Pubdate: Mon, 08 Apr 2013
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2013 The Toronto Star
Author: Diana Zlomislic
Referenced: The Report of the Canadian Government Commission of Inquiry into
the Non-Medical Use of Drugs - 1972:
Referenced: Marihuana and Work Performance: Results from an 


Data never analyzed in ground breaking study to determine whether 
regular marijuana-smoking would make Canada's economy go to pot.

In the winter of 1972, 20 young women took part in one of the 
weirdest scientific experiments in this country's history.

For 98 days in a downtown Toronto hospital, their brains, hearts, 
kidneys, livers, blood and urine were rigorously tested and analyzed. 
A team of nurses kept around-the-clock records of their behaviour, 
which was logged at half-hour intervals. Were they sullen? Arguing? 
Laughing? Playing table tennis?

Just how was marijuana affecting the 10 who had to smoke it every day?

Project Marijuana: Shelley, Evie, Karen, where are you? ?

By spring, the blood work had left so many track marks on the women's 
arms that each subject received a typed and signed doctor's letter 
indicating they were part of a "clinical investigation" and not drug addicts.

Forty-one years after the study, these women - now health-care 
workers, teachers and artists approaching or in retirement - are 
still wondering what exactly happened to them during their 
three-month stretch as human guinea pigs on that fourth-floor ward 
just north of Chinatown.

Some of the subjects say they left the hospital worse for wear, 
equating the experience to torture that required years of therapy 
(more on this later). Others say the experiment, or at least the 
money it paid, opened doors to positive, life-changing opportunities.

The research was part of a million-dollar program, the last in a 
series of provincially funded experiments designed to answer one of 
the country's most pressing questions, raised when then-prime 
minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau entertained the idea of legalizing 
marijuana, a first in Canadian history.

If healthy young Canadians smoked weed regularly, would the economy go to pot?

The province paid half of these women to do just that, inhaling 
increasingly potent joints issued by the federal government twice a 
night. All 20 were also paid to weave colourful, fuzzy belts as a 
measure of their motivation to work.

But the results of that ground breaking research - it was the only 
female-exclusive study of its kind - were buried. The people who 
carried out the study seemed to vanish, too, after the women were released.

The findings, some suggest, may have been politically inconvenient.

The failure to share this data, which may still contain valuable 
social and physiological information if only it could be made public, 
stirred no civic outrage, mostly because so few people knew it existed.

As Justin Trudeau and his fellow Liberal leadership contenders 
resurrect a debate his father started more than four decades ago, 
with the party now formally pledging to at least decriminalize 
cannabis, and with a new Pew Center poll showing 52 per cent of 
Americans support legalization, the Toronto Star set out to discover 
why "mountains of data" meant to inform this very issue went missing.

By the late 1960s, North America was in the grip of what many felt 
was a drug crisis.

Teens and young adults were being arrested and convicted in record 
numbers for possessing and selling grass, which was not only illegal 
but declared "dangerous" by three U.S. government agencies in a 1968 
Journal of the American Medical Association report.

Reports of busts became front-page news. A sampling of headlines from 
hundreds of stories: Feb. 10, 1968 - "No Leniency: Ottawa wants jail 
for marijuana boys;" Jan. 2, 1969 - "Children's igloo yields 
marijuana worth $16,000;" May 6, 1969 - "Three students jailed for 
'drum' marijuana." The last case, involving 150 pounds of Kenyan weed 
stashed in hundreds of African drums in a Richmond St. W. warehouse, 
was reportedly "Canada's biggest-ever marijuana smuggling case."

Richard Everett, 23, a student at Toronto's alternative Rochdale 
College, shook his fist at the judge who sentenced him: "Long live 
the revolution, and it will happen, too, in this police state."

While U.S. President Richard Nixon plunked down $15 million to hire a 
small army of lawyers for a blitz prosecution of dealers and users in 
the U.S., Trudeau launched a royal commission to investigate the 
phenomenon. He appointed Gerald Le Dain, the former dean of Osgoode 
Hall Law School and a future Supreme Court justice, to lead the inquiry.

