A University of Colorado Boulder study has found that NIDA-grown cannabis is far inferior to marijuana commonly available in state-legal markets. Currently, four federal medical patients receive monthly supplies of this inferior cannabis grown at the NIDA farm at the University of Mississippi. Just last year, the DEA approved the first whole-plant cannabis clinical trial using NIDA-supplied weed.
Scientists at CU-Boulder compared the cannabinoid profiles of NIDA pot with commercial samples available to consumers in Denver; Seattle; and Oakland and Sacramento, Calif.. At just 5%–6%, the NIDA weed samples had the lowest THC content; the commercial samples averaged 20% THC. Not only does the government marijuana lack in potency, it’s also low in cannabinoid diversity.
“Our results demonstrate that the federally produced cannabis has significantly less variety and lower concentrations of cannabinoids,” the researchers stated on Nov. 14. “ Current research… limits our understanding of the plants’ chemical, biological, psychological, medical and pharmacological properties. Investigation is urgently needed on the diverse forms of cannabis.”
This limitations of government pot could hinder any meaningful scientific study that uses NIDA’s cannabis. “Medical research using only a limited number of varieties can be misleading, because variation in the amounts and ratios of cannabinoids may have a significant impact on the outcomes of the studies,” the researchers concluded.
Case in point: Federal glaucoma patient Elvy Musikka said in Freedom Leaf in Issue 16 that low-THC cannabis provided by NIDA and DEA has significantly damaged her vision. “The stuff they sent me three years ago blinded me,” she said. “They sent us a bunch of garbage with no THC. It was hemp, which I love to wear, but it didn’t do anything for my glaucoma.”
The sudden loss of what was left of her vision required a surgery. “They want everyone on low THC, and here’s what happened to me,” Musikka explained. “It cost the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars to take away some of my independence and blind me a little more than I already was. I blame this on the government for sending me that garbage and saying it was medicine.”
The three other medical marijuana patients in the federal Compassionate IND program are Barbara Douglass (MS), George McMahon (Nail Patella syndrome) and Irvin Rosenfeld (bone spurs).
While the DEA says they’re taking steps to allow outside growers to supply research cannabis, its rules surrounding the application process casts doubt on whether any such application will be approved. In a document announcing the rule, the agency says it would take into consideration whether any applicant has violated the Controlled Substances Act, “regardless of whether such activity is permissible under State law.” While past violations don’t automatically disqualify a grower, “it may weigh heavily against granting the registration.”
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