New Developments in Marijuana Research
One of the most exciting aspects of marijuana legalization involves new research into all aspects of the production and use of cannabis. For the last 80 years, marijuana research in the U.S. was primarily an underground affair. People experimented with new ways to grow or new medical preparations. But because of prohibition, information traveled slowly, if at all. It might take years for patients in Iowa to hear about new medicines in California, or for growers in Texas to hear of new developments in Oregon.
The rise of the internet, with chat rooms for patients and growers and YouTube videos on just about everything, has helped spread this important information. But the specter of prohibition has scared many people from using these sources of information.
Legalization has already begun to shift this dynamic. The Colorado Board of Health recently announced it would provide more than $8 million to fund research into medical marijuana. The new grants will fund studies on whether marijuana helps treat epilepsy, irritable bowel syndrome, brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. Strong evidence indicates that cannabis can be a powerful medicine for a number of maladies. We look forward to seeing more proof from these new studies.
In another sign of how accepted medical marijuana has become, the Mount Sinai Health System, one of New York’s most prestigious and highly regarded hospitals, will participate in a clinical study on the efficacy of certain types of cannabis on severe forms of epilepsy. The study will be conducted along with Tilray, a British Columbia medical marijuana company that is currently licensed and operating in Canada. As recently as a year ago, it would have been unthinkable for an institution like Mt. Sinai to become involved in this type of study. As with the Colorado studies, we hope this will add to the growing body of proof of the efficacy of medical marijuana.
Medicine is not the only fertile ground for research. As cannabis cultivation becomes big business, advances in growing techniques have begun to take flight. We have seen everything from new lighting technologies and fertilizers to new growroom brains that monitor all aspects of growing. Greenhouse growers are combining the free power of the sun with supplemental lighting and environmental controls to produce “grindoor” cannabis that may be the wave of the future.
At Pure Green, we have watched and participated in the evolution of cannabis research over the last 25 years. We have been frustrated at times by the lack of information and encouraged at others by the resilience of our community. Right now we are licking our chops as we contemplate the future of cannabis research. We have seen our knowledge of how to produce and use this plant multiply in the last few years and we can only imagine what the next few will bring.