If you’ve ever tried to grow your own weed at home, the first bit usually involves searching some 3000 different strains on a shady website and picking between Quick Caramel XL or Big Devil F1.
That, or your aunty handing you an envelope of the seeds she’s been hoarding for the better part of 20 years, and hoping for the best. As a novice grower, it’s practically impossible to really know what’s in your weed—which might sound like a fun roulette, but if you’re smoking the stuff for medicinal use, then knowledge is power. Luckily, the University of Sydney’s Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics is launching CAN-ACT: a study that will allow you to test homegrown weed for free.
Since January 2020, Canberra became the first and only state in Australia to decriminalise weed, making it legal for people over the age of 18 to possess 50 grams of dried or 150 grams of fresh cannabis, grow up to two plants per person, and use cannabis freely inside your own home. With the CAN-ACT study, those growing their own weed can learn more about cannabis and contribute to scientists growing research; one intended outcome is to reach a better understanding of when exactly it is safe to drive after using.
The CAN-ACT study is split into two parts, including a 10-minute online survey and sample testing. The online survey will ask questions about your attitudes, use and behaviours towards weed, so researchers can build upon current links. The sample testing will test your weed for cannabinoid content, like psychoactive components tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) levels, and also find out if there are any dodgy contaminants such as pesticides or heavy metals. To be eligible, all you have to do is live in the ACT and actively use or cultivate cannabis since the laws changed in 2020.
The aim of the study is to better understand the therapeutic benefits of weed, but any and all novice growers are encouraged to apply. The more we can prove the positive outcomes of weed through gaining more knowledge of it, the more likely other states and territories will follow suit in the relaxation of laws around cannabis possession and cultivation.