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McLaren Health and feds reach record $7.75M settlement of drug allegations

1/19/21--McLaren Health Care Corp. agreed Tuesday to pay a record $7.75 million penalty to settle a federal investigation into officials distributing opioids and other drugs without prescriptions, the largest amount in U.S. history involving allegations of drug diversion. The penalty settles a years-long investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration into whether officials at the Grand Blanc-based health system violated federal drug laws by illegally distributing powerful pain medication central to the nation's opioid crisis. Read

Association of cannabis use with self-harm and mortality risk among youths with mood disorders

1/19/21--A population-based cohort study of Medicaid-enrolled youths with mood disorders found that the presence of cannabis use disorder was significantly associated with an increased risk of nonfatal self-harm, all-cause mortality, and death by unintentional overdose and homicide. Read

Methamphetamine overdose deaths rise sharply nationwide

1/20/21--Methamphetamine overdose deaths surged in an eight-year period in the United States, according to a study published today in JAMA Psychiatry. The analysis revealed rapid rises across all racial and ethnic groups, but American Indians and Alaska Natives had the highest death rates overall. The research was conducted at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health. Read

Quarterly trends in past-month cannabis use in United States, 2015-2019

2/1/21--Prevalence of cannabis use has been increasing among select subgroups in the US; however, trend analyses typically examine prevalence of use across years. A cross-sectional survey was conducted to determine whether there is seasonal variation in use. Findings indicate that the prevalence of cannabis use increases throughout the year, independently of annual increases. Read

Restrictions on shipment of vaping products could impact hemp industry

1/19/21--Companies selling vaping products online, including those with CBD cartridges, will be forced to find an alternative to the U.S. Postal Service to ship their products and will face additional regulations come this summer due to Congress approval of another appropriations bill prohibiting USPS from shipping vaping products. Read

Dana White says UFC is looking into research on micro-dosing psychedelics to combat brain trauma

1/14/21--With the rise of brain injuries in mixed martial arts and following a devastating MMA Fighting article about former UFC veteran Spencer Fisher’s condition, UFC president Dana White revealed that he wants to see if micro-dosing psychedelics help with traumatic brain injury, addiction, and mental-health problems. Reportedly, the UFC could become a benefactor of a psychedelic study, with the possibility of recruiting current or former UFC fighters to take part. Read 

Association of cannabis use with self-harm and mortality risk among youths with mood disorders

1/19/21--This population-based cohort study of Medicaid-enrolled youths with mood disorders found that the presence of cannabis use disorder was significantly associated with an increased risk of nonfatal self-harm, all-cause mortality, and death by unintentional overdose and homicide. Read

Progression of cannabis withdrawal symptoms in people using medical cannabis for chronic pain

Chemicals in e-cigarettes disrupt the gut barrier and trigger inflammation

1/7/21--New research indicates the chemicals found in e-cigarettes disrupt the gut barrier and trigger inflammation in the body, potentially leading to a variety of health concerns. The study found that chronic use of nicotine-free e-cigarettes led to a "leaky gut," in which microbes and other molecules seep out of the intestines, resulting in chronic inflammation. Read

Young people who vape are ‘three times as likely’ to become cigarette smokers later in life

1/11/21--Young vapers are much more likely to become daily cigarette smokers in the future, according to a new study. Researchers have found that 12 to 24-year old vapers were three times as likely to become daily cigarette smokers in the future. Read

Better data for a better understanding of the use and safety profile of cannabidiol (CBD) products

1/8/21--The FDA evaluates CBD under a regulatory framework defined by law and with rigorous scientific evidence as a basis for both our regulatory approach and information we communicate. There are still no clear answers to important questions such as what adverse reactions may be associated with CBD products and what risks are associated with the long-term use of CBD products. Therefore, better data in these areas are needed for the FDA and other public health agencies to make informed, science-based decisions that impact public health. Read

NIH study suggests using cannabis while trying to conceive may reduce pregnancy chances

1/11/21--Women who use marijuana could have a more difficult time conceiving a child than women who do not use marijuana, suggests a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. Marijuana use among the women’s partners — which could have influenced conception rates — was not studied. The researchers were led by Sunni L. Mumford, Ph.D., of the Epidemiology Branch in NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The study appears in Human Reproduction. Read

