The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a leading health agency of the U.S. federal government, has announced a standardized THC dosage that research teams will be required to use when studying cannabis. The standard unit is now set at 5mg, and the unit strictly applies to all studies that have humans as test subjects.
The requirement will likely minimize doubts associated with lab results represented with varying dosage amounts that skew THC levels and hamper consumer, retailer and vendor abilities to fairly compare and assess THC content of products outside of the cannabis and legal marijuana marketplace.
When future research cementing the effects of different cannabis compounds can no longer be doubted under the guise that a different dose was used to report the findings, cannabis sector players that don’t make products containing THC will also benefit. Those products include CBD waters and beverages, gummies, topicals and an array of other products across the CBD marketplace.
NIDA director Nora Volkow has previously voiced support for establishing a standard unit for THC. She has also openly criticized the federal scheduling of cannabis as hampering efforts to conduct research into the substance.
The federal agency noted that the current differences in the way THC is reported by researchers made it difficult for interested parties to compare the findings of different studies on the same substance. The standard dose is designed to make it easier to compare the possible adverse or medical benefits of marijuana as established by various researchers.
However, the feds admitted that it was true that the same concentration of THC could trigger different effects based on several factors, such as how it was administered, the other compounds within the marijuana sample, and the genetic constitution of the test subjects, among other variables. NIDA nonetheless reiterated that having a standardized THC dose would help in the task of comparing different studies, something that NIDA and other federal authorities regard as a high priority.
The federal notice clarifies that researchers aren’t constrained to use only 5mg as they conduct studies. Rather, they are free to use as little or as much THC as they want, provided that they report their findings using the standard dose stipulated for all applicable studies.
The notice comes approximately a year after NIDA asked for feedback regarding a plan to set a standard unit for THC while marijuana research is conducted. The federal agency now reveals that its decision was informed by views of cannabis experts as well as the data from the responses collected from stakeholders as feedback was submitted.
The dosage guidance only applies to those scientific studies focusing on THC, and those applying to conduct such studies will be expected to determine whether and how the standard applies to their specific research. If researchers don’t want to adhere to the guidance, they are required to include a justification for such a decision while submitting their application for authorization to proceed with the study.