CSU-Pueblo researches the world of cannabis, tracking methods

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At Colorado State University-Pueblo, the Institute of Cannabis Research has been researching and developing alternative methods of tracking cannabis, straying away from the traditionally known seed-to-sale.

CSU-Pueblo is the home of the ICR, a research center established in 2016, dedicated to “generating new knowledge on cannabis research and its derivatives,” according to Chad Kinney, director of ICR.

Cannabis tracking is used to determine sale patterns in retail and the black market, as well as to establish the quality of cannabis and hemp used in products.

Among its variety of research topics, and alongside students of the university, the ICR has spent recent years understanding current methods of tracking cannabis. The organization is researching what these methods lack in order to develop alternatives to better understand the cannabis industry and culture in Colorado, Kinney said.

“It was a question that was posed to the director of the ICR at that time on whether something could be developed as a potential alternative to other tracking technologies,” Kinney said. “This led to the review of the literature to understand what kind of tech was out there and what might be a reasonable alternative.” 

Of the alternative methods of tracking, there has been some mentioned apprehension on whether or not the ICR covers their cannabis in chemicals for the purpose of tracking, according to an article by the Daily Sentinel.

“It was a research project that was carried out to develop the feasibility in how that might be accomplished,” Kinney said in response to these criticisms. “It has never gone beyond proof of concept at this point. A technique was developed and tested in a laboratory setting.”

According to Rick Kreminski, a former administer of the ICR, there are a variety of reasons why this research is important, such as quality assurance in tracking. The quality of a product can be a concern when dealing with materials like hemp and whether or not the material used in a product meets quality standards.

WE RESPONDED TO THE NEED FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CANNABIS AND ITS VARIOUS EFFECTS, AS WELL AS ITS IMPACTS, AS A RESULT OF THE LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA IN COLORADO.”-Nicole Quartiero, assistant director of the ICR

These alternative tracking methods are useful when the traditional seed-to-sale system isn’t applicable.

“Say you’re a cop in Kansas and you pull someone over from Colorado,” Kreminski said. “Is that medically legal? You don’t know if it’s black market or retail; you don’t know anything. The seed-to-sale accomplishes something, but it doesn’t do a lot.”

The ICR doesn’t focus only on tracking cannabis. According to Kreminski, the ICR concentrates on social issues as well. From the study of retail marijuana and whether those who work in the industry are satisfied to the waterpower used in growing cannabis, the ICR focuses its research on the universe of cannabis as a whole.

“We are giving CBD to mice and are using this as a model for PTSD,” Kreminski said.

The ICR runs an experiment where mice are administered a non-harmful electric shock and then given CBD. After the CBD dose, they are tested to see if they remember that a certain action will result in being shocked. This research and experiment are being used to hopefully apply to people suffering from PTSD, not just mice. 

“If you give CBD to a veteran, it might help them treat PTSD,” Kreminski said. “But if you give CBD to an active-duty person, that might be harmful because it might enhance their memory in that short term.” 

According to Nicole Quartiero, assistant director of the ICR, the University found a lack of information in the cannabis industry in the state.

“We responded to the need for more information about cannabis and its various effects, as well as its impacts, as a result of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado,” Quartiero said.

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