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Experts explain the health effects of marijuana use

11/17/19--The Journal-World talked to two experts and read the results of a major study in an attempt to compile nonpartisan information on the effects of marijuana use. The report, titled “The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids,” comes from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. A committee reviewed research published since 1999 regarding what is known about the health effects of cannabis and cannabis-derived products. More than 10,000 abstracts were considered before the committee reached its nearly 100 conclusions. Read

Study finds link between male marijuana use and miscarriage risk

11/17/19--According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 20 women in the U.S. report using marijuana while pregnant. The CDC says the THC ingested could cause the baby to develop health problems. Additionally, some studies have suggested a link between marijuana use and lower sperm quality, indicating that a father's use could also play a role in a baby's development. Read

Marijuana use potentially linked to increased risk of stroke and heart arrhythmia

11/12/19--People who frequently use marijuana are at an increased risk of stroke, and individuals diagnosed with cannabis use disorder are more likely to be hospitalized for heart arrhythmia, according to two preliminary studies that will be presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2019. Read

Using weed regularly raises the risk of heart problems for young people, studies find

11/14/19--Younger people with cannabis use disorder are at an increased risk of heart rhythm problems, according to a new presentation at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions. A second presentation says that young people who use weed frequently are at a higher risk for stroke. Read

Cannabis use during methadone maintenance treatment for opioid use disorder

11/20/19--Rates of cannabis use among patients receiving methadone maintenance therapy are high, and cannabis use may be associated with outcomes of methadone maintenance therapy. Study results indicates no consensus among cannabis use associated with reduced opioid use or longer treatment retention when used during methadone maintenance therapy in patients with opioid use disorder. Read

CBD and THC use during early pregnancy can disrupt fetal development

11/5/19--A new study led by Scott Parnell, PhD, assistant professor of cell biology and physiology in the UNC School of Medicine, and published in Scientific Reports, a Nature Research journal, shows how a one-time exposure during early pregnancy to cannabinoids (CBs) – both synthetic and natural – can cause growth issues in a developing embryo. This is the first research to show such a connection in mammals. Read

‘It’s honestly hell.’ Hospitals see rare vomiting syndrome in heavy marijuana consumers

11/11/19--Since recreational marijuana became legal in Massachusetts three years ago, hospitals have noticed more cases of a rare illness afflicting a small portion of heavy cannabis consumers. The condition, called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, can be horrific for patients, causing intense abdominal pain, nausea, and days-long vomiting episodes that are strangely relieved by hot showers or baths. The illness can be cured by quitting pot. Read

Pot, alcohol most common cause of youth substance-use hospitalizations

9/19/19--Marijuana and alcohol were the most common substances leading to hospitalization of youth aged 10 to 24 across the country, says a report that highlights the prevalence of mental-health conditions as contributing factors. Read

Interactive effects of PTSD and substance use on suicidal ideation and behavior in military personnel

9/2/19--Results from a study examining the unique and interactive effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and days using alcohol, opioids, and marijuana on PTSD symptoms, suicidal ideation, and suicidal behavior indicate suggest marijuana, especially for military personnel experiencing elevated PTSD symptoms may negatively impact suicidal thoughts and behavior. These results are relevant to suggestions that medical marijuana could be used in treating or augmenting treatment for PTSD. Read

CDC launches probe into surge of severe lung disease cases linked to vaping

8/20/19--The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the sudden emergence of severe lung disease linked to vaping in 14 states. Ninety-four possible cases of severe lung illness associated with vaping were reported from the end of June to Aug. 15, the CDC reported on Saturday. Thirty of those cases were in Wisconsin alone. Other states that appear to be especially affected are Illinois, California, New York, Indiana and New Jersey. Read

Cannabis flower is an effective mid-level analgesic medication for pain

8/21/19--Using the largest database of real-time recordings of the effects of common and commercially available cannabis products in the United States, researchers found strong evidence that cannabis can significantly alleviate pain, with the average user experiencing a three-point drop in pain suffering on a 0-10 point scale immediately following cannabis consumption. Read

Cannabis inhalation and voice disorders

8/8/19--In a systematic review of 6 human studies and 13 basic science and animal studies, cannabis inhalation was associated with dark vocal folds on laryngoscopy as well as respiratory symptoms and negative lung function changes attributable to degradation byproducts generated during smoke exposure, especially in large doses. Read

Marijuana flower offers more pain relief than other cannabis products, study finds

8/21/19--According to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of New Mexico, the most effective for pain relief among the overwhelming variety of marijuana products available on the market today appears to be whole dried marijuana flower and products high in THC. The study’s goal was to gauge how the severity of pain changed and what side effects were experienced after cannabis consumption, and whether these effects differed by product. Read