At least some parents were pleading with the government to relax 
marijuana laws. Criminal records were keeping their kids from getting 
into grad school, they said.

Cannabis was not an unknown entity in North America. Between 1840 and 
1900, physicians used it to treat conditions including rabies, 
rheumatism, epilepsy and tetanus. Its popularity as a relaxant 
emerged shortly after.

Mexican migrant workers reportedly introduced cannabis smoking to 
southwest America around 1910. By the mid-1920s, jazz musicians in 
New Orleans, Chicago and New York were playing tributes to a drug 
they called "muggles." Louis Armstrong used the name as a song 
title.Marijuana came into Canada's major cities from Detroit, New 
York and Kingston, Jamaica.

In 1965, researchers in Toronto conducted a marijuana field study. 
They estimated there were 2,900 users in the city and classified them 
into three groups. "The Beats" were under 25 and lived in Yorkville, 
soon to be a haven for hippies and now home to some of Toronto's 
wealthiest residents. "The Swingers" were mostly criminals and 
entertainers between ages 30 and 45. "The Squares" were upper-middle 
class, well-educated professionals who ranged in age from 35 to 50. 
Researchers concluded the people and their pot were not much of a threat.

Over the next few years, though, use of the drug spread to high 
schools and university campuses across the country.

Doreen Brown knew the scene. A few years after her mother died, she 
moved to downtown Toronto to live on her own. She was 17.

"I was full of grief, a brick wall," says Brown. "I did things I knew 
weren't good for me."

Acid, mescaline, marijuana.

"I would be at Yorkville some days till 3 or 4 in the morning and go 
to work the next day."

Though high and/or tired, she never missed a shift as a department 
store secretary because "if I've committed to something, I do it."

She was only 21, but the lifestyle was wearing on her.

When a co-worker told her a group of scientists was looking for 
female volunteers to participate in a marijuana study for money, she 
saw an escape.

Just the idea of living rent-free and not having to be responsible or 
accountable to anyone, including herself, felt like a weight lifted.

"It was a very split-second decision," Brown says. "I didn't like 
what I was doing. I wanted a change and thought, 'Why not?'

"I knew I was capable of something more for myself. Maybe it would 
give me some perspective, some insight.

"It was an adventure at first."

As Trudeau's people criss-crossed the country staging public hearings 
and handing out rich grants for new cannabis research, Conservative 
Premier John Robarts was letting Ontarians know there was room for 
only so much discussion.

At a party fundraising supper in Scarborough in March 1970, he vowed 
"crash action" to combat illegal drug use and said his government 
would never legalize marijuana. The 250 businessmen attending the 
$30-a-plate steak dinner cheered and thumped the tables.

For C.G. ("Bill") Miles, a British psychologist working in Toronto, 
the conversation was just beginning.

"To make a sound decision, it is necessary to have valid information 
respecting the effects of the drug on health and social functioning," 
Miles wrote in a preliminary report on cannabis research.With a pile 
of provincial money, and perhaps unbeknownst to Robarts, Miles 
launched a massive marijuana study that promised to inform discussion 
about whether the drug's legal status should be changed.

Miles was a three-newspapers-a-day guy. He got his high from the 
national, world and editorial pages. He was no egghead, though. Born 
in Portsmouth, a naval island city on England's south coast, Miles 
had trained and worked as a roof tiler and pipefitter before 
returning to school. He left academia with a fistful of credentials, 
a growing interest in economics and an obsession with behaviourism, 
the field of psychology popularized by Burrhus Frederic Skinner.

Skinner believed that to understand human beings, it was more 
instructive to observe their behaviour - to see how a stimulus 
influenced response - than to try and get inside their heads. Miles 
instantly saw a way to apply Skinner's approach to the growing 
concerns about cannabis use in Canada.

