According to newly published research, the research-grade cannabis sourced from the only federally licensed cultivator (Mississippi University) is closer to hemp than the commercially available cannabis in the states where cannabis is legal.
The findings of this research bring into question the outcomes of the marijuana studies which have been conducted using the cannabis from the Mississippi farm. Do the results really help researchers to understand the real-world effects of cannabis?
Earlier research had demonstrated that the marijuana grown at the University of Mississippi using funds obtained from NIDA (National Institutes on Drug Abuse) had lower concentrations of THC and CBD when compared to the cannabis products that are commercially available.
However, the researchers from the University of Northern Colorado wanted to go a step further and compare the genetic composition of the federally-approved cannabis and what is on the market in states where cannabis is legal.
The researchers therefore obtained about 49 samples of hemp and cannabis taken from what is on the market and what NIDA avails to federally-approved research teams. The samples included sativa, indica and hybrid varieties of marijuana currently available on the market.
After analyzing these samples, the research team was surprised to find that the cannabis supplied by NIDA differed so much from what was on the market. The research-grade cannabis proved to be genetically closer to hemp rather than being similar to the cannabis consumers were accessing legally.
This outcome provides food for thought when one is thinking about using cannabis from NIDA to do research. If the research is focused on THC or CBD as standalone components, then the cannabis from Mississippi University can suffice.
However, if the study is intended to understand what effects cannabis has on the patients or recreational users, then the NIDA products aren’t appropriate since their use won’t mirror what people are consuming.
The findings of this Colorado study provide more momentum to the calls for expanding the federally-approved cultivators of research-grade cannabis in the U.S. While calls for interested parties to cultivate cannabis for research purposes were published, the Department of Justice has been very slow in processing the applications, so Mississippi University is still the sole federal source of cannabis for research purposes.
William Barr, the new U.S. Attorney General, has promised to look into the matter and take the necessary steps. Phivida Holdings Inc. (CSE: VIDA) (OTCQX: PHVAF) and Plus Products Inc. (CSE: PLUS) (OTCQB: PLPRF) hope that the research from the University of Northern Colorado triggers a sense of urgency in bringing more cultivators on board so that researchers can access cannabis of the right quality.
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