Washington State University (WSU) has announced the opening of a multi-disciplinary research center with nearly 100 scientists called the Center for Cannabis Policy, Research and Outreach (CCPRO).
The center was officially approved by the WSU Faculty Senate and Board of Regents in May. The university began research into cannabis in 2011, before Washington state became the first in the US to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. In the last six years, researchers at the university have engaged in 50 projects with around $10 million in funding.
“The center status recognizes our researchers’ outstanding, multi-disciplinary scholarship on cannabis.” says Michael McDonell, CCPRO director and professor at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. “It also brings together under one center work on everything from research focused on the impact of cannabis on development to scholarship on cannabis and public safety, as well as our growing hemp research.”
Recent projects by the university investigating cannabis include a behavioral and biological predictor study that found that vaporized cannabis creates drug-seeking behavior in rats. The university also published a study last year investigating the legal landscape since Washington state’s 2012 law legalizing cannabis.
The new research center is currently engaged in several collaborations including one with Oregon State University and the University of California Davis to improve hemp germplasm. With this project, they hope to be able to grow better hemp crops both for industrial use and to source cannabidiol (CBD). For this project, the university started to plant hemp seeds near to the WSU Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center facility in May.
Other collaborations include a partnership with the Puyallup Tribe to study the use of medicinal cannabis for pain management, and a partnership with Biopharmaceutical Research Company (BRC) to grow cannabis for research purposes.