You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 5:57 a.m.

University of Michigan hosting talk on effects of marijuana use 2 days before Hash Bash

By Kellie Woodhouse


A crowd during the 2012 Hash Bash in Ann Arbor.

Chris Asadian |

The University of Michigan is holding a one-day conference exploring the effects of daily cannabis smoking on Thursday, two days before Ann Arbor's 42nd annual Hash Bash.

The timing is "just a coincidence," said U-M Substance Abuse Research Center director Donald R. Vereen, but the event should foster a lively discussion before one of the nation's largest rallies for marijuana reform.


Donald R. Vereen

U-M photo

"The purpose is to showcase this latest piece of research and people can use that to make their own decisions," Vereen said.

Marilyn Huestis, chief of the Chemistry and Drug Metabolism Intramural Research Program at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, will present the results of a federally funded study that looks at the effects of daily marijuana use.

The study, Vereen said, offers "objective information about what is actually happening in the brain [of a daily marijuana user] that is long lasting," adding that the findings are "really more negative" than positive.

Researchers found that consistent cannabis users experience short-term memory issues and have slower-than-usual reaction times. Cognitive processing also is slowed by daily use, the research found.

Vereen expects a good turnout for the Thursday event.

"This is Hash Bash weekend. [Cannabis] is on people's minds," he said, adding there are 100 to 125 people already registered to attend the lecture, which is free and open to the public and includes a question-and-answer session.


Ann Arbor marijuana activist Chuck Ream was in good spirits at the 2012 Hash Bash.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The talk begins at 4:45 p.m. Thursday and will be held at the School of Public Health II, in room M-1020. A reception will be held beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the School of Public Health community room.

Longtime Ann Arbor activist Chuck Ream, who supports legalizing marijuana, has sent emails to more than 1,000 people informing them of the talk, he said. He plans to attend and distribute pro-marijuana literature to fellow attendees.

"I would like people to have something in their hands," he said. "I want this [researcher] to know there are people who think that she is lying."

Ream added: "I just don't think I can resist coming over to listen to this lady tell me what is wrong with my brain."

The Saturday Hash Bash rally on the Diag takes place from noon to 1:30 p.m., after which ralliers are likely to go over to the 12th annual Monroe Street Fair.

This year's headliner is Mason Tvert, co-director of the 2012 campaign to legalize marijuana in Colorado, communications director at the Marijuana Policy Project and author of "Marijuana is Safer."

This year's speakers include two local politicians: State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, who attracted statewide attention recently for his push to end the debate over medical marijuana in Michigan by decriminalizing cannabis in the state, and Ann Arbor City Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 3:31 a.m.

Hash Bash- Find the Root Cause for your Craving: Hash Bash attracts a large, impressive crowd and I have witnessed this event several times in the past to look at people who come there. Hemp plant is native to India and I remember meeting young foreigners( hippy era) who used to visit India because of the ease and lack of criminality attached to the use of hemp products. In some parts of India, hemp leaves and seeds are used to make a beverage which is not addictive and has a mild stimulant effect. I would still ask people to examine the craving that leads them to experiment with chemical substances that have effects on brain. To lead a happy and satisfied life, my Culture instructs me to exercise self-restraint and self-control and without mastering the cravings there is no peace in life.

Michigan Man

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 10:56 p.m.

The Hash Bash crowd in Ann Arbor will be predominately high school burnouts, college age unemployed types, walkers who cannot afford a car, a few University type Freshman who want to see the show and some of the older crowd who are retired and have checked out of life. Pretty much the same story year after year.

Edward Green

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

Same stereotype could be applied to St. Patty's day! Your point is?

Sam S Smith

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 10:31 p.m.

Jobs drug test for mj and will not hire you if you are positive. With my job even medical mj isn't allowed. I heard it stays in one's system for 30 days. It's a choice but not a very good one if you want a job!

Sam S Smith

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 12:47 a.m.

imogene, I'm not against medical mj. I just made a true statement that is based on my job and many other jobs. Please don't confuse what I posted as that I don't care because I don't have cancer or any other disease.


Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 11:25 p.m.

good thing you don't have cancer because if you needed it to eat you would be fired from your job but why should you car you don't have cancer


Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 9:39 p.m.

The more who smoke means there is less competition in life......................

Steven Sharpe

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

One part of Government just doesn't want to except the other part of Government's proven facts. If you have no abuse, you have no job and I believe just like Atlanta, maybe time for a reality check on facts and way so much money is being spent on Drug Prevention when it can cure your cancer maybe?


Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

The Positive Effects of Marijuana: The negative effects of regular Marijuana have been stated as, 1. Short-term Memory loss, 2. Slower-than-usual Reaction Time, and 3. Slowing of Cognitive process. These effects could be demonstrated in the normal aging process. There is this problem of age-related cognitive impairment even among non-smokers and otherwise healthy individuals. My concern is about its positive effects. I lived in India and have seen Marijuana growing all around my military camp. We had no particular concern about the legality of its use. But, myself, and my men had not smoked or used it to experience any of its positive effects. We wanted to focus upon stress-resistance and stress-tolerance. I found that men who are pain tolerant and are pain resistant have a very high degree of stress resistance. Since we were training for our role in a future combat mission, we gave a high priority to improve our resistance of stressful stimuli. The result was, none of us had any craving for tobacco, alcohol, or Marijuana while they were easily available for our use.


Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 4:15 p.m.

Turn-out at these kinds of events is typically disappointing, because so many people who really owe it to themselves to go just sort of forget because of the sunshine or a song coming on the radio or a batch of fresh cookies.


Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

Had me going till I looked at her work. What a joke ! Chuck is right. Check out this "Their most recent study, which involved measuring psychomotor impairment as it relates to skills critical for driving, revealed that chronic users could be impaired up to three weeks after their last use." Anyone got meds that last three weeks ?

Kelly G

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

I love when a reporter can present the simple facts of a situation in a concise, informative fashion without skewing the article one way or the other. This was done here. Thank you!


Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 12:44 p.m.

What it all comes down to is that in a free society, the people have a right to decide what to do for themselves as long as it does not affect the rights of others. We have enough "evidence" about marijuana use for the citizens to decide if they want to partake of it.


Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 12:13 p.m.

"Researchers found that consistent cannabis users experience short-term memory issues and have slower-than-usual reaction times. " Also, water is wet.

Robert Granville

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 11:49 a.m.

We love you Chuck but why fight the truth? We all know there are real, negative, short-term effects of smoking daily... we've all experienced them. I can't tell you how many times I've had to choose a different word to finish my thought because the one I'm trying to think of is evading me. As long as her research is peer-reviewed and her methodology isn't woefully flawed like most purposefully anti-cannabis psuedoscience, pull up a chair and listen. If we truly want cannabis in the open market, we have to be willing to listen to the researchers, unlike the government and the DEA. There are some short-lived negative effects and people should know exactly what they are and exactly how long they last after use ends. Now if she wants to argue that they're permanent, I'll join your fight. She'd be the very first to do that without fudging the data.

Robert Granville

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

Long rum... cannabis... I'm done... this is all too funny.

Robert Granville

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 12:02 p.m.

It also should be noted that cannabis use has proven to have preventative effects on Alzheimer's. Funny that it is a detriment to short-term memory but a benefit to memory function in the long rum.

Robert Granville

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : noon

My statement? Which? That there are short-term negative effects of daily cannabis use? Absolutely. I wouldn't engage otherwise. Here's one study on the memory effects:

Homeland Conspiracy

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 11:54 a.m.

Do you have proof to back up your statement ?


Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 11:45 a.m.

It is interesting that the Hash Bash is the reason that the University lobbied the legislature to have their own police department in 1990. The University recieves $1.2 billion a year in federal grants. In order to recieve federal grants they must enforce federal drug laws not State or Local ordinances. The Ann Arbor police were unwilling to enforce federal law but instead enforced the local ordinance that only gave people in possession of small amounts of marijuanna a ticket with a fine. To this day, even if someone has a State issued medical marijuanna card, if they are caught smoking on campus they will be charged under federal law. Kellie, that might be a useful story for your readers, so they don't think they can smoke at Hash Bash because they have a medical marijuanna card.

Tom Joad

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 11:14 a.m.

Marijuana is a powerful psychoactive drug. There is no denying that fact. People that smoke marijuana harness that effect for its recreational use or medical effect. Governments strictly regulate it also because it has great tendency for abuse and certainly does have negative effects. Of course it affects individuals differently. Those in favor of legalization can become quite rabid in their support of it, refusing to acknowledge it significant and potentially harmful side-effects. Those who concede it does have medical efficacy must also realize that government has an inherent interest in strictly regulating its use and prescription, as it would in dispensing any drug. The fact that an entire dispensary industry has developed in the state with clerks offering advice and suggesting different strains is preposterous. They are not licensed pharmacists, nor do they have education in pharmacology or certifications to offer medical advice. Thus, if marijuana is to be dispensed as a medicine it should be only available from pharmacies and dispensed by licenses pharmacists with the requisite knowledge of pharmacology and contraindications. It cannot be prescribed or recommended by a fly-by-night script doc without appropriate medical evaluation and follow-up and that is now the current law. Those new restrictions and limitations are rational and are good public policy in an area where the scientific research is not well established. The voter approved medical marijuana for use by patients with grave, debilitating, and terminal illnesses and diseases. Marijuana has a great potential for abuse and the public expects strict regulation and clear guidance in its recommendation and use.


Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

Gee Mr. Granville, let's legalize all drugs because we need a society that is consistently high. Alcohol abuse isn't enough. We need to have more opportunities to destroy ourselves.

Robert Granville

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

I didn't even read this whole thing as a result of how it is formatted but you are inaccurate as to why the government regulates cannabis. Do some research. It started with fear, lies, racism and greed. No if ands or buts about it.


Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 11:08 a.m.

Big blue just blow'in smoke....


Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 10:57 a.m.

Legalize it.


Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 10:20 a.m.

So Mr. Ream hasn't seen the presentation, but he already knows she's lying? Brilliant. I think most honest people would agree that regular pot smoking affects cognitive function. We all know enough folks to draw that conclusion. Smoking pot every day creates burnouts.. I'm still in favor or legalizing because I believe in a free country, but lets keep the discussion honest.

Alfred E Newman

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 6:44 p.m.

the nida are misimformed deluded liars from way back im a forty year man and im still smart i solve puzzles on the wheel of fortune with no letters .showing, sometimes. 2 times in 3 weeks

Homeland Conspiracy

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

Do you have proof to back up your statement ?

Robert Granville

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

I was with you until you said, "smoking pot every day creates burnouts." That is false and relies on a logical fallacy. Smoking doesn't create burnouts, burnouts tend to use drugs including marijuana. Correlation is not causation. There is research that shows smart, successful people are most likely to use recreational drugs... and their drug use doesn't cause their success or their intelligence... just as it doesn't cause people to burnout. Citation:

David Frye

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 11:23 a.m.

Totally agree with both sentiments. In the immortal words of National Lampoon: "If dope smoking doesn't damage your brain, how come so many teenyboppers think Cheech and Chong are funny?"