Federal Government To Increase Its Supply Of Marijuana For Clinical Research

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 6, 2014

    Federal agencies are moving forward with plans to increase the US government’s production of research-grade cannabis.

    Last week, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) publicly announced in the Federal Register that it is increasing its marijuana production quota from 21 kilograms to 650 kilograms (about 1,443 pounds) in order to meet increasing demand for the plant from clinical investigators.

    Federal regulations permit a farm at the University of Mississippi to cultivate set quantities of cannabis for use in federally approved clinical trials. Regulators at the DEA, the US Food and Drug Administration, PHS (Public Health Service), and the US National Institute on Drug Abuse must approve any clinical protocol seeking to study the plant’s effects in human subjects.

    On various occasions, marijuana reform advocates and researchers have publicly criticized NIDA for failing to approve proposed trials seeking to assess the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. However, in March, federal regulators finally signed off on a long-delayed clinical protocol from researchers at the University of Arizona College of Medicine to evaluate the use of cannabis its in war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. Also this spring, lawmakers in several states, including Alabama, Kentucky, and Wisconsin, passed legislation encouraging state-sponsored clinical trials to assess the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol – a nonpsychotropic organic component of cannabis – in the treatment of intractable epilepsy.

    “The additional supply [of cannabis] to be manufactured in 2014 is designed to meet the current and anticipated research efforts involving marijuana,” A NIDA spokesperson told TheHill.com. “[T]his projection of increased demand is due in part to the recent increased interest in the possible therapeutic uses of marijuana.”

    According to a keyword search using the terms ‘smoked marijuana’ on the clinicaltrials.gov website, eight trials are presently ongoing to evaluate the plant’s effects in humans. Two of these trials are assessing the plant’s potential therapeutic efficacy.

    71 responses to “Federal Government To Increase Its Supply Of Marijuana For Clinical Research”

    1. End of the Rope says:

      Someone please enlighten me. Is there only one strain avaailable for any group to do research with, is it forbiden to use any other cannabis source?

      [Paul Armentano responds: All FDA-approved clinical trials must utilize U-Miss cannabis, as provided by NIDA. The cannabis itself has specific, standardized cannabinoid potencies, including zero percent THC (placebo). Strains of varying potencies are available depending on the cultivation quotas in place at that time.]

    2. Gail Rasberry says:

      This is NOT GOOD ENOUGH. They need to stop LYING and take it OFF SCHEDULE 1!! Medical use has been PROVEN time and time again. It is *criminal* for them to continue to arrest, fine, and imprison American citizens for a schedule 1 drug when it is a LIE!! #OS1NOW

    3. TheOracle says:

      Big shit!

      #1 What if the weed is shit or only one particular kind? If it’s shitweed you might as well use Mexican brick weed off the street. If it’s just one kind with basically one ratio of THC to CBD it’s useless. The public is way ahead of the feds already.

      #2 Clinical trials take freakin’ years! This shit should have been started back in the 1970s instead of Tricky Dick cranking up the war on drugs. Who the hell wants to wait for clinical trials when you know cannabis can help you NOW!?

    4. R. Fox says:

      I think it’s long overdue and about time. I am an advocate for the full legalization of Marijuana for persons 21 years of age and older. I have depression, have all my life, diagnosed when I was 16 years old. I have tried almost every anti-depressant known to man and nothing works. Marijuana is the ONLY thing that helps with this. I feel NORMAL, not HIGH. I don’t feel lazy, in fact I feel I can do more and not be intoxicated as I am fully aware of my surroundings and what I am doing, believe me or not, I know how I feel. Yet, Alcohol is accepted and tolerated more than a Medicine like Marijuana is, which I believe is ridiculous. Your basically saying it’s OK to drink (example: bars, sell of beer, advertisements, driving under the legal limit, ect…) This has NO medicinal purposes and kills people more and more each year, but yet, Marijuana which NO ONE has ever died from smoking or ingesting is ILLEGAL in Pennsylvania? WHY? I don’t even consider Marijuana a DRUG, it is a NATURAL PLANT that is grown from the ground. CIGARETTES are even more dangerous, but yet they are also legal, don’t get me wrong I smoke and drink on occasion, but my God the Federal Government of the United States needs to WAKE UP, especially my hometown of Pennsylvania and put an age limit on it and allow it. I’m not saying it’s ok to drive high or even to consume in public, but what I am saying is it SHOULD be regulated like alcohol. I prey that the legalization in CO, WA will spread across the entire nation within the next couple years if not SOONER. I believe that it is time to let the citizens of this great nation do what they want or need to do in their own personal lives, no I do not believe any other drug as in, coke, meth, heroin, crack should be legal, this is a definite, but Marijuana? Yes.

    5. End of the Rope says:

      @Paul Armentano
      Thank you for getting that or us. I’m amazed that with that narrow of a selection pool that any good work can be done. Also if I could bend your ear just a bit more, Do you know if it is allowed during approved trails to tamper with the cannabinoid levels of the supplied cannabis? The reason I ask is that with only one flavor to choose from for all of the many research areas now under consideration, it’s only going to produce incomplete(narrow) results. One surely wouldn’t use “Charlettes Web” to study Stimulating Appetite no more than one would “OG Kush” for anti-epileptc research.

      [Paul Armentano responds: NIDA typically has plants with a variety of cannabinoid ratios available.]

    6. Gene says:

      Why don’t I ever read about NJ legal marijuana bill on this website?

    7. Galileo Galilei says:

      How much suffering has the needless foot dragging before now caused?

    8. Chemist says:

      Hey I am a graduate student in the school of pharmacy at ole miss. I was wondering is this expansion going to be here? I am right down the hall from the indoor marijuana garden (I cannot set foot in there obviously) and was just wondering if it was going to be expanded on our campus specifically, or if they are gonna allow it to be grown elsewhere as well. There is a new building almost completed that could probably house all of this.

      [Paul Armentano responds: Only the University of Mississippi location is federally licensed to engage in cannabis cultivation.]

    9. DDT says:

      I thought Schedule 1 meant testing is illegal?

      [Paul Armentano responds: No. But it does mean that clinical trials are restricted to those protocols approved by FDA, PHS, DEA, and NIDA. And the trials must use NIDA’s cannabis supply.]

    10. Julian says:

      @Paul, THANKS MAN!!
      Screw CNN, now THIS is reporting!
      Sooooo… Question; Is there any coorelation between increased production authority for cannabis by the DEA at Ol’ Miss and an increasingly controlled demand from a restricted supply of hardly-effective, high-in-CBD strains of marijuana for epileptic patients? If the DEA has legal access to all varieties of the cannabis herb, why are epileptic children being neglected by current DEA drug policy?
      Im just sayin’; I can smell a conspiracy; A ‘dog in the manger’ of cannabis if you will.