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Science Daily

Smoking heightens risk of psychoses

3/12/18--Smoking at least ten cigarettes a day is linked to a higher risk of psychoses compared to non-smoking young people. The risk is also raised if the smoking starts before the age of 13. This has been shown in a study led by Academy Research Fellow, Professor Jouko Miettunen. The results were recently published in the journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. Read

How does resolving cannabis problems differ from problems with alcohol or other drugs?

3/5/18--Individuals who report having resolved a problem with cannabis use appear to have done so at younger ages than those who resolved problems with alcohol or other drugs and were less likely to use any formal sources of assistance or support, report investigators from the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Read

Opioid abuse leads to heroin use and a hepatitis C epidemic, researcher says

2/22/18--Heroin is worse than other drugs because people inject it much sooner, potentially resulting in increased risk of injection-related epidemics such as hepatitis C and HIV, a new study shows. As more people use opioids, many switch to heroin because it's more potent and cheaper -- a trend that complicates disease prevention as health officials crack down on opioids. Read

Experts challenge claims about medical marijuana’s impact on teen recreational use and opioid deaths

2/22/18--Two papers published today look at the current evidence of the effects of medical marijuana laws and conclude there is little support that such laws increase recreational marijuana use among adolescents or reduce opioid overdose deaths. Read

Cigarette smoking is increasing among Americans with drug problems

12/9/17--While cigarette smoking has declined in the US for the past several decades, since 2002 the prevalence of smoking has increased significantly among people with an illicit substance use disorder, according to a new study. Researchers found more than half of individuals with a substance use disorder (56 percent) reported cigarette use in the past month, compared with 18 percent of those without a substance use disorder. Read

Medical marijuana for children with cancer? What providers think

12/12/17--A study published in Pediatrics examined interdisciplinary provider perspectives on legal medical marijuana use in children with cancer. It found that 92 percent of providers were willing to help children with cancer access medical marijuana. However, providers who are legally eligible to certify for medical marijuana were less open to endorsing its use. Read

Marijuana may help HIV patients keep mental stamina longer

12/12/17--A chemical found in marijuana, known as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, has been found to potentially slow the process in which mental decline can occur in up to 50 percent of HIV patients, says a new Michigan State University study. Read

E-cig use increases risk of beginning tobacco cigarette use in young adults

12/11/17--Young adults who use electronic cigarettes are more than four times as likely to begin smoking tobacco cigarettes within 18 months as their peers who do not vape, according to new research. The findings demonstrate that e-cigarettes are serving as a gateway to traditional smoking, contrary to their purported value as a smoking cessation tool. The study is the first nationally representative survey that followed for more than a year people 18 to 30 years old who were initially nonsmokers. Read

Recreational drug users not what we think

12/7/17--A study lead by David Plummer, a professor from James Cook University in Queensland, investigates why Australians are among the top users of illegal drugs in the world. New facts have been revealed about the motivations of recreational drug users. Research shows almost 40% of Australians aged 15 years and over have used one or more illicit drugs at some stage in their life, and approximately 17% within the past 12 months. Read

Marijuana use may not aid patients in opioid addiction treatment

12/4/17--Many patients who are being treated for opioid addiction in a medication-assisted treatment clinic use marijuana to help manage their pain and mood symptoms. But, new research led by Marian Wilson, Ph.D., of the Washington State University College of Nursing found that frequent marijuana use seems to strengthen the relationship between pain and depression and anxiety, not ease it. Read

Cannabis use in youth is linked to bipolar symptoms in young adults, finds new research

11/30/17--Researchers from Warwick Medical School found that adolescent cannabis use is an independent risk factor for future hypomania -- periods of elated mood, over-active and excited behaviour, and reduced need for sleep that are often experienced as part of bipolar disorder, and have a significant impact on day-to-day life. The Warwick research is the first to test the prospective association between adolescent cannabis use and hypomania in early adulthood, whilst controlling for important other factors that might explain this connection. Read

Regulators should not consider ‘lost pleasure’ of quitting smoking

11/28/17--Researchers at the school's Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS) analyzed data from 1,284 adult smokers in the United States and found more than 80 percent expressed discontent about their inability to quit, felt they were addicted to cigarettes and regretted they started smoking. Read

