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Researcher looking at medical marijuana’s effect on older adults

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) - A neurophysicist at the University of Iowa is looking at how medicinal marijuana products affect older adults.

"We want to give them more recommendations and more guidance on how to use it," Thorsten Rudroff said, a professor and researcher at the U of I.

Rudroff says he's seen many older patients turning to medical marijuana products to deal with pain from things like arthritis. With the cognitive challenges older adults face, he's worried about how these products affect their already heightened risk of falling.

"You feel dizzy, you're unsure when you're walking," Rudroff said.

His team is testing brain activity and physical challenges for adults age 50 to 80 in the area. The study is being funded by a grant from the National Institute of Health.

Rudroff believes this research is so important because of the lack of safe alternatives for pain relief.

"We have to look for something for an alternative to opioids," Rudroff said.

Several volunteers have already signed up, and researchers plan to start early trials next week. The team is still looking for subjects; to find out more, visit the Integrative Neurophysiology Laboratory's website.

Travis Breese

Reporter, Iowa City

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