University of Alabama biologists have reached an agreement to do research on 20 acres of hemp plants in Dallas County, Alabama, that is owned by a Denver-based cannabis and hemp company.

UA researchers recently signed a deal with the Wemp Company to conduct research on the plant’s chemical make-up.

“After receiving the material we are analyzing it for the presence of different components present in the material. We have a ground material here, we extract it using organic sulfates,” UA Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Dr. Lukasz Ciesla said.” After the extraction process, that’s how the sample looks like and using this solution we use this machine, we put it into tiny inserts and the machine that you can see here is called HPLC has two detectors that help us identify different molecules.”

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the Farm Bill, declassified hemp as an illegal drug. Alabama Legislation Defines Hemp as all parts of the cannabis plant containing less than 0.3% of THC. Hemp is in the A-range of products, which also includes CBD. It is a popular health supplement that is not regulated by the FDA.

“We are planning to possibly test some of those molecules as new drugs that may be helpful for people to fight some of the diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease,” Ciesla said.

UA’s goal of working with the company is to ensure the hemp is not only grown and processed but legal and free of harmful chemicals and pesticides.

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