Synthetic cannabis-like drug reduces sleep apnea

11/28/17--A synthetic cannabis-like drug in a pill was safe and effective in treating obstructive sleep apnea in the first large multi-site study of a drug for apnea funded by the National Institutes of Health. The study was conducted at Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Read

Certain popular cigars deliver more nicotine than cigarettes

11/25/17--Researchers analyzed the nicotine in smoke from popular brands of "small" or "filtered" cigars -- cigars that are almost identical to cigarettes except they're wrapped in leaf tobacco instead of paper. The researchers found that the level of nicotine found in small cigar smoke is similar to or greater than cigarette smoke. Read

Teens who drank or smoked marijuana heavily are less likely to marry, go to college, or work full time

11/5/17--Young adults dependent on marijuana and alcohol are less likely to achieve adult life goals, according to new research by UConn Health scientists. They examined data from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) to track the effect teenage alcohol and marijuana use has on the achievement of life goals, defined as educational achievement, full time employment, marriage, and social economic potential. The researchers also found that dependence may have a more severe effect on young men. Read

Researchers use a compound with a novel mechanism to treat pain in mice without tolerance or physical dependence

10/25/17--A pre-clinical study led by Indiana University scientists reports a promising step forward in the search for pain relief methods without the addictive side effects behind the country's current opioid addiction crisis. The research, which appears in the journal Biological Psychiatry, finds that the use of compounds called positive allosteric modulators, or PAMs, enhances the effect of pain-relief chemicals naturally produced by the body in response to stress or injury. Read

Large declines seen in teen substance abuse, delinquency

10/25/17--In recent years, teens have become far less likely to abuse alcohol, nicotine, and illicit drugs, according to researchersat Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Teens also are less likely to engage in behaviors like fighting and stealing, and the researchers believe the declines in substance use and delinquency are connected. The drop in substance abuse among teens parallels findings in other recent surveys, but until now no one has looked at how the drop-off may be linked to other behavioral issues. Read

A quarter of problematic pot users have anxiety disorders, many since childhood

10/24/17--According to new data from Duke Health researchers, about a quarter of adults whose marijuana use is problematic in early adulthood have anxiety disorders in childhood and late adolescence. The findings, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, also shed light on an estimated 4 percent of adults who endured childhood maltreatment and peer bullying without resorting to chronic marijuana abuse, only to develop problems with the drug between the ages of 26 and 30. Read

Strongest evidence supports use to reduce seizures, side effects of chemotherapy

10/23/17--A systematic review of published studies on the use of medical cannabis in children and adolescents finds a notable lack of studies and a minimal number of the randomized, controlled trials needed to confirm the effectiveness of a treatment. In their paper published in the journal Pediatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators Shane Shucheng Wong, MD, and Timothy Wilens, MD report that their review suggests only two pediatric uses of medical cannabis. One is to relieve chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and the other is to reduce seizures. Both are supported by existing studies. Read

Cannabis consumption increases violent behavior in young people in psychiatric care

10/6/17--A new study on cannabis use that involved 1,136 patients (from 18 to 40 years of age) with mental illnesses who had been seen five times during the year after discharge from a psychiatric hospital demonstrates that sustained used of cannabis is associated with an increase in violent behavior in young people. Moreover, the association between persistent cannabis use and violence is stronger than that associated with alcohol or cocaine. Read

Up to one-quarter of cancer patients use marijuana

9/25/17--A new study conducted in a cancer center in a state with legalized medicinal and recreational marijuana found that approximately one-quarter of surveyed patients used marijuana in the past year, mostly for physical and psychological symptoms. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study also revealed that legalization increased the likelihood for use among patients. Read

Cannabis, ‘spice’ – better think twice

9/21/17--A research group discovered that seizures can be induced by natural Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC, main constituent of marijuana) or the synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 (main component of synthetic blend "Spice"). These results are considered important because people see marijuana as a soft drug, without dangerous health effects, and they are unaware of the particularly severe effect of those cannabinoids. Considering the recent irreversible spread of synthetic cannabinoids and their impact on human health, this data should serve as a public alert. Read

Marijuana may produce psychotic-like effects in high-risk individuals

9/13/17--Marijuana may bring on temporary paranoia and other psychosis-related effects in individuals at high risk of developing a psychotic disorder, finds a preliminary study from researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). In this double-blinded, placebo-controlled laboratory study, the researchers looked at the effects of marijuana in six high-risk young adults and six controls, all experienced and current marijuana smokers who were physically healthy. Read

