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Daily use of high-potency cannabis is associated with more positive symptoms in first-episode psychosis patients: the EU-GEI case–control study

3/18/20--Daily use of high-potency cannabis has been reported to carry a high risk for developing a psychotic disorder. However, the evidence is mixed on whether any pattern of cannabis use is associated with a particular symptomatology in first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients. Findings of a conducted study indicates that patients with a history of daily use of high-potency cannabis present with more positive and less negative symptoms, compared with those who never used cannabis or used low-potency types.  Read

Mapping cannabis potency in medical and recreational programs in the United States

3/26/20--The current lack of knowledge surrounding advertised potencies in the legal cannabis market limits the ability to generate clear policies regarding online advertising to protect patients that are willing to use cannabis for their condition. Mary Catherine Cash, Katharine Cunnane, Chuyin Fan, and E. Alfonso Romero-Sandoval evaluated the advertised THC and CBD content of cannabis products offered online in dispensaries in the United States to determine products’ suitability to medicinal use and compare the strength of products offered in legal medical and recreational programs. Read

Opinion: What’s really driving the homelessness crisis

3/1/20--According to a op-ed by Christopher Rufo of The Daily Signal, there has been little clarity on what’s really driving the homelessness crisis in West Coast cities. For the past decade, progressive political leaders, activists, and media organizations have insisted that housing costs are the primary cause of homelessness. Yet, as an emerging body of evidence shows, homelessness in America’s West Coast cities is driven by three interrelated phenomena: addiction, mental illness, and permissive public policies. Read

Duke: Study shows impact of paternal marijuana exposure on brains of offspring

2/25/20--A male’s marijuana use appears to alter sperm prior to mating, causing offspring to develop distinct abnormalities in areas of the brain that help govern learning, memory, reward and mood, according to a Duke-led study conducted on rats. Read

Dose-ranging effect of adjunctive oral cannabidiol vs placebo on convulsive seizure frequency in Dravet Syndrome

3/2/20--Adjunctive cannabidiol at doses of 10 and 20 mg/kg/d led to similar clinically relevant reductions in convulsive seizure frequency with a better safety and tolerability profile for the 10-mg/kg/d dose in children with treatment-resistant Dravet syndrome. Dose increases of cannabidiol to greater than 10 mg/kg/d should be tailored to individual efficacy and safety. Read

Preclinical study links human gene variant to THC reward in adolescent females

2/12/20--A common variation in a human gene that affects the brain's reward processing circuit increases vulnerability to the rewarding effects of the main psychoactive ingredient of cannabis in adolescent females, but not males, according to preclinical research. As adolescence represents a highly sensitive period of brain development with the highest risk for initiating cannabis use, these findings in mice have important implications for understanding the influence of genetics on cannabis dependence in humans. Read

Medical Cannabis

2/11/20--Medical cannabis refers to preparations of the cannabis plant that patients use to treat medical conditions, and it has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years by many civilizations. As of January 2020, 33 states and the District of Columbia had put laws into place so physicians can certify the use of “medical marijuana,” or medical cannabis, for debilitating medical conditions—although cannabis remains illegal federally. Read

What should I know about medical cannabis?

2/11/20--The JAMA Internal Medicine Patient Page outlines pertinent details about medical marijuana, it's use, the dangers, and how it's regulated in the United States. Read 

Study: Frequent marijuana users make riskier decisions

2/15/20--A study using a card simulation where participants try to earn as much money as possible by choosing from different decks found that participants who used marijuana at least five times a week in the past year were prone to choosing decks with large rewards but larger losses, leading them to have a low net score for the task. Those who reported minimal to no use of marijuana chose decks with small rewards and small losses, but scored a high net score by the end of the task, researchers note. Read

Marijuana during labor: A survey of maternal opinions

2/3/20--Seemingly, there is increasing use of marijuana during pregnancy, and online accounts indicate that women are considering use of marijuana for labour pain. According to the survey, one third of women would consider the use of marijuana for labour pain, although many are unsure of its effects. Furthermore, most women would feel comfortable discussing this topic with their obstetrician, but the number and attitudes of women who would consider this are unknown. Read

An overview of cannabis use in pregnancy

1/15/20--Physicians have seen some of the outcomes associated with marijuana use in pregnant individuals. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 16.2% of pregnant women between the ages of 18 and 44 are daily. Estimates also indicate that between 2009 and 2016 cannabis use among pregnant females has nearly doubled, with young age being positively correlated with use. Read

Marijuana may accelerate the growth of this common cancer — study

1/14/20--In a new study, scientists lay out the evidence for a potentially deadly affect of THC on the body — accelerating the growth of a common cancer. According to Joseph Califano, researcher at the University of California, San Diego and study co-author, there is convincing scientific evidence that daily marijuana use can drive tumor growth in HPV-related head and neck cancer. Seemingly, doses used recreationally activate a cancer-causing pathway. Read

Birth and early developmental screening outcomes associated with cannabis exposure during pregnancy

1/17/20--A study comparing birth and early developmental screening outcomes for infants with and without in utero cannabis exposures may adversely impact fetal growth during pregnancy. Read

Real risks associated with cannabis exposure during pregnancy

1/17/20--A new study from researchers at Western University and Queen's University definitively shows that regular exposure to THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, during pregnancy has significant impact on placental and fetal development. Read

Can cannabis cure cancer?

