For the record, I have been in favor of legalization of marijuana since the 1960’s when I was an occasional user. I lived on Rush St. in Chicago and had a lot of jazz musician friends who smoked. There seemed nothing criminal about it. Cut to the present day when it is de facto legal in most areas, there are new developments as a result of more widespread use.
Researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health assessed the time trends in alcohol and marijuana detected in homicide victims and found that the prevalence of marijuana almost doubled, increasing from 22 percent in 2004 to 42 percent in 2016. Alternately, the prevalence of alcohol declined slightly from 40 percent in 2004 to 35 percent in 2016. The findings are published in Injury Epidemiology.
“Despite the growing body of evidence linking alcohol and marijuana to homicide victimization, until now there was little information about the contemporary trends in the prevalence of alcohol and marijuana among homicide victims in the United States,” said Guohua Li, MD, DrPH, professor of Epidemiology at Columbia Mailman School. Continue reading
At the risk of being called cannabis-crazy, I thought this item on possible negative effects of marijuana to be worthwhile.
Summary: Prenatal exposure to THC makes dopamine neurons hyperactive and increases the sensitivity to the behavioral effects of the compound during pre-adolescence. This may increase the risk of developing schizophrenia later in life. However, treatment with pregnenolone, a drug under clinical trials for ASD, cannabis use disorder, and schizophrenia, appears to correct the brain abnormalities and behavioral problems associated with prenatal cannabis exposure. Source: University of Maryland School of Medicine
The researchers were able to correct these behavioral problems and brain abnormalities by treating experimental animals with pregnenolone, an FDA-approved drug currently under investigation in clinical trials for cannabis use disorder, schizophrenia, autism, and bipolar disorder. The image is in the public domain.
As a growing number of U.S. states legalize the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, an increasing number of American women are using cannabis before becoming pregnant and during early pregnancy often to treat morning sickness, anxiety, and lower back pain. Although emerging evidence indicates that this may have long-term consequences for their babies’ brain development, how this occurs remains unclear. Continue reading
I smoked weed around 50 years ago when I had a lot of jazz musician friends. I would also guess that there is little comparison between the marijuana that is available today with what we had back then.
Introducing and prescribing standard units for cannabis, which make people aware of the concentrations of THC in the product, could help improve mental health treatments and outcomes. Source: University of Bath
Despite widespread use of the drug around the world and increasing moves to legalize its sale for recreational consumption, standard units – which have been commonplace for alcohol for many years – have never been adopted in health guidelines for cannabis.
The authors show that in countries where cannabis is legally sold, such as Canada, the number of standard units a product contains could be easily added to existing labels on product packaging. The image is in the public domain.
The researchers, from the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath with collaborators from King’s College London, UCL and the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, suggest that more needs to be done to make users aware of the dose of ‘THC’ – the drug’s main psychoactive component. Continue reading
Milennials lead the escalating interest in marijuana and cannabinoid compounds for managing pain – with older generations not far behind – and yet most are unaware of potential risks. Three-quarters (75%) of Americans who expressed interest in using marijuana or cannabinoids to address pain are under the impression they are safer or have fewer side effects than opioids or other medications, according to a nationwide survey commissioned by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) in conjunction with September’s Pain Awareness Month.
More than two-thirds of those surveyed said they have used or would consider using marijuana or cannabinoid compounds – including cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – to manage pain. Nearly three-quarters of milennials fall in that category, with 37% noting they have used them for pain. Two-thirds of Gen Xers and baby boomers expressed interest, with 25% of Gen Xers and 18% of baby boomers saying they have used them for pain. Continue reading
As a guy who first smoked weed in the 1960’s with jazz musician friends, I heralded the legalization of marijuana to the extent it has been. Nonetheless, there appears to be at least one downside to it. For the record, I no longer smoke it or any thing else.
After medical marijuana became legal in Massachusetts, cannabis-related poison control calls involving the commonwealth’s children and teenagers doubled, according to a public health investigation led by University of Massachusetts Amherst injury prevention researcher Jennifer Whitehill.
The increase in calls to the Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention at Boston Children’s Hospital occurred despite legislative mandates for childproof packaging and warning labels, and before the recreational use of marijuana was legalized for adults.
“As states across the country enact more permissive marijuana policies, we need to do more to promote safe storage in households with children,” says Whitehill, assistant professor of health promotion and policy and lead author of the research published in JAMA Network Open. Continue reading
About one in five Canadian adolescents uses cannabis (19% of Canadians aged 15-19), and its recent legalization across the country warrants investigation into the consequence of this use on the developing brain. Adolescence is associated with the maturation of cognitive functions, such as working memory, decision-making, and impulsivity control. This is a highly vulnerable period for the development of the brain as it represents a critical period wherein regulatory connection between higher-order regions of the cortex and emotional processing circuits deeper inside the brain are established. It is a period of strong remodeling, making adolescents highly vulnerable to drug-related developmental disturbances. Research presented by Canadian neuroscientists Patricia Conrod, Steven Laviolette, Iris Balodis and Jibran Khokhar at the 2019 Canadian Neuroscience Meeting in Toronto on May 25 featured recent discoveries on the effects of cannabis on the adolescent brain.
One of my favorite (and most popular) posts is Exercise, Aging and the Brain. I wrote it in 2011 and more than 11,000 people have read it. Because of Alzheimer’s and dementia residing in my immediate family, I am very interested in the brain and anything that affects it. So, this study from Medical Express hit me right where I live.
In the largest known brain imaging study, scientists from Amen Clinics (Costa Mesa, CA), Google, John’s Hopkins University, University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, San Francisco evaluated 62,454 brain SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) scans of more than 30,000 individuals from 9 months old to 105 years of age to investigate factors that accelerate brain aging. SPECT tomography) evaluates regional cerebral blood flow in the brain that is reduced in various disorders.
Lead author, psychiatrist Daniel G. Amen, MD, founder of Amen Clinics, commented, “Based on one of the largest brain imaging studies ever done, we can now track common disorders and behaviors that prematurely age the brain. Better treatment of these disorders can slow or even halt the process of brain aging. The cannabis abuse finding was especially important, as our culture is starting to see marijuana as an innocuous substance. This study should give us pause about it.” Continue reading
With the U.S. going to pot with legalizations, it is good to remember that pot smoking is not an innocuous experience for your body.
“There is now compelling evidence on the growing risk of marijuana-associated adverse cardiovascular effects, especially in young people,” Jouanjus said. “It is therefore important that doctors, including cardiologists, be aware of this, and consider marijuana use as one of the potential causes in patients with cardiovascular disorders.”
Cooking with Kathy Man
Marijuana use may result in cardiovascular-related complications — even death — among young and middle-aged adults, according to a French study reported in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
“In prior research, we identified several remarkable cases of cardiovascular complications as the reasons for hospital admission of young marijuana users,” said Émilie Jouanjus, Pharm.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and a medical faculty member at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse in Toulouse, France. “This unexpected finding deserved to be further analyzed, especially given that the medicinal use of marijuana has become more prevalent and some governments are legalizing its use.”
Researchers analyzed serious cardiovascular-related complications following marijuana use that was reported to the French Addictovigilance Network in 2006-10. They identified 35 cases of cardiovascular and vascular conditions related to the heart, brain and limbs.
Among their findings:
- Most of the patients were male, average age 34.3 years.
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