UCSC Review Winter 1998
Campus Update: Innovative marijuana study seeks answers
The federal government has funded an innovative in-depth study of marijuana use that is designed to answer fundamental questions about the drug, including whether it leads to the use of "harder" drugs, what its long-term effects are, and whether users become dependent on the drug.
Craig Reinarman, a sociology professor at UCSC and an expert on drug policy, will oversee the project, which is part of a three-nation comparative study. The U.S. component will target San Francisco, where the names of 4,000 residents will be drawn at random from U.S. Census data and then surveyed by employees of UC Berkeley's Survey Research Center. Respondents who have used marijuana more than 25 times in their life will be asked to participate in a detailed follow-up survey. Identical surveys will be administered in Amsterdam and Bremen, Germany. Reinarman and his Dutch and German counterparts will convene at the University of Amsterdam to conduct the cross-national data analysis.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse, under the auspices of the National Institutes of Health, has provided the initial funding for the three-year, $780,000 U.S. study, which will greatly expand knowledge about the use and impact of marijuana, said Reinarman.