How To Grow Cannabis For Research Purposes

With legalization becoming more widespread across the country, as well as more and more research facilities being started up, growing cannabis has never been more appealing for those yet to start.

However, is it possible for people to grow cannabis for research purposes, and if so, how do you grow cannabis for research purposes? 

How To Grow Cannabis For Research Purposes

So, if you’re interested in finding out more about how to grow cannabis for research purposes, including how to apply for a license to become a licensed cannabis supplier for research and more information about how cannabis is grown for research in the US at the moment!

How To Become A Cannabis Cultivator For Research Purposes

At this moment in time, it is practically impossible for anybody to cultivate and grow cannabis to be provided for research purposes.

This is because there has been a huge delay in the progression of policies that would allow more people to become registered with the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) and therefore allowed to grow cannabis to be distributed and provided to research facilities. 

Until 2021, the only licence for bulk cannabis manufacturing had been held by the University of Mississippi, which had held this licence since 1968.

It meant that all of the cannabis produced for research purposes originated from one singular producer. 

Those who wish to produce cannabis in bulk to be distributed to researchers must undergo an extremely difficult and unforgiving application process, and with a long list of large companies all aiming to join these select few bulk cannabis producers.

It means that the average bedroom cannabis cultivator may as well forget about applying to become registered with the DEA anytime soon. 

The DEA has extremely strict rules that prospective producers must follow and conform to if they stand a chance of even being considered for a licence that would then allow them to provide cannabis to licensed research facilities right across the US, this includes things such as specific storage vault dimensions, as well as certain specifications of fencing used to surround the production facility. 

Ultimately, in order to grow cannabis for research purposes, there are a lot of requirements to meet that unfortunately cannot be met by the average person, which is why the only licences provided by the DEA so far have been to large-scale pharmaceutical and research companies who have the finances and infrastructure that allows them to create secure facilities for large-scale cannabis farming and distribution.

So, whilst you might enjoy tending to your plants, and have a particularly well-equipped grow room, the reality is that many hobby growers won’t be able to meet the requirements and rules necessary to ensure that your application to the DEA is successful. 

How To Grow Cannabis For Research Purposes (1)

Who Produces Cannabis For Research Purposes In The US?

Despite the fact that the DEA began its consideration of additional applications to increase the number of producers of marijuana for medicinal research purposes over two years ago, since then, there are still only seven growers that have been awarded with licences to become DEA-approved bulk manufacturers of marijuana. 

These are: 

  • Biopharmaceutical Research Company LLC
  • Groff NA Hemplex  LLC
  • Irvine Labs, Inc
  • Maridose, LLC
  • National Center For Development Of Natural Products (University of Mississippi)
  • Royal Emerald Pharmaceuticals Research and Development
  • Scottsdale Research Institute

Why Is It So Hard To Become A Licenced Grower Of Cannabis For Research Purposes? 

Many people might believe it is unfair that the requirements outlined by the DEA in order to be granted with a licence to manufacture cannabis to be used for research purposes.

However, growing cannabis to be used for medicinal research is not the same as growing your own marijuana recreationally or growing marijuana to be sold in a dispensary, and this is for a few reasons. 

Scientific research has to be incredibly strict with the materials it uses in order to provide accurate results, which can have a big impact on the conclusions drawn from the research, which could lead to large changes in law and policy making.

So the marijuana used in the research must be produced in a highly controlled and regulated environment, otherwise, it might have a detrimental effect on the research being conducted. 

On top of this, bulk producers of marijuana need to have adequate distribution channels in order to provide research facilities around the country with enough marijuana to conduct large amounts of research, which simply cannot be achieved by a simple recreational grower. 

Why Is Medicinal Marijuana Research Important?

Medicinal marijuana research is incredibly important, with the overall public perception of medicinal cannabis usage generally being much more positive and accepting than it was 20 years ago, and with more and more people beginning to seek out medicinal marijuana prescriptions to help with their illnesses.

Conducting research into the effects and potential uses of medicinal marijuana is important, as it will help to ensure that the potential dangers of prolonged usage of the drug won’t have an overly detrimental effect on users. 

Research on medicinal marijuana is also important as it will ensure that marijuana is able to meet the extreme standards outlined by the FDA, and once it has been approved by the FDA.

Its usage will be able to become much more widespread. But before this is possible, there needs to be conclusive evidence that marijuana is safe and suitable to be used to treat the numerous conditions that people claim it is able to provide help with. 


So, to summarize, gaining DEA approval and a license to grow marijuana is practically impossible for the average person due to the vigorous requirements in place to be able to produce medicinal cannabis for research purposes.

However, with more suppliers being approved, it means that research facilities all over the country will have greater access to medicinal marijuana than ever before, which is only a good thing when it comes to medicinal marijuana becoming more widely available! 

David Barton
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