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 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. [Read more at The Mercury News]