He had completed his PhD at Hamilton's McMaster University around the 
time the Addiction Research Foundation in Toronto went on a small 
hiring spree. In response to growing recreational drug use, the 
government rushed to expand the agency's mandate to look at the 
societal effects of non-medicinal drugs in addition to alcohol, which 
it had been studying since 1949.

The foundation's mission was to conduct research to help shape or 
even drive policy.

Before Miles made a pitch to use government-issued marijuana to study 
long-term use in humans, much of the research focused on one-off drug use.

A 1968 British advisory committee on drug dependence described 
marijuana's intoxicating effects as an "agreeable inebriation," a 
"sensation of well-being and a desire to smile." A slightly stronger 
dose brings a feeling of oppression and discomfort, the authors said.

"There follows a kind of hilarious and noisy delirium in persons of a 
cheerful disposition but the delirium takes a violent form in persons 
of violent character."

The British researchers had really no idea how or if those effects 
evolved over time with regular use. Strict laws prevented scientists 
from using cannabis for research.

Canada's Le Dain commission opened that door.

With that inquiry having launched, and with marijuana now legally 
accessible for research through Health Canada, there was pressure on 
the Addiction Research Foundation to conduct its own work in the area.

So, in 1970, Miles got to do what few scientists in the world at the 
time could: give much-demonized weed to multiple volunteer test 
subjects.For his pilot study, Miles enlisted six unemployed male 
volunteers and assigned them to make wooden stools while smoking 
increasingly potent doses of weed for 70 straight days.

Miles wanted to see how productive the men were when they were 
stoned, how motivated they were to assemble small stools with sea 
grass seats for $2 a pop.

The study initially found a slight dip in productivity that was 
reversed when the men unexpectedly went on strike, demanding higher 
pay. When their wage increased, to $2.75 per stool, so did their output.

"Evidence shows that the inability or unwillingness to earn following 
high cannabis consumption can be overcome by an economic incentive," 
Miles wrote.

How reliable was that finding? Miles couldn't say for certain, but he 
persuaded his bosses to let him pursue the question in a series of 
larger and longer studies.

The timing was right.

The Le Dain commission had issued a preliminary report on its inquiry 
into non-medicinal drugs - one of four volumes it would publish on 
the subject - recommending that Ottawa decriminalize marijuana. It 
found no evidence to support the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's 
"stepping-stone" theory - that users of "soft" drugs like pot 
graduate to "hard" ones like heroin.

The commission's conclusion triggered a wave of outrage among members 
of some medical and political circles, who saw decriminalization as a 
stepping stone to legalization.

Legalizing marijuana "would be tantamount to legalizing ignorance," 
the Canadian Medical Association declared.

The Council on Drug Abuse sounded a hysterical note, raising the 
spectre of "another thalidomide disaster" with "thousands of deformed babies."

In 1971, the Addiction Research Foundation, flush with provincial 
money, opened a research and treatment hospital at 33 Russell St., a 
few blocks south of Bloor and just west of Spadina.

The foundation's new location, a few blocks away from hotbeds of drug 
experimentation, was a perfect backdrop for Miles's studies.

Rochdale College was almost a neighbour. In only three years, the 
18-storey student-teacher residence had grown into the largest 
co-operative in North America. It was supposed to be a free 
university where students and their instructors lived and learned 
together but shared much more than bathroom space. Eventually, drug 
dealers and gangs moved in, too. Police practically set up a bureau on site.

Miles appreciated alternative culture. At 35, he wore his hair Ringo 
Starr-style, a mop of thick, brown locks that swept across his 
eyebrows and nearly touched his shoulders. The cut, a friendly vibe 
and his flared corduroys gave him entree to places such as Rochdale 
and helped him relate to his subjects.

At the time, the Addiction Research Foundation had a symbiotic 
relationship with Toronto's underbelly. Drug dealers were encouraged 
to come into the centre to have their products tested - the 
information gave researchers valuable first-hand knowledge of what 
was on the street. Dealers, in turn, got a scientist-approved tagline 
they could use to market their goods.

