Cannabis Research FAQs

The FAQs below are designed to address questions related to work related to Industrial Hemp and Marijuana.

The definition of Industrial Hemp under Colorado law is "a plant of the genus Cannabis and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, containing a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than three-tenths of one percent (0.3%) on a dry weight basis."

The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) may sample registrants' industrial hemp crops two weeks prior to harvest and test for THC content only. It does not test any other cannabinoids; but, under certain circumstances, the CDA tests for the presence of certain pesticides.  (See  Click "CDA Policy for Industrial Hemp Inspection, Sampling.")

Yes.  Marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance; Schedule I substances are subject to the most intense scrutiny by the DEA.  In Colorado, industrial hemp cultivation is regulated by the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA); under the U.S. Farm Bill and Colorado's Agricultural Pilot Programs, institutions of higher learning have broad latitude to cultivate and research industrial hemp, including its constituent compounds, without a DEA Schedule I license.

The key defining characteristics of industrial hemp are that it is Cannabis sativa L. that does not include THC at a concentration of more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.  If the extract meets that criterion, it would qualify for treatment as industrial hemp.  

Pursuant to the Federal Farm Bill, research can be conducted without a DEA Schedule I registration for growth, cultivation, and market analyses (i.e. economic/agronomics) of industrial hemp. UCCS researchers may also conduct "academic research" on any application or subject matter using hemp, other than use with humans, with the additional caveat that use with animal models requires IACUC approval.  (Note- UCCS currently does not have animal research on campus, so research of this nature may need to rely on another IACUC for review.)

Yes, but the research must then be conducted in conformance with DEA requirements for research with marijuana (contact OSPRI for more information).

Yes, but this requires registration of the cultivation site on the University's CDA registration or a separate CDA registration for your specific location, if necessary.  Coordinate registration applications through Michael Sanderson in OSPRI.

At this time, viable hemp seed should be obtained only from the CDA under its license with the DEA. OSPRI will work with faculty and staff who are working in CDA-registered locations on campus that are managed by OSPRI to determine the best method to order and obtain industrial hemp seed.

Any plants with THC concentrations exceeding the 0.3% limit must be reported to the CDA. If the CDA tests the crop and it exceeds the 0.3% limit, it likely will destroy the crop.

Yes, but the subcontractor must (1) be registered with the Colorado Department of Agriculture's Industrial Hemp program; (2) have a federally insured bank account; and (3) certify that they do not work with the Marijuana Industry.  Contact OSPRI for more information about developing an agreement with subcontractors for this purpose. 

A qualified yes.  Hemp materials and products, other than viable seeds, that contain a THC concentration of less than 0.3% on a dry weight basis are not subject to the Controlled Substances Act if the materials and products are cultivated pursuant to the Farm Bill and Colorado's Agriculture Pilot Program. In addition, the third party must (1) be registered with the Colorado Department of Agriculture's Industrial Hemp program; (2) have a federally insured bank account; and (3) certify that they do not work with the Marijuana Industry. The activities must have a research purpose. Thus, a researcher is permitted to receive and perform research on such materials and products from parties with which it enters collaborative research focused agreements processed through the OSPRI.


Yes, but the researcher is responsible for following any local laws and U.S. laws that may apply. 

Yes, but only if the funder meets the criteria described in the guidance document and the arrangement includes an agreement involving sponsored research or services.  (UCCS does not accept gifts or funding from the Marijuana Industry due to federal regulations and laws, including the Drug Free School Zones Act, Drug Free Work Place Act and the Bank Secrecy Act.)

Intellectual assets, including publications, knowledge and licensed rights to resulting intellectual property, may always be provided as is standard operating procedure for research universities. Hemp and associated materials, but not viable seeds, may be provided to the sponsor.

Yes. Work with OSPRI to learn more.

Yes, provided that all Schedule I rules and protocols are followed for materials categorized as a Schedule I controlled substance

Please reach out to Mike Sanderson in OSPRI to talk about possible disposal methods.

Please contact Mike Sanderson in OSPRI ( to explore the use of cannabis/marijuana/industrial hemp in your research/project.