Detail from the 1936 movie poster for "Reefer Madness.' Public domain
Detail from the 1936 movie poster for "Reefer Madness.' Public domain
In the 1930s, a certain mythology surrounding marijuana began to sprout. A propaganda film began spreading that marijuana use would immediately send teenagers into a life of criminal activity and psychosis-like frenzies. The film was initially financed by a church group and marketed to parents as a cautionary tale.

Of course, this portrayal of cannabis’ danger was entirely fictionalized and wholly inaccurate; that film, “Reefer Madness,” has achieved cult status as an exploitation film and unintended satire.

But that isn’t to say cannabis has zero risks. Now, as cannabis products become more readily available alongside relaxing state laws across the country, Indiana University researchers are assessing how regular use of cannabis can impact teenagers’ mental health in adulthood.

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Neuroscientists Ken Mackie and Hui-Chen Lu have received more than $2 million from the NIH's National Institute on Drug Abuse to research the impact of cannabis use during adolescence, with the intention to contribute to the development of new therapies and treatment options.

As part of their study, Lu and Mackie will use male and female mice with diverse genetic backgrounds to study the impact cannabis has on people.

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