The Great Pot Experiment

 – May 14, 2015  –– 

Yasmin Hurd raises rats on the Upper East Side of Manhattan that will blow your mind. Though they look normal, their lives are anything but, and not just because of the pricey real estate they call home on the 10th floor of a research building near The Mount Sinai Hospital. For skeptics of the movement to legalize marijuana, the rodents are canaries in the drug-policy coal mine. For defenders of legalization, they are curiosities. But no one doubts that something is happening in the creatures’ trippy little brains. In the past, scientists have found that rats exposed to THC in their youth will show changes in their brain in adulthood. But Hurd asked a different question: Could parental marijuana exposure pass on changes to the next generation, even to offspring who had never been exposed to the drug? “This data tells us we are passing on more things that happen during our lifetimes to our kids and grandkids,” Hurd explains, though it remains unclear how those changes manifest in humans.

- Dr. Yasmin Hurd, Professor, Psychiatry, Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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