The U.S. government is growing the largest crop of marijuana for research purposes in five years, reports the Associated Press.
The increase is in response to the rapidly growing interest in marijuana strains with high levels of THC and CBD.
As noted by the AP, the government is the only source of cannabis for nearly all research in the U.S., while it still considers it illegal and dangerous. Mississippi, which holds the sole federal contract for producing marijuana. That’s enough for 5 million joints, although the government provides 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.