The cannabis industry must thrive for us to see progress with research

Published Feb 6, 2021 10:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Oulaphone Sonesouphap

Ironically, you and I need to smoke more weed to see progress in cannabis science and research studies. Canada and the US are explicit that any policy objectives must improve public health and public safety.  The banning of advertising and sponsorship has prevented research partnerships with the academic space. Section 16 of CCA (Canada’s Cannabis Act) prohibits scholars from securing research partnerships with marijuana companies for sponsors.

This situation exists even though the cannabis industry is engaged with universities to train marijuana workers. This prohibition closes off the revenue needed to research the effects cannabis legalization has on individuals and communities. Ironically though, the government is happy to accept the tax revenues that are generated by the sale of cannabis, as they re-distribute these monies to universities.

Revenue collected

Grand View Research estimates that the global medical marijuana market will reach 55.8 million dollars by 2025. This is working out well in California, where tax revenues from excise and cultivation will be supporting marijuana studies across the state. The tax monies the Internal Revenue Service collects from the business get distributed to fund the National Institutes of Health grants.

As recreational dispensaries are opening up across North America, university research restrictions are becoming more evident. Consumers ask questions and the answers received need to be backed by cannabis science and research funding.  Consumers, patients, and the marijuana industry cannot make decisions based on scientific knowledge if the research is not available.

Marijuana companies considering R/D may generate higher competition in the cannabis market. The ultimate goal is to continue further research into cannabis science while studying CBD and THC oil to discover the benefits. These are products that are now meeting the needs of many cannabis users. Research and development in the marijuana industry are necessary. New data collected will someday even enable the breeding of specific strains for many different health conditions.

Barriers on research

Where cannabis is illegal, research suffers, however even in Canada, where cannabis is legal, barriers still exist and include restrictions between researchers and the cannabis industry. A strong partnership with the industry, government, and universities is needed in order for cannabis studies and research to truly move forward.

Final thoughts

Restrictions that the US DEA has placed on research need to be reviewed. Moving marijuana from the most restricted to a lesser strict category would see the research funds open up. Yes, the cannabis consumer will still be a supportive member of the research chain. The taxes collected and allotted to the cannabis industry will help to support the much needed continued cannabis research. Medical and recreational use cannabis research is the key to unlocking this plant's mountains of benefits for humans and animals.

The universities' funders should note and recognize the ongoing studies examining the many therapeutic benefits. The need is also high for research that is focused on the possible adverse effects of the plant. Until the perfect balance of funds and political red tape is ironed out, the more that cannabis consumers continue to buy legal taxable weed, the better. So, light up and know that you are doing your part in the research, development, and future of this incredible green plant.

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