By Christopher Ingraham The Washington Post
Most marijuana consumers are used to seeing their product as chunks of pungent green plant material coated in sticky, crystallized THC-rich resin.
But if you’re a researcher looking to work with marijuana — to say, investigate how it impairs people, or how it could help people suffering from certain ailments — you don’t have access to the weed that everyone else is using. Since the late 1960s, the federal government has mandated that all marijuana used in research has to come through the federal government.
To investigate the real-world effects of marijuana, however, researchers need a product that looks and feels like the real thing. And they’re increasingly frustrated with government weed that is something else entirely.
Don’t take their word for it. Sue Sisley, a researcher, just embarked on a first-of-its-kind clinical trial to test the efficacy of medical marijuana for military veterans suffering from PTSD.
The government marijuana looks nothing like the commercial product. While the real stuff is chunky and dark green, the government weed is stringy and light in color. It appears to be full of stems, which most consumers don’t smoke.
“It doesn’t resemble cannabis. It doesn’t smell like cannabis,” Sisley recently told PBS NewsHour.
Jake Browne, a cannabis critic for the Denver Post’s Cannabist marijuana news site, agrees. “That is, flat out, not a usable form of cannabis,” he said.
Browne should know: He’s reviewed dozens of strains professionally and is running a sophisticated marijuana growing competition called the Grow-Off.
“In two decades of smoking weed, I’ve never seen anything that looks like that,” Browne said. “People typically smoke the flower of the plant, but here you can clearly see stems and leaves in there as well, parts that should be discarded.
“Inhaling that would be like eating