US growing largest crop of marijuana for research in 5 years

The U.S. government is growing the largest crop of research marijuana in five years, responding to interest in varieties with high levels of THC and CBD.

The government is the only source of pot for nearly all research in the U.S., while it still considers it illegal and dangerous.

Scientists have asked for weed that more closely matches what’s sold in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana, the National Institute on Drug Abuse said in an email Thursday to The Associated Press.

The federal agency said it plans to grow 2,000 kilograms (4,409 pounds) this year at the University of Mississippi, which holds the sole federal contract for producing marijuana. That’s enough for 5 million joints, although the government provides the marijuana in different forms.

The crop will be divided between high THC and high CBD varieties with “recent interest (in CBD) as a potential medicine for a number of medical conditions,” NIDA said. The compound THC causes pot’s mind-altering effect; CBD doesn’t get people high.

Last year, a CBD-based drug was approved by federal regulators for two rare seizure disorders and researchers are pursuing research on it for other conditions. Others are focused on THC.

“We want to study what our patients are using,” said University of Colorado Assistant Professor Emily Lindley, who is investigating marijuana with high THC as an alternative to opioids for chronic back pain.

Lindley and other researchers want others besides the University of Mississippi to get federal authorization to grow research pot. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration created an application process for growers, but has not acted on more than two dozen applications. In June, Scottsdale Research Institute in Arizona asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to order the DEA to process the applications.

“We are still working through the process and those applications remain under review,” said DEA spokeswoman Katherine Pfaff in an email Thursday. She declined to comment on the litigation.

In response to questions from the AP, NIDA said there had been no major increase in demand for cannabis by researchers in recent years. Last year, 20 researchers got shipments of government marijuana, much of it from frozen cannabis grown in 2014. Since 2010, the number of researchers receiving government marijuana has ranged from eight to 21.

Researchers should be able to obtain material from the new crop in the fall after harvest and analyses are completed, NIDA said.

Just Posted

Study says rents in most cities are unaffordable for lower-income earners

OTTAWA — A minimum-wage worker could afford to rent in just a… Continue reading

Ontario man calls out Eric Trump for tweet that used son’s image

An Ontario man is calling out a member of the Trump family… Continue reading

Maskwacis RCMP investigate deaths of toddlers found in body of water

MASKWACIS, Alta. — Alberta RCMP are investigating the deaths of a young… Continue reading

Premier kicks off Westerner Days with optimistic message

Premier Jason Kenney spoke at Westerner Days President’s Lunch after participating in parade

Six central Alberta companies nominated for building awards

BILD Awards ceremony takes place on Sept. 13

Devers hits solo shot, drives in 4; Red Sox beat Jays 5-4

Red Sox 5 Blue Jays 4 BOSTON — Rafael Devers hit a… Continue reading

Argonauts still looking for first win as they face Stampeders on road

CALGARY — Dave Dickenson warned that the Calgary Stampeders can’t take a… Continue reading

Natural gas producers demand government action in open letter to Kenney

CALGARY — The CEOs of nine Alberta natural gas producers have released… Continue reading

Fundraiser helps combat stigma of addiction

A fundraiser for the Safe Harbour Society to educate about opioid addiction was held on July 13

High school a top priority for Blackfalds

Revised capital plan also comes from extensive, collaborative dialogue with the Town of Blackfalds

Seamus O’Regan faces calls to visit Attawapiskat during state of emergency

OTTAWA — Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan faced calls Wednesday from the… Continue reading

Trudeau to push trade pact in EU leaders’ summit as France moves ahead on CETA

MONTREAL — Lawmakers in France begin their ratification of the comprehensive trade… Continue reading

Most Read