- UC Davis is working with a federally compliant company to test cannabis.
- The company will be launching a research center on cannabis by late 2019.
Cannabis legalization may be happening in more and more states, but the substance is still technically illegal at the federal level. The government is still working to create policies around cannabis, but largely lacks research on the effects it could have on the public. UC Davis researchers, however, have established a partnership with Biopharmaceutical Research Company, allowing them to analyze the biological and chemical profiles of cannabis.
The purpose of this research is to benefit federal law enforcement, as Biopharmaceutical Research Company is registered with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a federally compliant pharmaceutical company. This agreement is unique, making it the first research of its kind to deliver information to a federal authority.
Between UCD and BRC, the research team will evaluate cannabis materials, which have been legally obtained, with the use of BRC’s labs, allowing them to understand the composition of cannabinoids they hold. Reports from Daily Democrat clarify that there will not be any cannabis held on a UCD-owned property, UCD-leased property, or the Davis campus.
Gail Taylor, a professor and chairman for UC Davis’s Department of Plant Sciences, pointed out that there has been a constant struggle between the law and cannabis research, despite the changing laws at the state level. However, with this collaboration, Taylor believes that there will be “more scientific understanding of the plant and its products so that regulators can more effectively manage potential risks and benefits.”
During the study, the researchers will use chemistry testing methods that are already available for cannabis analysis. However, their work will also include the creation of new and reproducible methods for standardization, using a sativa strain of cannabis. The researchers plan to test the interaction that cannabis has with pathogens, pests, and microbes to ultimately determine strategies for crop management that also provide environmental protection.
With a clearer understanding of cannabis, it is likely that the federal authorities will more effectively regulate it, which opens the door for health care provider to find better ways to treat patients and prescribe cannabis.
George Hodgin, the founder and CEO of BRC, stated that the company was created with the goal of helping patients across the country to treat themselves with cannabis. Their primary patients of interest consist of veterans who struggle with depression, PTSD, chronic pain, and other conditions related to wartime.
“The BRC team is eager to support UC Davis in this research endeavor, and to help lawmakers and regulators better understand the science of cannabis, so stakeholders can more effectively make policy and health decisions.”
The research that UCD is taking on is not out of their typical scope of research, as it is considered to be a leader in plant science, agriculture, and veterinary medicine. The entity is home to a top-ranked medical center, and the infrastructure is set up to offer optimal data on cannabis production, use cases, and potential social implications. To use these strengths, Davis is taking their work a step further and launching their own Cannabis and Hemp Research Center.
Cindy Kiel, the executive associate vice chancellor for research administration for the Office of Research, stated that the center’s purpose will be to promote new research and offer education through conferences and seminars. It will also help with seed funding and will interact with policymakers that determine the regulations on cannabis, offering “a centralized resource to ensure compliance with current laws and policies.”
The center is set to launch before the end of 2019, and UCD has already begun work on establishing two faculty co-directors.