Letter to the Office of National Drug Control Policy

1/14/21--A letter addressed to Rahul Gupta of Office of National Drug Control Policy presented by stakeholders that represent people who use drugs, people in recovery and family members impacted by overdose expresses the urgent need for bold, proven solutions to end the overdose crisis and the drug war. Key policy recommendations for immediate agency actions upon the inauguration of the Biden Administration as well as longer-term solutions for turning the tide on overdose in the country is presented. Read

A marijuana pioneer changes course: Q&A with Harborside co-founder Steve DeAngelo

1/15/21--Steve DeAngelo, one of the marijuana industry’s most high-profile pioneers, formally parter ways with the medical dispensary he co-founded, Harborside. Moreover, the role of chair emeritus, which DeAngelo held starting in 2018, was eliminated. The announcement closed a significant chapter for the longtime cannabis activist-turned-businessman, who proudly notes Harborside was among the first medical marijuana dispensaries to secure a commercial cannabis license in the United States. Read

USDA publishes final rule for the domestic production os hemp

1/15/21--The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the final rule regulating the production of hemp in the United States. The final rule incorporates modifications to regulations established under the interim final rule (IFR) published in October 2019. The modifications are based on public comments following the publication of the IFR and lessons learned during the 2020 growing season. Read

Hemp Production

1/14/21--The 2018 Farm Bill directed USDA to establish a national regulatory framework for hemp production in the United States. USDA published a final rule on January 15, 2021, that provides regulations for the production of hemp in the United States and is effective on March 22, 2021. The final rule incorporates modifications based on public comments and lessons learned during the 2020 growing season. Read

NIST study will help labs distinguish between hemp and marijuana

1/14/21--The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is inviting labs to participate in a study that will help them get the accurate measurements they need to distinguish between hemp and marijuana. This study is part of NIST’s Cannabis Quality Assurance Program, or CannaQAP. For this study, NIST will send hemp and marijuana plant samples to labs, which will measure the concentration of various compounds and report back to NIST. This type of interlaboratory study helps labs diagnose technical issues and increases measurement consistency across labs. Read

A good time to quit: Smoking and vaping amid COVID-19

1/19/21--Multiple studies have shown that smoking is associated with increased severity of COVID-19 disease. However, because vaping, which is the use of nicotine-containing electronic or e-cigarette products, is relatively new, there is less data. Yet, physicians are adamantly advising patients to do all they can to remain healthy—including not smoking or vaping. Read .

Tianeptine use: Another dangerous substance emerges during opioid crisis

12/1/20--Several countries that initially approved tianeptine have since either removed it from sale or restricted its use due to concerns about risks for abuse. Although it is not an FDA-approved product, tianeptine is sold in the U.S. via online merchants and in convenience stores. In 2018, based on findings from the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Nutrition (CFSAN), the agency sent warning letters to two companies illegally marketing tianeptine-containing products labeled as dietary supplements claiming to treat opioid use disorder, pain and anxiety, among other unlawful and unproven claims. Read

Add-on cannabidiol treatment for drug-resistant seizures in Tuberous Sclerosis complex

12/23/20--In this study, both cannabidiol dosages were equally efficacious in reducing tuberous sclerosis complex–associated seizures compared with placebo, but the smaller dosage led to fewer adverse events. Read

Analysis of US teen driving marijuana, 2017

12/23/20--This study aiming to estimate the prevalence of and factors associated with driving after using marijuana (DAUM) among US teenaged drivers found that almost half (48.8%) of teen drivers who currently use marijuana reported DAUM, which is 17% higher than the rate found in a study of first-year college students in 2012. The study also found that the prevalence of DAUM (12.7%) was more than double the prevalence of drinking and driving (5.0%), perhaps reflecting teens’ perception that DAUM is less dangerous and more acceptable than driving after using alcohol. Read

Assessment of nicotine and cannabis vaping and respiratory symptoms in young adults

12/22/20--Findings of this cross-sectional study suggest that cannabis vaping is associated with increased risk of bronchitic symptoms and wheeze in young adults. Further research is needed to understand the temporality of the association and the mechanisms underlying the difference between nicotine and cannabis vaping in the risk of bronchitic symptoms and wheeze. Read

Congress extends ban on mailing cigs to include all e-cigs, including marijuana vapes

12/23/20--The recent legislation Congress passed to fund the government included a provision extending the PACT Act’s prohibition on sending cigarettes through the mail to include e-cigarettes. The law also requires FedEx, UPS and other delivery services to verifying age of the recipient in person and getting a signature before delivering e-cigarettes. Read

