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article imageThe gap between medical marijuana and street pot

By Tim Sandle     Mar 29, 2015 in Health
As more and more states legalize medical marijuana, the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is concerned that the marijuana used in research is becoming further removed from the type common on the streets.
The NIDA, through a contract with growers at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, supplies all marijuana used for research purposes in the U.S. The federal agency is “working to expand the amount and variety of the drug available for study,” according to the science site Nature. The problem faced by institutes researching medical marijuana is that “the agency’s most potent strains still fall short of the most powerful street pot.”
One irony in research circles is that U.S. citizens in some 23 U.S. states can relatively easily purchase medical marijuana to treat conditions covering the spectrum from cancer pain to anxiety. However, scientists who want to examine these medical issues and conduct research to determine whether or not marijuana is really effective against such a vast spectrum of medical conditions must wade through vast amounts of red tape. Even after this hurdle has been cleared, the types of marijuana that the scientists are provided with a invariably not equivalent to the grades of marijuana available as "street pot."
The majority of marijuana seized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration contains high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is typically more than 20 percent by weight. It contrast the NIDA’s research marijuana contains no more than 12 percent THC. THC is principal psychoactive constituent (or cannabinoid) of cannabis. In other words, it is the most important part of marijuana that requires research and testing.
Frustratingly for researchers, the marijuana supplied to them contains low levels of the non-psychedelic chemicals that show therapeutic promise. This makes the experimentation and investigation process inaccurate in terms of looking at the medical value and it also hampers developing programs for the treatment of addicts.
More about Marijuana, Medical Marijuana, Pot, Cannabis
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