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Joining Forces




Creating partnerships can prove to be beneficial in any industry, and the cannabis industry is no exception. When two institutions have something of value to offer, they often can accomplish more together. The researchers at Washington State University (WSU) and the team at the Biopharmaceutical Research Company (BRC) no doubt hope to realize this kind of successful partnership. Their alliance was announced in early November, in which BRC will provide analytical services to researchers at the university. The university’s researchers will also have better access to cannabis as a result of the partnership.

As a pharmaceutical manufacturer and analytics company, BRC was built by its founders to provide a solution to the lack of certified cannabis needed for scientific research. The team at BRC is comprised of horticulture experts, academics, pharmaceutical manufacturers and much more. The company website states, “We take our responsibility to provide the scientific community with superior quality cannabis seriously.”

The chair of the WSU Collaborative for Cannabis Policy, Research and Outreach, Michael McDonell shared with CULTURE, “We would like to have the ability to obtain cannabis for research that allows us to conduct animal and human research related to health and public safety. Once BRC obtains a schedule one license to grow cannabis for research, we are hoping we will be able to obtain cannabis for research from BRC.”

The university hopes to expand its work with cannabis once the BRC receives a license to cultivate cannabis. “Our ongoing work is primarily related to animal research focused on the impact of cannabis on health. We are also conducting human research, but none that requires a Schedule 1 license,” McDonell explained.

The research team at WSU has already been allowed cannabis possession by the federal government. However, other difficulties in conducting research linger. Despite the partnership McDonell said the “difficulties remain the same,” but the alliance gives possibility for future growth in research.

“We would like to have the ability to obtain cannabis for research that allows us to conduct animal and human research related to health and public safety.”


Traditionally, cannabis research has been met with resistance and multiple legal obstacles. It was only in August of this year that U.S. Department of Justice decided to expand the 2016 program by allowing other cannabis producers to obtain licensing to supply cannabis for research. Before this decision, those looking to study cannabis could only use product from one federally approved producer. As demand for “research cannabis” continues to climb, the federal government needs to meet the demand with better policies and accessibility for research.

Yet the question remains, why is it still so difficult to obtain cannabis for necessary and beneficial scientific research? Although recreational cannabis is not yet accepted at the federal level, it is hard to deny that more studies on cannabis would provide various benefits to public health.

While advocates, patients, caretakers and recreational consumers of cannabis wait for these necessary changes to cannabis research accessibility, BRC is currently looking to analyze, import and one day grow cannabis for itself. The company is already registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration to conduct research on cannabis derived products. Right now, BRC waits for the approval of the federal government as they have already filed for a cultivation permit. Products produced by BRC could then be used for federally approved studies.