EU drug agency flags CBD market issues in report on low-THC cannabis products

12/23/20--The Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction published the report on Monday, detailing the results of a study that kicked off in 2018 and aimed to provide insight into the open sale of low-THC products in Europe. Read

Cannabis-related psychosis, addiction, ER visits: For young users, marijuana can be a dangerous game

12/23/20--Marijuana is generating increasing concern as a dependency-causing drug capable of serious impairment and harm, particularly among its youngest users. While it was once doubted as an addictive substance, treatment professionals now say they are seeing more adolescents and young adults with cannabis use disorder. Often starting in their early teens, many graduate to daily use. Read

Impaired driving

12/28/20--CDC reports that every day 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.1 This is one death every 50 minutes.1 The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $44 billion. Fortunately, there are effective measures that can help prevent injuries and deaths from alcohol-impaired driving. Read

Researchers find nationwide links between vaping and COVID-19

12/2/20--According to an analysis led by Dongmei Li, Ph.D., an expert in biostatistics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, states with more vapers had larger numbers of daily coronavirus cases and deaths in the early weeks of the pandemic — with New York state as a hot spot. The study adds to growing national data that links vaping and the coronavirus, and it raises more concerns about vaping, which has also been linked to outbreaks of other illnesses and deaths from the chemicals in vaping products. Read

Vaping could cloud your thoughts, new studies suggest

12/28/20--Two new studies from the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) have uncovered an association between vaping and mental fog. Both adults and kids who vape were more likely to report difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions than their non-vaping, non-smoking peers. It also appeared that kids were more likely to experience mental fog if they started vaping before the age of 14. Read

Comorbid cannabis use disorder with major depression and generalized anxiety disorder

12/16/20--This review confirms the evidence of high prevalence and a 3-fold comorbid association between CUD with MD and CUD with GAD. Implementation of evidence-based policy interventions with effective, integrated management of comorbid CUDs with psychiatric disorders may contribute to positive patient outcomes. Read

How state marijuana legalization became a boon for corruption

12/27/20--In the past decade, 15 states have legalized a regulated marijuana market for adults over 21, and another 17 have legalized medical marijuana. But in their rush to limit the numbers of licensed vendors and give local municipalities control of where to locate dispensaries, they created something else: A market for local corruption. Read

The fight over who gets to sell weed in New Jersey

12/29/20--Voters in New Jersey were set to issue a verdict on legal marijuana. New Jersey voters amended the state constitution and joined the ranks of the now 15 states that have approved recreational pot use and sales. The measure was broadly popular: More than two-thirds of voters were in favor, a margin higher than in any other state so far, and the amendment is expected to create a pot market second only in size to California’s. Many have hailed the voters’ decision, including Gov. Phil Murphy, who championed the measure. Read

Prevalence and childhood precursors of opioid use in the early decades of life

12/28/20--A study designed to examine how common opioid use is in the early decades of life, and which childhood risk factors are associated with opioid use in young adulthood indicates that childhood tobacco use and chronic depression may be associated with impaired reward system functioning, which may increase young adults’ vulnerability to opioid-associated euphoria. Preventing and treating early substance use and childhood mental illness may help prevent later opioid use. Read

With pot rules relaxed, more U.S. teens driving while high: Study

12/30/20--According to a new study lead by researcher Dr. Motao Zhu, professor of epidemiology at Ohio State University College of Public Health, the wave of marijuana legalization that has swept the United States has likely contributed to the problem of driving under the influence by making pot easier than ever to obtain. Survey results on youth risk behaviors indicates that overall twice as many teens report driving under the influence of marijuana than admit to drinking and driving. Read

Cannabis use, cannabis use disorder, and comorbid psychiatric illness: A narrative review

12/23/20--According to this narrative review designed to provide a concise overview of the literature on the comorbidity of cannabis use and cannabis use disorder (CUD) with other substance use and psychiatric disorders, empirical evidence shows that cannabis use is associated both with CUD and comorbid psychiatric illness -- although the general population in the United States increasingly perceives cannabis to be a harmless substance. Read

THC-infused tonics find their place in cannabis beverage market in 2020

12/23/20--According to an article published in Cannabis Dispensary, several companies—from cannabis giants like Canopy Growth and Acreage Holdings to historic, household brands like Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR)—have placed their bets on cannabis-infused beverages, announcing releases (or plans to) in Q4 2020. Read

The science of addiction: Do you always like the things you want?

