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The caterpillars are talking, and researchers at Colorado State University in Pueblo are listening as they explore the mysteries of cannabis. Questions are plentiful. Federal law hasn’t allowed much scientific research into this ancient plant, once widely shunned in the U.S. and now increasingly accepted.

Just what, exactly, makes cannabis tick? Its genetic code isn’t fully understood. A well-known, non-psychoactive chemical compound in cannabis called CBD has been shown to help relieve some seizures — there’s a federally approved CBD drug now — but what else can CBD or other cannabis compounds do?

It’s a question university researchers across the country have been tackling, including in Michigan. At the University of Michigan, medical marijuana has been studied for chronic pain management. Michigan State University studies are exploring how cannabis compounds might help protect the brain against inflammation caused by disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

If Michigan voters in November approve

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