As legislative changes pave the way for the widespread use of marijuana, not only new consumers are drawn to the hype. Pharmaceutical companies, private growers, and government institutions are also starting to pay attention to the controversial drug as made evident by the outpouring of funding for cannabis research.
Marijuana is set to obtain legal status in Canada next year. As the date approaches, scientists said that interest from various organizations have sprung up regarding the proper and better cultivation of the marijuana plant.
“There is hardly any scientific information on how to produce these plants and now there is so much interest in this area,” says researcher Youbin Zheng who conducted a first-of-its-kind study on optimizing the growth of cannabis indoors.
To the unknown
While anecdotal records were enough for the populace to push for and successfully obtain legalization, much is yet to be known about the drug.
Mike Dixon, Zheng’s fellow professor believes that the natural next step that should be done is to take medical marijuana “from the backwoods” into pharmaceutical-grade production.
Having had experience in conducting research for growing plants in space, Dixon aims to use what he knows and apply it to improve the cultivation of marijuana, especially with all the money coming in to support the research.
Not just cannabis
Dixon adds that while exploring the biochemical intricacies of the drug is the focus of the study, such as probing into the more than 150 compounds present in the plant, the funding can also be leveraged to explore potential agricultural technologies for growing plants in harsh conditions.
This, he believes, is something vital for the future of the country as a whole. It also helps attract more people to prospective career possibilities in agriculture and its modern modalities.
“The cannabis industry is doing us a favour by drawing a lot of attention to the sector and drawing attention to the fact it is a high-skill, high-tech area,” Dixon adds.