Hyperspectral Imaging with Chemometrics for Non-Destructive Determination of Cannabinoids in Floral and Leaf Materials of Industrial Hemp (Cannabis Sativa L.)

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Computers and Electronics in Agriculture






Elsevier BV

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With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) has become a legal and economically promising crop commodity for U.S. farmers. There has been a surge of interest in growing industrial hemp for producing cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD), because of their medical potential. Quantitative determination of cannabinoids in harvested materials (primarily floral tissues) is critical for cannabinoid production and compliance testing. The concentrations of cannabinoids in hemp materials are conventionally determined using wet-chemistry chromatographic methods, which require destructive sampling, and are time-consuming, costly, and thus not suitable for on-site rapid testing. This study presents a novel effort to utilize hyperspectral imaging technology for non-destructive quantification of major cannabinoids, including CBD, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBG (cannabigerol) and their acid forms in fresh floral and leaf materials of industrial hemp on a dry weight basis. Hyperspectral images in the wavelength range of 400–1000 nm were acquired from floral and leaf tissues immediately after harvest from a total of 100 industrial hemp plants of five cultivars at varied growth stages. Linear discriminant analysis showed hyperspectral imaging could identify CBD-rich/poor and THC-legal/illegal flower samples with accuracies of 99% and 97%, respectively. Quantitative models based on full-spectrum PLS (partial least squares) achieved prediction accuracies of RPD (ratio of prediction to deviation) = 2.5 (corresponding R2 = 0.84) for CBD and THC in floral tissues. Similar accuracies were obtained for their acid forms in flower samples. The predictions for CBG and its acid form in floral tissues and all six cannabinoids in leaf tissues were unsatisfactory with noticeably lower RPD values. Consistently improved accuracies were obtained by parsimonious PLS models based on a wavelength selection procedure for minimized variable collinearity. The best RPD values of approximately 2.6 (corresponding R2 = 0.85) were obtained for CBD and THC in floral materials. This study demonstrates the utility of hyperspectral imaging as a potential valuable tool for rapid quantification of cannabinoids in industrial hemp.

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