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Photos Prove Government-Grown Cannabis Is Basically Ditch Weed

March 13, 2017
Federally grown medical cannabis, for use in a first-ever clinical trial around PTSD, not only resembled grass clippings—it also lacked potency and contained more mold and yeast than legal states like Washington or Colorado allow. (Sue Sisley/Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies)
Take a second to appreciate this picture.

If you’ve seen cannabis before, we’ll forgive you for not recognizing it here.

That bowl of what looks like stuff you might dig out of an old lawnmower is actually government-approved medical marijuana. Since the 1960s, the United States has required that  all cannabis used for research be sourced through the government.

And there it is, in all its glory.


Leafly’s Visual Quality Guide to Selecting Cannabis

No joke. The cannabis in that picture, the Washington Post reports, is the federally approved cannabis distributed to Sue Sisley, a researcher conducting a first-ever clinical trial of cannabis as a potential treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To underscore the difference between government marijuana and the medical cannabis familiar to patients in most legal states, the Post published this side-by-side comparison:

(Washington Post)

“Inhaling that would be like eating an apple, including the seeds inside it and the branch it grew on,” professional cannabis critic Jake Browne told the Post. “People typically smoke the flower of the plant, but here you can clearly see stems and leaves in there as well.”

Or as Twitter user @lightningjeff put it, “That’s drug abuse right there on the right.”

“It's akin to investigating the effects of bourbon by giving people Bud Light.”
Washington Post

The PTSD researcher, Sisley, said she was disappointed when she first unwrapped the package. “It didn’t look like cannabis. It didn’t smell like cannabis,” she told PBS NewsHour, which described the substance’s as looking “like green talcum powder.”

Some of the samples Sisley received failed to conform to the chemical potency she’d requested for the study, she said. One strain, for example, was supposed to contain 13% THC. Sisley’s testing showed it was closer to 8%.

Other samples were contaminated with mold and yeast at levels that exceeded standards in adult-use states like Washington or Colorado.


Leafly Investigation: How Much Butane in BHO Is Too Much?

The cannabis was, like all government-approved cannabis, grown on a 12-acre farm at the University of Mississippi, overseen by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And while it may be a laughable product, it’s hardly a laughing matter.

“For a researcher, it’s difficult to assess the real-world impact of high-end pot if you only have access to the low-quality stuff,” write the Post’s Chris Ingraham and Tauhid Chappell. “It’s akin to investigating the effects of bourbon by giving people Bud Light.”

NIDA has said it plans to produce “some additional marijuana this year and harvest some high THC material that will likely be above 13 percent THC.”

Ben Adlin's Bio Image

Ben Adlin

Ben Adlin is a Seattle-based writer and editor who specializes in cannabis politics and law. He was a news editor for Leafly from 2015-2019. Follow him on Twitter: @badlin

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  • Sergio Farias
  • Cbd Oil Wiki

    Contamination in the cannabis sample. Unbelievable, research shows that cannabis are rich in health benefits. From contaminated cannabis what health benefits one can except.

  • Bradson

    It only makes sense that since the government believes marijuana is harmful and medically useless that they provide a low-grade, polluted product to researchers.

  • jim

    This is absolute proof that these government officials have acted in contempt of their obligation to provide medical grade product FOR: our veterans who are dying as we speak from a “treatable” condition that has and will lead to more suicide and death. Where are the courts and DA’s and police when we need protection from these criminals? Oh that’s right they all have a vested interest in keeping cannabis illegal. More best gov money can buy. God bless all those who work to end the war on drugs, It’s killing us for profits and power.
    Gentle Jim

  • Alan479 Martin

    Just use cheap plant waste to back claims that marijuana has no medical value and have a ‘valid’ justification for new restrictive legislation. Another ‘studies have shown’ to be thrown into our faces.

    • Gary Craig

      That shit looks worse than “ragweed.” That’s the kind of junk that would hurt your throat and give you a nasty headache!

  • Mark Skinner

    What did we expect from Government……Durban Poison ?

    • Kris

      I thought that G-13 was a government owned strain.

      • Mark Skinner

        So, is DP now called G-13 ? I am 65 years old and the “nicest” stone I have ever had was from a bag of Durban poison….a lightish headstone with a lot of introspection…..a real conversation killer. But a great smoke, and so beautifully aromatic.

        • Kris

          No, G-13 is a heavy hitting indica that was possibly developed by the US government (I have not fully researched this, but remember it coming up back in my growing days), and supplied to the handful of test subjects. If I remember correctly, Durban Poison is a South African strain (also a lovely one).

          • Mark Skinner

            Yeah Chris, DP was a South African strain sold as it was back in 1970. I have never experienced G13 as in Australia we don’t have dispensaries, you have a choice of outdoor organic, or indoor hydroponics. And most of the time you only have a dealer’s word on what is which. And much of the time hydroponic growers don’t flush the product thoroughly enough, because they are in too much of a rush to get their greedy little hands onto the money. The result is dope that gives you a fucking headache. It’s real hit or miss in Australia.

          • Mark Skinner

            Yep, Durban is down towards the bottom of the Eastern coast of Africa. In the “olden days” that’s where it was grown. Beautiful flavour and the high was head strong….but NOT paranoia inducing.

  • DrakeMallard

    That gov’t herb is all shake and no flower, dude.

  • Robert Wayne

    Of course the Goberment will fk it up. What else are they good for except to hinder our freedom and keep us from Healthy Natural medicine so they can continue to profit off the poisons that big Pharma produce.

  • dianehappylife420

    check out this legal CBD oil. I love it!!

  • kate

    damn Just use wasted plant to back claims that marijuana has no medical value and have a good justification for new restrictive legislation. Another ‘studies have shown’ to be thrown into our informed

  • jimbro44

    Did this 2nd harvest, of supposedly better pot, ever happen? No, didn’t think so… Head of the DEA has said he thinks medical marijuana is “a joke”.. I would actually have trouble finding stuff THIS shitty anywhere…
    AND it has mold and yeast? (More than recreational states allow)

  • Aradia Threvaisi

    Makes sense. For the few who opted to try this and had never smoked they now have a negative opinion of cannabis. My grandmother believed until she died weed was poison because of what the government had given her in her trial in cancer. Needless to say people like her always go back to the pills and don’t understand how anyone can smoke it. Turn the uneducated away from the product completely and oh by the way it doesn’t help you at all and is bad for you but here ya go try it you will see. The government cannot patent a plant so naturally they would do their best to give you shit worse than Mexican grass weed just to prove their point.

  • Leroy Brown

    looks like the $15 ounces of mexican we used to buy as kids in the 70’s

  • max’s pad

    It is grown that way to keep the lie alive that
    “Government can’t do anything right and it is up to private business. Privatization always is better than some bureaucrat.”

    That is snark for those who are satirically challenged.

  • Vida Sawyer

    The fact that they believe that 13% is “high THC” says everything about the cultivators.

  • Wayne Sims

    Once again, the government rigs the game, stacks the deck, cheats in its methodology, in order to support a lie.

  • Robbie Beaudry

    Who took these photos? I haven’t seen any gov weed that looks like this. Last time ive seen weed like this was back in middle school

  • cooney

    tbh thought it was hay in the bowl, I’d toss that shit, no thanks.

  • Dennis Martens

    Looks like cat nip