The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has slipped out an announcement that’s going to have a huge impact on cannabis research and the development of effective medicinal cannabis products in the United States.
“Pending final approval, DEA has determined, based on currently available information, that a number of manufacturers’ applications to cultivate marijuana for research needs in the United States appears to be consistent with applicable legal standards and relevant laws,” the statement, released May 14 2021 said.
“DEA has, therefore, provided a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to these manufacturers as the next step in the approval process” it added.
The move brings to an end a decades-long monopoly on federally-approved cannabis for research purposes being grown at University of Mississippi sites. It is a big step forward because much of this “official” cannabis has been of very poor quality and under-strength compared with the products currently on the market, making a mockery of the results from official trials, which in turn has had limited applicability to real world cannabis use.
Indeed, while it’s quite likely that the average cannabis consumer may be smoking cannabis containing 25 percent THC (the the psychoactive component), the maximum THC in the Mississippi -grown approved version has been around 8 percent.
For researcher Dr. Sue Sisley who investigates the efficacy of medical cannabis for PTSD in veterans at the Scottsdale Research Institute, it’a a huge step forward. Her institute sued the DEA in 2019 for hindering research efforts by refusing to license new cultivators. Having finally received word from the federal agency after five years of waiting, that their application to cultivate marijuana for research needs was now moving forward, Dr. Sisley told the Wall Street Journal: “We’ve been at this so long I can’t believe we’re finally here.”