Cannabis Research Increasing Across the Globe

by | Dec 3, 2020

Detroiter Karhlyle Fletcher is the host of High Lit, a cannabis research and classic literature podcast featuring leading voices and independent music. In addition to years in written and video cannabis journalism, he is also a traditional author.

Across private and public sectors, cannabis is finally receiving the attention it deserves. Across the world, developments are cropping up that push cannabis science, research, and consumption further.

Governments Should Take a Backseat for Progress 

While some governments are still hesitant to embrace the developing world of cannabis science, others are not and have not been. Recently the Dutch government provided €1.9 million ($2.25 million) in funding to a study on the effects of CBD and THC on pain. Such work is crucial because out of the 9 million new users who started using CBD in the American market over the last six months, around one in ten don’t understand the difference between CBD and THC or traditional cannabis and hemp. Of these new users, 55% have full-time employment.

In regards to the Dutch study, Neurologist Geert Jan Groeneveld of Centre for Human Drug Research explained, “we are going to isolate the THC and CBD . . . and administer them in tablet form in different proportions. We will then look at the influence of CBD on the effects of THC, and investigate which THC-CBD combination is best for the treatment of neuropathic pain.” Groeneveld will be researching with another scientist, Albert Dahan, professor of Anesthesiology at the Leiden University Medical Center. 

Further, Groeneveld explained that the study will phenotype the patients in advance, tracing exactly whether the pain patients feel is caused by nerve damage, personality disorders, depression, or other causes. Such direct information and study benefit CBD and THC consumers, and the fact that the government is funding this research reveals respect and loyalty that the Dutch government has for its people.

Similarly ground-breaking, a study supported by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Department of Natural Resources the Department of Transportation, the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps (All One God Faith, Inc.) found that “the dichotomy between “hemp” and “marijuana” perpetuates culturally biased and pejorative assumptions about C. sativa that have hindered scientific investigation for nearly a century (Abel, 1980). Rooted in colonial history, North American C. sativa has literally and figuratively escaped from that past, adapting and thriving today across a diverse array of natural ecosystems and engineered systems. A decolonized definition recognizing THC‐type, CBD‐type, intermediate‐type, and CBG‐type plants would be more accurate botanically and perhaps more practical as the use and regulation of C. sativa continues to expand and diversify.” 

Schools and Other Businesses Continue to Contribute

Across the sea, the University of Saskatchewan is performing the first study on the effects of smoking cannabis on brain development during pregnancy. Another study by the University of Victoria found that cannabis can reduce their drinking or quit altogether.

Meanwhile, Applied Cannabis Research has launched the Cannabinoid Medicine Observational Study, the most extensive observational study ever undertaken for medical cannabis in Australia. This study will follow 20,000 patients over 5 years, assessing the safety and efficacy of medicinal cannabis products for conditions including fibromyalgia, chronic pain syndromes, PTSD, epilepsy, and other mental health and neurological conditions.

Additionally, Health Canada granted Village Farms International, a Cannabis Research License for on-site sensory evaluation. This license allows the company to engage in on-site assessments of the taste, sight, smell, or touch of its products at its Delta 3 cannabis facility. Such privileges allow the company proper control and understanding of their products. 

There are Great Profits in Research and Development 

CanBreed, an Israeli start-up, believes they can make cannabis cultivars resistant to powdery mildew using  CRISPR technology. Canada awarded researchers over $4 million in funding to address breeding better cannabis with disease resistance, proving how much money there is to make regarding the issue. If CanBreed can prove their crops are resilient to powdery mildew with the University of Jerusalem, their seeds will hit the market. They’re poised to make a significant profit as no pesticides are allowed to be used in the world of Israeli medicinal cannabis. 

Epidolex and Sativex are already making great progress as profitable products driving research. GW Pharmaceuticals, the company behind both, reported their total revenue for the quarter ended September 30, 2020, was $137.1 million compared to $91.0 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2019. In addition to Epidolex’s application for epilepsy, the company is engaged in a stage two trial to see its efficacy in treating schizophrenia, finally following up on Mechoulam’s intuition. GW Pharmaceuticals is also beginning recruitment for a trial on Sativex’s efficacy for treating Multiple Sclerosis, which the medicine has been proven to do in other markets. This trial will further the economic development of the company even more.

Other research has found cannabis as a potential treatment for Burning Mouth Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, and so there’s nearly limitless potential for cannabis science to expand. From improved genetics to helping cope with treatment-resistant conditions, cannabis is pushing 2020 forward.