The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recently posted a notice to Drug Enforcement Agency-approved cannabis manufacturers that they will soon be able to submit applications to supply cannabis for research purposes. Currently, NIDA has only worked with one cannabis farm for the past 50 years–the new cannabis supplier selected by NIDA would be the second federally authorized in the country.
Recently, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) notified institutions that have received Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) approval to cultivate cannabis that starting around July 28 they will be able to submit applications to supply cannabis for research purposes (1). About two months ago, NIDA first published an initial “sources sought” notice to gather information from prospective applicants about their ability to grow and analyze cannabis (2).
This new notice reportedly outlines various requirements and responsibilities for the manufacturers. For example, they must be able to “produce or procure cannabis, cannabis extract, and other cannabis-derived materials for basic and clinical research, and conduct quantitative and qualitative analysis, stability determination, and recommended storage conditions for these products for approved research” (1).
NIDA will dictate how much cannabis it needs produced and what types of cannabinoids should be extracted and analyzed prior to being transferred to the agency, which will then distribute the products to research institutions (1). NIDA has worked with the same cannabis farm at the University of Mississippi for more than 50 years, and scientists have been critical about the quality of the cannabis and extracts produced at the facility (1). Nora Volkow, Director of NIDA, has reportedly stated that it would be “valuable” for researchers to access cannabis from dispensaries in state-legal markets to better understand the risks and benefits of what consumers are taking in states across the country (3).
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has so far authorized at least six more facilities to grow cannabis for research purposes, however, NIDA said it will only be awarding one contract for a five-year period (1). The DEA has also been increasing annual production quotas for cannabis and other substances, such as psilocybin, as demand from the research community has surged (1).