Last August the DEA refused to reschedule or deschedule marijuana after being asked to by several Senators who sent them a letter. Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, on the same level with heroin and LSD as the highest risk drug with no medicinal use. The DEA refused to change the classification, saying there was no official government reports indicating that marijuana had medicinal value. The reason for this is that all testing of marijuana in the country is considered illegal. Instead of rescheduling the plant, the DEA agreed to allow scientists to conduct research on the plant to better understand how it works and its potential medicinal uses.
If It Doesn’t Look or Smell Like Cannabis…
This sounds like progress, except for the fact that all government weed comes from one 12 acre facility at the University of Mississippi managed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) where the weed grown is barely comparable to regular weed. The marijuana scientists are expected to use is full of stems, leaves and unsmokable parts of the plant. It resembles rosemary or some plant other than marijuana and has a higher yeast and mold content than is permissible in most places that have medical and recreational marijuana. The THC levels are very low. The facility reports that they have a 13 percent THC level, lower than the average weed which has 19 percent or even up to 30 percent. Although marijuana researcher Sue Sisley said that she found the THC content to be closer to 8 percent. She reported that it neither smelled nor looked like cannabis at all.
“You Can Clearly See Stems and Leaves”
Her sentiment was echoed by other marijuana experts around the country. Jack Browne, a marijuana critic for the Denver Post’s Cannabist news site, said, “In 2 decades of smoking weed, I’ve never seen anything that looks like that. People typically smoke the flower of the plant, but here you can clearly see stems and leaves in there as well, parts that should be discarded. Inhaling that would be like eating an apple, including the seeds inside it and the branch it grew on.”
A Problem for Researchers
For the longest time, people have had the impression that government grown weed would be the best quality flower of which to gain access. Surprisingly, this is not the case which raises concerns about how marijuana will be accurately tested if there is no quality marijuana being used to conduct the research. Marijuana as a plant needs to be explored further but many people are interested in the medical research that could go towards helping countless people. Strain, dosing and side effects need to be evaluated but this will not be able to get done using the straw-like marijuana issued by the government.
In the meantime marijuana remains illegal on a federal level and the only chance to change this is by proving the medicinal benefits of the plant through official government channels. The DEA has agreed to open up the possibility of other people growing official marijuana around the country but no licenses have been distributed as yet. We will have to wait and see what unfolds.