Dr. Gruber was a panelist for the Forum’s discussion on Marijuana: The Latest Scientific Findings and Legalization and Recreational Marijuana and CBD.
Dr. Staci Gruber is the Director of the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core at McLean Hospital’s Brain Imaging Center and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Gruber’s clinical research focuses on the application of neurocognitive models and brain imaging to better characterize risk factors for substance abuse and psychiatric conditions. She has been studying the impact of marijuana on the brain for over two decades using neurocognitive, clinical and diagnostic assessments and multimodal brain imaging techniques.
Her work examining the etiologic bases of neural models of dysfunction in marijuana-using adolescents and adults has been published in numerous peer reviewed journals and been the basis of national and international symposia, press conferences, documentaries, and news stories, including features in the New York Times, NPR, BBC, PBS NewsHour, and CNN’s documentary series “WEED” with Sanjay Gupta. Her ongoing initiative to educate policymakers, judges, attorneys and the general public about the neurobiologic differences between adults and adolescents as well as additional factors that contribute to the impact of marijuana on the brain have had both local and national impact on policy formation.
Dr. Gruber recognized the importance of examining the impact of medical marijuana use on the brain, as there are many inherent differences between recreational and medical marijuana users. Accordingly, in 2014, Dr. Gruber launched Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery (MIND), the first ever program of its kind designed to clarify the specific effects of medical marijuana use. MIND utilizes valid, robust research models and supports numerous projects designed to address the impact of medical marijuana on a number of important variables including cognition, brain structure and function, clinical state, conventional medication use, quality of life, pain, sleep, and other health-related measures. As the director of MIND, Dr. Gruber has generated major contributions to the field as the first to assess medical marijuana patients longitudinally and to acquire neuroimaging data in medical marijuana patients. She is also the Principal Investigator of the first ever clinical trial of a whole plant- derived, high CBD product specifically formulated to treat anxiety, and has a number of other clinical projects pending.