By 1971, Miles's Marijuana Study, Project E206, was underway. He 
assembled a team that included two behavioural psychologists, one 
physician, a psychiatrist, a social worker and a full-shift 
complement of registered nurses and attendants.

All were instructed to dress in street clothes - an attempt to make 
the subjects feel less institutionalized. Miles warned his staff to 
guard against expressions of approval or disapproval, since it was 
assumed that even willing captives would inevitably act out. He 
didn't want the subjects' behaviour to be influenced in any way for 
fear of tainting the outcome.

Miles planned a series of three 98-day experiments, the first two 
with healthy, single men and the last with women.

There was almost no clinical research documenting the effects of 
marijuana on females. A 1972 report on cannabis by the Le Dain 
Commission lamented the lack of serious investigation in this area. 
Miles reiterated the point in a preliminary report to Ontario's 
Ministry of Health. "The necessity for repeating this experiment with 
women is occasioned by the almost complete lack of information about 
the behaviour of females under even acute cannabis intoxication."

The British advisory committee cited one case, documented in a report 
by Sir Aubrey Lewis, emeritus professor of psychiatry at University 
of London: "A young Englishwoman on one occasion smoked two-thirds of 
a home-made hashish cigarette which had not upset her husband; she 
promptly developed gross incoordination of the hands, astasia 
(inability to stand or walk), rapid pulse and dyspnoea (shortness of 
breath)." Did marijuana really turn women into delicate freaks, into 
unproductive burdens on society? Miles was about to find out.

The hospital welcomed the 20 women to the ward with a formal dinner 
on Jan. 31, 1972.

Doreen Brown, 21, scanned the long table. None of the females, aged 
18 to 35, looked familiar, though some seemed to know each other. 
Many had long, wavy, centre-parted hair like her own, which she 
sometimes straightened with a clothes iron while lying flat on her 
back, elbow positioned awkwardly overhead.

The ward was clean and modern with blue carpet underfoot and the 
smell of fresh paint in the air.

It seemed an ideal place for a personal reinvention.

"I was hoping that maybe in there I would solve some of my issues - 
to be more open, happier," Brown says. "I was definitely a lost soul 
at that point. Directionless. I needed help but I didn't know where 
to go to get it."

Sharon Purdy had recently graduated from Ryerson's fashion program 
with a new interest in costume design and a pile of debt she hoped to 
clear with earnings from the experiment.

Her roommate's boyfriend had participated in one of the men's studies 
and came out with a few grand after three months. The average annual 
income at the time in Toronto was $6,910."It was such an upside-down 
set of circumstances," Purdy says. "Here you were under the best 
medical supervision available with the best pot available, kind of, 
doing something illegal legally."

The idea and the money also appealed to Lorna Zaback, 23, Purdy's 
roommate outside the hospital.

Like Purdy, Zaback had also graduated from Ryerson's fashion program. 
She had been working for Eaton's, designing bridal headpieces when 
she discovered she didn't want a career in fashion after all.

"The bridal department at Eaton's, the fashion industry as a whole I 
saw as very misogynistic," Zaback says. "At the time . . . I didn't 
even believe in marriage. It was difficult for me to feel like I 
belonged there with my burgeoning feminist politics."

Zaback hoped to earn enough money from the experiment to travel to 
British Columbia to check out its alternative culture.

The study called for single women, but Marcia Smith, 25, snuck in 
anyhow. Newly married and living in Cabbagetown, she wanted to help 
finance the sign-painting company her husband hoped to start.

For Maria Welyhorskyj, it came in the wake of a series of odd jobs 
all over the world. The young woman from Espanola, Ont., had bought 
jewelry in Ethiopia and then resold to tourist shops in Kenya, canned 
fish in Israel and sorted mail in England. She promised her parents 
that after nearly four years abroad, she'd be home for Christmas. The 
experiment gave her something to do in the new year.

"My mom was upset," Welyhorskyj says. "She thought that I needed to 
go into a marijuana experiment like I needed a hole in my head."

