Federal officials have approved plans for the University of Mississippi to grow 2,000 kilograms (4,409 pounds) of cannabis to provide to investigators for clinical trial research, according to the Associated Press. Since 1968, the University of Mississippi farm, which is governed by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, has held the only available federal license to legally cultivate cannabis for FDA-approved research in the United States.
According to the AP, marijuana crops will include plants of varying THC and CBD potencies, including strains high in cannabidiol. According to the program’s current marijuana menu, no available samples contain more than seven percent THC and all samples contain less than one percent CBD.
Investigators wishing to conduct FDA-approved clinical trials on cannabis have long complained that federally-provided samples are of inferior quality. A research analysis published earlier this year reported that the strains currently available from NIDA shared genetics typically associated with industrial hemp, not commercially available cannabis.
The crop will be the largest grown by the University of Mississippi in several years.
In August 2016, Drug Enforcement Administration officials adopted a new policy “to increase the number of entities registered under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to grow marijuana to supply legitimate researchers in the United States.” To date, however, the agency has neither affirmed or denied any of the 26 applicants that have sought the DEA’s permission for a federal cultivation license.