We are in the Midst of a Cannabis Science Revolution
Cannabis has been studied for centuries, but it wasn't until 1964 that the first truly scientific discovery was made about the cannabis plant.
For decades scientists and medical professionals had wondered what compound in the cannabis plant provided a euphoric effect, or the 'high' that consumers experienced after consuming cannabis.
It was in 1964 that world renowned Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam discovered tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is a cannabinoid that provides euphoric effects when consumed in large enough amounts.
Despite the obvious need to research the cannabis plant more thoroughly, actual research has long been hindered by the War on Drugs, especially in the United States.
But recent changes in public policy and the market-driven demand for cannabis is changing that in rapid fashion, which is great news for medical cannabis patients in America and beyond.
The blatant hypocrisy of the United States government
As it stands right now, cannabis is a Schedule I drug according to the federal government, which means that the feds consider it to have 'no currently accepted medical use.'
That is blatant hypocrisy given the fact that the federal government owns a medical cannabis related patent (Patent No. 6,630,507), and provides medical cannabis to federal patients, which the U.S. has done since the 1970's.
The United States government has had a cannabis cultivation research program at the University of Mississippi since 1968,
All 'official' research on cannabis has to be conducted using cannabis grown from the 12-acre University of Mississippi complex, which poses a number of problems, not the least of which are concerns over contamination.
By controlling access to cannabis for research purposes, the federal government has been able to limit the amount of research conducted in America, while simultaneously conducting its own research, creating a near monopoly on cannabis research in America.
The perfect storm for a revolution
The proliferation of medical cannabis public policy changes across America has resulted in a dramatic increase in the demand for cannabis research from consumers and state regulators.
In the past the federal government benefited from the average citizen being unaware of the stranglehold on medical research. Those days are gone.
The status quo on how research is conducted in America is ineffective, and to a large extent, unrealistic.
In addition to contamination concerns, the cannabis being grown by the federal government is simply not like what consumers are using.
The cannabis has been described by researcher Dr. Sue Sisley as looking like 'green talcum powder.' Studies conducted with that type of cannabis may not be reliable for obvious reasons.
The private sector has been increasingly stepping up to fill the void, with research being conducted out of necessity to ensure that the booming cannabis industry is in compliance, and to help entrepreneurs develop their products in a way that will ensure longevity.
An influx of scientists
Interest in cannabis science and research has been limited in decades past due to the stigma that goes along with cannabis, even for those that don't use it.
As reform has spread, and the industry emerges as a true powerhouse, the stigma is fading and more and more scientists are getting involved.
"We are starting to see more and more scientific professionals get on board." Jeff Raber PhD said at the recent Americans for Safe Access Unity Conference. Jeff is the founder of The Werc Shop.
The influx of scientific professionals in the industry has created a situation in which we are experiencing a revolution, with the secrets of the plant being unlocked at a pace never seen before.
"I think that we're watching an active evolution which is certainly an exciting thing to participate in and to be part of. I think we're going to see the rate of change accelerate in the next few years because of what's transpired legally voter initiative-wise, legislatively, and we are starting to see more and more scientific professionals get on board." Jeff Raber went on to say.
All cannabis in the legal indusry has to be tested, and data from those tests are being analyzed all over the country.
That combined with small private studies and the aggregation of personal testimonies is filling the void that the federal government has long sought to keep in place. The result is inspiring.
[Editor's note: You can now watch the entire Unity Conference streaming here.]
What does the future hold?
It wasn't that long ago that cannabis consumers were lucky enough just to get their hands on cannabis flower.
The cannabis wasn't tested, and things like terpene profiles didn't exist for commercial purposes.
Things have changed dramatically in states that allow legal cannabis industries to exist, and if your state isn't on board yet, they will be eventually.
People that live in prohibition states can visit legal states, and the average cannabis consumer is becoming more and more sophisticated by the day, especially on the medical side.
No one knows what the future holds. Products that are available today seemed light years away just a few years ago.
One thing is for sure, cannabis product development is going to be driven by scientific research going forward, which is a good thing.
If consumers want to get a better understanding of where the industry is headed and learn more about the scientific research projects that are going on in the cannabis world, definitely check out the Unity Conference, which is now streaming on Green Flower!
Did you know that there were concerns about the federal government's cannabis being contaminated?