Some Experts Question Opioid Commission’s Marijuana Warning

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The chair of President Trump’s Opioid Commission warned about the dangers of marijuana, in a letter accompanying the release of the commission’s final report. Some experts are questioning the commission’s view that marijuana could further fuel the opioid crisis. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the chair of the commission, warned against legalizing marijuana in the midst of the opioid epidemic. One researcher, Dr. Chinazo Cunningham, a professor of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, told CNN she is surprised to see negative language about marijuana in the opioid report. “Research that examines pain and marijuana shows that marijuana use significantly reduces pain,” she said. “In addition, the majority of studies examining marijuana and opioids show that marijuana use is associated with less opioid use and less opioid-related deaths.” Dr. Cunningham is conducting the first long-term study to test whether medical marijuana reduces opioid use among adults with chronic...
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Teens Dependent on Marijuana and Alcohol Struggle with Success Later in Life

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Teens who are dependent on marijuana and alcohol struggle to achieve hallmarks of adult success, such as graduating from college, getting married, having a full-time job and earning a good salary, a new study finds. Researchers at the University of Connecticut tracked 1,165 study participants, starting at age 12. They checked in on them at two-year intervals, until they were between 25 and 34 years old, HealthDay reports. Most of the participants had a grandparent, parent, aunt or uncle with an alcohol problem. Marijuana and alcohol dependence appeared to have a more severe effect on young men. “Parents should try to delay their children’s onset of use as much as possible,” said researcher Victor Hesselbrock. “If you can push regular use back well into adolescence, the kids do a lot better.” The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association.  
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Smoking Marijuana and Driving

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A new study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) found that a third of all teens surveyed think it is legal to drive under the influence of marijuana in states where it has been legalized for recreational use. In the same study, 27 percent of parents surveyed believe it to be legal as well. The study found that while 93 percent of parents think driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous, only 76 percent feel that driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous. The results indicate that teens are receiving mixed messages about the dangers of marijuana use and driving. This thinking puts themselves and fellow drivers at risk, particularly with 22 percent of teens admitting that driving under the influence of marijuana is common around their friends. However, marijuana use has a direct impact on your body, similar to alcohol. According to...
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Marijuana Use Triples Risk of Death from Hypertension

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The risk of death from hypertension is three times greater in adults who use marijuana, compared with nonusers, based on data from a retrospective study of 1,213 adults. According to an article in Cardiology News , the recent changes in the legalization of marijuana may promote increased recreational use, but data on the long-term effects of marijuana use on cardiovascular and cerebrovascular mortality are limited, wrote Barbara A. Yankey, PhD, of Georgia State University, Atlanta, and her colleagues. The researchers collected data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from adults aged 20 years and older who were asked between 2005 and 2006 whether they had ever used marijuana, and those who answered “yes” were defined as users. Data on 686 users and 527 nonusers were combined with the 2011 mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Overall, marijuana users had a 3.42 times greater risk of...
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Legislators From States With Legalized Marijuana Push Back on Federal Crackdown

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Legislators from states that have legalized marijuana are pushing back against a federal crackdown on the drug, led by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. House and Senate members from states with legalized marijuana are trying to provide protections for the multibillion-dollar marijuana industry, The New York Times reports. Sessions has asked Senate leaders to roll back rules that bar the Justice Department from sidestepping state laws in order to enforce a federal ban on medical marijuana. He also appointed a task force to review links between violent crimes and marijuana. Last month, a bipartisan group of senators reintroduced a bill that would allow patients to access medical marijuana in states where it is legal, without fear of federal prosecution. “Federal marijuana policy has long overstepped the boundaries of common sense, fiscal prudence, and compassion,” Senator Cory Booker said in a statement about the bill, known as The Compassionate Access, Research...
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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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