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Spending on illicit drugs in US nears $150 billion annually

8/20/19--Spending on cannabis, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine by Americans reached nearly $150 billion in 2016, with a large proportion of spending coming from the small share of people who use drugs on a daily or near-daily basis, according to a new RAND Corporation report. Read

The impact of recreational marijuana legalization on rates of use and behavior: A 10-year comparison of two cohorts from high school to young adulthood.

8/19/19--A study was conducted focusing on understanding the risk and protective factors related to substance use from adolescence to young adulthood. Overall, results suggest that young adults after recreational marijuana legalization are more likely to use marijuana than young adults were before recreational marijuana legalization 10 years earlier. Read

Maternal marijuana exposure and birth weight: An observational study surrounding recreational marijuana legalization

8/23/19--A study to examine the relationship between prenatal marijuana and infant birth weight using natural cohorts established before, during and after the 20-month lapse between legalization and legal recreational sales in Washington State revealed marijuana exposure verified by UDS was associated with LBW and SGA. However, recreational marijuana legalization and availability did not have direct impact on newborns' risk of LBW or SGA. Read

A whiff of the music festival future? Outside Lands sells cannabis for the first time

8/12/19--Outside Lands, the largest event in California, and the country, is the first to allow legal sales and consumption of cannabis. It is a preview of what may eventually become commonplace for other big gatherings such as Southern California’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (though no such permit has yet been requested) as marijuana rules solidify. Read

Four takeaways from National Drug Use and Health Survey on marijuana use

8/5/19--As more states introduce medicinal and adult-use marijuana legislation, robust and reliable data helps to improve the understanding of the impact legalization has on use and public health. However, even though there are limitations on what can be inferred, there are clear upward trends in the usage of marijuana and a steady decrease in the perception of risk from smoking once a month across the country. These outcomes are important for policymakers to consider when determining their position on legalizing forms of marijuana. Read

Teen marijuana use drops amid legalization

7/12/19--Legalizing recreational marijuana has lead to a decrease in teen use in many states, according to a study published this week that contradicts previous research of how legalization affects teen pot use. The study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, found that recreational marijuana laws were associated with an 8% decrease in teen pot use, and a 9% decrease in frequent use. Read

Youth marijuana use declined in states that legalized, study finds

7/8/19--Legalizing marijuana is associated with a decline in youth cannabis consumption, according to a new study in a journal published by the American Medical Association. The research, which analyzed federal data on marijuana use trends among 1.4 million high school students from 1993 to 2017, showed that self-reported past-month youth cannabis use declined by an average of 8 percent in states that legalized recreational marijuana. Read

Recreational marijuana legalization tied to decline in teens using pot, study says

7/9/19--Marijuana use among young people in the United States overall has climbed in recent years, but a new study suggests that in states where recreational marijuana has been legalized, marijuana use among youth may actually be falling. The study involved analyzing data, from 1993 to 2017, on about 1.4 million high school students in the United States from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's annual national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. Read

Legalizing marijuana not a trigger for teen toking

7/9/19--According to a new study surveying more than 1.4 million U.S. high school students, legalizing marijuana does not encourage pot use among teenagers, and it may actually discourage them from smoking weed. And teen marijuana use actually seems to decline in states that have gone further and legalized recreational pot, researchers report online in the July 8 issue of the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Read

Marijuana manpower: Those kids you gave summer jobs to, yeah, they’re probably stoned

7/9/19--A team of researchers at the Washington State University College Of Nursing say they have evidence showing that gainfully employed minors in their neck of the woods are more likely to use marijuana than those who are non-working. The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, reads in part, "Among working 12th graders, marijuana use increased significantly over time relative to non-working youth. … Associations were stronger for youth who worked more hours per week." Read

Teen odds of using marijuana dip with recreational use laws, study finds

7/8/19--New research suggests legalizing recreational marijuana for U.S. adults in some states may have slightly reduced teens' odds of using pot. The researchers analyzed national youth health and behavior surveys from 1993 through 2017 that included questions about marijuana use. Responses from 1.4 million high school students were included. Read