The women were quickly split into two groups located in two different 
areas of the hospital. Half of them - the experimental group - were 
required to smoke increasingly potent doses of marijuana twice a 
night, while the other half - the control group - did not. Both sides 
could purchase as many relatively mild joints as they wanted for 50 
cents apiece at a store that also sold alcohol, junk food, 
toiletries, cigarettes, magazines and two shades of pantyhose - 
ginger beige and cafe pecan.

And then they got to work.

A key element of the study was its micro-economy. The women were 
required to cover the cost of their existence, except for their bed 
and water, for 98 days. Whatever money they earned and did not spend 
on food, clothing or entertainment, they could keep. A $250 bonus 
awaited those who stuck with the experiment until the end. Those who 
quit early would lose the extra payout and up to 75 per cent of their savings.

They made their living on a primitive-looking wooden device, a 
Guatemalan back-strap loom, which they used to weave colourful, 
fuzzy, woollen belts with knotted tassels. For every belt that passed 
inspection - it had to contain at least two colours and measure 132 
centimetres in length -- the women received $2.50.

"I thought I was going in there to make my fortune," Purdy recalls. 
It took me eight hours to do my first one."

After a few days of practice, it got easier. But Purdy soon realized 
the mandatory nightly double doses of high-grade marijuana could 
seriously cut into her profits if she wasn't careful.

So Purdy and many of the other young women adjusted their production 
schedules knowing they'd be out of commission after 8 p.m.

"I wasn't in there to make friends," says Zaback. "I'm not sure 
anyone else was either. We were kind of on a mission. We were there 
to do a job and that's what we did. In the face of being, you know, 
impaired most of the time."

Purdy started her day at 4 a.m. She would pull on a leotard, do a few 
stretches and then head to the nurse's station for a glass of orange 
juice and her weigh-in. She then worked flat-out through the day, 
breaking only to eat breakfast, lunch and a soup-and-sandwich dinner. 
At 7:30, she cashed in for the night, put on her nightie, grabbed her 
curlers and headed for the lounge.

Toke time was 8:15 p.m.

"People are doing each other's hair up. We're playing cards. We've 
got the Rolling Stones and The Who banging away on the stereo . . .

"And then El Nurse comes in with - you know the thing your bill comes 
in on at a restaurant, on a wee tray."

Piled on the tray, like a perfectly stacked miniature cord of wood, 
were joints "big as your baby finger," Purdy recalls. "And you 
couldn't pass them. You were going to smoke two of those suckers. By yourself."

Several staff watched the women to make sure the joints were 
efficiently inhaled, right down to the nub. Nurses measured and 
recorded the women's heart rate after each joint.

"And you were done," Purdy continues. "You crawl down the hall to the 
nurse's station, demand two bags of barbecued potato chips, stagger 
into your room and read one page of your book over and over again."

For the first few weeks, the experience felt like a hedonistic 
retreat without the sunshine - the women weren't allowed to go out.

Because of Miles's strict staff rule about not showing approval or 
disapproval of the subjects, the women had their run of the place.

Brown recalls staging a mini-rebellion.

"One of the nurses, Winnie, she was an older woman. We always thought 
she was judging us. It could have been an internal thing. We were 22 
years old, smoking marijuana for the government. Every half-hour she 
would check in on us to see what we were doing and write it down. 
Because we had nowhere to go, I thought it would be fun one night to 
hide in a box of wool."

When Winnie came looking for Brown at bed check, the other women 
played dumb. Thinking Brown had somehow escaped, Winnie flew into a panic.

"We let it go on for 15 to 20 minutes," says Brown.

Before the gag started, Brown and the women had worked out a signal 
for when Winnie was approaching the box.

Brown heard her cue in a knock and leapt out like a snake in a can of 
peanut brittle.

"I almost gave her a heart attack," Brown says. "I had to see the 
psychiatrist about why I did that." She did feel remorse afterward.

