2020 saw over 3,500 research papers released that look into cannabis and its effects, making it a record year for the plant.
Research into cannabis remains one of the keys to pushing the industry toward the mainstream and into legalization.
As Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) outlined in 2019, “in many cases, there are very limited data from which to draw specific recommendations for treatment.”
Given that cannabis remains a Schedule I substance in the U.S. due to its perceived “lack of accepted medical uses,” one of the linchpins of widespread cannabis legalization is through a growing body of research surrounding the medical uses of cannabis and its derivatives.
Thankfully, it appears the tides are turning, and cannabis is finally getting the attention it deserves.
Throughout 2020, it was found that over 3,500 research papers on cannabis were published of cannabis, representing the most studies on the plant of any year in its history.
The increased transparency and understanding of cannabis is undoubtedly a good thing, however, it’s also important to remember that not every study into cannabis will yield desirable results.
In fact, it was found last year that of the $1.56 billion that has been spent on cannabis research since 2000, roughly half of that money was spent on looking into the harms and dangers of cannabis use and abuse.
Moreover, the study found that the majority of the research funding came from the U.S. National Institute for Drug Abuse, which invested $1 billion into studying cannabis and its effects, predominantly through the lens of harmful effects of cannabis misuse and abuse.
Just as the Tobacco industry weaponized studies in the 1950s to create more favourable scientific studies, we may similarly see anti-drug lobbying organizations and large pharmaceutical companies using scientific studies to hinder progress on the disruptive potential of medical and recreational cannabis.
Studying cannabis will be crucial in getting cannabis removed from its strict scheduling under U.S. law, but cannabis advocates should be aware of potential efforts to subvert research against the industry.