COLCHESTER, VT. >> A Vermont think tank is working to develop new technologies aimed toward researching and exploring the uses of medical marijuana products.

Willy Cats-Baril, an associate professor at the University of Vermont's Grossman School of Business, told Vermont Public Radio <URL destination="">the Phytoscience Institute is trying to bring the same scientific scrutiny to medical marijuana that agencies like the FDA have given to conventional drugs.

</URL>"What we hope to do here in Vermont is to develop new technologies that are at the forefront of making sure that the products that are created are not only consumer-safe, high quality, but absolutely reproducible time and time again," Cats-Baril said.

Cats-Baril, one of five cofounders of the institute, said its vision is to develop the intellectual property needed to advance the medical cannabis field and export those advances to other states and countries.

PhD-trained plant geneticist Monique McHenry, also a member of the institute, said that ingesting cannabis can offer profound symptom relief to those suffering from chronic illnesses that make people legally able to use medical marijuana in the state.

Questions such as what elements of the drug are best for treating certain symptoms remain unclear, but Dr. Kalev Freeman, an institute member and emergency room doctor at the University of Vermont Medical Center, said that the state could become the epicenter for the research and development that would provide those answers.


The institute released a 34-page white paper last week in which they recommended testing and regulatory guidelines they think state lawmakers should adopt for medical marijuana.