In both groups, most of the women were bunked two to a room. The 
set-up didn't last long, as many moved their mattresses off the bed 
frames and sought private spaces around the ward. Some took to storage closets.

One participant bought chalk from the ward store to draw murals on 
the lounge walls. Another, a professional bartender, mixed drinks. 
Women in both groups were known to walk around naked. Living on 
locked, separate wards didn't stop women from the two groups from 
communicating with each other or people in surrounding office 
buildings - like the men who were being held in the forensic 
psychiatry unit at the Clarke Institute, which was next door. The 
women wrote friendly, short messages on large placards and flashed 
their signs through the large windows that faced the street and an 
interior courtyard.

The carefree vibe didn't last long.

The joints became so potent that some sought a doctor's note to get 
out of their nightly obligations, saying they felt too sick to smoke.

"We were asking them to take it away," Brown says. "They knew we 
wanted it taken away; there was no doubt. I felt comatose. I couldn't 
do anything.

"It became torture," Brown says.

In the last week, the women who were left on the mandatory smoking 
unit refused to continue.

The marijuana was provided by Health Canada. Dr. Galfrid Congreve, a 
junior psychologist hired by Miles whose office overlooked the 
legendary El Mocambo nightclub, says he believes it came from the 
government's own farm in Ontario. In the early 1970s, the federal 
department operated a pot operation that contained more than 300 
varieties. A health official at the time boasted the government's 
crop yielded a potency three times stronger than what was available 
on the street.

It was sorted to remove seeds and stems before being rolled into cigarettes.

Fresh joints were prepared weekly.

Somewhere past the halfway mark of the experiment, one woman quit 
because the marijuana and the isolation - communication with family 
and friends outside was permitted only by letter - were too much to bear.

"The isolation, I found it very hard," Brown recalls. "I'd be looking 
out the windows thinking, 'I'd love to go out for a walk just to get 
out of here.' It probably - even though I was with these nine other 
women - increased my loneliness."

"I saw a few people get kind of unhinged," Purdy says. "It gradually 
built up in our systems so that your peripheral vision was shot. 
There were things flashing through the air that weren't there. It 
felt like you had an iron lung. Not coughing. I just mean you felt 
heavy. It definitely had a build-up effect."

The isolation also took its toll on the non-smoking group.

Marcia Smith's roommate, a girl they called Misty, also quit the 
experiment just before it was over.

"She withdrew," Smith recalls. "She went into a cocoon. She broke 
down."There were few protections in place for the young test subjects in 1972.

Today, researchers who receive government funding must abide by a 
stricter code of conduct.

"You cannot go and take people and lock them up in an artificial 
environment and pretend these are real-life conditions," says 
Benedikt Fischer, a professor in the faculty of health sciences at 
B.C.'s Simon Fraser University. "The ethical standards and scrutiny 
has changed dramatically."

In any case, to investigate the long-term behavioural impacts of 
non-medicinal marijuana today, he says, most researchers would 
observe large groups of subjects for 10 or 20 years to see how they 
fare personally, professionally and physiologically.

"I'm really not sure what one would expect from exposing people to 98 
days of cannabis use and what one would try to answer other than why 
did no one get killed?" Fischer says, half-jokingly.

On May 8, 1972, the women left 33 Russell St.

Doreen Brown expected relief, some sense of freedom, but she felt 
paranoid instead.

"It was very scary," she says. "I thought, where am I going to go? 
What am I going to do? I was afraid to get on the subway.

"I was hoping that being in there for those 98 days might give me 
some perspective. But if anything, for me, it magnified my problems."

She spent a few years in therapy and went to University of Toronto to 
study political science and history. Later, she was a jazz singer in 
local clubs.

In her late 30s, she got pregnant and moved to Cambridge, Ont., to 
raise her son. This month, she turns 63. She's still working 
full-time at a hearing clinic. She has a granddaughter now.