Marijuana may undermine fertility treatment success

8/21/19--Women undergoing fertility treatment who smoke marijuana may have more success if they quit, recent research suggests. Among more than 400 women undergoing treatment with assisted-reproduction technology (ART), the small fraction who reported using cannabis at the time were more than twice as likely to lose a pregnancy than those who had never smoked marijuana, or who had only used it in the past, Dr. Jorge E. Chavarro of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston and his colleagues found. Read

Cannabis may undermine fertility treatment success, study warns

8/22/19--Women undergoing fertility treatment who smoke marijuana may have more success if they quit, recent research suggests. Among more than 400 women undergoing treatment with cannabis health (ART), the small fraction who reported using marijuana at the time were more than twice as likely to lose a pregnancy than those who had never smoked marijuana, or who had only used it in the past, Dr. Jorge E. Chavarro of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston and his colleagues found. Read

Adults who mix cannabis with opioids for pain report higher anxiety, depression

8/12/19--Researcher Andrew Rogers from the University of Houston has found that adults who take prescription opioids for severe pain are more likely to have increased anxiety, depression, and substance abuse issues if they also use marijuana. Read

Health effects of eating marijuana is subject of a new study

8/9/19--According to Michael Smoker, an addiction neuroscience Ph.D. candidate in the psychology department at IUPUI and one of the researchers conducting a study on the behavioral and physiological effects of eating food infused with marijuana, marijuana edibles can elicit extreme, adverse reactions. Therefore, understanding the health effects of eating marijuana edibles is important, given the growing popularity of that method of consumption in states where marijuana has been legalized. Read

Medical use of cannabis in 2019

8/9/19--As of August 2019, 33 states and the District of Columbia have initiated policies allowing the use of cannabis or cannabinoids for the management of specific medical conditions. Yet, insufficient evidence exists for the use of medical cannabis for most conditions for which its use is advocated. Despite the lack of evidence, various US state governments have recommended cannabis for the management of more than 50 medical conditions. Read

Cannabis’ effects on brain neurochemistry

8/7/19--A new Addiction Biology study provides the first evidence of a blunted response to stress-induced dopamine signaling in the brain's prefrontal cortex in individuals at high risk for psychosis who regularly used cannabis. Read

New weed study suggests brain’s individual sensitivity to THC determines happy or paranoid high

7/9/19--A recent study out of Western University in Ontario, published in Scientific Reports, is one of the few to explore what it deems the “divergent psychological effects” that marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), produces — and to offer explanations for why this happens. The study found evidence that psychological reactions to weed depend on which part of an individual’s brain is most sensitive to THC. Read

Why marijuana affects different people differently

7/8/19--The psychological effects of marijuana can differ between individuals: some experience highly rewarding effects which may lead to dependence on the drug, while others may experience paranoia, cognitive problems or an increased risk of developing schizophrenia. The study, led by Laviolette and postdoctoral fellow, Christopher Norris, Ph.D., is newly published in Scientific Reports and reveals critical new insights into how marijuana can produce such highly diverse psychological effects in different individuals. Read

Marijuana or hemp: FDA says beware of CBD for these reasons​

7/7/19--The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants the American public to know that cannabidiol (CBD), the non-intoxicating component of the cannabis sativa plant, might not be as safe and effective in the grand scheme of their overall health and wellness as they are being told. The agency wants to clarify a couple of critical points surrounding CBD before more of the public jumps on the bandwagon. Read

NHS is forced to open Britain’s first clinic for cannabis psychosis to treat addicts of the mind-altering drug

6/30/19--Cannabis-induced psychosis has reached crisis levels, forcing the NHS to open the first clinic specifically treating addicts of the mind-altering drug. The clinic has been launched by a leading psychiatrist who warns that psychosis among users of skunk – a very strong strain of cannabis flooding the streets – has become ‘a crisis that we can simply no longer ignore’, with tens of thousands of people affected. Read

Trends and related factors of cannabis-associated emergency department visits in the United States

6/1/19--Based on a study to examine national trends and contributing factors of cannabis-associated emergency department visits in the United States, cannabis-associated emergency department visits increase monotonically over time. Although vulnerable persons were identified, additional policy or regional factors should explore risks of emergency department visits associated with cannabis use. Read

