2019: Gov't to Cultivate 5x's More Cannabis in Countering Opioid Epidemic
Government agriculture & research is escalating to find solutions.
"We've lost too many lives to the opioid epidemic - and families and communities suffer tragic consequences every day." - Uttam Dhillon, DEA Acting Administrator.
Replacing Opioids with Cannabis?
In August of 2018 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and The Department of Justice signed a press release that noted the opioid epidemic and how they plan to decrease drug manufacturing quotas. Simultaneously, we're seeing the government increase its cannabis production five-fold for 2019, one of the many indications it has its eye on the plant and its possibilities in health care.
President Trump's "Safe Prescribing Plan" is expected to "cut nationwide opioid prescription fills by one-third within the years" and at the same time, government-funded cannabis agriculture is increasing from providing roughly 1,000 pounds of cannabis for research in 2018 to 5,400 pounds in 2019.
Government Seeks Cultivators Via Legal Loophole
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is where cannabis's next step within the federal government rests. The NCCIH notes that it "supports rigorous scientific investigation of natural products such as the cannabis plant and its components (cannabinoids/terpenes/etc.)," and has specified it "will NOT discuss challenging or changing current Federal laws, policies or regulations."
Luckily, the Medical Marijuana Research Act exists, so potential research projects studying the plant can receive financial help with government grants.
The DEA is currently looking at applications for federally-sanctioned cannabis cultivators since 2019 will need more research-grade products to conduct experiments and clinical trials with.
Hopefully, the stigma against cannabis the federal government has supported will soon deflate, as more discoveries about the plant may help those in need of alternative options.
The movement for cannabis to enter healthcare is increasing at a faster pace than its rescheduling. It looks as if the government wants to take a closer look at the plant and its capabilities on a more scientific level (finally) before rescheduling it. This is a step in the right direction, but consumers and patients must keep a vigilant eye on the direction legalities surrounding the plant takes. We don't want the feds to decide down the road that no one besides the government can regulate it - let's ensure we keep the market free in the states that have decided to legalize it.
Learn More: Why Anandamide is Relevant in Cannabis Science