Lorna Zaback fulfilled her West Coast dream. One year later, she was 
living in Vancouver with her boyfriend and gave birth to a baby girl. 
She got involved in a food co-op. Her partner started a community credit union.

She's 64 now, a retired math teacher. She lives on Vancouver Island.

Sharon Purdy went from the Addiction Research Foundation straight to 
the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which was at the corner of 
Yonge and Gould.

"I handed the lady $4,004 in cash," Purdy recalls. "Now, that didn't 
all come from the experiment, but most of it did."

At $2.50 a belt, she would have produced more than 1,500 belts in 98 days.

She left the city for the Stratford Festival, where she worked as a 
costume designer until starting her own company, creating the 
principal costumes for the musical Cats . She later branched out into 
television and movies. She lives in downtown Toronto today with her 
husband. At 64, she's retired from costume design but has a small 
business making decorative pillows and cushions.

"I always have a workroom - always," she says.

Marcia Smith, 66, who lives in Port Dover, Ont., made enough money to 
help her husband start his sign business. They eventually separated.

Smith remarried and became Marcia MacKinnon. Today, she may be one of 
the only women from the study still using cannabis regularly. She 
takes medical marijuana, instead of morphine or OxyContin, for severe 
back pain.

Her husband, Don, adds it to the brownies he bakes every second day.

"It doesn't take the pain away but it dulls it so it's tolerable," 
she says. "Morphine works but it really brings you down. With 
marijuana, you can function. You get used to being high and carrying 
on doing whatever you have to do." All of the women have wondered 
what became of the results.

Their shared experience, and the search for what the study found, 
brought some of them together.

MacKinnon has hosted several reunions of the group.

In 1982, she went to the Addiction Research Foundation to ask whether 
a report had been written up about the women's experiment. She was 
told to write a note to leave for one of the doctors whose names she 
had pulled from a copy of the men's pilot study, which was published. 
"I didn't get any response," she says.

"If they didn't take advantage of having 20 subjects under glass for 
three months, they'd be fools," Purdy says.

Brown notes that she made several inquiries during the '80s and '90s. 
She would have been more aggressive but feared she might lose her job 
if word got out that she had taken part in a marijuana experiment. At 
the time, she was working for a conservative employer, she says. 
She's less concerned now.

"I want to know, I want to know," she says. "The dosages. What they 
found psychologically, physically. I feel ripped off, taken advantage 
of. It's just like it didn't happen. I feel like, yeah, you gave 
three months of your life for what?

"Were the results that horrible that they didn't give them to us? You 
wonder. I think they might have supported legalizing marijuana. 
That's why they didn't come out. I don't know. It leaves you with a 
lot of questions."

Since 1998, researchers doing work with humans have been required to 
submit a plan to a research ethics board set up by the institution 
they report to. And all clinical studies that use human subjects must 
be registered - a measure that puts the information in the public 
domain so that once a trial is started, the public can follow up on 
its results.

"From our perspective, this is publicly funded research," says 
Suzanne Zimmerman, executive director of the Secretariat on 
Responsible Conduct of Research. "I think the public has a right to 
know how its research money is being spent."

And volunteers who take part in such experiments deserve to be kept 
in the loop. Zimmerman calls it a quid-pro-quo relationship.

"If (the investigators) violate or don't comply with policy document, 
they could be investigated and found in breach," she adds. "Their 
institution could take recourse against them, and we could."

Miles died in 2009 at the age of 74, but there are still some people 
who can help fill in the blanks of the women-and-marijuana study.

Dr. Galfrid Congreve, the junior scientist Miles recruited from 
England, is now back in the U.K. and retired. He says he had no idea 
the results were not analyzed, but is not surprised. He worked as the 
"on-site manager" during the experiments. He left the hospital 
shortly after the women did to work at another mental health care 
centre in Toronto.

