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Marijuana is becoming more potent, but also more popular, UMD study says

4/27/17--While the number of people who view marijuana as posing "no risk" increases, highly potent forms of the drug are becoming more common, which may cause greater negative effects, according to a 2017 report by the University of Maryland's public health school. The study claims using higher-potency marijuana carries a higher risk of negative outcomes, such as "cognitive problems, underachievement in school, and risk for dependence, especially for youth," compared to traditional forms of marijuana. Read

Marijuana and erectile dysfunction: What is the connection?

4/25/17--There is a lot of debate about marijuana and its effect on sexual health. For some men, it does seem to be linked to erectile dysfunction (ED). At present, not enough is known about the relationship between marijuana and ED. Some men find that marijuana negatively affects their sexual ability, while others say that marijuana actually increases their sexual arousal. Read

Kicking pot to the curb

4/9/17--Renowned Alzheimer’s researcher Dr. Vincent Fortanasce says marijuana use may lead to the disease. For several years, Fortanasce has studied Alzheimer’s disease, its underlying causes, and treatments. Through his research, he believes there may be a link between chronic use of marijuana — especially when started at a young age — and Alzheimer’s. He is trying to convince the American Academy of Neurology to conduct a major survey to see if people diagnosed with dementia have also smoked marijuana. Read

Some of the parts: Is marijuana’s “entourage effect” scientifically valid?

4/20/17--The so-called “entourage effect” refers to compounds supposedly working in concert to create what chemist Chris Emerson describes as “the sum of all the parts that leads to the magic or power of cannabis.” The conventional science on this topic is scant, but cannabis breeders have long been crossing plants to develop distinctive strains that purportedly do different things, and breeders are using genetics to make that process more precise and efficient. Read

Teens tend to think marijuana use is no big deal, but they’re wrong.

4/20/17--According to the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teenagers are engaging in fewer risky behaviors than their Gen X parents did. However, despite this news, 60 percent of high school seniors say they think marijuana is safe, yet research suggests that marijuana use can damage the developing teen brain. Marijuana is more potent now than what people were smoking 30 years ago. Read

Meta-analysis fails to find evidence that medical marijuana influences quality of life

4/10/17--Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of eleven scientific studies on cannabis or cannabinoids and quality of life. Findings indicate that marijuana has no impact on quality of life when used for many medical conditions. Read

Study shows marijuana use interrupts adolescent brain development

4/11/17--Regular marijuana use by teens can stop the brain from maturing, according to a new study by scientists at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, IL. The study is the first to establish a causal link between repeated cannabinoid exposure during adolescence and an interruption of the normal maturation processes in the prefrontal cortex, a region in the brain's frontal lobe, which regulates decision ­making and working memory and undergoes critical development during adolescence. Read

Cannabis use patterns and motives

3/9/17--A study was conducted to examine medical cannabis use patterns and motives among adults across the lifespan. Findings suggest that there is an age-related risk for problematic cannabis use among medical cannabis users, such that younger users should be monitored for cannabis use patterns that may lead to deleterious consequences. Read

Legalized marijuana could help curb the opioid epidemic, study finds

3/27/17--According to a new study, hospitalization rates for opioid painkiller dependence and abuse dropped on average 23 percent in states after marijuana was permitted for medicinal purposes. Hospitalization rates for opioid overdoses dropped 13 percent on average. Yet, at the same time, fears that legalization of medical marijuana would lead to an uptick in cannabis-related hospitalizations proved unfounded, according to the report in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Read

Pot is bad news — no ifs, ands or butts

3/17/17--A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry looked at the rising rates of marijuana use in the general population, the increasing number of states allowing recreational marijuana use, and the authorization of medical marijuana programs. The three-year study of nearly 35,000 participants found that within the general population, cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of several substance use disorders, including alcohol and drug use disorders as well as nicotine dependence. Read

