The University of Mississippi on Thursday launched the National Center for Cannabis Research and Education (NCCE) which will conduct scientific research, data analysis, education, and training on the health effects of cannabis. The program and its researchers, based in the university’s School of Pharmacy, will also aid in policymaking and outreach as state programs emerge throughout the U.S.
Famously, the University of Mississippi had the only federal license to cultivate cannabis for more than 50 years through the National Institute on Drug Abuse Drug Supply Program, and advocates had long complained that the products grown at the university were of low quality. Recently, two companies, Groff North America Hemplex and BRC, announced they had harvested cannabis for federal research purposes, ending the university’s monopoly on cultivating cannabis for the federal government program.
Larry Walker, interim director of the NCCRE, who served 16 years as director of the National Center for Natural Products Research, said the goal of the center “is that health professionals and patients have the products and information that will allow them to tap the hope for new treatments from cannabis, while understanding and minimizing harmful effects.”
“There is no doubt that cannabis can provide treatments for serious diseases, and there is a solid research foundation for further exploration. The potency of the plant, the sophistication of preparation and delivery, the ready availability of these products and the declining perceptions of risks mean that many seeking its health benefits could experience various adverse effects.” — Walker in a press release
The university said that of the 50 new cannabinoids discovered between 2005 to 2015, 43 could be attributed to the federally backed cannabis cultivation program. The program also conducts analyses of cannabis seized by the Drug Enforcement Agency and creates statistical information on potency and illegal distribution networks.
The center was approved by the board of trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.
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