U.S. Government Approves Largest crop of Marijuana for Research in Five Years, Over 4,400 Pounds

The United States Government has agreed to allow for the largest crop of marijuana being grown for research in five years, a direct response to the increased interest in marijuana and its compounds such as THC and CBD.

Considering marijuana is still illegal under federal law (schedule 1 in fact, putting it on par with heroin), the government is essentially the only legal source of marijuana for research purposes. Scientists have been asking for marijuana that more closely matches what’s sold in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) said in an email Thursday to The Associated Press. The federal agency said it plans to grow 4,409 pounds this year at the University of Mississippi, which holds the sole federal contract for producing marijuana.

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.

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