Cannabis researchers in the United States are being forced to conduct their studies using marijuana grown by the federal government. Many of them say that Uncle Sam isn’t giving them what they need. If a scientist in the U.S. wants to do an official study of cannabis the only way to legally get the weed they need is to get it from the federal government’s supply. Since 1968 the U.S. government has contracted with the University of Mississippi to grow for cannabis researchers.
Critics of the system have long argued that Ole Miss has been given a monopoly as the government’s only supplier of legal marijuana.
As a result, marijuana researchers face some severe limitations when it comes to the varieties of weed they can get their hands-on. And these restrictions could make it hard for scientists to do thorough studies of marijuana’s health benefits.
What is the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is the agency that runs the government’s marijuana program. It oversees the contract with the University of Mississippi and plays a vital role in making marijuana available to researchers.
A quick look at the NIDA’s website reveals some of the limitations the government’s system places on researchers.
Researchers can only get cannabis with THC levels between 2% and 6.7% and CBD levels between 0.02% and 0.08%.
Those numbers are all relatively small, especially when you consider that you can easily get cannabis and cannabis products with much higher levels of THC and CBD at virtually any dispensary in the country.
Take, for example, Native Roots dispensaries in Colorado. They sell a strain of cannabis called Alien OG that has a THC level just under 28%. They also sell a CBD-rich strain called Harlequin that has 7.8% CBD.
And other strains are even higher in both THC and CBD. Charlotte’s Web, for example, has 20% CBD and has become known as a powerful form of medicinal cannabis.
What does it mean?
What all this means is that researchers in the U.S. can’t study the kinds of strains and potencies that people use. They’re stuck using the weak, low THC; low CBD strains Uncle Sam produces.
And some researchers are getting sick of it.
Dr. Sue Sisley recently said that the entire system “sabotages an efficacy study from the beginning.”
She also states that she’s asked the NIDA for cannabis with 12% THC and 12% CBD, and the government couldn’t get it for her.
Many critics of this system have suggested that it will be impossible for researchers to do a thorough study on cannabis as long as they’re forced to use such a limited range of cannabis strains.
What are your thoughts?