Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in the news

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Metrics of Mary Jane monitoring

In November, Michigan voted to become the 10th state to approve the use of recreational cannabis. While medical cannabis avails in 23 others. One wonders how many drivers at any given moment have used the substance? In Detroit, scientists are addressing the dearth of knowledge. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Randy Commissaris and Kawthar Alali were in their lab at Wayne State University putting subjects through exercises. Commissaris, associate professor in the department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Alali, a graduate student from Saudi Arabia, installed volunteers behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Impala on loan from Doreen Head, director of the school’s occupational therapy program. Pointing at a large screen for fixed-base simulation of real-world driving, the Impala, outfitted with Drive Safety hardware and sensors, translated driver inputs through an interactive program called HyperDrive. The researchers measured performance of a control: a young male whose blood was first drawn and assessed to assure no trace of THC. And the performance of a medical cannabis user: another  young male — the pair were numbers nine and 10 so far in the study — who had consumed the substance within the hour (his cannabis-free baseline was previously established). Each subject spent an hour in the Impala.
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Have you experienced 'highway hypnosis?'

Randall Commissaris, associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, talked about highway hypnosis. The phenomenon involves drivers who are aware and paying attention while operating their vehicle, yet, they don’t remember doing it. They’re in a routine while driving and not looking for exits – similar to operating on auto-pilot. Commissaris says one of the biggest potential risks is the challenge of dealing with a surprise situation. Commissaris uses a driving simulator and willing volunteers to study driving at Wayne State University.
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Expert views on Michigan's recreational marijuana proposal

At the event hosted by the Wayne State University College of Pharmacy and Health Studies, Christine Rabinak, an associate professor of pharmacy practice at the college, detailed the history of marijuana in the U.S. and the effects and characteristics of different strains. Randall Commissaris, an associate professor at Wayne State, has studied the effects of marijuana on driving ability. He told the audience Tuesday that a "yes" vote on Prop 1 will make Michigan either the ninth or tenth state to legalize recreational pot.