University of Michigan Researchers To Study Use Of Medical Marijuana
“With the ongoing policy debate and the growing popularity of medical marijuana programs in the United States, it is essential to understand the ramifications of medical marijuana use for individuals who seek access to it,” says study leader Mark Ilgen, Ph.D., an experienced researcher on topics related to substance use and abuse. “We hope that with this study can help inform the debate.” A psychologist who has studied substance use and abuse for 10 years, Ilgen is an associate professor in the U-M Department of Psychiatry and the principal investigator on the new grant. “Marijuana is the most frequently used drug in the nation, and has been legalized for medical use in many ways, yet we have very little understanding of how individuals using medical marijuana do over time,” says Frederic Blow, Ph.D., a co-investigator on the study and experienced substance abuse researcher who directs the Mental Health Services Outcomes & Translation Section at the U-M Medical School. “We hope this study will help provide much-needed data on the characteristics of those who seek medical marijuana, and the longerterm impact on their health and lives.” Across the country, patients use marijuana in hopes that it will ease the symptoms of conditions such as cancer, seizures, glaucoma and pain. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have made this use legal – including Michigan, where more than 135,000 patients are now in a four-year-old statewide registry of approved medical marijuana users.