Teen Marijuana-Related Visits to Colorado ER Rose Rapidly After Legalization

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A Colorado children’s hospital reports visits by teens to its emergency department and satellite urgent care centers more than quadrupled after the state legalized marijuana, a new study finds. Researchers examined the hospital’s records for 13- to 21-year-olds between 2005 and 2015. Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2010 and recreational marijuana in 2014. The annual number of visits related to marijuana or involving a positive marijuana urine drug screen more than quadrupled, from 146 in 2005 to 639 in 2014, the researchers found. They will present their research at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in San Francisco. “The state-level effect of marijuana legalization on adolescent use has only begun to be evaluated,” lead author George Sam Wang, MD said in a news release. “As our results suggest, targeted marijuana education and prevention strategies are necessary to reduce the significant public health impact of the drug can have on adolescent...
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Marijuana Dispensaries and Disadvantaged Neighborhoods

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As more states push for the legalization of marijuana, there is increasing fear that the stores that sell marijuana, commonly known as dispensaries, will have a negative impact on their surrounding communities. Both recreational and medical marijuana are legal in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Maine. However, because of the negative ripple effects of legalizing marijuana, state support doesn’t necessarily translate into local backing. The many concerns surrounding dispensaries Areas with dispensaries fear that there will be increased marijuana use. Some residents complain of odor. Community leaders worry that neighborhoods significantly impacted by drugs and the war on drugs are now being asked to shoulder the burden and risk of having dispensaries on their streets. Some see the location of these stores as a way to circumvent resistance to placing dispensaries in wealthier areas. These fears are well-founded. While a wide range of individuals from many different...
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Using Synthetic Marijuana Puts Teens at Risk of Injury or Violent Behavior

Using Synthetic Marijuana Puts Teens at Risk of Injury or Violent Behavior
Teens who use synthetic marijuana are more likely to be injured or engage in violent behaviors than their peers who only use marijuana, a new study concludes. Using synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 or Spice, also increases teens’ risk of being victims of sexual or physical dating violence, according to HealthDay . Teens who have tried synthetic marijuana are more likely to be threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report in Pediatrics. Synthetic marijuana is a mixture of herbs, spices or shredded plant material that is typically sprayed with synthetic compounds known as cannabinoids that are chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Although these products are often marketed as “safe” alternatives to marijuana, they may affect the brain much more powerfully than marijuana. Their effects can be unpredictable and severe.
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Patients Will Opt For Pot over Prescribed Opioids If Given Choice

Patients Will Opt For Pot over Prescribed Opioids If Given Choice
Chronic pain sufferers and those taking mental health meds would rather turn to cannabis instead of their prescribed opioid medication, according to new research by the University of British Columbia and University of Victoria. "This study is one of the first to track medical cannabis use under the new system of licensed producers, meaning that all participants had physician authorization to access cannabis in addition to their prescription medicines," says UBC Assoc. Prof. Zach Walsh, co-author of the study. The study tracked more than 250 patients with prescribed medical cannabis - people treated for conditions such as chronic pain, mental health and gastrointestinal issues. Overall, 63 per cent of respondents reported using cannabis instead of their prescription drugs, which included opioids (to treat pain), benzodiazepines (sedatives) and anti-depressants. Study lead Philippe Lucas is vice-president of Patient Research and Access at Tilray, a federally authorized medical cannabis production and research company,...
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Pediatrics Group Issues New Guidelines for Talking to Teens About Marijuana

Pediatrics Group Issues New Guidelines for Talking to Teens About Marijuana
The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued new guidelines for doctors and parents to talk to teens about the risks of using marijuana, CNN reports. The organization said changes in the legal status of marijuana may lower teens’ perceptions of the risk, and may lead to more teens trying the drug. A recent survey found there is a decrease in the percentage of teens who say they believe there is a great risk in smoking marijuana once a month or once or twice a week. Doctors should screen preteens and teens for marijuana use, the group said. If they find a teen is using marijuana regularly or heavily, they can then decide if the teen would benefit from treatment, including counseling and medication. Parents should tell teens marijuana can cause abnormal brain development and impact memory, concentration and executive functioning skills, the group said. They also noted, “If you use...
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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...
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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....
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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...
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