12/12/20--It has been said and noted in a BBC article that Kent Berridge, professor of biopsychology and neuroscience at the University of Michigan, has transformed scientific understanding of human desire and motivation. He argues that wanting is more fundamental than liking. According to Berridge, the single most important implication of the wanting-liking distinction is the insight it offers us into addiction - be it to drugs, alcohol, gambling, and perhaps even to food. Read

Increase in fatal drug overdoses across the United States driven by synthetic opioids before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

12/17/20--The recent increase in drug overdose mortality began in 2019 and continues into 2020, prior to the declaration of the COVID-19 National Emergency in the United States in March. The increases in drug overdose deaths appear to have accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Provisional overdose death estimates indicate that the largest monthly increases in drug overdose deaths occurred in the 12-months ending in February 2020. Read

Association of medical and adult-use marijuana laws with opioid prescribing for Medicaid enrollees

12/21/20--According to a study examining the association of state implementation of medical and adult-use marijuana laws with opioid prescribing rates and spending among Medicaid enrollees, the potential of marijuana liberalization to reduce the use and consequences of prescription opioids among Medicaid enrollees deserves consideration during the policy discussions about marijuana reform and the opioid epidemic. Read

Pandemic associated with increase in all-cause mortality among younger US adults

12/16/20--Nearly 12,000 more younger adults died in the United States during a recent 5-month period than expected — an increase in all-cause mortality that was associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers reported in JAMA. For this study, Jeremy S. Faust MD, MS, an emergency medicine physician, and colleagues calculated the difference between observed and expected deaths using averages from the past 5 years and observed all-cause mortality and COVID-19 mortality for the period of March 1 to July 31 this year. Read

DEA issues final rule for licensing more growers of marijuana for research

12/17/20--The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) revealed a long-awaited final rule aimed at expanding the number of authorized growers of marijuana to be used in scientific research. The agency said it made “minor modifications” from the initial proposed rule on licensing cannabis manufacturers it released in March. Read

Solitary use of alcohol and marijuana by US 12th grade students, 1976-2019

12/21/20--This study provides 2018-2019 prevalence estimates of and 1976-2019 trends in solitary alcohol and marijuana use among all 12th grade students and those who used alcohol and marijuana in the past 12 months, separated by sex. Read

FDA warns companies illegally selling CBD products

12/22/20--Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued five warning letters to companies for selling products containing cannabidiol (CBD) in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). All five warning letters address the illegal marketing of unapproved CBD products claiming to treat medical conditions. Read

Underage youth and young adult e-cigarette use and access before and during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic

12/3/20--In a national, online, cross-sectional survey study of 2167 youth and young adults using e-cigarettes, 1198 respondents reported changing their amount of e-cigarette use, with 810 reducing or quitting e-cigarette use. During the COVID-19 pandemic, youth e-cigarette users reported changes in e-cigarette use, point-of-purchase, and ability to purchase e-cigarettes without age verification. Read

Incidence and characteristics of nonfatal opioid overdose among youths aged 11 to 24 years by sex

12/17/20-- This cohort study found differences between female and male youths in sociodemographic and clinical characteristics and incidence of NFOD. Although female and male youths who experience overdose appear to have different risk factors, many of these risk factors may be amenable to early detection through screening and intervention. Read

Teens and young adults quitting e-cigarettes during pandemic

12/3/20--Results from a national, cross-sectional survey showed a decrease in e-cigarette use among teens and young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open. Read

Psychedelics in Psychiatry — Keeping the renaissance from going off the rails

12/2/20--There is a resurgence, some say renaissance, of clinical research on psychedelic substances after decades of dormancy. Recent studies have produced findings suggesting psychedelics may demonstrate substantial efficacy for serious psychiatric conditions such as mood and substance use disorders. Read

Trends in tobacco use among adolescents by grade, sex, and race, 1991 – 2019

12/2/20--In this cross-sectional study of 1,297,362 US adolescents surveyed between 2011 and 2019, past 30-day and daily use of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco decreased more rapidly since 2012 as e-cigarette use began to increase. Smoking and smokeless tobacco use reached historically low levels among adolescents in the US. Read

Effect of Cannabidiol and Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol on Driving Performance

12/1/20--In a crossover clinical trial that assessed driving performance during on-road driving tests, the SDLP following vaporized THC-dominant and THC/CBD-equivalent cannabis compared with placebo was significantly greater at 40 to 100 minutes but not 240 to 300 minutes after vaporization; there were no significant differences between CBD-dominant cannabis and placebo. However, the effect size for CBD-dominant cannabis may not have excluded clinically important impairment, and the doses tested may not represent common usage. Read