Daily e-cigarette users had highest rates of quitting smoking

8/16/17--Among US adults who were established smokers in the past five years, those who use e-cigarettes daily were significantly more likely to have quit cigarettes compared to those who have never tried e-cigarettes. Over half of daily e-cigarette users had quit smoking in the past five years, compared to 28 percent who had never tried e-cigarettes. This is one of the first studies to reveal the patterns of cessation prevalence among e-cigarette users. Read

Cigarette makers shifted stance on nicotine patches, gum, study shows

8/17/17--A new study conducted by scientists at UC San Francisco reports that tobacco companies have known for decades that, without counseling, nicotine replacement therapy hardly ever works, and that consumers often use it to complement smoking. This insight from the formerly secret industry documents known as the "Tobacco Papers" reveals why companies that once viewed nicotine patches and gum as a threat to their cigarette sales now embrace them as a business opportunity, the researchers said. Read

Marijuana use amongst youth stable, but substance abuse admissions up

8/15/17--According to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, while marijuana use amongst youth remains stable, youth admission to substance abuse treatment facilities has increased. As to why numbers are up, Miesha Marzell, assistant professor of social work at Binghamton University, says that it could be that people are seeing any kind of use as high-risk and want to make sure that, from a prevention standpoint, that they stay on top of it. Read

Traumatic brain injuries in children and adolescents could lead to alcohol abuse in later life

8/14/17--Researchers have surveyed previous studies to investigate the relationship between traumatic brain injuries and alcohol abuse. They found evidence that traumatic brain injuries in children and adolescents could be a risk-factor for alcohol abuse in later life, and they advise that brain injury survivors should be given special attention to address potential substance abuse issues. Read

Marijuana associated with three-fold risk of death from hypertension

8/9/17--Marijuana use is associated with a three-fold risk of death from hypertension, according to new research. Compared to non-users, marijuana users had a 3.42-times higher risk of death from hypertension, and a 1.04 greater risk for each year of use. There was no association between marijuana use and death from heart disease or cerebrovascular disease. Read

Compound derived from marijuana interacts with antiepileptic drugs

8/7/17--New research suggests that an investigational neurological treatment derived from cannabis may alter the blood levels of commonly used antiepileptic drugs. Read

Compound derived from marijuana interacts with antiepileptic drugs

8/7/17--New research published in Epilepsia, a journal of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), suggests that an investigational neurological treatment derived from cannabis may alter the blood levels of commonly used antiepileptic drugs. Read

First secondhand smoke, now secondhand harm from drinking

7/27/17--Harm from alcohol can extend beyond the drinker, resulting in "secondhand harm" caused by intoxicated people. Prior research suggests that more than 70 percent of college undergraduates have experienced harm from other students' drinking. A new study examined the prevalence and types of secondhand harm among Canadian undergraduates, and whether certain personality risks for alcohol use disorder -- impulsivity, sensation seeking, hopelessness, anxiety, sensitivity -- can predict secondhand-harm exposure. Read

Pattern of marijuana use during adolescence may impact psychosocial outcomes in adulthood

7/25/17--A pattern of escalating marijuana use in adolescents is linked to higher rates of depression and lower educational accomplishments in adulthood. Those findings come from a new study led by researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Pitt Department of Psychology published in the journal Addiction. Read

Depression among young teens linked to cannabis use at 18

7/17/17--A study looking at the cumulative effects of depression in youth found that young people with chronic or severe forms of depression were at elevated risk for developing a problem with cannabis in later adolescence. Read

Marijuana and vulnerability to psychosis

7/5/17--Going from an occasional user of marijuana to a weekly or daily user increases an adolescent's risk of having recurrent psychotic-like experiences by 159%, according to a new Canadian study published in theJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. The study also reports effects of marijuana use on cognitive development and shows that the link between marijuana use and psychotic-like experiences is best explained by emerging symptoms of depression. Read

Brain region that affects drug use habits

6/27/17--Researchers have identified a brain region involved in cocaine addiction. The findings could lead to targeted drugs or improved behavioral treatments for substance addiction, including opioid dependency. Read

Legal cannabis laws impact teen use

6/27/17--A new study by researchers at Dartmouth has found that adolescents living in medical marijuana states with a plethora of dispensaries are more likely to have tried new methods of cannabis use, such as edibles and vaping, at a younger age than those living in states with fewer dispensaries. Read