Alabama’s crackdown on pregnant marijuana users

3/15/17--Although Alabama isn't the only state with laws against drug use during pregnancy, its prosecutors have been the most zealous by bringing charges against hundreds of women. Alabama's crack down on pregnant marijuana users occurred alongside an increase in use across the nation and among pregnant women. Almost 4 percent of pregnant women surveyed as part of a federal study in 2014 reported using pot during the past month, compared to 2.3 percent in 2002. Read

Marijuana use may raise stroke, heart failure risk

3/10/17--New research warns of the harms of marijuana use after finding that the drug may have negative implications for cardiovascular health. From an analysis of more than 20 million health records across the U.S., researchers have uncovered a link between marijuana use and an increased risk of stroke and heart failure. 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

Component of marijuana may help treat anxiety and substance abuse disorders

3/9/17--Cannabidiol, a major component of cannabis or marijuana, appears to have effects on emotion and emotional memory, which could be helpful for treating anxiety-related and substance abuse disorders. A recent review highlights the results of studies that have investigated cannabidiol's effects on various fear and drug memory processes. Read

Weed smokers have consistently low grades through school, study finds

3/8/17--A new study has confirmed the stereotype to indeed be true that students who smoke high amounts of cannabis have lower grades and perform worse at school, scientists claim. Researchers say their findings suggest efforts to limit substance use during the crucial first few months of college may help more students succeed. Read

‘Synthetic pot’ tied to risky sex, violence, and drug abuse in teens

3/13/17--Teens who use synthetic pot are at a heightened risk for violent behavior, risky sex, and abuse of other drugs, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study revealed. Synthetic pot -- sometimes called fake weed -- covers a variety of drugs sold under hundreds of brand names. These drugs are often marketed as natural and safe. But, they have unpredictable, and in some cases, life-threatening effects, according to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Read

Marijuana and adolescents: Caution

3/5/17--According to a published editorial by Carol Falkowski, CEO of Drug Abuse Dialogues, marijuana smoke is blanketing the country. She strongly believes we must pause to seriously consider the known, detrimental effects of repeated marijuana use on the developing adolescent brain, while also acting accordingly and responsibly in ways that promote the public health and safety, help delay initiation of use, and reduce, not increase, the accessibility of marijuana to this particularly vulnerable population. Read

Avoid marijuana while pregnant, urges new health advice

3/3/17--New advice warns women against smoking marijuana while pregnant, as the drug could affect the brain of the developing fetus. During pregnancy, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active chemical in marijuana can cross the placenta and affect the fetus by affecting the birth weight as well brain function, in addition to decreasing the IQ of the child and making it harder for them to pay attention. Read

Pediatricians warn against pot use: not your dad’s marijuana

2/27/17--An influential doctors group is beefing up warnings about marijuana's potential harms for teens amid increasingly lax laws and attitudes on pot use. The group opposes medical and recreational marijuana use for kids. It says emphasizing that message is important because most states have legalized medical use for adults, and many have decriminalized or legalized adults' recreational use. Read

Review of the science and implications for developmental behavioral pediatric practice

1/30/17--This review examines the epidemiology of cannabis use among children and adolescents, including those with developmental and behavioral diagnoses. Throughout, the review outlines gaps in current knowledge and highlights directions for future research. Read

Cannabis use disorder and suicide attempts in Iraq/Afghanistan-era veterans.

1/5/2017--The objective of the present research was to examine the association between lifetime cannabis use disorder (CUD), current suicidal ideation, and lifetime history of suicide attempts in a large and diverse sample of Iraq/Afghanistan-era veterans using a battery of well-validated instruments. Read

Yale prof raises concerns about potential health hazards of recreational marijuana

1/14/17--Recreational marijuana use has been approved in Massachusetts starting in 2018, and there is an effort for it to be legalized in Connecticut, but Yale School of Public Health professor Vasilis Vasiliou is warning of cannabis’ potential hazards. He’s especially concerned about the combined influence of alcohol and marijuana, cannabis’ effect on the developing brain, and its potential harm to pregnant women and fetuses. Read

