God help you if your weed hookup is the federal government. If you’re a researcher in American doing some much needed investigation into the health benefits and risks of cannabis, then you’re probably doing it with moldy, yeasty seeds and stems.

The sad, sad state of affairs came to light when researcher Sue Sisley spoke to PBS News last week. She reported on the extremely low quality of the government provided marijuana and even supplied photographic evidence of it (as seen above).

Sisley has been working with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Study (MAPS) on a study of the effects of cannabis on veterans suffering from PTSD.

The bud Sisley received from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) was, for one thing, week. The highest THC potency currently available from NIDA is 13 percent, far below the level commonly found in bud people typically smoke in legal markets like Colorado or California. That’s bad enough, but what Sisley found was even worse: the cannabis that was supposed to be 13 percent actually tested out at closer to 8 percent.

And the government weed wasn’t just week. It contained high levels of both mold and yeast. Another researcher working with Sisley said that the total yeast and mold in the supplied samples was higher than the standards in states such as Washington and Colorado, though the specific strains of mold found in the samples were not harmful to humans.

“That is, flat out, not a usable form of cannabis… In two decades of smoking weed, I’ve never seen anything that looks like that,” said Jake Browne, marijuana critic for The Cannabist. “People typically smoke the flower of the plant, but here you can clearly see stems and leaves in there as well, parts that should be discarded. Inhaling that would be like eating an apple, including the seeds inside it and the branch it grew on.”

While judging the state of an entire nation’s research cannabis based on one batch might seem extreme, it’s important to remember that Sisley’s samples came from the country’s one and only legal provider of federal research cannabis: the NIDA-overseen facility at the University of Mississippi.

The quality of their product suggests that either the people working at the U-Miss facility either don’t know what they’re doing or just don’t have their heart in it.

Photo via MAPS