Congreve remembers little about the studies he helped conduct, but he 
still has an ink-and-watercolour work by one of the women in the 
marijuana experiment, an artist named Shelley, hanging in his 
bedroom. Executed after she left the foundation, it depicts 
poppy-like flowers with differently coloured petals. "There were 
mountains of data," Congreve recalls of the women's experiment. "We 
had all the data on their productivity, how much work they were 
doing, all the data on their spending, how much they spent and what 
they chose to spend it on, all the data on their activity in terms of 
were they listening to music, or playing table tennis, were they 
laughing? We had unique anecdotal data for any squabbles, 
disagreements. And it was absolutely massive. Not to mention the 
physiological data.

"Obviously, if someone didn't want it analyzed, they could have 
arranged for funding to be withheld. You can't say there wasn't 
political suppression, but on straight practical grounds, it would 
have been a huge task to analyze all this data."

Janet McDougall was one of the junior researchers on the project.

She describes it as a time of "extreme creativity and very few regulations.

"I fell in love with data during this trial," said McDougall, who 
went on to form her own research data analysis company.

"The data sets were just so complex and interesting."

She recalls the group disbanding suddenly and being left virtually 
alone with a few binders and reels of brown data tape. On Miles's 
instructions, she sent portions of it to economists at Texas A&M University.

Among them was John Kagel, now a professor of applied microeconomics 
at Ohio State University. "Our analysis showed these people were 
perfectly rational, worked their butts off. There was a beautiful, 
inadvertent event where they went on strike because they were making 
them smoke too much marijuana and it was interfering with their 
earnings, which appeared to be a primary motivation for some of them 
going into the thing."

Research today indicates that while frequent cannabis smoking may 
well have harmful effects - including dependence and susceptibility 
to lung infections - motivation is not necessarily a problem.

Junior researcher McDougall does not know where the rest of the 
research data is today.

"That kind of gift that somebody gives you is a stunning thing," she says.

"You can't just treat it like it's garbage."

Dr. Harold Kalant, the renowned former director of biological and 
behavioural research at the Addiction Research Foundation who, at 90, 
still works for its succeesor, the Centre for Addiction and Mental 
Health, knew in general terms what Miles was doing and what he found.

Did politics get in the way of Miles disseminating the data into a 
final report?

"I have an idea that it may have," says Kalant.

"My guess is that it probably wasn't yielding anything that was going 
to have a direct influence on policy."

Richard Gilbert, a former research scientist who worked at ARF during 
the early 1970s, says "a temperance spirit prevailed.

"I don't think I ever had a hint it compromised the research that was 
done, but it did qualify the discussions you had about the results," 
says Gilbert, who left the foundation in the mid-1970s to run, 
successfully, for Metro council.

One month after the women were released from the experiment, the 
foundation launched a monthly newsletter. Its inaugural cover story 
criticized the contents of the Le Dain Report, noting "the Commission 
appears to be endorsing fairly widespread use" of non-medicinal drugs.

Gilbert wrote a regular column for the tabloid and says he liked to 
be controversial in it. But only one of his pieces ran with a 
disclaimer, an editor's note stating Gilbert's position was not in 
tune with ARF's. That, he says, "was when I ventured an argument that 
maybe marijuana should be legalized."Miles resigned from the 
foundation soon after the women departed.

When asked why he left, Kalant replied: "I think Bill might have been 
discouraged because he probably, as I vaguely recall, he had plans 
for continuing work and when it probably was not going to go ahead, I 
think he probably was discouraged and simply didn't proceed with it." 
For all the questions it raised, the study did answer at least one 
question convincingly, according to Kagel.

"In terms of the central issue, if you legalize marijuana, were you 
going to get a bunch of stoned people just hanging out smoking dope 
all the time and not doing any work - this is fairly convincing 
evidence that wasn't going to happen."

- ---

Postscript: After leaving the Addiction Research Foundation, Miles 
went to work at Homewood, a rehabilitation centre in Guelph. He ended 
his career as a Correctional Service of Canada psychologist leading a 
program for sex offenders. Before he died, he told his partner, Jean 
MacColl, a nurse he met while working on the marijuana study in 
Toronto, that he wished he had become an architect.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom