The University of California, Davis announced Tuesday its plans for a partnership with a federally approved pharmaceutical company “to analyze the chemical and biological profiles of cannabis for the benefit of law enforcement, health care providers and scientific professionals.”
Researchers at the school will collaborate with Biopharmaceutical Research Company, which is registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency, in analyzing “legally acquired cannabis materials” to develop a better understanding of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, cannabidiol or CBD, and other cannabinoids. The partnership is said to be the first of its kind.
In its announcement Tuesday, the school said that researchers at UC Davis and BRC “will evaluate existing chemistry methods to analyze cannabis and identify the most precise, accurate and reproducible methods for standardization, using diverse Cannabis sativa.” The announcement noted that there “will be no cannabis on the UC Davis campus or any UC Davis-owned or leased property as part of this research.”
The research findings will ultimately be provided to the government and health care providers to enhance regulatory policies and develop a better understanding of medical cannabis treatments.
The partnership is just one of many recent endeavors aimed at closing the gap in cannabis research, which is beginning to flower at universities. In April, investor Charles R. Broderick donated $9 million to Harvard and MIT “to fill the research void that currently exists in the science of cannabis.”
Gail Taylor, professor and chair of the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, said that the school’s partnership with BRC is in the same spirit.
“While cannabis is already available for medicinal and recreational use in a majority of states, cannabis research has long struggled to keep pace with the law,” Taylor said in a statement. “We expect this partnership to bring more scientific understanding of the plant and its products so that regulators can more effectively manage potential risks and benefits.”
In addition to the partnership, UC Davis will launch a Cannabis and Hemp Research Center this year in an effort to build on its existing research into cannabis production and applications.
Cindy Kiel, executive associate vice chancellor for research administration for the Office of Research, said that the center “will stimulate new research and educational exchange by convening conferences and seminars, providing seed funding and engaging with policymakers.”
“It will also provide a centralized resource to ensure compliance with current laws and policies,” Kiel said.
Such programs could become more common at universities as marijuana policy continues to evolve and the cannabis industry grows. Earlier this summer, the University of Maryland said that it is launching a two-year master’s program to instruct students on the science and regulation of medical marijuana, making it the first graduate program in the United States dedicated to the study of the medicinal use of cannabis.