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  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director December 28, 2010
    Longtime cannabis researcher, professor, author, frequent medical expert on NORML’s daily podcast and NORML Advisory Board member Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D, from the University at Albany, is once again seeking the help of cannabis consumers by asking for their participation in some basic research regarding cannabis use and behavior.
    Below is a description of the anonymous online survey, along with a link to take the survey.
    Dr. Earleywine’s research into cannabis use is frequently published and it very often provides great insight for policy makers, public health officials, parents and law enforcement. See a lecture from Dr. Earleywine at a past NORML conference here.
    Thanks in advance for…advancing science!
    * * *
    Study Description
    You are being asked to participate in a research study designed to investigate the potential relationship between various personality characteristics, illicit drug use, and other behaviors. The study is being conducted under the supervision of Dr. Mitch Earleywine, Department of Psychology through the University at Albany. If ANYTHING goes awry, email Dr. Earleywine. Please don’t email anyone else if you have problems with the survey.

    Your participation in this research study involves completing several computerized questionnaires pertaining to your personal characteristics, attitudes and behaviors (including your use of illegal drugs and participation in risky behaviors).

    Participation in this study is expected to take about approximately 30 minutes to complete. At the end of the survey you will have the opportunity to enter your email address for inclusion in a raffle for a $100 gift card to www.amazon.com.

    Due to the nature of this research there is a chance that you may feel slightly uncomfortable answering some of the questions. We would like to remind you that your participation in this project is entirely voluntary. You may skip questions that you feel uncomfortable answering at anytime without any penalty to you as a participant. Your decision to discontinue participating before the end of the study will not result in the penalty or loss of benefits to which you may otherwise have been entitled.

    Risks
    Some of the questions involve information about illegal behavior. We have made great efforts to protect your confidentiality, but there is a small possibility of a confidentiality breach. Please read the section below on confidentiality. Given the sensitive and illegal nature of some of the topics, you may feel slightly embarrassed when answering some of the questions.

    Benefits
    While we anticipate no direct benefits to you, others may benefit through the contribution you make to increased knowledge about factors that influence personal characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors.

    Confidentiality
    All information obtained in this study is strictly confidential unless disclosure is required by law. In addition, the Institutional Review Board and University or government officials responsible for monitoring this study may inspect these records.

    It is important for you to know that questionnaire data will be collected via www.surveymonkey.com. While we do not anticipate any problems associated with using this service, there is always some risk of a confidentiality breach associated with using the Internet. In order to ensure your privacy and confidentiality, all of your responses will be coded with a subject ID number. We will not obtain any personal identifying information that might directly relate you to the subject ID number or identify you as a participant. The one exception is your email address, which we will give you the option to provide should you like to be involved in a raffle for a prize upon completing the survey. Your email address, however, will be maintained separately from the rest of the information you provide when the data is downloaded from the Internet.

    We will take every step possible to ensure your confidentiality, including limiting access to Surveymonkey data only to those individuals necessary to conduct the study. Furthermore, Surveymonkey uses Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), which ensures industry standard protection typical of banking and other payment websites. All data collected online during this study will be stored in a password protected account and any data obtained in the laboratory or downloaded will be secured in locked filing cabinets or password protected computers. After a period of seven years, all materials will be destroyed.

    Access the survey here!

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 6, 2010

    Investigators and pundits alike are fond of calling for ‘more research’ into the safety and efficacy of marijuana and its active compounds. Ironically, when such calls are heeded and new research is published, nobody wants to talk about it.

    For example, researchers at the State University of New York (SUNY), Upstate Medical University in Syracuse published data in the June issue of the journal Pharmacology concluding that the administration of the plant cannabinoids delta-8-THC and delta-9-THC halted cellular respiration and tumor growth in human oral cancer cells. Specifically, investigators reported that cannabinoids were a “potent inhibitor” of Tu183 human cancer cells, a notoriously difficult to treat type of oral cancer.

    Of course, this is hardly the first time that pot’s compounds have been demonstrated to possess anti-cancer properties. As has been widely reported here and elsewhere, US government researchers were first aware of this finding over 35 years ago, and today there exist published scientific studies demonstrating that cannabinoids can inhibit the proliferation of a wide range of cancers — including brain cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, pancreatic cancer, biliary tract cancer, and lymphoma. Nonetheless, abstract prohibitionist concerns regarding marijuana’s supposed cancer risk continue to dominate the headlines while actual scientific studies debunking these allegations tend to go unnoticed.

    Similarly, preclinical data published online last week in the journal Cell Communication and Signaling reported that the administration of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) increases adult neurogenesis (the active production of new neurons) in laboratory animals. Authors speculated that cannabis’ pro-neurogenic effects may explain why the plant appears to be useful in the treatment of certain neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease or ALS.

    As I wrote last week, to date there are now over 20,000 published studies or reviews in the scientific literature pertaining to marijuana and its active compounds — making marijuana the most studied plant on Earth. But what’s the point in further research if nobody even bothers to pay attention to the research that’s already been done?

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