Marijuana use by U.S. teens has jumped 10-fold since 1990s

6/20/19--A study looked at 1991-2017 U.S. federal health data on more than 200,000 high school students. It found that the number who said they'd used pot at least once over the past month rose 10-fold -- from 0.6% in 1991 to 6.3% by 2017. Many are becoming "dual users" of both marijuana and alcohol: The number of teens who admit to using both substances at least once a month has almost doubled -- from 3.6% in 1991 to 7.6% in 2017. 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. Parents, educators, and physicians say youths are easily getting hold of edibles infused with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component that causes a high, and concentrates such as “shatter,” a brittle, honey-colored substance that is heated and then inhaled through a special device. Read

Modes of cannabis use: A secondary analysis of an intensive longitudinal natural history study

6/24/19--There is a paucity of research on modes of marijuana use (e.g., joint vs. blunt), and further, little consensus on how to accurately assess both modes of use and route of administration. A secondary analysis used a longitudinal design with data collected daily to characterize mode of marijuana use. Although the major limitation of this study was use of a convenience sample and lack of detailed data on vaporizer use, results indicate that joint use is no longer the most common mode of use in either White or Black participants and exclusive use of a single modality is uncommon. Read

‘I’m too high. Something’s wrong.’ Teens caught vaping marijuana in scary new trend

5/3/19--Students are vaping in the presence of teachers, and they typically don’t realize a student has indulged until the teen confesses. There is no telltale odor, and the handheld devices used are small enough that a surreptitious student can indulge in class. Compounding the trouble, experts say, is the potency the devices can deliver, giving a student a much more intense high than expected. Read

Most Washington teens report using marijuana less often since legalization

3/15/19--Marijuana use went down significantly among the state's 8th and 10th graders after it was legalized in Washington, according to a new study by WSU. The study looked into whether legalizing marijuana made any difference among 8th and 10th graders, plus high school seniors who work in jobs. Read

Teen pot use fell in states that legalized medical marijuana

2/14/19--A new study suggests that fewer teen marijuana users are in states that have adopted medical marijuana laws. States with medical marijuana laws had 1.1 percent fewer teenage pot smokers than states without such laws, researchers said. Researchers analyzed survey data gathered between 1999 through 2015 from 45 states, including more than 860,000 students. Read

Qualifying conditions of medical marijuana license holders in the United States

2/1/19--Chronic pain is currently and historically the most common qualifying condition reported by medical marijuana patients. According to a conducted analysis by Kevin F. Boehnke, Saurav Gangopadhyay, Daniel J. Clauw, and Rebecca L. Haffajee, 85.5 percent of all patient-reported qualifying conditions had either substantial or conclusive evidence of therapeutic efficacy. As medical marijuana use continues to increase, creating a nationwide patient registry would facilitate better understanding of trends in use and of its potential effectiveness. Read

What drives patients to use medical marijuana: Mostly chronic pain

2/4/19--A new study seeks to understand whether people are using medical marijuana for evidence-based reasons. According to the report consisting of a comprehensive review of 10,000 scientific abstracts on the health effects of medical and recreational marijuana use, there was conclusive or substantial evidence that chronic pain, nausea, and vomiting due to chemotherapy, and multiple sclerosis (MS) spasticity symptoms were improved as a result of marijuana treatment. Read

The scent of London has changed: all I can smell now is cannabis

1/26/19--The Spectator writer Mary Wakefield says marijuana is everywhere in London. She says this because the smell of the city has changed. A decade ago, the dominant scent was diesel and tobacco, but now the smell of London is marijuana. Research from the University of York examined the number of people accessing drug treatment services over the past ten years and found, not a rise in overall users, but a dramatic rise in the number of people over 40 smoking marijuana, nearly 120 percent. Read