Medical cannabinoids for cancer cachexia: A systematic review and meta-analysis

6/23/19--Cancer cachexia (CCA), an intractable and ineffective metabolic syndrome that attacks 50–80% of cancer patients, reduces patient’s life quality, affects the efficacy of treatment, and then increases their mortality. However, there are no established therapeutic strategies for CCA in the world. In this study, the positive and negative effects of cannabinoid in the treatment of CCA are assessed. Results showed cannabinoid is effective in increasing appetite in cancer patients; however, it declines the quality of life, which may be due to the side effects of cannabinoid. Read

Potent pot, vulnerable teens trigger concerns in first states to legalize marijuana

6/16/19--The first two states to legalize recreational marijuana are starting to grapple with teenagers’ growing use of highly potent pot, even as both boost the industry and reap huge tax windfalls from its sales. As more than a dozen states from Hawaii to New Hampshire consider legalizing marijuana, doctors warn of an urgent need for better education — not just of teens but of parents and lawmakers — about how the products being marketed can significantly affect young people’s brain development. Read

Marijuana damages young brains

6/16/19--Numerous studies show that marijuana can have a deleterious impact on cognitive development in adolescents, impairing executive function, processing speed, memory, attention span and concentration. The reason the adolescent brain is so vulnerable to the effect of drugs is that the brain is still developing in adolescents and young adults until age 25. Read

Pediatric marijuana ingestions increase following legalization

6/13/19--Pediatric ingestions of marijuana substantially increased among young children after it was legalized in several states, according to research published in Pediatric Emergency Care. The researchers wrote that although California legalized medicinal marijuana in 1996, the legal marijuana industry did not expand until 2009 when more states passed legislation and the enforcement of laws against the sale and use of marijuana was relaxed by the United States Department of Justice. Read

Can medical marijuana help kids with autism?

5/10/19--According to a new Israeli clinical trial reports, medical marijuana extracts appear to help children with autism, reducing their disruptive behavior while improving their social responsiveness. However, parents of children with autism should still wait for more data before trying to treat them with medical marijuana, warned lead researcher Dr. Adi Aran, director of the pediatric neurology unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. Read

It’s all the rage! Exploring the nuances in the link between vaping and adolescent delinquency

5/6/19--The findings of a study examining the relationship between vaping different substances and adolescent delinquency while accounting for traditional forms of nicotine and marijuana use suggest that there may be something criminogenic about vaping among adolescents. However, the strength of the relationship between vaping and delinquency is contingent on what is being vaped, with marijuana vaping being most heavily correlated with delinquency. Read

Large reduction in psychiatric admissions after head-shop ban

4/8/19--There was a significant and immediate reduction in admissions to psychiatric facilities after the strict laws banning head shop drugs were introduced, new research shows. Read

Joe Biden applauds anti-marijuana speech at opioid forum

4/15/19--During an opioid forum, professor Bertha Madras claimed that patients who consume marijuana experience the same levels of pain and don’t decrease their opioid use, and she also characterized legislative efforts to allow patients with opioid use disorder to access medical marijuana as “disrespectful”—a rant that Biden enthusiastically applauded. The tacit endorsement of the panelist’s anti-cannabis speech appears to signal that Biden remains opposed, or at least skeptical about, changing marijuana policies. Read

Regular cannabis users require up to 220% higher dosage for sedation in medical procedures

4/15/19--Researchers in Colorado examined medical records of 250 patients who received endoscopic procedures after 2012, when the state legalized recreational marijuana. They found patients who smoked or ingested cannabis on a daily or weekly basis required 14% more fentanyl, 20% more midazolam, and 220% more propofol to achieve optimum sedation for routine procedures, including colonoscopy. Read

Indicators of despair rising among Gen X-ers entering middle age

4/15/19--Indicators of despair -- depression, suicidal ideation, drug use and alcohol abuse -- are rising among Americans in their late 30s and early 40s across most demographic groups, according to new research. These findings suggest that the increase in 'deaths of despair' observed among low-educated middle-aged white Baby Boomers in recent studies may begin to impact the youngest members of Generation X more broadly in the years to come. Read

Acute illness associated with cannabis use, by route of exposure

4/16/19--According to an observational study conducted to describe and compare adult emergency department (ED) visits related to edible and inhaled cannabis exposure, visits attributable to inhaled cannabis are more frequent than those attributable to edible cannabis, although the latter is associated with more acute psychiatric visits and more ED visits than expected. Read

History of lifetime marijuana use is associated with better cognition and worse real-world functioning in schizophrenia spectrum disorders

3/20/19--According to a study designed to examine the effect of cannabis on psychopathology, cognition and real-world functioning in SSD patients, lifetime cannabis use is associated with better working memory and processing speed and worse real-world functioning in the area of socially useful activities in patients with schizophrenia-related disorders. Clinicians should, therefore, be aware of it to provide patient-centered care in their daily clinical practice. Read

Medical marijuana laws linked to health and labor supply benefits in older adults

3/19/19--A study that examined older Americans' well-being before and after medical marijuana laws were passed in their state found reductions in reported pain and increased hours worked. The study suggests medical marijuana laws could be improving older Americans' health. Read

Could medical marijuana help older people with their ailments?