Losing train of thought or it’s hard to multi-task? You may be having one drink too many

6/20/17--Impairments using information that help with decision-making and planning simple tasks are linked with one's frequency of alcohol or drug use. A new study shows that cognitive impairments constitute a broader problem among substance users in the US general population. This is the first study to find associations between deficits in attention with frequency of binge drinking and use of marijuana, cocaine, opioids, tranquilizers, and stimulants in the general population ages 18 and older. Read

Marijuana use among college students on rise following Oregon legalization, study finds

6/14/17--Oregon State University researchers compared marijuana usage among college students before and after legalization and found that usage increased at several colleges and universities across the nation, but it increased more at Oregon State University. None of the universities were identified in the study. Read

Mixing booze, pot is a serious threat to traffic safety

6/12/17--Use of marijuana in combination with alcohol by drivers is especially dangerous, according to a latest study conducted at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Drivers who used alcohol, marijuana, or both were significantly more likely to be responsible for causing fatal two-vehicle crashes compared to drivers who were involved in the same crashes but used neither of the substances. The findings are published in the journal, Annals of Epidemiology. Read

One in 5 adolescents at risk of tobacco dependency, harmful alcohol consumption, and illicit drug use

6/10/17--Researchers from the University of Bristol have found regular and occasional cannabis use as a teen is associated with a greater risk of other illicit drug taking in early adulthood. The study by Bristol's Population Health Science Institute, published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, also found cannabis use was associated with harmful drinking and smoking. Read

Why the marijuana and tobacco policy camps are on very different paths

6/8/17--New research looked at diverging trajectories of cannabis and tobacco policies in the US and attempts to explain some of the reasoning behind the different paths, while discussing possible implications. Read

Why pot-smoking declines, but doesn’t end, with parenthood

6/1/17--According to a study by the University of Washington's Social Development Research Group (SDRG), adults who smoke marijuana often cut back after becoming parents but they don't necessarily quit. The UW research found that, in general, a greater percentage of nonparents reported using marijuana in the past year than parents. The study also found that participants who started using marijuana as young adults were much more likely to continue to use into their mid- to late 30s, even after they became parents. Read

Low-dose THC can relieve stress; more does just the opposite

6/2/17--Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago report that low levels tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, does reduce stress, but in a highly dose-dependent manner: very low doses lessened the jitters of a public-speaking task, while slightly higher doses actually increased anxiety. Read

Benefits of middle school prevention program extend into emerging adulthood

5/31/17--Children who participated in the PROSPER (PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience) program over seven years ago showed lower rates of substance abuse after high school graduation, according to a new study. According to Mark Feinberg, PROSPER's Pennsylvania principal investigator and research professor, these findings have very significant implications for the future of the nation's public health. If implemented broadly across communities, the PROSPER system has the potential to reduce drug and alcohol addiction over the long term and benefit everyone. Read

Cannabidiol reduces seizures in children with severe epilepsy

5/26/17--Results from a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial published in The New England Journal of Medicine revealed that children with Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy, had fewer seizures after taking a daily oral solution of cannabidiol, which does not have the psychoactive properties of marijuana. Over a 14-week treatment with cannabidiol, convulsive seizures dropped from a monthly average of 12.4 to 5.9, and during the study seizures stopped completely in 5 percent of patients taking cannabidiol. Read

Noted experts critically evaluate benefits of medical marijuana for treatment of epilepsy

5/24/17--The editors of Epilepsy & Behavior have produced a special issue that presents an in-depth assessment of the potential of cannabinoids for the effective treatment of epilepsy. Guest editors Jerzy Szaflarski, MD, PhD, Director of the Epilepsy Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Orrin Devinsky, MD, Director, Epilepsy Center, New York University Langone Medical Center hope these articles help stimulate greater understanding and more studies to scientifically define the potential benefits and harms of cannabis-based therapies for epilepsy. Read

A third of high school students ride with drivers who have been drinking

5/17/17--One in three high school students reports riding with a driver who has been drinking, while nearly one in five was in a car where the driver had consumed marijuana, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo. The study also found that while boys were more likely to drive after drinking or using marijuana, girls had higher odds of riding with drivers who had been drinking. Read