Cannabis use disorder: The policy climate matters

1/23/19--Adolescents and young adults living in states with more liberal policies reported higher average rates of past-year marijuana use than those in states with more conservative policies, according to a new study conducted at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. However, the rates of marijuana use disorder -- abuse or dependence on the drug -- were significantly lower in states with more liberal policies compared to states with more conservative policies. Read

Impacts of medical marijuana laws on young Americans across the developmental spectrum

1/4/19--State legalization of marijuana for medical purposes could increase illicit marijuana use among young people. Medical marijuana laws may boost the availability of marijuana and reduce perceptions of its harmfulness, leading more young people to try it. Prior studies report little evidence that these laws are impacting marijuana consumption by young Americans, and none have systematically compared developmentally distinct age groups. Read

Older Americans are flocking to medical marijuana

12/7/18--Oils, tinctures and salves — and sometimes old-fashioned buds — are increasingly common in seniors’ homes. Doctors warn that popularity has outstripped scientific evidence. Physicians who treat older adults expect their marijuana use to increase as the number of states legalizing medical marijuana keeps growing. Read

The “real” number of Washington State adolescents using marijuana, and why: A misclassification analysis

10/26/18--Approximately 12% of Washington adolescents claimed to have used marijuana in the past 30 days. Estimates indicate this figure is likely closer to 18%. Determinants of use included use of other substances, gender, age, and measures of deviant social influences, personality/attitude, school and family bonds, bullying, and acquisition ease, while determinants of misreporting included use of other substances, gender, parental education, and family bonds. Failing to control for misreporting considerably underestimates the prevalence of marijuana use among adolescents. Read

We asked Florida candidates if they’ve smoked marijuana. Here’s what they said.

10/12/18--The Times asked all candidates for statewide office if they have ever smoked marijuana, and if their experiences with the drug have influenced their views on marijuana policy. Four of the 12 candidates acknowledged prior marijuana use. Five candidates said they have never smoked, and three wouldn't respond. Read

Teens who’ve tried marijuana have used it in more than one form

9/28/18--Most teens who've tried marijuana have used the drug in more than one form, including products that are smoked, eaten, or vaped, new USC research shows. The study, published Friday in JAMA Network Open, raises concerns about adolescent health amid a booming marijuana market that touts sleekly packaged products claiming an array of health benefits. Read

Marijuana use among young adults is at an all-time high, study finds

9/11/18--The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently released the results of its latest study, which examined trends on substance use among non-college and college young adults. More than 13 percent of young adults not in college reported using marijuana daily or near daily, which is the highest level ever among the group. As a result, NIDA said daily marijuana use is now three times as high among non-college young adults as among college students. Read

Report warns of ‘serious risk’ to Peace Corps from drug use by volunteers

8/24/18--The Peace Corps has a drug problem related to an increasingly outdated view of marijuana, but significant enough to the agency’s Office of Inspector General that it warns of a “serious risk to the integrity and reputation of the Peace Corps as well as the health and safety of Volunteers.” Read

Relationships between state laws legalizing marijuana for medical use and college students’ use of marijuana/other drugs

8/28/18--A study published in the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice examined the relationship between medicalized marijuana laws and student utilization rates, perceptions, and experiences. Participants were students in 37 states attending institutions of higher education. Students who went to college in states that legalized marijuana for medical use were more likely to use marijuana and experience academic and health consequences than their counterparts who did not. Read

Snapshot: About one in four young adults use marijuana

8/15/18--While 13 percent of Americans say they "regularly" or "occasionally" use or smoke marijuana, the rate is significantly higher among young adults ages 18 to 29 and is higher in the West than in other regions of the country. Marijuana is most popular among young adults -- about one in four (24 percent) adults in this age group report regularly or occasionally using it. This is on par with an average 22 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds across three surveys from 2015 to 2017 who answered "yes" when asked whether they do, or do not, "smoke marijuana." Read

