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Researchers Hope To Bring Cannabis Pharmaceuticals To Utah

Dr. Bruce Bugbee with cannabis
Utah State University
Dr. Bruce Bugbee in cannabis lab.


During the last several years, the United States has become reacquainted with cannabis and hemp with new laws passed in various states. Last December, a new Utah Farm Bill passed allowing people to use cannabis with a 0.3% limit of tetrahydrocannabinol, or more commonly known as THC, making it possible for hemp and cannabis to appear in Utah.

Dr. Bruce Bugbee, an environmental plant physiology professor at Utah State University, is partnering with the University of Utah Medical School to test genetics within hemp and cannabis to find which cannabinoids -- which is any group that includes cannabinol or more commonly known as CBD -- have high CBD and low THC. This would help pharmacologists make better botanical pharmaceuticals.


“We know there's a lot of compounds in cannabis that are useful to people but we don't yet fully understand doses and the types of cannabinoids that are most effective," Bugbee said. "So we're creating different ratios, then we're starting to work on testing them on rodents to look at the doses and the ratios of cannabinoids that are most effective.”


Bugbee explained that THC is the cannabinoid that creates the high that people receive after smoking marijuana, and CBD is more of a relaxant that helps with sore muscles and joints. By finding hemp and cannabis products that are low in THC and high in CBD, it would become nearly impossible to receive a high and would benefit users with more natural pharmaceuticals.


“We're working with you, we want the best public safety we can. We're not out to cause damage to your kids - these things are for the larger public good,” Bugbee said.


Hemp and cannabis have already been known to help individuals with epilepsy to minimize or eliminate their seizures.