The good, bad, and unknown about marijuana’s health effects

1/12/17--It can almost certainly ease chronic pain and might help some people sleep, but it's also likely to raise the risk of getting schizophrenia and might trigger heart attacks. Those are among the conclusions about marijuana reached by a federal advisory panel. The experts also called for a national effort to learn more about marijuana and its chemical cousins. Read

Marijuana users risk schizophrenia, but the drug helps pain

1/12/17--Although marijuana can help ease chronic pain, it can also raise the risk of severe mental illness, including schizophrenia, a comprehensive new report found. A team of top experts looked at all the studies that have been done on the use of cannabis — marijuana and products made from marijuana — and its impact on health. Ultimately, the committee came to 100 conclusions about cannabis. 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

Mysterious marijuana-related illness popping up in emergency rooms

1/2/17--A mysterious marijuana-related illness, now known as cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, is popping up with increasing frequency in hospital emergency rooms, particularly in states where cannabis is now legal. The symptoms are severe abdominal pain and violent vomiting — and most doctors are initially stumped when they encounter patients with the problem. The illness is linked to heavy, long-term use of marijuana, according to experts. Read

Syndrome linked to smoking weed

12/30/16--According to a 2015 study conducted by Dr. Kennon Heard, following the legalization of medical marijuana in 2009, a poorly understood condition, now known as cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS, affected some long-term heavy pot smokers who developed patterns of cyclical vomiting and abdominal pain. The study also conveyed that with the doubling of the incidence of CHS, the propensity to self-report also increased significantly, better allowing healthcare providers identify such patients who may have repeated ER visits. Read  

Marijuana use and schizophrenia: New evidence suggests link

12/25/16--A new study, published in Psychological Medicine, has added to the body of evidence pointing to a link between schizophrenia and the use of cannabis. Recent research suggests that not only are people who are prone to schizophrenia more likely to try cannabis, but that cannabis may also increase the risk of developing symptoms. Read

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

12/16/16--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

Weed can negatively affect your sleep, says study

12/12/16--A new study found that people who smoke marijuana on a regular basis before bed are going to experience sleep problems compared to those who occasionally smoke or don’t smoke at all. For the study, researchers surveyed 98 people who smoked marijuana on a daily basis, people who smoked once in the past month and up to five days a week, and those who never smoked marijuana. Read

Marijuana: Could it slow Parkinson’s disease progression?

12/6/16--Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurological illness in the United States, causing tremors, slowness of movement, postural instability, and impaired balance and coordination. But findings from a new review suggest symptoms of the condition could be improved with marijuana. Read

Babies’ marijuana exposure evident in their urine

12/9/16--Babies exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke take in THC, the primary psychoactive chemical in pot, a new study shows. Researchers discovered traces of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in urine samples from babies and toddlers in Colorado whose parents smoked marijuana. Read

Regular marijuana use may affect vision

12/9/16--Regular marijuana use may affect how quickly a person processes things in front of them, according to a new study published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology. Researchers claim regular cannabis use can cause problems with the retina, affecting certain cells so it takes longer for visual information to go from the eye to the brain. Read

Beware: Children can passively ‘smoke’ marijuana, too

12/7/16--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, click the primary psychoactive chemical in marijuana, in the urine of children exposed to secondary marijuana smoke. Read

Marijuana and mental illness: Low dopamine levels may play a role

11/21/16--A new review offers further insight into how long-term marijuana use might have a negative impact on mental health, after finding "substantial evidence" that the drug alters the brain's reward system to increase negative emotions and decrease motivation. Researchers say long-term marijuana use lowers dopamine levels in the brain, which could explain why some users develop mental illness. Read

Marijuana use may impair your coordination

11/18/16--Smoking pot may impair coordination and other motor skills, even when you're not high, a new review of studies finds. Researchers found that people who used marijuana had differences in brain areas called the corticostriatal networks compared with people who didn't use the drug. These areas are connected to motor learning and control, and can affect people's reaction time, memory, and the ability to switch between tasks, according to studies included in the review. Read

How marijuana causes memory loss

11/12/16--Researchers have long suggested marijuana can cause memory loss. Now, a new study led by Dr. Giovanni Marsicano of the University of Bordeaux in France provides insight on this association, revealing how cannabinoids in the drug activate receptors in the mitochondria of the brain's memory center to cause amnesia. Read

Does marijuana weaken heart muscles?

