marijuana heat signature

Is it true that marijuana plants give off heart, and can easibly be found in crop fields with thermal camera?

I heard from a friend that alot of people try to grow weed in corn fields, but police helicopters can see them because they give off alot of heat? Is this true?

6 Answers

Not only marijuana, but every plant has it’s own unique infrared signature. With the right equipment a single marijuana plant can be picked out of a field of corn or any other type of plants. Helicopter surveillance is the way most marijuana patches are located and destroyed. So no matter how deep in the country you go, you can’t hide.

These answers are correct. Plants do indeed give off their own individual infra-red signatures that can be picked up by satellites orbiting the earth. This information can be sent to law enforcement on the ground and the crop can easily be destroyed.

But I think your friend may be referring to something else. Law enforcement use a heat sensing devise when they chase a suspect, especially at night. In the past they have used this heat sensing devise to look into people’s homes to see if they had the extremely hot lamps needed to grow the marijuana plants.

On June 11, 2001, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5 to 4 that “where the government uses a device that is not in general public use to explore details of the home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a ‘search’ and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant”.

The court upheld the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution and law enforcement could no longer point the heat sensing devise at a person’s home without a warrant.

Of course, if they had a warrant, they could.

In addition, there is no violation of the constitution in looking down on land from space to see marijuana growing in a field.

I heard from a friend that alot of people try to grow weed in corn fields, but police helicopters can see them because they give off alot of heat? Is this true?

Marijuana heat signature

I’ve heard of rasberry/blackberry bushes as well as corn and tomatoes giving off the same heat.

Fact or fiction?

“Marijuana may not be addictive, but growing it is” – ED Rosenthal

Maine Caregiver In 100% compliance with Maine state laws.

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In general, plants do not give off heat unless there is brown fat metabolism (see skunk cabbage) which is quite rare. On the other hand, plants can absorb energy from the sun and emit it at certain wavelengths (infrared in the case of heat) which can distinguish between plant species due to emission of a particular wavelength patten. So the question is not too far off in left field.

In the case of marijuana, there have been a number of studies to try to increase law-enforcements ability to locate plants amongst the local vegetation remotely so its spectral signatures are quite well established. Much to our benefit, Cannabis is very hard to detect except for its reflection in the visible range (the distinct emerald green color of its leaves) so it is most often found using human “spotters” in helicopters. With that in mind, try to find plants that have similar colored leaves and perhaps more importantly, the same growth form (ie: herbaceous bushes). Don’t plant in the middle of a stand of old growth oaks for instance.

Here is a USDA publication that can perhaps shed a bit more light on the subject:
USDA (gov web site, enter at your own risk)

Here is an excerpt from the article for those of us that don’t like referrer links:

Successful detection of outdoor illegal Cannabis cultivation with remote sensing would be of considerable help to law enforcement agencies. It is assumed that remote sensing will rely on the spectral signatures of Cannabis plant canopies as the primary indicator. The spectral reflectance of Cannabis was examined using laboratory, field and airborne measurements. Results thus far include: 1) leaf and canopy spectral reflectance of Cannabis exhibit characteristics of other green plants, 2) nadir spectral signatures do not have stable, unique absorption features suitable for a reference signature, 3) the “emerald green” (blue-green) color of Cannabis results from specular reflectance of blue sky light and small particle scattering from microscopic structures on the surface of Cannabis leaves, 4) spectral contrast between Cannabis and other plant canopies appears most significant for green, red edge and short wave infrared wavelengths, 5) spectral contrasts between Cannabis and tree species appear greater than spectral differences with other herbaceous species, 6) isolation of Cannabis canopy spectral signatures during land cover classification may be difficult using visible-near infrared systems, and 7) researchers investigating detection technologies must be kept aware of the trends of growers to conceal sites. Analysis of the essential elements of information associated with illegal Cannabis cultivation offers other possibilities for detection with remote sensing. Ultimately, remote sensing will be most effective when used with a probability-of-occurrence/Cannab is cultivation site prediction model from the Counter Drug ” Geographical Regional Assessment Sensor System (CD-GRASS).

Check out the link for a bit more in-depth info if you are interested. I hope that helped you a bit. Good luck and stay safe!

I’ve heard of rasberry/blackberry bushes as well as corn and tomatoes giving off the same heat. Fact or fiction? discuss