Declines in Electronic Cigarette Use Among US Youth in the Era of COVID-19 — A Critical Opportunity to Stop Youth Vaping in Its Tracks

12/3/20--A new study by Gaiha and colleagues examines the associations of the COVID-19 pandemic with patterns of youth e-cigarette use, drawing on a national sample of 2167 underage youth and young adults sampled between May 6 and 14, 2020. Among the key findings of the study were that more than half of participants (1198 ) reported change in their e-cigarette use since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among 1197 participants reporting on the type of change, one-third of youth (388 participants ) quit vaping, and another one-third (422 participants ) reduced their use of e-cigarettes. Read

Driving under the influence of CBD of THC – Is there a difference?

12/1/20--According to a JAMA article, little is known about how people who consume CBD fare behind the wheel. Much of the research into cannabis’s effect on driving performance has focused on the whole plant and its other main cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which produces euphoria. Read

Marijuana FAQs

12/4/20--Just Think Twice gathered information online in order to accurately answer a few of the most frequently asked questions about marijuana. Read

Opinion/Letter: Science ignored on marijuana legalization

12/6/20--A commentary, authored by Carol Formica of Middletown, discusses Newport Planning Board’s rejection of the ban on marijuana sales in Newport. She questions how can the same government leaders in Newport who have used science to support their positions on climate change, advocated for a brighter future and better education for their students, and pointed to statistical guidelines to address issues of public health and safety during the pandemic, simply turn away from the science and evidence-based data regarding the societal impacts of marijuana legalization. Read

University at Buffalo and Charlotte’s Web announce collaboration to advance hemp cannabinoid science

11/19/20--Charlotte's Web Holdings, Inc., the market leader in hemp CBD extract products, announces a collaboration between its CW Labs science division and the University at Buffalo's Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences to advance hemp cannabinoid science through a research program that provides a better understanding of the therapeutic uses and safety of cannabinoids. Read

College-age kids and teens are drinking less alcohol – marijuana is a different story

11/20/20--It’s good news for health. But there is also a downside in the data: While alcohol use is falling among 18-to-22-year-olds, marijuana use is inching upward. The number of young adults using both alcohol and marijuana is also rising, heightening concerns about a future surge in substance abuse problems, new research shows. Read

Cardiologists have ‘growing concerns’ about CV harm from marijuana, vaping

11/19/20--The rising use of vaping nicotine products for recreational use and smoking cessation has raised questions about the impact on the heart. Evidence has shown that recreational use of any of these products is not beneficial for the heart, although specific mechanisms behind these effects are still to be determined. Recent studies have determined specific pulmonary effects, particularly with THC-containing e-liquids causing e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI). Read

Status of State Marijuana Legalization: November 2020

11/20/20--This brief provides an update to the status of state marijuana laws in the United States, following the November 2020 election. Although marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, 35 states and the District of Columbia have now legalized medical marijuana, with sixteen (16) of those jurisdictions also legalizing recreational marijuana use. Overall, nearly 69% of U.S. residents now live in a state with legalized medical or recreational marijuana use. Read

Marijuana use dominates positive drug testing rates of commercial drivers

11/17/20--According to data reported by Larry Minor, the associate administrator for policy at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), drugs were the reason for nearly 98 percent of all positive tests for commercial drivers recorded during the first eight months of the year, with alcohol accounting for only 892 individual cases. Fifty-two percent of the total 40,433 positive test results were for marijuana use. Read

Trends in cancer incidence in US adolescents and young adults, 1973-2015

12/1/20--n this cross-sectional, US population-based study, cancer in AYAs was shown to have a unique epidemiological pattern and is a growing health concern, with many cancer subtypes having increased in incidence from 1973 to 2015. Continued research on AYA cancers is important to understanding and addressing the distinct health concerns of this population. Read

Reactions to messages about smoking, vaping and COVID-19: two national experiments

11/23/20--Results of this study indicate that messages linking smoking with COVID-19 may hold promise for discouraging smoking and may have the added benefit of also discouraging vaping. Read

Peter Thiel backs Berlin start-up making psychedelics in $125 million round

11/23/20--Billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel has backed ATAI Life Sciences, a Berlin start-up aiming to make psychedelic drugs to treat mental health disorders in a $125 million funding round. Described as a drug development platform, ATAI Life Sciences was set up to acquire, incubate and develop psychedelics and other drugs that can be used to treat depression, anxiety, addiction and other mental health conditions. Read