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to pot for
By JAN JOHNSON
Times staff writer^
A Raleigh research scientist is turning his attention from LSD
in spiders to marijuana in monkeys.
Dr. Peter Witt gained widespread recognition, from his ex- I
periments on how drugs effect spiders and the webs they weave. J
Skylab II even took along a couple of Wit^|pi®e^|i! see what J
kinds of webs they make in space.
Now Witt is going to help turn some rhesus monkeys into ; f
The purpsoe of the study, financed through a $154,000 grant
from Ibe National Institute of Mental Health, is to observe how
users react with other users and with non-users.
Then tee users will have their supply shutoff Their resulting,
behavior will be studied.
“The research is really pioneer work. It’s something never in-j
vestigated before,” said Witt, director of the research section] of the State Division of Mental Health Services.
Witt will team with Dr. John Vandenbergh, the principalfjnMÍ
vestigator and an animal research scientist. Vandenbergh will
work with the monkeys, which will be kept on an island in Puer-
to Rico. Witt will study films of the monkeys sent to Raleigh. \ \
Monkeys were chosen ‘‘because they are close to humans and
can be put in cages,” Witt said.’
The researchers plan to have four colonies of 20 monkeys *;
each. “They will be mothers, fathers, children, aunts and un- j $
cles. We want to see, for example, how a mother who is a
chronic abuser reacts to her child and others and also how she •; ^
reacts when the marijuana is taken away,” Witt said.
Witt said changes in behavior are expected, but what kind and
how severe aren’t known. “We expect to see visible changes. If
we can draw conclusions, it will open our eyes to human sub-
jects and behavior ” he said.