Survey Finds Increase in Number of Pregnant Women Using Marijuana

Survey Finds Increase in Number of Pregnant Women Using Marijuana
A recent federal survey finds almost 4 percent of pregnant women said they had used marijuana in the past month in 2014, up from 2.4 percent in 2002. Pregnant women who use marijuana often assume the drug has no effect on developing infants, The New York Times reports. But preliminary research suggests the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, THC, can cross the placenta and reach the fetus, experts tell the newspaper. This has the potential to harm brain development, cognition and birth weight. THC can also appear in breast milk, the article notes. “There is an increased perception of the safety of cannabis use, even in pregnancy, without data to say it’s actually safe,” said Dr. Torri Metz, an obstetrician at Denver Health Medical Center who specializes in high-risk pregnancies. She says 10 percent of her patients admit they recently used marijuana.
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Use of 'Synthetic Marijuana' Could Harm Health

Use of 'Synthetic Marijuana' Could Harm Health
Synthetic cannabinoids (SCBs) are a type of psychotropic chemical increasingly marketed as a safe and legal alternative to marijuana. Unfortunately, misleadingly marketed as a legal and safe alternative to marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids have a variety of adverse health effects. An article in Medical News Today noted that a new review summarizes the clinical cases that have so far been linked to the use of the synthetic substances.The review, from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) warns against the dangerous side effects of the compounds popularly (and misleadingly) referred to as "synthetic marijuana." Referring to the SCBs currently sold as "K2" and "Spice," Paul L. Prather, a cellular and molecular pharmacologist at UAMS and corresponding author of the review, explains the motivation behind it: The report, therefore, set out to give an overview of the existing literature on SCBs, and to show that not only are they different from marijuana,...
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National Academies of Sciences Releases Report on Science Surrounding Marijuana Use; Finds Multiple Harms

National Academies of Sciences Releases Report on Science Surrounding Marijuana Use; Finds Multiple Harms
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), in a landmark report written by top scientists, The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research, concluded after a review of over 10,000 peer-reviewed academic articles, that marijuana use is connected to, among other problems: respiratory problems; mental health issues (like psychosis, social anxiety, and thoughts of suicide) increased risk of car accidents; progression to and dependence on other drugs, including studies showing connections to cocaine and heroin use; learning, memory, and attention loss (possibly permanent in some cases); and low birth weight. Notably, the report also stated that, "in states where cannabis use is legal, there is increased risk of unintentional cannabis overdose injuries among children." "This report is a wake-up call to all Americans who have been sold the false promise that marijuana use is not harmful across multiple health outcomes," said Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D.,...
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Is Marijuana Use Cause for Mysterious illness in States with Legal Weed?

Is Marijuana Use Cause for Mysterious illness in States with Legal Weed?
Did you ever hear of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS? According to CBS News, it is caused by heavy, long-term use of various forms of marijuana. For unclear reasons, the nausea and vomiting are relieved by hot showers or baths. CHS can lead to dehydration and kidney failure, but usually resolves within days of stopping drug use. CHS has only been recognized for about the past decade, and nobody knows exactly how many people suffer from it. But as more states move towards the legalization of marijuana, emergency room physicians are eager to make sure both doctors and patients have CHS on their radar.
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New Analysis Highlights Patterns of Adult Medical Marijuana Use

New Analysis Highlights Patterns of Adult Medical Marijuana Use
An analysis of medical marijuana use among adults in the United States indicates that more than 21 percent of medical marijuana users reside in states that have not legalized its use; suggesting that physicians might be recommending medical marijuana regardless of legalization in their respective states. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reports that a little more than 1 percent of the U.S. adult population uses marijuana based on a clinical recommendation, compared to nearly 12 percent of adults using marijuana for recreational purposes. The study also suggests that those who report they used medical marijuana tend to be in worse health, and were more likely to report anxiety issues, a stroke diagnosis or other disabilities. Medical use, or combined medical/non-medical use, was more common in the Western U.S., and non-medical use was more common in the Northeast. Researchers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse,...
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Many Teens Who Smoke Also Use Alcohol, Marijuana and Other Tobacco Products

Many Teens Who Smoke Also Use Alcohol, Marijuana and Other Tobacco Products
Many teens who smoke also use alcohol, marijuana and other tobacco products, a new study finds. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego studied 176 teen smokers and found 96 percent said they used at least two other substances besides cigarettes, HealthDay reports. The study found 16 percent of teen smokers said they used harder drugs, such as Ecstasy, cocaine or hallucinogens, or they misused prescription drugs. Most of the teens in the study smoked five or fewer cigarettes a day. “This tells us that multidrug use among adolescents may be more prevalent than we think, and that even kids who smoke only occasionally are likely to be doing other drugs,” said lead researcher Karma McKelvey. The findings appear in the journal Addictive Behaviors.
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Increase in Drugged Driving Deaths Alarming

Increase in Drugged Driving Deaths Alarming
In just over a decade, the percentage of traffic deaths in which at least one driver tested positive for drugs has nearly doubled. This has raised alarms as five states are set to vote on legalization of marijuana. According to data released to USA Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been tracking an increase in the percentage of drivers testing positive for illegal drugs and prescription medications. The increase corresponds with a movement to legalize marijuana, troubling experts who readily acknowledge that the effects of pot use on drivers remain poorly understood. Recreational marijuana is outlawed on the federal level yet it is legal in Colorado, Washington state, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia. Five states including Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada, are set to vote on legalization. In 2015, 21% of the 31,166 fatal crashes in the U.S. involved at least one driver who tested positive...
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State Votes on Recreational Marijuana Could Raise Stronger Challenge to Federal Ban

State Votes on Recreational Marijuana Could Raise Stronger Challenge to Federal Ban
Five states will vote next month whether to legalize recreational marijuana. If the states vote to legalize the drug, the federal government’s ban on marijuana will face a stronger challenge, The New York Times reports. California, Massachusetts, Maine, Arizona and Nevada will be voting on legalization initiatives. Recreational marijuana is already legal in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. In August, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced that it would not reclassify marijuana as a drug with accepted medical uses. Marijuana is a Schedule I drug with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” A recent report estimated that if California legalizes recreational marijuana, the nation’s current $6 billion legal marijuana industry would triple in size.
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New Poll Finds 60 Percent of American Adults Say Marijuana Should be Legal

New Poll Finds 60 Percent of American Adults Say Marijuana Should be Legal
A new Gallup poll finds 60 percent of American adults believe marijuana should be legal. A recent study released by the Pew Research Center found 57 percent of U.S. adults say they support legalizing marijuana. In 1969, only 12 percent of Americans supported marijuana legalization, according to Gallup. Support for legalization has risen among almost every demographic group in the past decade, according to The Washington Post. Almost 80 percent of young adults ages 18 to 34 favor legalization, up from 44 percent in 2005. Five states—California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada—will vote on marijuana legalization in November. Marijuana is legal for personal use in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia.
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57 Percent of U.S. Adults Say They Support Legalizing Marijuana

57 Percent of U.S. Adults Say They Support Legalizing Marijuana
A new study by the Pew Research Center finds 57 percent of U.S. adults say they support legalizing marijuana. A decade ago, only 32 percent of adults said they favored legalization. The study found 66 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of Republicans favor legalization, Reuters reports. Adults ages 18 to 35 are more than twice as likely to support legalization of marijuana as they were in 2006 (71 percent today, up from 34 percent in 2006). They are significantly more likely to support legalization than older adults. On November 8, five states—Massachusetts, Maine, California, Arizona and Nevada—will vote on whether to legalize recreational use of marijuana.
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