Local professor develops app that measures impacts of cannabis use


BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – More states are legalizing recreational marijuana, and now a St. Michael’s College professor is releasing a new app that could help at-home marijuana users track the effects of the drug on their brains.

The app is called “Indicator.” It uses a series of brain games to tap into different aspects of cognitive performance. In doing so, it measures attention, concentration, and reaction time, among other things.

Ari Kirshenbaum, the St. Mike’s psychology that developed the app, says their goal is to increase public safety by letting people see how impaired they are. “We need this app because we are desperately in need of information about cannabis’ effects. Cannabis obviously has a lot of really good effects, there’s a reason why people use them. It helps with anxiety and other issues, but it also, I think, has some negative effects — increased risk of traffic collision for one. But I think what we want to do is we just want to inform people,” he said.

The app was developed with the help of a $224,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. It’s available now in app stores and they hope that within a few years, they’ll have better overall data on the impact of cannabis on the brain.

Cat Viglienzoni spoke with Ari Kirshenbaum about his work.

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