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News about the legal Washington State industry & public concerns.

Washington Grants First Cannabis Research License

Forbes magazine


A Washington laboratory has been granted the first cannabis research license in the state.

Verda Bio Research in Seattle has been granted a license to produce marijuana for study.

Verda CEO Jessica Tonani says it’s a big deal, as very little research is done anywhere in the U.S. on different properties of cannabis.

She says her company wants to focus on compounds besides THC, the drug that gets you high.

“Most of the plants out in the market today produce THC. A number of other plants produce small amounts of other compounds. And so our goal is to breed these plants to produce the other compounds besides THC. And once the plants produce those chemicals we can isolate them and research what they do,” said Tonani.

She says the first phase of the research will be the breeding of various strains that contain the six or seven compounds, including CBD, the compound that is finding favor in treating many ailments, including seizures.

Eventually the company plans lab research on tissue cultures to see how they react to those compounds. The overall theme is to find compounds that promote health and wellness, or chemicals that could treat a specific disease or help deal with an issue like anxiety.

Tonani says she expects other labs may be granted similar licenses to study other aspects of cannabis.

“There is so much research that needs to be done. Everything from how you grow cannabis to what chemicals you should or should not be putting on it, to types of lights and how you use it. And so we hope other groups apply and come on board and answer some of these questions,” she said.

Tonani says, until now, the few researchers nationwide that are looking into cannabis have had to use marijuana produced at a federal facility in Mississippi that has very low potency, compared to the commercial strains that are available legally in several U.S states. She says very few researchers are allowed to participate in that program.