Arcadia University is developing a collaborative research program with Agri-Kind Hemp, a Chester County-based corporation. The first phase of the collaboration, beginning in April 2019, will focus on conducting growth and harvest comparisons of different industrial hemp seed/clonal varieties and studying the cultivation of certified hemp seed.
In support of this collaboration, the University applied for and received an Industrial Hemp Research Program permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Using Arcadia’s greenhouse, Agri-Kind Hemp will oversee the project’s cultivation process, from seeds through harvest. Arcadia will incorporate faculty and student involvement in the maintenance and research relating to the life-cycle of the project’s industrial hemp crops as part of our academic research program. The innovative collaboration could lead to the development of academic programs and research opportunities for our faculty and students.
“This partnership will enable the Biology department at Arcadia to develop additional applied career tracks for interested students,” said Dr. Naomi Phillips, chair of Biology at Arcadia and faculty leader for the project. “In addition, as this relationship grows, we anticipate opportunities for faculty in many departments at Arcadia to support student research in these areas and develop research programs around this collaboration.
Arcadia is one of eight colleges and universities in Pennsylvania involved in such a program, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Hemp has important industrial purposes and is a source for food, oils, and textiles. Its many uses have the potential to lead to future projects at the University connected to Arcadia’s College of Health Sciences, School of Global Business, and College of Arts and Science, such as Art and Design, Chemistry, Biology, Psychology, and the Forensic Science programs.
“At Arcadia, we have seen several examples over the past year of student, faculty, and university innovation that have led to significant opportunity,” said Dr. Ajay Nair, president of Arcadia. “This collaboration with Agri-Kind continues to build on that momentum and provide University community members with unique and innovative academic opportunities.”
A subsidiary of Agronomed Pharmaceuticals, LLC., Agri-Kind Hemp LLC is committed to advancing the medical cannabis industry with a primary focus on researching products targeted for specific indications for the best medical efficacy. Agri-Kind Hemp will oversee the project to ensure compliance with all applicable international, federal, state and local laws, regulations, policies, guidance and other legal requirements set forth by the University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. They will provide appropriate Arcadia academic personnel with information, content, data, and other knowledge for their use in curriculum enhancement and research projects. The company also will coordinate and manage the contract growers and the property of such contract growers used in the project and under the approved research permit.
“Agri-Kind Hemp is honored to partner with Arcadia University on this venture,” said Jon Cohn, Agri-Kind Hemp’s chief executive officer. “The many applications of hemp enable a multifaceted approach; genetic variability determines the end result of the crop. It is our objective to research the various compounds produced by this crop by controlling the environment and different aspects of cultivation throughout its lifecycle.”
There are distinct types of the plant Cannabis sativa. Hemp has low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels, which is the principal psychoactive agent in marijuana. The chemical cannabidiol (CBD), found in both types of plants, has the potential to alleviate pain, anxiety, and depression.
“It is exciting to be one of the select universities in the Commonwealth to embark on industrial hemp research,” said Dr. Rebecca Kohn, special assistant to the president for Academic Affairs and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Arcadia. “We are looking forward to providing unique research and academic opportunities for Arcadia students and faculty in an industry that is enjoying a revitalization.”