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Thursday, February 08, 2018

Faison visits MTSU hemp lab
In 2013, State Representative Jeremy Faison, (R-Cosby) hosted a team of researchers and administrators from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), who visited the Cosby woods, to dig for “Appalachian gold”. The scientists were associated with the Tennessee Center for Botanical Medicine Research, who sought the help of Faison to collect samples of locally grown wild ginseng to compare with varieties of the herb found in China Earlier this week, House Speaker Beth Harwell led a delegation of Tennessee legislators to the campus, to learn more about the Center's research into nonpsychotropic cannabinoids, which are derived from hemp. The school invited the lawmakers, including Representative Faison, to detail the research that is underway and to describe the medicinal strides that are being made. The research would be pertinent if Tennessee expands on a medical cannabis patient program. Faison has introduced legislation that would legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes in Tennessee. He is a major supporter of the ginseng initiative at the center and encouraged his fellow legislators and citizens “to move away from taboo and start saving lives” through hemp and medical marijuana research. Dr. Elliot Altman, center director, discussed the overall success of the center and the growing hemp research. He and MTSU President Sidney A.McPhee led the tour, which included a stop in a room where a hemp plant was growing with the assistance of a very sophisticated ultraviolet light. The group was told about the impact the $147 million Science Building has had on research, resulting in total grants of $19.5 million last year alone. Researcher and center co-director Iris Gao discussed Chinese collaborations and the ongoing student-involved research in the development of new anticancer compounds. “We’ve generated a lot of research results,” Gao said, adding that patents and papers for leading scientific journals related to the work underway at the center, also have increased substantially. “I appreciate your support,” McPhee told the lawmakers. “We have dedicated faculty, and we’re able to conduct world-class research.” The university’s School of Agribusiness and Agriscience grows hemp at the MTSU farm — also known as the Experiential Learning and Research Center.


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