11/14/16--A study suggests that marijuana use can weaken heart muscles, particularly in young men. Recognizing the possible adverse health effects of smoking pot to get high, researchers from St. Luke's University Hospital Network focused on patients with stress cardiomyopathy, a sudden temporary weakening of the heart muscle that prevents it from pumping. They examined the link between marijuana use and heart health. Read

Cannabis abuse possible cause of psychosis

11/8/16--The risk of developing psychosis is more than tripled for those who abuse cannabis, according to results from a new twin study conducted by researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) and colleagues from Virginia Commonwealth University. They examined the relationship between cannabis and psychosis using psychiatric interviews of Norwegian twins. The interviews reveal whether the twins had symptoms of psychosis and cannabis abuse. Read

Teen use of opioids linked to marijuana

11/7/16--Teens who take opioid painkillers without a prescription also often use cannabis, according to a new study. Researchers analyzed information from more than 11,000 children and teens ages 10 to 18, in 10 U.S. cities. Overall, about 29 percent of the teens said they had used cannabis at some point in their lives, but among the 524 participants who said they had used prescription opioids in the past 30 days, nearly 80 percent had used cannabis. Read

Veterinarians’ warning: Marijuana can be toxic to pets

11/5/16--As legalization makes marijuana more common in Oregon, local veterinarians are warning that marijuana can be poisonous to pets. Pets that gulp down marijuana can experience a range of effects, from lethargy to coma and even death. Local veterinarians say people should always keep marijuana away from their pets, and people who grow or process marijuana should also use caution about where they keep and dispose of material. Read  

Opioids out, cannabis in

11/1/16--With the nationwide epidemic of opioid abuse, dependence, and fatalities, clinicians are being asked by federal agencies and professional societies to control their prescribing of narcotic medications for pain. Reduction in opioid prescribing leaves a vacuum that will be filled with other therapies, including cannabis. According to an article published in JAMA, the mandated transition to limit the use of opioids, paired with the current climate about liberalizing cannabis, may lead to patients' substitution of cannabis for opioids. Read

The dog ate my pot brownie: Legalization fuels increase in stoned pets

10/28/16--As more jurisdictions legalize marijuana, veterinarians across the country say they are seeing a sharp increase in cases of pets accidentally getting high. Tasty “edibles” such as muffins and cookies that people consume for a buzz are also appealing to animals, who can’t read warning labels, and, in the case of dogs, rarely stop at just one pot brownie. Read

Legalizing marijuana

10/24/16--Henry Berman, a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, writes a letter to the editor of The New York Times openly expressing why marijuana legalization has been a "big deal" for children and adolescents. Berman cites the doubled number of visits to emergency rooms by children under 10, and he addresses the serious effects on teenagers as it pertains to long-term behavioral and learning problems. Read

Leading psychosis expert to his students: To avoid risk, hold off on pot til 30

10/21/16--Dr. Dost Öngür, chief of the Psychotic Disorders Division at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital, presented a sweeping slide-talk on complex current issues in treating psychosis and informed his medical students not to smoke pot until they're 30. His warning stems specifically from a body of research that has been accumulating since the 1980s, suggesting that heavy marijuana use early on -- mainly in the teen years is linked to a higher risk of psychosis. Read

Legalized marijuana boosts high school dropout rates

10/20/16--A study examining the impact of laws that legalize marijuana on educational attainment shows that states with these laws had an increase in the high-school dropout rate among 12th graders. In addition, among those who did graduate from high school, fewer went on to attend college or to graduate from college. Read

