"Rik's teaching philosophy has always been aimed at maximizing student achievement. He is a passionate teacher of psychology and has taught thousands of undergraduate students in his 37 years at UVM. We are all indebted to him for his outstanding academic leadership and service as the Chair of the Psychology Department for 12 years. He has been recognized internationally for his outstanding scholarship in the field of therapeutic cannabinoids drugs."
Professor Robert B. Lawson, Chair, Department of Psychology, University of Vermont
University of Vermont Career
Key Scholarly Interests
Cannabis effects in humans, therapeutic effects of cannabinoid (chemicals similar to those in the cannabis plant)
Publications and presentations include over 80 concerning the effects of cannabinoids both in humans and animals and more than 20 on animal models of hyperactivity, alcohol use in humans and in behavioral neuroscience.
Teaching / Research / Memberships
Other Professional Experience
Awards and Honors
Official Retirement Citation (2006)
Rik, you arrived at the University of Vermont in 1968 after receiving your doctoral degree from McGill University. You have served the university as an exceptional teacher, scholar and colleague, for 37 years. You have been a mentor to numerous graduate students, supported numerous undergraduate College Honors theses, and have had a continuous stream of independent study and graduate students working in your lab.
You were chair of the psychology department for 12 years (1975 to 1987), the longest term as chair of the department. We are all indebted to you for your outstanding academic leadership.
You were director of a project from the Vermont Department of Mental Health, which moved over 30 individuals with developmental disabilities from Waterbury State Hospital to community living and work from 1978 to 1984 and served as a City Council Member of Burlington from 1983 to 1987.
Author of nearly 100 scholarly publications, you have accomplished outstanding work in cannabinoids for therapeutic applications, which contributed to the development of two new drugs, one for neuropathic pain and one for weight loss in obesity.
You received an Open Society Institute Project Fellowship on the medical uses of marijuana. You were an expert panelist on the Institute of Medicine's report to the President on marijuana as medicine in 1998, and last year received a special award from the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine for your outstanding work in this field. You are founding member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, which has made astonishing breakthroughs in cannabinoid science since1992, and are presently the society's executive director.
Your retirement will be one of great activity. Your plans are to continue research on the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids for the potential treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. We wish you the very best.