Colorado and Michigan leading the way on marijuana research

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A steady increase in studies is helping to build a better picture of marijuana’s benefits

Marijuana research has been suppressed for decades, which has prevented the full power of the plant to be recognized. Fortunately, as legislation in the U.S. continues to be relaxed, more studies are being conducted in order to fully ascertain exactly what cannabis is capable of. Two states, in particular, are leading the charge and are working to completely break down the genetic makeup of Mother Nature’s wonder drug.

At Colorado State University in Pueblo, researchers are conducting experiments on a unique target. They’re using caterpillars to determine the effects of cannabis and to uncover new uses of cannabidiol (CBD). The studies hope to find out if CBD is viable as a pesticide or even if it could be used to treat hangovers.

In one study, caterpillars went after cannabis leaves that had little CBD content, but ignored those that had high levels. The effects of alcohol, which can be deadly in caterpillars, were mitigated by CBD in another study.

It may seem a little strange to conduct a study involving caterpillars and cannabis, but the end result is what matters. The university is leading a range of studies through its Institute of Cannabis Research, which was founded in 2016, to be able to determine exactly how far the plant goes in treating illnesses. Testing on caterpillars allows researchers to have an easy and relatively inexpensive method of analyzing the various components within the plant.

At the University of Michigan, researchers are looking at how cannabis compounds can protect the brain. Its common knowledge that ingredients found in marijuana can help reduce pain and inflammation and the researchers are determining whether or not those ingredients will work to combat disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Michigan doesn’t yet have a policy in place for recreational marijuana use, only medical use. This could change in the near future, though, as the state is set to vote on a bill next month that would pave the way for adults to legally consume marijuana. If it’s approved, Proposal 1 would also allocate $40 million to marijuana research, including tests for clinical trials.