Researchers may get better access to marijuana if DEA follows through on latest pledge

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Image: Associated Press/Elaine Thompson

[August 26], the Drug Enforcement Administration announced plans to create new regulations to expand scientific and medical research on marijuana in the US. Scientists hope the proposal will allow additional growers to enter the supply chain and hopefully bump up the quality of the material.

The cannabis that researchers receive from [the National Institute on Drug Abuse] is “a moldy, green powder that is diluted with stems, sticks, leaves . . . it’s not just the flowering tops of the plants,” [researcher Sue Sisley of the Scottsdale Research Institute] says. Essentially, researchers are receiving suboptimal plant material that does not “mimic the real-world flower,” making it hard to replicate what individuals are using outside of research studies, she says. 

A study published on bioRxiv in 2016 confirmed Sisley’s assessment of the NIDA-contracted cannabis, which had 10–15 percent less THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, than the least potent cannabis sold at legal dispensaries, Science reported then. 

“The bottom line is scientists need access to options . . . we need to be able to access all of the diverse cultivars that are readily available in these regulated markets,” Sisley says.

Read full, original post: DEA Again Promises to Improve Access to Marijuana for Research

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