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Connecticut conference aims to explore the academic angles of cannabis

Cannabis Legally Cultivated in Netherlands
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An assistant studies marijuana/cannabis leaves in the Maripharma Laboratory February 15, 2002 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The Dutch government is the first in the world to officially approve the cultivation and sale of cannabis products to pharmacies for medical purposes. A test by the Free University in Amsterdam is conducting tests with 20 Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients who seem to be experiencing great benefits from the treatment with marijuana.

Cannabis research is the focus of an academic conference in Willimantic this week.

The first New England Cannabis Research and Education Conference (NECREC) will take place at Eastern Connecticut State University. The conference aims to be a place where students, educators, and members of the cannabis industry can gather to share information in the emerging field of cannabis studies.

The legalization of marijuana in Connecticut and other states has created new employment and academic opportunities, according to Bryan Connolly, an assistant professor of biology at ECSU, which offers a minor in cannabis cultivation studies.

“So having a conference is where we can all be together, share ideas, and make progress together,” he said.

Academic institutions are conducting more cannabis research. The use of CBD, a chemical found in marijuana, and the legalization of THC, which causes someone to experience a high, across parts of the U.S. has created a new field of studies at many colleges. Researchers at ECSU will be using a hands-on and theoretical approach to “train students to cultivate and chemically analyze cannabis or hemp,” according to the university website. 

Connolly said researchers are tackling the sustainability, production, and human health benefits of cannabis.

“And then there’s a huge amount to do with human health and human biology and the interaction of this plant with people,” he said.

The cannabis conference takes place Oct. 21-22. For more information, visit the conference website. 

Learn more about ECSU's cannabis minor.

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