Marijuana Research

The University of Mississippi


 – 1908 

 University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy was founded by pharmacist Henry Minor Faser, the first dean of the school.

Dean Henry Faser, founding dean of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy

 – 1964

Chemical structure of THC

 Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (RIPS) was established as the research arm of the School of Pharmacy with a mission to discover and develop new drugs from natural sources.

 Chemical structures of THC and CBD were determined by professor Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, spurring a worldwide interest in cannabinoid research.

 – 1968

 Program committee of National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) offered a contract to provide standardized marijuana for researchers. Dr. Norman Doorenbos, chair of UM Department of Pharmacognosy, applied for and was awarded the contract.

 Dr. Coy Waller joined UM as director of RIPS.

Signs at the marijuana garden

 First experimental plot of marijuana was grown at the UM site, using seeds from Mexico, Panama, Southeast Asia, Korea, India, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Lebanon.

 – 1969

 A secured garden was constructed for the first substantial crop grown at the UM site. An additional plot was planted in southern Mississippi on UM forest lands.

Aerial view of the first crop grown at UM.

– 1970

Dr. Carlton E. Turner, of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy's Marijuana Project

 Dr. Carlton E. Turner joined the project as a postdoctoral Research Associate to manage the development of cultivation techniques for standardized marijuana.

 Congress passed the Controlled Substance Act, making marijuana a Schedule-I drug.

 – 1973

 Illicit marijuana products from the Marijuana Project's archives.

 Congress established the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to be the lead agency for enforcement of the Controlled Substance Act.

 – 1974

 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) was established under the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration.

 – 1975

Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly (left) talks with colleagues.

 NIDA and DEA collaborated to monitor the potency of illicit marijuana by establishing the Potency Monitoring Program as part of the contract.

 Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly joined the project as a postdoctoral Research Associate.

 – 1976

 Outdoor cultivation activities continued to expand as the program became well known internationally.

 Over 100 varieties of cannabis seeds were planted this season.

 UM hosted the United Nations Narcotics Symposium in August.United Nations Narcotics Symposium, 1976

 – 1977

 Because of potential health risks of smoking Mexican marijuana sprayed with the herbicide paraquat, NIDA incorporated paraquat testing into the Potency Monitoring Program.

 – 1978

 The Compassionate Investigational New Drug program was established to provide marijuana cigarettes to treat certain medical disorders in a limited number of patients.

 – 1980

 Tobacco drying barns were installed at the garden for drying the crops, instead of drying the harvested plants in the sun, as was done previously.

 – 1981

 Dr. Turner left UM to become the Director of Drug Abuse Policy under President Ronald Reagan.

 Dr. ElSohly became the director of the UM marijuana project.

 – 1984

Marijuana plants grown outdoors at the Marijuana Project.

 Experimental techniques were developed to grow “sinsemilla” (Spanish for “no seed”) in which only female plants are allowed to mature in order to develop dense buds with high concentrations of cannabinoids. Today this is the predominate cultivation method for production of drug-type marijuana.

 – 1989

 The Coy Waller Laboratory Complex was constructed to provide dedicated laboratory and horticulture space for the project.

 – 1991

 RIPS began development of a novel drug delivery system for cannabis: a suppository containing a THC derivative.

 RIPS developed a chemical “fingerprint” technique to identify the country of origin of confiscated marijuana.

 – 1992

 NIDA became part of The National Institutes of Health.

 – 1995

 The National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) was established under RIPS with missions to improve human health and agricultural productivity through discovery, development and commercialization of natural products.

Thad Cochran Research Center

 – 1999

 NIDA’s Request for Proposals (RFP) included requirements for GMP production. NCNPR established new quality systems and hired additional personnel in order to meet the new requirements.

 – 2000

 The Coy Waller Laboratory building expanded with the addition of an annex with an indoor growing facility, a second vault and a plant processing laboratory.

 – 2005

 NCNPR acquired an additional DEA Schedule-I bulk manufacturer to provide cannabis extract to pharmaceutical companies.

 1,500 kg of marijuana was produced this year in the outdoor garden.

 The grow room was renovated with a new HVAC system.

The indoor marijuana grow room at the Marijuana Project.

 – 2006

 NCNPR submitted Drug Master File “Cannabis Extract” to FDA.

 An additional 1,500 kg of marijuana was produced this year for preparation of THC-rich cannabis extract.

 – 2007

 Over 300 kg of the product THC Cannabis Extract was manufactured this year.

Marijuana stored at the University of Mississippi

 – 2009

 Dr. Ikhlas Khan became co-director of the UM Marijuana Project.

 – 2012

 School of Pharmacy researchers developed transmucosal patch for the delivery of THC using THC prodrugs.

 – 2014

 Three cannabis varieties were grown this season, yielding over 600 kg of marijuana of different chemical profiles for the NIDA drug supply program.

 NIDA announced RFP for their ongoing marijuana program; UM submitted a proposal.

 NCNPR and Nemus Bioscience collaborated to develop CBD analogs and THC prodrugs.

 – 2015

 Mississippi governor signed “Harper Grace’s Law” to allow NCNPR and UMMC to undertake a clinical study of CBD cannabis extract in treatment of pediatric epilepsy.

 NCNPR won an award of a five-year NIDA contract, but Potency Monitoring Program was no longer included in the base contract.

 – 2016

Marijuana grown at the Marijuana Project at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy.

 DEA announced a new policy to allow marijuana growers outside of the NIDA program to provide materials for research purposes.

 NCNPR submitted Drug Master Files “CBD Cannabis Extract” and “Cannabidiol” to FDA.

 NCNPR developed “CBD Cannabis Extract Oral Solution” for UMMC clinical study.

 The grow room was renovated to include new lighting technologies.

 – 2017

 Dr. Brad Ingram submitted the Investigational New Drug (IND) application to FDA to begin a UMMC clinical study.

CBD extract at the National Center for Natural Products Research

 FDA approved UMMC clinical study for CBD Cannabis Extract Oral Solution for pediatric epilepsy.