Federal Government Increasing Its Marijuana Research

Feds up marijuana production for medical research.

Feds up marijuana production for medical research.

Did you know the U.S. federal government grows its own marijuana? And did you know Uncle Sam is increasing its crop production? It’s all in the name of marijuana research, of course.

According to the Huffington Post, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which oversees the federal government’s marijuana growing operation, is upping production because it expects higher demand from researchers for cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana that has shown tremendous promise for medical use.

Congress is currently considering a bipartisan bill calling for the legalization of CBD strains. Moreover, 11 states have legalized CBD for limited medical use or research.

“We are targeting concentrations that are low in CBD, equal concentrations 50/50 CBD/THC, and high CBD,” NIDA told the HuffPo. “We will know the final THC/CBD concentrations once the marijuana is harvested this fall and analyzed.”

So how much more weed are the feds growing for marijuana research? More than 1,000 pounds or about the average payload intercepted by border patrol agents along the Mexican border. Even more mind-boggling is that the Drug Enforcement Administration signed off on NIDA’s request to grow more pot.

“The projection of increased demand is due in part to the recent increased interest in the possible therapeutic uses of marijuana,” according to NIDA.

More from HuffPo:

NIDA added that it has marijuana of “various THC content already in its inventory,” but that if current or upcoming marijuana research needs cannabis with custom levels of THC and CBD, and those strains are not already available, they would need to be grown. Because marijuana takes some time to grow and cultivate, NIDA says it “has to predict future research interest so that a customized order is ready once a researcher has obtained all the proper approvals” from all the federal agencies involved.

Strains of marijuana high in CBD and low in THC, commonly known as “Charlotte’s Web,” are being used to treat epilepsy in children. The strain is also showing success in reducing inflammation brought on by multiple sclerosis, new research shows, as well as stopping metastasis in many kinds of aggressive cancer, killing cancerous cells found in people with leukemia and serving as an alternative antipsychotic treatment.

The NIDA is also looking for pot growers. Time reports that the agency intends to solicit proposals from people who can “harvest, process, analyze, store and distribute” cannabis. A successful bidder must possess a “secure and video monitored outdoor facility” capable of growing and processing 12 acres of marijuana, a 1,000-sq.-ft. (minimum) greenhouse to test the plants under controlled conditions, and “demonstrate the availability” of a vault approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration to maintain between 400 and 700 kg of pot stock, extract and cigarettes.

NIDA would award the winner a one-year contract with four one-year renew options.