2/28/19--According to a preliminary study, medical marijuana may bring relief to older people who have symptoms like pain, sleep disorders or anxiety due to chronic conditions including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, neuropathy, spinal cord damage and multiple sclerosis. The study not only found medical marijuana may be safe and effective, it also found that one-third of participants reduced their use of opioids. Read

Junk food purchases increase after recreational marijuana legalization

2/28/19--A study released this month from assistant professor of economics Michele Baggio found a link between state recreational marijuana legalization and increased consumption of certain high-calorie foods, suggesting there may be something more substantial to the urban myth of "the munchies." The trend was consistent across the three legalizing states included in the study. Read

10 things we know (as in, actually have published evidence for) about marijuana and health

3/1/19--Considering the many controversies over marijuana, Nutrition Action Healthletter's Senior Nutrition Scientist Caitlin Dow presents a summary of the (limited) science on marijuana products, as well as 10 things that should be known about marijuana. Read

Association between cannabis use and complications related to Crohn’s Disease

3/2/19--Crohn’s disease is an idiopathic inflammatory process that is occasionally associated with complications. The anti-inflammatory effect of cannabis in intestinal inflammation has been shown in several experimental models. This study concluded that cannabis use may mitigate several of the well-described complications of Crohn’s disease among hospital inpatients. These effects could possibly be through the effect of cannabis in the endocannabinoid system. Read

Marijuana, cocaine may play role in young Americans’ rising stroke rate

2/4/19--The number of younger adults having strokes is rising. New research suggests growth in illegal drug use could be playing a role. According to a new study, although alcohol and cigarette use in the stroke victims remained stable over the two-decade study period, drug use rose dramatically, from 4.4 percent in 1993-1994 to 30.3 percent in 2015. It's necessary for doctors to increase their efforts to get young adults to understand the health consequences of using drugs. Read

Genetic study of impulsiveness reveals associations with psychiatric disorders

2/4/19--Impulsiveness and substance use share a genetic basis, according to genome-wide association studies published in JNeurosci by academic and industry researchers. With more than 20,000 participants, the research represents the largest genetic analysis of impulsive personality traits to date. Read

Depressive symptoms and suicidality in adolescents using e-cigarettes and marijuana

1/24/19--A study recently published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine reports that youth with single and dual e-cigarette and marijuana use had increased odds of reporting depressive symptoms and suicidality compared to youth who denied use. There is a need for effective prevention and intervention strategies to help mitigate adverse mental health outcomes in this population. Read

Effect of marijuana smoking on pulmonary disease in HIV-infected and uninfected men

1/24/19--Lung disease is a common comorbidity in people with HIV/AIDS, independent of smoking status. The effects of marijuana smoking on risk of lung disease in HIV-infected individuals are unclear. Read

A randomised controlled trial of vaporised Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol alone and in combination in frequent and infrequent cannabis users

1/19/19--A randomized placebo controlled trial was conducted to examine the acute effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) alone and in combination when administered by vaporization to frequent and infrequent marijuana users. CBD showed some intoxicating properties relative to placebo. Low doses of CBD when combined with THC enhanced, while high doses of CBD reduced the intoxicating effects of THC. Read

Cannabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ®)

1/17/19--Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a plant grown in many parts of the world which makes a resin with compounds called cannabinoids. The FDA has not approved Cannabis or cannabinoids for use as a cancer treatment. Read

States that legalize medical marijuana also see higher birth rates

1/9/19--States that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes can expect a moderate increase in birth rates, according to a new study by two UConn researchers. The study, led by UConn’s Michele Baggio and David Simon, both assistant professors of economics, along with Alberto Chong of Georgia State University, found that a birth rate increase corresponded with an increased frequency of sexual intercourse, and decreased purchase and use of condoms. Read

This reporter took a deep look into the science of smoking pot. What he found is scary.

