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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

Drug and alcohol addiction treatment improved when teens stopped smoking

tmr_image-block11/21/16--A Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine researcher has found that addiction treatment results improved when teens in a residential program stopped smoking. The findings hold important implications for success in treating addiction since up to three out of four people with such disorders are smokers, a significantly higher proportion than the overall national smoking rate of one out of every four Americans. Read

Marijuana use gender gap widens, mainly among low-income

tmr_image-block11/29/16--Americans have experienced a six percent increase in pot use among men earning less than $20, shop 000, corresponding to rising unemployment rate during the Great Recession, a new report outlines. Read

Chronic pain treatment without opioid or medical marijuana side effects

tmr_image-block11/15/16--Neuroscientists have found evidence that the brain’s cannabis receptors may be used to treat chronic pain without the side effects associated with opioid-based pain relievers or medical marijuana. Read

Highest-resolution model to date of brain receptor behind marijuana’s high

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-10-41-49-pm11/16/16--Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center report the most detailed 3-D structure to date of the brain receptor that binds and responds to the chemical at the root of marijuana’s high. Their high-resolution structure of the human cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and its binding site for the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) should lead to a better understanding of how marijuana affects the brain. Read

Teenage binge drinking can affect brain function of future offspring

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-12-48-47-am11/14/16--Repeated binge drinking during adolescence can affect brain functions in future generations, potentially putting offspring at risk for such conditions as depression, anxiety, and metabolic disorders, a Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine study has found. Read

More frequent vaping among teens linked to higher risk of heavy cigarette smoking

fb-square-english-spanish11/8/16--Adam M. Leventhal, Ph.D., of the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, and colleagues examined associations of e-cigarette vaping with subsequent smoking frequency and heavy smoking among adolescents. E-cigarette vaping is reported by 37 percent of U.S. 10th-grade adolescents and is associated with subsequent initiation of combustible cigarette smoking, say investigators. Read

Perception of e-cigarette harm growing among US adults

fb-square-english-spanish10/26/16--The proportion of American adults who perceive e-cigarettes to be equally or more harmful than traditional cigarettes has tripled over the last few years, highlighting the need for more accurate public health messaging, according to a study led by tobacco researchers in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University. Read

Does weed help you sleep? Probably not

fb-square-english-spanish10/17/16--Marijuana users may believe that frequent use helps them sleep, 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

Cannabis excess linked to bone disease, fractures

fb-square-english-spanish10/12/16--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

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-12-14-17-am10/5/16--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

Impulsivity, sensation seeking increase risk of alcohol and drug use

fb-square-english-spanish10/6/16--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

Cannabis reduces creativity, but user generally not aware

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-11-46-11-am10/4/16--Regular users of cannabis are less aware of their own mistakes, and they are not good at creative thinking. This is the conclusion drawn by psychologist Mikael Kowal from his research on the effects of cannabis. Read

If legalizing pot, consider health, not profits, analysis says

fb-square-english-spanish9/28/16--A new analysis of marijuana legislation offers a framework for states that are considering legalizing the drug and want to protect public health, rather than corporate profits. Read

Medical marijuana may be helping curb opioid use

fb-square-english-spanish9/15/16--A study conducted at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health found that there were fewer drivers killed in car crashes who tested positive for opioids in states with medical marijuana laws than before the laws went into effect. The study is one of the first to assess the link between state medical marijuana laws and opioid use at the individual level. Read

More evidence that TV ads may influence kids’ drinking

fb-square-english-spanish9/7/16--The more advertising kids see for particular brands of alcohol, the more they consume of those brands, according to a new study. The work adds to evidence linking alcohol advertising to underage drinking. And it suggests that TV ads really do influence the amount of alcohol kids drink. Read