Teens who vape or use hookah are more likely to use marijuana later, study finds

8/6/18--Teens who used e-cigarettes and hookah were up to four times more likely to use marijuana later, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. The researchers found that the students who had tried e-cigarettes when they were freshmen had a more than three-fold greater likelihood of ever using marijuana and using marijuana in the past 30 days than students who hadn't tried e-cigs. Read

Adolescent e-cigarette, hookah, and conventional cigarette use and subsequent marijuana use

8/6/18--A study examining whether adolescent electronic cigarette (e-cigarette), hookah, or combustible cigarette use is associated with initiating and currently using marijuana as well as using both tobacco and marijuana concurrently concludes that the association between tobacco use and subsequent marijuana use across adolescence extends to multiple tobacco products. Read

Today’s heroin epidemic infographics

7/7/18--Today's infographics, as presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indicate that more people are at risk given multiple drugs abused. More specifically, heroin use has increased among most demographic groups. Furthermore, heroin addiction and overdose deaths are climbing. Read

Health, polysubstance use, and criminal justice involvement among adults with opioid use

7/6/18--In this cross-sectional analysis, individuals who reported any level of opioid use were more likely than individuals who reported no opioid use to have physical and mental health conditions and co-occurring substance use. Involvement in the criminal justice system increased with intensity of opioid use, and any level of opioid use was significantly associated with involvement in the criminal justice system in the past year. Read

UMass researchers contribute to key statewide marijuana study

7/5/18--In an attempt to understand cannabis use in the state before recreational marijuana sales soon begin, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released a “marijuana baseline health study.”  The study — an effort conducted in no small part by University of Massachusetts researchers — provides a snapshot of patterns of and perceptions of marijuana use, the prevalence of hospitalizations and impaired driving, and the economic impacts of cannabis for state and local government. Read

Legalized medical marijuana doesn’t cause more teens to smoke weed, study finds

3/5/18--According to a study out of Columbia University, teen usage of cannabis neither increased nor decreased after states legalized pot use for medical problems. The study was an analytical examination of four separate national surveys with data from eleven separate studies dating back to 1991. Still, the researchers want to study adult cannabis use next, pointing to the possibility that while connections to teen abuse appear unlikely, there may be a link to people becoming more dependent on the drug in adulthood. Read

National marijuana survey plan announced by Massachusetts consultant and UMass-Dartmouth

6/29/18--The Cannabis Community Care and Research Network of Somerville said it will work with the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth to mount a national survey of marijuana use. "The survey is aimed to better understand consumer/patient demographics, attitudes, choices, methods of consumption, and knowledge of cannabis products in legal cannabis states," a press release said. The plan for the survey was approved by the institutional review board of UMass-Dartmouth, and findings are to be published in a peer-reviewed journal and provided at conferences and forums. Read

One in five Mass. adults consumed pot in past month

6/29/18--A new study released by health researchers provides a snapshot of cannabis use as the state of Massachusetts gears up for the start of recreational marijuana sales. The study, led by the state Department of Public Health, found that 21 percent of adult residents surveyed had used marijuana in the past 30 days. Young people, however, are using the drug at much higher rates: More than 50 percent of those aged 18 to 25 consumed cannabis within the past 30 days, compared with just 18 percent of those 26 and older, according to the research. Read

Experts challenge claims about medical marijuana’s impact on teen recreational use and opioid deaths

2/22/18--Two papers published today look at the current evidence of the effects of medical marijuana laws and conclude there is little support that such laws increase recreational marijuana use among adolescents or reduce opioid overdose deaths. Read

Surveys state of Colorado relies on for youth marijuana use are flawed, critics say

12/22/17--Inconsistencies that exist in studies has made it difficult to precisely pinpoint just how marijuana is impacting the schools, and information is misleading because so little of it actually exists. According to state officials, part the problem is how the data is reported. Furthermore, critics believe data sources, including the state’s biennial Healthy Kids Colorado survey, and Monitoring the Future in the Journal of American Medical Association Pediatrics are flawed. Read

