From a little under 1,000 pounds to over 5,400 pounds, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has proposed that the U.S. increase its production of cannabis research for the year 2019. At the same time, they are pushing to drastically reduce the number of opioids that are produced by ten percent. This is consistent with the current President’s administration “Safe Prescribing Plan” which aims to slash the number of opioid prescriptions nationwide. The aim is to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions by one third and within three years.

The six most frequently misused opioids:

  • oxycodone
  • hydrocodone
  • oxymorphone
  • hydromorphone
  • morphine
  • fentanyl

America is facing an unprecedented opioid crisis because of overprescribing and abuse of medications. According to Forbes Magazine, DEA Acting Administrator, Uttam Dhillon stated “We’ve lost too many lives to the opioid epidemic and families and communities suffer tragic consequences every day. This significant drop in prescriptions by doctors and DEA’s production quota adjustment will continue to reduce the number of drugs available for illicit diversion and abuse while ensuring that patients will continue to have access to proper medicine.”

The DEA proposing to increase the production of cannabis for research by over five times the current amount for 2019. They have also proposed to allow the production of 384,460 grams of THC.

The DEA is hoping for an increase in the growth of cannabis for research purposes. However, the University of Mississippi is currently the only facility in the United States that is allowed to grow cannabis for research. Scientists researching the medicinal plant have said that the quality of the cannabis is low. The DEA has recently created an application process for new facilities to grow cannabis for research purposes. However, Jeff Session’s has interrupted DEA attempts to proceed in executing anything further with the applications.

Though we can take the fact that the DEA has increased production of cannabis for research as a sign that the DEA hopes and aims for the approval to allow new facilities to further research the plant.

We have skimmed the surface of the benefits in both THC and CBD. With backing from the public and pressure on state representatives, Americans can speak up in support of research. The DEA, medical researches, and 64% of Americans support the research and use of cannabis. Studying cannabis, especially now in the grips of this opioid epidemic, is vital and will create an impactful change, not only to our society but also to individuals struggling with addiction.

Stay tuned for updates as this story progresses.