprinting of cannabis will give information’s about the geographical origin of cannabis and should allow evaluating part of local production.

The project will have an important contribution to the Federal Drug Policy:
- complete information on THC/CBD ratio during cannabis growth will allow to identify the plant type of a confiscated plant immediately;
- fingerprinting of cannabis will give informations about the geographical origin of cannabis; hereby, if a large part of cannabis samples are of "local" origin, it will contribute to Policy decisions about importance of the problem.
All the used approaches that will be performed to analyse seeds and plants, will be evaluated and the best combination of methods will be proposed for further routine investigations.

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