Canada’s government has purchased 500 grams of “research grade” marijuana from the US government’s National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). This US bud is going to be used for Canadian clinical trials, while most of the pot Canada’s Health Ministry paid about $6 million to have grown has been destroyed by the feds.
In issue #41, we outlined research by Chris Bennett and David Malmo-Levine at Pot-TV (CC#41, Canada buys pseudo-pot from US). They claimed that NIDA’s “research grade” buds may in fact be cannabis which has had its psychoactive resins extracted, and then had a standardized amount of THC sprayed back on.
Their allegations were backed up in letters from Matthew Johnson, a graduate student studying behavioral pharmacology at a NIDA-funded research lab at the Department of Psychology and Human Behavioral Pharmacology Lab, University of Vermont.
Although NIDA is secretive about how they grow and process their pot, Johnson claimed that, in a personal conversation with a “rather well known and respected NIDA-funded researcher,” he had been told that NIDA marijuana had the THC extracted and then artificially added back.
In further communication with Pot-TV, Johnson has elaborated on his information. He explained that after the NIDA marijuana is grown at the University of Mississippi, it is given to an organization called the Research Triangle Institute (RTI), a nonprofit organization which also synthesizes and sells a variety of cannabinoids.
“Although not conclusively demonstrating that NIDA marijuana is standardized with synthetic THC,” writes Johnson, “the fact that this organization is also in the business of synthesizing and selling THC is certainly suggestive and consistent with that hypothesis.”
NIDA also regularly supplies “placebo” marijuana with no THC, which is used in virtually every study for experimental control. “Perhaps RTI first transforms all the marijuana into the ‘placebo’ by extracting cannabinoids,” hypothesizes Johnson, “and then adds a standard amount of synthetic delta-9-THC in order to create the ‘active drug.'”
NIDA’s website also explains that their marijuana cigarettes “are maintained in frozen storage” and that they have “a useful life of approximately five years.”
Regardless of whether NIDA’s pot is actually reconstituted spray-on bud, or whether it’s just low-grade seedy freeze-dried schwag, it clearly does not compete with the bud available at any compassion club or corner dealer across Canada. So why is Canada paying top dollar for US schwag when we have great home-grown available for free?