Does weed help you sleep? Probably not

10/17/16--Marijuana users may believe that frequent use helps them sleep, patient but that perception has been challenged by a new study published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases. It found that daily marijuana users actually scored higher on the Insomnia Severity Index and on sleep-disturbance measures than those who did not use it daily. Read

Heavy marijuana use may raise risk of osteoporosis, bone fractures

10/13/16--A new study, published in the American Journal of Medicine, finds that regular, heavy marijuana use may reduce bone density, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. Compared with non-users, the researchers found heavy marijuana users had a 5 percent lower bone density, which the team says may raise the risk of bone-related health problems. Read

Cannabis excess linked to bone disease, fractures

10/12/16--People who regularly smoke large amounts of cannabis have reduced bone density and are more prone to fractures, research has found. The study also found that heavy cannabis users have a lower body weight and a reduced body mass index (BMI), which could contribute to thinning of their bones. Read

Early marijuana use associated with abnormal brain function, lower IQ

10/5/16--In a new study, scientists in London, Ontario have discovered that early marijuana use may result in abnormal brain function and lower IQ. Participants who used marijuana from a young age had highly abnormal brain function in areas related to visuo-spatial processing, memory, self-referential activity and reward processing. Read

Smoking cannabis can ‘make teenagers stupid’

10/7/16--A study found those who used the drug before the age of 17 had highly abnormal function in four areas of the brain. These related to visual and spatial awareness, stuff memory, introspection, and reward processing. And the younger children start the more damage it does to their IQ by damaging a gene involved in brain development and memory. Read

Impulsivity, sensation seeking increase risk of alcohol and drug use

10/6/16--Based on the findings of a recent study, the combination of greater impulsivity with adolescent sensation seeking in youths with a family history of substance use disorders may be an important underlying component of the risk associated with a family history of a substance use disorder. In these individuals, early substance use, which further increases impulsivity, is an additional contributor to the risk of developing a substance-use disorder. Read

Marijuana dangerous, especially for youths

10/10/16--Author and physician Dr. Carl Bartecchi, who was among the leaders to ban public smoking in Pueblo, points out in his op-ed how concerned the medical community is about the effects of marijuana on youth. In particular, Bartecchi emphasizes that there is little known about the effects of marijuana on brain development that could result from such early exposure in children whose brain cells might be sensitive to such toxic exposure. Read

More focus needed on effects of cannabis on human development

10/3/16--Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center say there has not been enough research conducted on the effect of cannabis on the development of human embryos. Their study suggests an urgent need for human epidemiological and basic research that examines the link between maternal cannabinoid use and the health of newborns. Read

Heavy marijuana use may damage the brain

9/26/16--Heavy marijuana use over a long period of time may severely damage the brain, according to a new review of previous research. The results of the new report and previous findings on marijuana's effects on the brain are particularly concerning as marijuana continues to be legalized for medical uses, the researchers said. Read

Study questions role for marijuana in teen users’ IQ decline

screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-10-44-55-pm8/1/16--In a recent study sponsored by NIDA and the National Institute of Mental Health, teens who used marijuana lost IQ points relative to their nonusing peers. However, the drug appeared not to be the culprit. The new findings contribute to an ongoing scientific exploration of the drug’s impact on users’ cognition. Read

‘Kids were left vomiting’ when cannabis farm went up in smoke

9/7/16--Kids were reportedly left vomiting in the street after a cannabis farm in Salford burst into flames. Locals insisted they had no idea cannabis was being grown in the area, and were “knocked sick” after inhaling the fumes. Read

Many think marijuana causes little to no harm

9/5/16--According to a new study published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, substantially more people feel that using marijuana causes little to no harm. This study looked back at 12 years of data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, from 2002 to 2014, and found that more Americans reported they were using the drug and far fewer saw it as harmful. Read