Gogek: Marijuana not the answer to opioids

12/18/17--According to Dr. Ed Gogek, a psychiatrist specializing in substance abuse, the marijuana industry wants us to believe pot can solve the opioid crisis, but if that were true opioid-related deaths would have steadily decreased after Arizona’s medical marijuana law took effect in 2011, and they didn’t. Before the law passed, the opioid death rate in Arizona was falling, and after the law kicked in, that changed. Between 2012 and 2016, opioid deaths increased by 74.6 percent. In other words, marijuana is not saving us from the opioid epidemic. Read

NIH’s 2017 Monitoring the Future survey shows both vaping and marijuana are more popular than traditional cigarettes or pain reliever misuse

12/14/17--Findings from the 2017 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey of eighth, 10th, and 12th graders in schools nationwide indicates that nearly 1 in 3 students in 12th grade report past year use of some kind of vaping device, raising concerns about the impact on their health. The survey also suggests that use of hookahs and regular cigarettes is declining. Read

Teen drug use reaches a 43-year low, with the exception of marijuana

12/15/17--Teens today are using fewer drugs than the age group has used over the the past 43 years, with the exception of marijuana. A recent University of Michigan study found that one in 10 high school seniors say they’ve vaped marijuana in the past year. Richard Miech, the researcher in charge of the study, said the number of teens that are vaping the drug is much higher than he expected. Read

Teen marijuana use down in most legalized states, federal data says

12/11/17--According to new data from the federally-funded National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) published in the American Journal of Public Health, annual teen cannabis use is down across the U.S. as a whole, but the drop was less significant than that experienced in Colorado and Washington, the first two states to legalize marijuana. Read  

Recreational drug users not what we think

12/7/17--A study lead by David Plummer, a professor from James Cook University in Queensland, investigates why Australians are among the top users of illegal drugs in the world. New facts have been revealed about the motivations of recreational drug users. Research shows almost 40% of Australians aged 15 years and over have used one or more illicit drugs at some stage in their life, and approximately 17% within the past 12 months. Read

After eight years of decline, overdose mortality among teens is increasing

11/13/17--Between 1999 and 2007, the mortality rate from drug overdose more than doubled among 15-19- year-olds. Then, for reasons not well-understood, the mortality rate declined by 26% by 2014, but primarily among males. Since then, mortality from overdose has increased dramatically, especially among adolescents using opioids, especially heroin. Further analysis of these data reveals that 21.9% of the fatalities among 15-19- year-old females were due to suicide, compared to only 8.7% for males. Read

In the age of legalization, talking to kids about marijuana gets tougher

11/10/17--The legalization of recreational marijuana for adults in California and other states makes things harder for youth-oriented drug education and prevention programs. Teachers are trying to explain the risks of marijuana just as stores are preparing to open and marketers are planning campaigns. Medical marijuana has been legal in California for more than 20 years, but experts say the new law on recreational marijuana could prompt more youths to believe that the drug is safe. Read

In the age of legalization, talking to kids about marijuana gets tougher

11/10/17--The legalization of recreational marijuana for adults in California and other states makes things harder for youth-oriented drug education and prevention programs. Teachers are trying to explain the risks of marijuana just as stores are preparing to open and marketers are planning campaigns. Medical marijuana has been legal in California for more than 20 years, but experts say the new law on recreational marijuana could prompt more youths to believe that the drug is safe. Read

Large declines seen in teen substance abuse, delinquency

10/25/17--In recent years, teens have become far less likely to abuse alcohol, nicotine, and illicit drugs, according to researchersat Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Teens also are less likely to engage in behaviors like fighting and stealing, and the researchers believe the declines in substance use and delinquency are connected. The drop in substance abuse among teens parallels findings in other recent surveys, but until now no one has looked at how the drop-off may be linked to other behavioral issues. Read

