Scientists want to understand how commercially available cannabis products affect users. They have to get creative to research it legally.

Dr. Carrie Cuttler, an associate professor at Washington State University and the director of its Health and Cognition Lab, has watched research participants use cannabis over Zoom for some of her studies. Her lab has investigated links between cannabis and creativity, as well as the drug’s effects on cognition, mental health, and stress. She developed her research methods with Washington State authorities, and created a procedure where she watches participants use cannabis remotely. “I just observe a legal act,” she says.

Cuttler says the Zoom method lets her avoid illegal entanglement with a Schedule I drug, but a drawback is she’s unable to take the physiological measurements, like blood draws or heart rate, that the mobile laboratory enables.

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