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Cannabis research at UNC

How UNC Researchers are Studying Cannabis

This video series highlights how UNC researchers from various departments and colleges are studying legal cannabis in the areas of recreation and leisure, tax laws, biometrics and many others.

The legalization of marijuana in Colorado has made it easier to research cannabis. UNC researchers from various departments and colleges are studying legal cannabis in the areas of recreation and leisure, tax laws, biometrics and many others.

Below in the slider are eight videos that highlight each UNC project that involves cannabis as well as published research, if available.

Genetic Inconsistencies in Cannabis Strains

UNC doctoral student Anna Schwabe uses genetic tools to research the consistency of cannabis products from a consumer point of view.

She found genetic inconsistencies within strains from different dispensaries. This is an issue for medical marijuana patients.

Related: Genetic tools weed out misconceptions of strain reliability in Cannabis sativa: Implications for a budding industry.

Leisure & Recreation Choices for Cannabis Consumers

What do consumers enjoy doing the most when they are under the psychoactive effects of cannabis?

UNC Associate Professor James Gould is researching this question to gain a better understanding of the cannabis preferences of consumers and their leisure and recreation choices.

Related: Turning over a new leaf in Colorado: an exploration of legalized recreational marijuana preferences, leisure interests, and leisure motivations in a sample of young adults

Helping Tax Practitioners with Cannabis Tax Laws

UNC Associate Professor of Accounting Janel Greiman is interested in tax laws and assisting tax practitioners. Her current, primary interest involves cannabis tax laws.

By creating and maintaining a database with state and federal tax laws regarding cannabis, she's made it easier for tax practitioners to better serve the needs of their clients.


  • Greiman, J., Slaughter, S. E. (2014). Marijuana, State Taxation, and the Risks to Practitioners Serving the Pot Culture. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, 24(5), 24-35.
  • Update on Serving the Pot Culture. Journal of MultiState Taxation and Incentives, 25(8), 14-21.

How Police in States Bordering Colorado View Legalized Cannabis

UNC Assistant Professor of Criminology Kyle Ward surveyed police in states bordering Colorado to understand their viewpoints on legalized cannabis in Colorado.

He found that police in counties closer to the Colorado border had more negative viewpoints of legalization; however, the negativity decreased farther away from the Colorado border.

Related: Crime, Laws, and Legalization: Perceptions of Colorado Marijuana Dispensary Owners and Managers

Issues Dispensary Owners Face Post-Legalization 

UNC Assistant Professor of Criminology Kyle Ward along with his colleagues UNC Associate Professors Brian Iannacchione, Ph.D., and Mary Evans, Ph.D., surveyed Colorado marijuana dispensary owners to understand the issues they face post-legalization.

They found that dispensary owners deal with issues in banking, taxes and real estate due to legalization, as well as the ever-present worry of action from the federal government.

Cannabis and Your Health

UNC Professor of Sport & Exercise Science Laura Stewart, and her lab, are researching how cannabis alters health.

She and her team explored the cardiorespiratory fitness, strength, power, lung function and immune system of individuals who either use cannabis regularly or do not. 

The results showed little differences between these two groups with the exception that some regular cannabis users had a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.


Treating Cancer Cells and Immune Issues with Cannabis Chemicals

UNC Assistant Professor Nick Pullen researches when immune systems don't respond correctly, known as immunosuppression.

Pullen uses isolates from cannabis chemicals to treat cancer cells and immune-related problems, such as allergies and asthma.

Related: UNC Pullen Lab Research

Heavy Marijuana Use in College Students: Academic, Social and Alcohol Co-Use

UNC Professors Kristina Phillips, Ph.D., Michael Phillips, Ph.D., and Trent Lalonde, Ph.D., are researching heavy marijuana use in college students by surveying participants through a smartphone app.

The research focuses on how marijuana use affects academic performance, various environments where marijuana is used and how marijuana and alcohol may be used together. 


 —Produced by Katie-Leigh Corder

Background music in each video: "Is That You or Are You You?" by Chris Zabriskie licensed under a Attribution License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://chriszabriskie.com/licensing. COMPOSER: Chris Zabriskie. PUBLISHER: You've Been a Wonderful Laugh Track (ASCAP)

Image at top of article: Dorothy Joseph - stock.adobe.com

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