1/5/19--New York Times reporter Alex Berenson’s new book,  Tell Your Children, delves into research linking heavy marijuana use with violent crime and mental illness. Berenson interviewed researchers who have quietly but methodically documented the effects of THC on serious mental illness, and he makes a convincing case that a recreational drug marketed as an all-around health product may, in fact, be really dangerous—especially for people with a family history of mental illness and for adolescents with developing brains. Read

Mental health expert warns of ‘significant increase’ in cannabis-induced psychosis

1/1/19--Schizophrenia Society of Canada's Chris Summerville discusses the dangers of cannabis-induced psychosis. According the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), 373 people were discharged from hospitals across the country – excluding Ontario and Quebec – after receiving treatment for cannabis-induced psychosis in the 2012/13 fiscal year. That number increased to 723 cases in 2016/17. Read

‘Reefer Madness’ not so mad after all, anti-pot author warns

1/3/19--As marijuana continues its seemingly inevitable march to legalization in all 50 states, most Americans simply accept that it’s relatively harmless. But what if it’s not? Alex Berenson, a reporter and novelist who authored the book “Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence” thoroughly presents the case for caution. Read

Exposure to cannabis alters the genetic profile of sperm

12/19/18--New research from Duke Health suggests men in their child-bearing years should also consider how THC could impact their sperm and possibly the children they conceive during periods when they've been using the drug. Much like previous research that has shown tobacco smoke, pesticides, flame retardants and even obesity can alter sperm, the Duke research shows THC also affects epigenetics, triggering structural and regulatory changes in the DNA of users' sperm. Read

Acute effects of smoked and vaporized cannabis in healthy adults who infrequently use marijuana

11/30/18--Significant, sometimes adverse, drug effects can occur at relatively low THC doses in infrequent marijuana users, and accordingly this data should be considered with regard to regulation of retail marijuana products and education for individuals initiating marijuana use. Read

Greater risk for frequent marijuana use and problems among young adult marijuana users with a medical marijuana card

11/25/18--According to a study comparing young adults with and without a medical marijuana (MM) recommendation from a provider (“MM card”) on their developmental trajectories of frequent marijuana use and marijuana-related problems in young adulthood, young adult marijuana users with a MM card had a higher risk profile for marijuana use and related problems compared to those without an MM card. Given expanding state legalization of marijuana for medical use, this issue warrants further attention. Read

Adolescent cannabis use alters development of planning, self-control brain areas

11/6/18--Adolescent marijuana use may alter how neurons function in brain areas engaged in decision-making, planning and self-control, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The findings are the result of an animal model study focused on the structural development of the prefrontal cortex, or PFC, which controls high-level cognitive functions. Read

New insights into the neural risks and benefits of marijuana use

11/6/18--Research released today underscores both the dangers and the therapeutic promise of marijuana, revealing different effects across the lifespan. Marijuana exposure in the womb or during adolescence may disrupt learning and memory, damage communication between brain regions, and disturb levels of key neurotransmitters and metabolites in the brain. Read

Alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use between 2002 and 2016 in pregnant women from a nationally representative sample

11/5/18--In the National Survey of Drug Use and Health, the adjusted prevalence of past 30-day cannabis use in pregnant women aged 18 to 44 years rose from 2.37% in 2002 to 3.85% in 2014. Another study found a relatively similar increase from 4.2% in 2009 to 7.1% in 2014. Corresponding rates of alcohol use and cigarette smoking during pregnancy have generally decreased. These reports encourage more detailed characterization of patterns of substance use during the course of pregnancy. Read

Effect of cannabidiol on medial temporal, midbrain, and striatal dysfunction in people at clinical high risk of psychosis

11/8/18--In this investigation comparing 33 individuals at clinical high risk of psychosis who were part of a double-blind randomized clinical trial and 19 healthy control individuals, a single oral dose of cannabidiol modulated activation in the striatum, medial temporal cortex, and midbrain. In each of these regions, the level of activation following administration of cannabidiol to patients at clinical high risk of psychosis was intermediate between the response in healthy control individuals who did not receive any drug and in patients at clinical high risk receiving placebo. Read

Association of cannabinoid administration with experimental pain in healthy adults

11/8/18--This systematic review and meta-analysis of 18 studies including 442 adults found that cannabinoid drugs were associated with modest increases in experimental pain threshold and tolerance, no reduction in the intensity of ongoing experimental pain, reduced perceived unpleasantness of painful stimuli, and no reduction of mechanical hyperalgesia. Read

Marijuana use associated with faster kidney function decline in patients with CKD

10/27/18--Joshua L. Rein and his colleagues from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai analyzed data from the ASSESS-AKI parallel matched cohort study to investigate whether marijuana use was associated with kidney function decline and albuminuria. According to data presented at the ASN Kidney Week 2018, patients with baseline chronic kidney disease who used marijuana experienced more rapid eGFR decline. Read