In what is thought to be an unprecedented move, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has approved the importation of cannabis extracts from Canada for the purposes of a research study.

The University of California San Diego’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research will be allowed to import capsules of CBD and THC extracts for their study of essential tremors, an ailment which affects 10 million people in the U.S., as reported by the Associated Press.

The reason why U.S. researchers have to turn to foreign companies for their cannabis products are manifold and kind of stupid. While the simplest solution would be for researchers to acquire materials from nearby state-regulated, lab-tested cannabis companies, federal law prohibits that.

What cannabis researchers are supposed to do is get their product from the one place licensed by the federal government to do so, the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s cultivation site at the University of Mississippi.

However, the weed at Ole Miss is notoriously hard to get and more or less worthless even if you do get it. As we reported last year:

“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.”

Not to mention, the facility does not even produce extracts, which are preferable to flowers in some studies for a host of reasons.

NORML deputy director Paul Armentano told the AP,  “It’s very telling that you have researchers in the U.S. willing to exert the patience and go through the regulatory hurdles to make this happen at the same time the United States has its own domestic supply source.”

While cannabis is still illegal at the federal level in the U.S., Canada’s federal government has legalized it for medical use and its nationwide recreational program will go live in October.

The imported compound will have a 20:1 THC to CBD ratio, and will be provided by the British Columbia-based Tilray Inc.

The study’s principal investigator, neurologist Fatta Nahab commented on the importance of the study, saying, “Essential tremor is ten times more common than Parkinson’s and yet nobody really knows about essential tremor. That we’re finally getting to a potential therapeutic option in an area that is untapped is a big deal.”

Photo via Flickr user WeedPornDaily