NIDA TV Spotlight: Dr. ElSohly and the University of Mississippi Marijuana Farm

Video length: 3:33



Dr. ElSohly Speaking:

 Well the marijuana farm is currently located at the University of Mississippi just almost right there on campus. Of course, it is very well protected by fence and cameras and guards and all of that. But, it's there to produce standardized marijuana for research. By international treaty the Federal government is the only agency the only institution that has the right to distribute marijuana. Therefore, and we are not doing it as University of Mississippi, we are doing it as contractor for the government to carry on that activity. So the main purpose of the project is to prepare, cultivate, standardize manicure and make standardized marijuana for research only available for researchers.

If you are going to be doing a clinical trails, you have to have materials of different potency so they are standardized the potency and so you have placebo material you have material that have maybe 1-2 percent THC, some that have 2-4 percent, some have 4-6 and so on so that you can have different doses using the same exact dosage form which is the cigarette if you are doing the cigarette.

The majority of the material that goes out now is for clinical trials, but some go for animal studies also. We started monitoring the marijuana potency over the years, going back to the early 70's and the THC content way back then was around 1 percent 1 1/2, 2 sometimes .5 percent sometimes but very low percent and then over the years climbed up to about 3, 4 percent in the late 80's early 90's and then from that point on it just has really been climbing very steadily and no the potency right now at least from the last account that we have for 2012, at the end of 2012 to the earl 2013 it was about 10.5 to 11 percent.

So, we are seeing a lot more very high potency meaning 20 percent THC or higher than we have ever seen before. And of course, the implication of that if you look at the emergency room admissions that are attributed because of the user as a result of the use of marijuana has increased tremendously of the last few years and that correlates very well with the potency of the confiscated marijuana. The danger is while the young people the adolescents get in there and that something off the street they don't know what it is, they don't know how potent it is and they start using, they end up taking a lot more material than they should have and therefore they end up in the opposite side of the marijuana activity, which is paranoia, irritability, all the negative effects of smoke marijuana...the side effects if you will. And therefore, that is where the admissions to the emergency room comes from.