How cannabis research has increased significantly — even with the U.S. federal prohibition

The study reveals that over the last 20 years, the number of published studies on cannabis has grown significantly.

The GrowthOp 3 minute read June 22, 2022

Some U.S. lawmakers who oppose cannabis legalization say they need to see more research and studies on the subject before voting to legalize at the federal level.

Although ample research and information is always important when voting on a major political matter, the problem seems to be that the century-long ban has made it more difficult for researchers to study cannabis than legal substances.

Even with marijuana becoming legal in more U.S. jurisdictions, researching the effects of cannabis is not without its red tape and difficulties. Still there is good news in the realm of marijuana research.

A recent study shows that after decades of limited scientific research on cannabis, there’s been a significant increase in related research and data.

The study, published by the Journal of Cannabis Research, reveals that over the last 20 years, the number of published studies on cannabis has grown significantly. The authors point to more funding as being a major driver for the sharp hike.

There are also implications for the future of research in the study. With respect to cannabis studies moving forward, “future research should continue to investigate changes in the publication characteristics of emerging research, as the volume of publications on this topic is expected to rapidly grow,” study authors concluded.

There are several reasons that related research has been possible over time. One reason is that although cannabis remains illegal, the U.S. federal government has allowed researchers more access to marijuana samples than ever before.

As previously reported, in order to accommodate this spike in research, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) increased the annual cannabis production quota by 575 per cent (from 472 kilograms in 2017 to 3,200 kilograms in 2020).

In a statement on its website about its access to marijuana for research, the DEA noted that the agency “took an important step to increase opportunities for medical and scientific research.”

While the DEA still places marijuana in the same category as heroin and cocaine (all of these being Schedule I substances), its greater cultivation, at least, will allow scientists to compile DEA-supported concrete data on the effects of THC.

Some suggest this increased research may even help get cannabis out of Schedule I in the not-too-distant future.

Another reason that published research is up has to do with funding. “Overall cannabis research funding in the United States is rising steadily, from less than US$30.2 million in 2000 to more than US$143 million in 2018, and money to explore cannabis medical treatments is growing,” according to science.org.

It is important to note, however, that funding for medical treatments is not growing as quickly as research regarding the harms of cannabis.

As research continues to progress, skeptics will presumably have fewer reasons to oppose it. Conservatives, some medical professionals and even the U.S. president have called for more conclusive data before they can approve of marijuana legalization.

It is not yet clear if the research already under way will help convince them.

The FreshToast.com, a U.S. lifestyle site that contributes lifestyle content and, with their partnership with 600,000 physicians via Skipta, medical marijuana information to The GrowthOp.