The University of Sydney has commenced a program of freely testing marijuana samples sent in by Australian Capital Territory (ACT) residents with results coming out in early 2023. Residents outside the ACT are not eligible to participate.
Growers can fill out a survey and request to send in their homegrown cannabis for anonymous testing at the University. Researchers will analyse the samples and generate a report for cannabinoid content (including THC and CBD) and contaminants such as pesticides or heavy metals.
The so-called CAN-ACT study is part of the University’s Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics which launched in 2015 following a $33.7 million donation.
As part of the Initiative, researchers are trying to understand community use of cannabinoid therapeutics, including homegrown cannabis. Beyond their recreational psychoactive effects, new research suggests cannabinoids might be useful in reducing anxiety and seizure risk.
Lead researcher Professor Iain McGregor explained that many growers are enjoying therapeutic benefits from their cannabis consumption and the research will help users better understand what they are taking.
“Growers who are achieving profound therapeutic effects with cannabis are naturally curious about what their cannabis contains. The CAN-ACT study was inspired by an ACT resident who was growing cannabis to help treat his wife’s advanced cancer,” he said in a statement to the University.
Since the decriminalisation of cannabis in the ACT in 2020, residents have been able to use cannabis for recreational and medicinal purposes. Individuals over 18 years old are permitted to possess 50g of dried cannabis (or 150g if wet) and two plants, with no more than four plants per household.
The local community has experienced several benefits including a 90 per cent reduction in cannabis-related offences.
While the ACT remains the only state to have passed decriminalisation legislation, the Greens are expected to release a draft bill later this year for federal legislation.
Results from CAN-ACT study may help contribute to revisions to the draft by providing an empirical analysis on cannabis use and chemical composition in the ACT.