The United States has historically trailed behind other countries in giving scientists in the country the ability to conduct marijuana research. For decades, the only cannabis anyone in the U.S. could use for marijuana research came from a farm run by the University of Mississippi.
Scientists complained about the quality of the cannabis from Mississippi, saying it couldn’t touch what consumers can buy at their local dispensary. Others complained that the DEA continued to drag its feet even after announcing it would allow more producers to grow research cannabis.
All that changed in the past year. The DEA announced in 2021 that it is accepting applications from weed manufacturers, and recently called for doubling the amount of weed used for cannabis research in 2023.
In their notice announcing the change, DEA officials wrote that the decision comes from a need “to support manufacturing activities related to the increased level of research and clinical trials with these Schedule I controlled substances.”
President Biden Wants More Marijuana Research
The decision is in line with what President Joe Biden has advocated since at least the presidential campaign in 2020 – more cannabis research to determine the potential uses of marijuana as well as any dangers. Biden also recently asked for a review of marijuana’s status as an illegal Schedule I drug, the highest level of illegal drug.
The DEA’s proposal calls for growing 6.7 million grams of cannabis for research in 2023. That equates to about 14,771 pounds of weed. That’s up from 3.2 million grams in 2021 and 2 million in 2020.
The DEA should have no trouble in getting more cannabis grown for research. At the beginning of 2022, the agency approved additional marijuana manufacturers. They now can apply to become a contracted supplier for cannabis used in research.
What This Means For Consumers
Marijuana research has been central to the growth in popularity for cannabis. Consumers interested in trying the wide variety of products in the cannabis marketplace benefit from having information about the potential uses of marijuana.
For example, studies – many of them in Israel and Canada – have found uses for cannabis that included treatment of chronic pain, insomnia, PTSD, and anxiety. And the scope of studies keeps expanding. A recently launched study, for example, is investigating the potential uses of cannabis for those with Parkinson’s disease.
The DEA also asked for an increase in the amounts of cannabis grown with “all other THC,” a move that is likely happening because of the increased popularity of Delta-8 THC. The increase is from 2,000 grams to 15,000 grams.
The notice is scheduled for publication in the Federal Register before the end of October.