Study: Rise in marijuana use not caused by legalization

9/14/17--According to a study published in the online version of the journal Addiction, marijuana use is sharply rising in the United States, but the trend is not the result of the growing number of state laws that allow legal use of recreational or medical marijuana. Instead, the rise in cannabis use was “primarily explained by period effects,” meaning societal factors that affect populations across age and generational groups. The authors identify a decreasing disapproval of marijuana use as one such factor potentially at play they are clear that the rise in use was not caused by changes to marijuana laws. Read

Marijuana legalization has NOT led to more drug or alcohol abuse among young people

9/16/17--Liberalized marijuana laws appear to have little positive or negative impact, according to a new working paper by researchers from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Harvard University, and Western Carolina University. In fact, more liberal marijuana laws have had “minimal impact” on marijuana use, other substance use, alcohol consumption or crime rates, the study found. Read

Here’s one marijuana trend you should actually be worried about

9/11/17--The latest federal survey data shows that while teen marijuana use continues to decline in the era of legal pot, adult use is rising. The percent of people over the age of 18 who smoke it in a given year has risen from 10.4 percent in 2002 to 14.1 percent in 2016. In other words, 46 million people got high last year. While public health researchers say daily marijuana use is probably inherently moderate and nothing to be concerned about, they do worry that much of it is a result of problematic use — drug dependency. Read

Seniors becoming fastest growing marijuana users

8/9/17--Seniors are becoming the fastest growing segment of the marijuana industry. According to a national survey, usage among adults 65 and older is up 250 percent, while adults 50-65 have also increased usage nearly 58 percent. Read

Survey reveals how many Americans have tried marijuana

7/22/17--According to a new survey by Gallup, more than 40 percent of Americans have tried using marijuana at some point in their lives, the highest percentage ever recorded by Gallup and a remarkable increase from when Gallup first asked respondents about marijuana, in 1969. Read

Depression among young teens linked to cannabis use at 18

7/17/17--A study looking at the cumulative effects of depression in youth found that young people with chronic or severe forms of depression were at elevated risk for developing a problem with cannabis in later adolescence. Read

Should parents lie about smoking pot?

7/7/17--Frank Pegueros, president and CEO of the anti-substance abuse program D.A.R.E, says parents should be truthful with their children when talking about our past substance use. "Children are more perceptive than we give them credit for," says Pegueros. "It's better to be truthful since they can usually see right through a lie. I've found not being truthful makes life more complicated." Read

Mostly young, well-educated men are ordering marijuana delivery

6/27/17--Eaze, the San Francisco-based marijuana delivery startup, recently conducted a survey of its customers to get a better idea of their backgrounds and habits. The report showed that a majority of the service's users are male (66%) and relatively young, with 57% of respondents falling into the "millennial" category between the ages of 22 and 34. The reports also indicates that a majority of Eaze customers are also well-educated and well-paid. Read

Today’s marijuana user is likely a woman — & maybe a mom

6/27/17--It turns out that the modern marijuana user is likely to be a woman — and maybe even a parent. A new survey from Eaze, a cannabis technology company that facilitates delivery of medical marijuana, found that they are highly educated, employed, and financially well-off. They're also overwhelmingly millennials. A higher number of women than men reported using cannabis daily, and one in five marijuana users in their survey were parents — with 63% of those parents reporting using cannabis on a daily basis. Read

Cannabis experts produce ‘High’-way Code of 10 tips to help reduce health risks

6/27/17--A new review conducted by some of the world’s leading experts on cannabis provides 10 tips on how to reduce the potential harm of using cannabis. The latest scientific evidence was used to draw up the Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines (LRCUG) recognizing the lack of research-based advice for the millions of people who use cannabis. Read

Legal cannabis laws impact teen use

6/27/17--A new study by researchers at Dartmouth has found that adolescents living in medical marijuana states with a plethora of dispensaries are more likely to have tried new methods of cannabis use, such as edibles and vaping, at a younger age than those living in states with fewer dispensaries. Read