Researchers in the states of Minnesota and Colorado are looking to see what health and social consequences marijuana legislation has.
A staggering $5.5 million study of marijuana will be conducted using twins from Colorado and Minnesota. Both are identical and fraternal.
The study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, will have 5,000 twins involved. It is the first test of its kind in the U.S. and will be conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado.
“There is clear need for solid scientific evidence and the experiment now unfolding in Colorado provides a rare opportunity to accumulate such evidence,” stated John Hewitt, the director of the Institute for Behavioral Genetics at CU Boulder and co-principal investigator of the study.
Hewitt and Christian Hopfer, who is the professor of psychiatry at CU’s Anschutz Medical Campus, will study 1,250 sets of twins ages 23 to 29 in Minnesota as well as 1,250 set of twins in Colorado. They will be collaborating with colleagues at the University of Minnesota for the study.
Researchers have already been following the participants for 15 to 20 years as part of ongoing studies on twins.
“There is a big cultural change of how marijuana is being used as a result of legalization,” said Hewitt. “Dabbing is just as legal as smoking your grandmother’s grass but the consequences could be very different.”
The twins will be asked about their relationships, career goals, and any legal or psychological challenges they may have.
“Some people will be fine. Some people may benefit. But for a subset of people, we suspect there will be adverse consequences,” Hewitt said.
“If you go to a doctor’s office, there are established guidelines for what you might call safe and appropriate use for alcohol,” Hopfer said. “But doctors have no idea what they should be telling patients when it comes to marijuana use.”