Trying new marijuana products and edibles is associated with unexpected highs

5/15/17--A new study by RTI International suggests that unexpected highs are a consequence of using new marijuana products and edibles -- products that have flooded the marijuana market since legalization of recreational marijuana use. Read

Marijuana use tied to poorer school performance

5/11/17--According to a new study from the University of Waterloo, when high school students started smoking marijuana regularly they were less likely to get good grades and want to pursue college. The study, published in the Journal of School Health, found that when students started using marijuana at least once a month they were about four times more likely to skip class, two-to-four times less likely to complete their homework and value getting good grades, and about half as likely to achieve high grades, than when they had never used the drug. Read

Depression, alcohol, and marijuana linked to later use of synthetic marijuana

3/13/17--In the first prospective study of synthetic cannabinoids or SCs -- the group of chemicals that mimic the effects of marijuana -- researchers have found that symptoms of depression, drinking alcohol, or using marijuana was linked to an increased risk of SC use one year later. Read

How can marijuana policy protect the adolescent brain?

2/6/17--According to study authors Staci A. Gruber and Kelly A. Sagar of McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School, as more states begin to legalize the use of marijuana, more young people may believe that it's safe to experiment with the drug. Gruber and Sagar believe it is imperative to determine safe guidelines regarding its impact on the brain, particularly during critical periods of neurodevelopment. Read

More older Americans using cannabis, underscoring need for research

1/11/17--Cannabis use among older adults in the US is on the rise, yet there is currently a lack of biomedical, clinical, and public health research to inform policy related to this trend, according to a new article. Read

Legal or not, marijuana can increase the risk of developing alcohol use disorders

1/10/17--Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) develop with time and in stages. Following the initiation of drinking, some people progress to problem drinking, and then develop a “cluster” of specific problems to comprise an AUD. This report examines high-risk families to understand underlying influences across multiple stages of AUD development. Read

Pain relief without the high

1/4/17--Researchers at Leiden University led by Mario van der Stelt (Leiden Institute for Chemistry) have set ‘gold standards’ for developing new painkillers based on the medicinal effects of cannabis, but without some of its side effects. Read

Did teen perception, use of marijuana change after recreational use legalized?

12/29/16--Marijuana use increased, and the drug's perceived harmfulness decreased among eighth- and 10th-graders in Washington after marijuana was legalized for recreational use by adults, but there was no change among 12th-graders or among students in the three grades in Colorado after legalization for adults there, according to a new study. Read

Causal links between cannabis, schizophrenia

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-11-11-08-pm12/19/16--People who have a greater risk of developing schizophrenia are more likely to try cannabis, according to new research, which also found a causal link between trying the drug and an increased risk of the condition. This latest study from Bristol's School of Experimental Psychology sheds fresh light on the issue, while still cautioning that the results ought to be considered in the wider context of other contributing factors of mental health. Read

This is your brain on (legal) cannabis: Researchers seek answers

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-11-07-16-pm12/16/16--For those suffering depression or anxiety, using cannabis for relief may not be the long-term answer, according to new research from a team at Colorado State University seeking scientific clarity on how cannabis -- particularly chronic, heavy use -- affects neurological activity, including the processing of emotions. Read

Teens’ use of e-cigarettes rising, according to surgeon general report

tmr_image-block12/15/16--The United States Surgeon General recently issued a report that adolescents’ use of electronic cigarettes has more than tripled since 2011. As recently as 2010, e-cigarettes were rare, but in 2015, 40 percent of high school students said they had used e-cigarettes at least once. Read

Teen use of any illicit drug other than marijuana at new low

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-11-00-56-am12/13/16--Teenagers' use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco declined significantly in 2016 at rates that are at their lowest since the 1990s, a new national study showed. But University of Michigan researchers cautioned that while these developments are "trending in the right direction," marijuana use still remains high for 12th-graders. Read

Beware: Children can passively ‘smoke’ marijuana, too

screen-shot-2016-12-27-at-10-13-03-am12/7/16--Youngsters inhale harmful secondary smoke if marijuana is smoked in their presence. The psychoactive chemicals in the drug are taken up by their bodies as well. Karen Wilson of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the American Academy of Pediatrics Julius B. Richmond Center of Excellence in the US led the first study showing that it is possible to pick up traces of THC, the primary psychoactive chemical in marijuana, in the urine of children exposed to secondary marijuana smoke. Read