1/16/20--As published in JAMA Oncology, a thorough review by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found moderate evidence of no statistical association between cannabis use and the development of lung and head and neck cancers. Furthermore, limited evidence of a statistical association was found between cannabis use and the development of nonseminomatous testicular carcinomas without good support for a causative effect. Read

2 million people with heart disease report using marijuana, Brigham and Women’s doctors find in new study

1/20/20--More than 2 million people with heart disease in the United States have used or are using marijuana, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital found in a new study that called for more research about the drug’s potential cardiovascular risks. Although the researchers did not conclude that marijuana causes heart disease, “observational studies have linked marijuana use to a range of cardiovascular risks, including stroke, arrhythmia and diseases that make it hard for the heart muscle to pump properly,” the hospital in a statement. Read

Surge in ER visits after new marijuana laws take effect

1/11/20--Illinois doctors and other health officials report a surge in emergency room visits from people overindulging on cannabis. However, Illinois is not alone in the surge of marijuana-related hospital visits following its legalization for recreational use. According to multiple studies, Colorado doctors saw close to triple the number of cannabis-induced emergency room cases after it was legalized for recreational use there. Doctors say edibles tend to cause the majority of issues. Read

Birth and early developmental screening outcomes associated with cannabis exposure during pregnancy

1/7/20--According to a study comparing birth and early developmental screening outcomes for infants with and without in utero cannabis exposures, exposure to cannabis during pregnancy may adversely impact fetal growth. Read

The true cost of cannabis: Why don’t its illnesses, deaths command media headlines?

1/3/20--USA Today health policy writer Jayne O'Donnell started covering vaping lung injuries from high-potency THC in August, then added the link between cannabis and mental illness, as well as marijuana, psychosis, and other mental illness. O'Donnell indicates that this type of coverage presents a pretty solitary place to be. According to former Food and Drug Administration chief Scott Gottlieb, the news media seemed to lose interest once it became clear that the culprit to vaping lung illnesses was THC and not nicotine. Former New York Times business reporter Alex Berenson adds that the human cost of cannabis is too high — and that the press is too pro-pot. Read

California calls pot smoke, THC a risk to moms-to-be

A California panel voted Wednesday to declare marijuana smoke and the drug's high-producing chemical — THC — a risk to pregnant women and their developing fetuses and require warning labels for products legally sold in the nation's largest pot market. The decision by the little-known Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee will not take effect for a year, and it remains to be seen what impact it will have on the state's emerging marijuana industry. Read

Surface detection of THC attributable to vaporizer use in the indoor environment

12/9/19--The goal of this study was to determine whether cannabinoids can be quantitatively detected on room surfaces exposed to side-stream cannabis vapor, making these surfaces possible sources for third-hand exposure. Study results show that in a room in which cannabis was administered by vaporization, surfaces tested positive for THC at quantifiable levels. This study represents a first step in understanding how side-stream cannabis vapor deposits in the environment and may result in tertiary exposure to users and bystanders. Read

Opinion: Teen suicide has become normalized in our state. This is a crisis.

12/8/19--In an Op-ed by Dafna Michaelson Jenet published in The Colorado Sun, Jenet refers to the growth of youth suicide in Colorado at a rate of 59% over the past three years as an all-out emergency and a public health crisis. According to a study by the United Health Foundation, teen suicide now accounts for one out of every five adolescent deaths, and the teen suicide rate in Colorado has grown at a rate nearly double the national average. Read

Men who regularly smoke cannabis have increased risk of developing testicular cancer, study claims

12/1/19--A new study has found that men who regularly smoke cannabis have an increased risk of developing testicular cancer. Research by a team of US-based scientists linked long-term use of the drug with higher rates of the disease - which is diagnosed in 2,400 in the UK each year. Read

What you need to know (and what we’re working to find out) about products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds, including CBD

11/25/19--The FDA is working to answer questions about the science, safety, and quality of products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds, particularly CBD, through ongoing efforts including feedback from a recent FDA hearing and information and data gathering through a public docket. Read

I have seen the damage cannabis does

11/15/19--This feature article tells of a story featuring Eddie (fictional name) who began smoking marijuana, at first only occasionally, and then more regularly until eventually he was using it every day. Over a period of time, psychotic symptoms first emerged and then developed into something bigger. Eventually Eddie received a diagnosis of schizophrenia Read

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drug-induced psychoses may signal substantial schizophrenia risk

11/6/19--More than a third of people who experienced psychosis with cannabis use later transitioned to schizophrenia, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis published online in Schizophrenia Bulletin. 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