Thanks to the burgeoning recreational marijuana industry, the U.S. government is beginning to look at cannabis use in a different light. While it still remains a Schedule I substance under federal law, the paradigm is still shifting. According to a new report from the AP, the U.S. is making a concerted effort to further study the effects of cannabis and is slated to grow the largest crop of marijuana plants in five years.
A Notable Crop Yield
The AP report states that the US will grow 2,000 kilograms, or 4,409 pounds, of cannabis at the University of Mississippi this year.
The marijuana is expected to be researched in several different forms, theoretically duplicating the variety of ways one can consume cannabis in today’s weed legal climate, such as vaporizing the plant, marijuana-based tinctures, edibles, and of course, smoking it through traditional rolling papers. It’s unclear at this time, however, which exact methods will be utilized.
Per an email from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to the Associated Press, the US wants to study cannabis products that more closely mirrors what is being sold in weed legal states. Currently, recreational marijuana is legal in 11 states—Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington—as well as the District of Columbia. Medicinal marijuana is now available in 33 states and DC.
For research purposes, the cannabis will be split into two main groupings—high THC and high CBD varieties. The main reason for these groups is to determine which type of plant works best for a variety of medical ailments.
“We want to study what our patients are using,” University of Colorado Assistant Professor Emily Lindley told the AP. Lindley is currently studying the effects of high THC strains on chronic back pain.
The Effects of THC and CBD
THC and CBD have widely different effects, but they have both displayed numerous medicinal benefits.
CBD—the nonpsychoactive component of cannabis—has proven to be effective for a variety of ailments, including anxiety, depression, and even neurological disorders like epilepsy.
Back in September, Epidolex, a CBD-based drug for epilepsy, became the first FDA-approved cannabis medication.
THC, on the other hand, has displayed a variety of pain-reducing and pain management qualities, making it a welcomed alternative to prescription opioids. There is even emerging evidence that it could possess certain neurological benefits and protections.
We will have to wait for some time to see the results of this latest study, however. The NIDA expects to see the results sometime in fall, following the harvest of the crop and corresponding analyses.