Research on marijuana is hard to comeby, but with growing support for the drug there have been great strides in understanding the chemical nature of the plant and how it can effect us. Recently a research team in Buffalo, NY has made a breakthrough in manipulating the cannabinoid biosynthetic pathway of marijuana, meaning they are now able to completely remove THC from the plant at will. Dr. Paul Rushton hopes this new method will help separate the plant from it's Schedule 1 classification, which is primarily due to the psychoactive cannabinoid, THC. Once THC is no longer the legal issue, the industrial hemp industry has a strong chance of growing quickly as the legal barriers currently make the business tedious and difficult. Reserachers will also have much easier access to the drug once THC is no longer a concern, paving the way for greater marijuana breakthroughs in the future.
“We’ve learned a lot of really important things, the main one is that the cannabinoid biosynthetic pathway is something that we can manipulate,” he explained.
That means Dr. Rushton can get rid of THC; the psychoactive component of marijuana.
This is a big discovery, because physicians and health policy experts say THC is one of the reasons marijuana remains a schedule one drug according to the DEA. The schedule one list is reserved for the most addictive and dangerous substances, like heroin. As long as marijuana is still on that list, obtaining federal funding to study it is nearly impossible.
“I’m convinced that industrial hemp is going to be the next big crop in this country, something to rival soybean. But the problem is, you can only grow it and harvest it if the level of THC is below .3 percent. Otherwise you have to throw away your crop,” Dr. Rushton told News 4.