Medical marijuana research is at an interesting juncture. On the one hand, there has already been a sizable amount of research done on the topic. Yet in many ways, much more research is needed before any clear and consistent conclusions can be drawn.
Unfortunately, marijuana related research has always faced a number of legal barriers. That’s true even now, as legalization continues to happen in more and more places.
A newly announced partnership between researchers at Washington State University (WSU) and Biopharmaceutical Research Company (BRC) is attempting to overcome these barriers in order to pursue a number of new cannabis research projects.
WSU and BRC Team Up to Research Cannabis
According to a press release published by Washington State University, the school and BRC have agreed to launch an innovative new partnership.
To put it simply, BRC will handle the cannabis side of things. And Washington State University will conduct the bulk of the actual research and academic work.
Specifically, BRC is already registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration to study cannabis and cannabis products. Additionally, the company is reportedly seeking approval to import and analyze marijuana. And moving forward, the company hopes to get licenses to grow its own cannabis for use in research.
By partnering with BRC, researchers at Washington State University can avoid the hurdles associated with sourcing their own cannabis. Instead, they can now rely on BRC for that and focus entirely on executing research.
At this point, BRC and Washington State University plan to focus their research on fields related to how marijuana affects physical and mental health. Additionally, they will also research the impact that cannabis has on public safety and other issues related to policy.
“We know less about the health benefits and risks of cannabis than almost any drug,” said Dr. Michael McDonell, chair of the Collaborative for Cannabis Policy, Research and Outreach program at WSU. “Currently, cannabis researchers must jump over extensive barriers to obtain cannabis they need to conduct human and animal research on the effects of health.”
He added: “Our partnership with BRC allows us to begin to work together to problem-solve innovatively through federally compliant strategies to obtain cannabis for research purposes.”
The Challenges of Cannabis Research
Historically—and continuing today—cannabis research has been slow because it is hard to obtain weed to study.
For years, there was only a single source from which researchers could source federally approved cannabis. Not surprisingly, this led to very high demand and very low supply.
Making it even harder, researchers often found that the cannabis they were allowed to use was not as potent as the cannabis being sold in dispensaries and on the illicit market.
If things go as planned, the partnership between WSU and BRC will address both of these issues. That will be especially true if BRC can start cultivating its own cannabis specifically for research projects.
“Partnering with a research institution of Washington State University’s caliber ensures that we are working with premier investigators to uncover the promise of the products,” said BRC CEO George Hodgin.