CSU-Pueblo Opens Institute of Cannabis Research

The legalization of cannabis in Colorado has had unanticipated benefits for more than just those who enjoy consuming. Less than a year ago, Colorado State University-Pueblo founded the Institute of Cannabis Research (ICR), the nation’s first academic cannabis research center that has a focus beyond medicinal purposes. The Institute is doing groundbreaking work that could revolutionize several fields of study.

“The Institute of Cannabis Research,” the program’s mission statement reads, “generates new knowledge of cannabis and its derivatives through research and education that improves lives and contributes to science, medicine, and society.”

ICR hosted the country’s first academic cannabis conference in April, and the keynote speaker was Israeli professor and organic chemist Rapheal Mechoulam, often referred to as the “father of cannabis research.” The Denver Post wrote that Mechoulam “is credited for the discovery of the endocannabinoid system and the isolation, determination of chemical composition and structure, and synthesis of the major cannabinoids – notably cannabidiol (CBD), delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabigerol (CBG).” CBD is a cannabis component that offers therapeutic benefits without the psychoactive properties typically associated with cannabis.

Dr. Mechoulam is a huge proponent of removing CBD from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Schedule I list of most serious illegal drugs (heroin is also Schedule I). Although many people who suffer from chronic conditions have found relief with CBD, its status as a Schedule I drug makes scientific research legally difficult. The creation of the ICR lends credibility to the study of cannabis, not only for medicinal purposes, but also for the industrial uses of hemp.

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