Washington State University Forms Partnership to Accelerate Cannabis Research

Washington State University (WSU) has announced a partnership with Biopharmaceutical Research Company (BRC) to study cannabis and accelerate the rate of related research.

The WSU Office of Research says that the partnership will give WSU scientists, including those involved in the university’s Collaborative for Cannabis Policy, Research and Outreach (CCPRO), expanded access to cannabis for research purposes while keeping within federal regulations surrounding cannabis.

Researchers will be utilizing BRC analytical services and relevant expertise to research the physical and mental health effects of cannabis, its impact on public safety, and the impact of public policies such as cannabis legalization on the health and safety of citizens in Washington State.

“Partnering with a research institution of Washington State University’s caliber ensures that we are working with premier investigators to uncover the promise of these products and, also, that we are meeting our responsibilities, as far as public safety risks are concerned,” says BRC CEO George Hodgin. “We know these products have shown a great deal of promise in aiding patients suffering from a variety of health conditions, including PTSD and chronic pain, yet federally-compliant research in the United States is sorely lacking.”

Hodgin says that it is time to provide regulators, law enforcement officials, and health care providers with a fuller story so they can effectively perform their jobs to get the most out of cannabis while protecting citizens from possible harm.

CCPRO Chair Dr. Michael McDonell says that less is known about the health benefits and risks of cannabis than almost any other drug and that researchers must currently get past extensive barriers to get the cannabis they need to conduct animal and human research and study health effects.

McDonnell says that the new partnership with BRC enables them to start to work together to solve problems through federally-compliant means to obtain cannabis for research purposes.

While WSU researchers have federal permission to possess cannabis for research purposes, they have had just one federally-approved source until recently in August when the U.S. Department of Justice advanced a 2016 program to license additional cannabis sources for research.

According to WSU, the demand for cannabis for research is high but supply is limited and the cannabis is not like what is found in retail stores.

BRC is registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to study cannabis and is seeking federal approval to be able to import, analyze, and grow the plants for research.

While neither WSU or BRC are cultivating cannabis for the new partnership, according to the university, the collaboration demonstrates a growing need for access to high-quality cannabis for research.