DEA Approves Study on Effectiveness of Marijuana as PTSD Treatment

DEA Approves Study on Effectiveness of Marijuana as PTSD Treatment
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has given approval for a study that will evaluate the effectiveness of marijuana as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to The Denver Post . Researchers plan to enroll 76 veterans at clinics in Phoenix and Baltimore. They will study how well smoking different strains and potencies of marijuana treats PTSD. The marijuana will be supplied by the federal government’s marijuana farm at the University of Mississippi. Military Times reports it will be the first randomized, controlled research in the United States for PTSD that will use the actual marijuana plant instead of oils or synthesized cannabis. Some veterans say marijuana eases their PTSD symptoms and has allowed them to stop using prescription medications, but little scientific research supports these claims, the article notes. “This is a critical step in moving our botanical drug development program forward at the federal level to gather...
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United Nations Affirms Support for International Drug Control Conventions

United Nations Affirms Support for International Drug Control Conventions
Historic global meeting emphasizes commitment to preventing and reducing drug use around the world The UN General Assembly convened in New York City to reaffirm the global commitment to the international drug conventions. These conventions, whose goal is to prevent and reduce drug use worldwide, remain the cornerstone of global drug policy. "We congratulate countries for recognizing that drug use is a public health and public safety problem around the world," said Kevin Sabet, a former White House advisor on drug policy and founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). "Speaking as one of over 300 non-governmental organizations that joined together at the UN to show commitment to drug prevention, 'Prevent. Don't Promote.' this event marks a real step forward in advancing those goals. Now the real challenge is implementation." "Prevent. Don't Promote." is a campaign sponsored by numerous organizations that support the UN international drug conventions and want to...
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DEA Will Announce Whether Marijuana Should be Reclassified in First Half of 2016

DEA Will Announce Whether Marijuana Should be Reclassified in First Half of 2016
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said this week it will decide in the first half of 2016 whether marijuana should be reclassified under federal law. The agency gave no indication what its decision will be, according to The Huffington Post . There are five categories, or schedules, for drugs in the United States. Schedule I drugs are considered by the DEA to have the highest potential for abuse and no current accepted medical use. Marijuana is currently a Schedule I drug, along with heroin and LSD. If marijuana were rescheduled, it still would be illegal under federal law, but the change might ease restrictions on research, and reduce penalties for marijuana-related offenses, the article notes. The DEA was responding to a letter sent last July by eight Democratic senators, who urged the federal government to facilitate research on the benefits of medical marijuana. The senators said the research is needed...
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Growing Number of Veterans Treat PTSD with Marijuana

Growing Number of Veterans Treat PTSD with Marijuana
An increasing number of veterans are treating their post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with marijuana, according to the Associated Press . Marijuana is not approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Research on marijuana’s effect on PTSD is contradictory and limited, the article notes. Some studies indicate marijuana may help people manage symptoms of PTSD in the short term, while one study suggested it may worsen symptoms. The Marijuana Policy Project says 10 states have listed PTSD among conditions for which medical marijuana can be prescribed. A few more states allow doctors enough discretion to recommend marijuana to patients suffering from PTSD. The U.S. Senate passed an amendment in November that would have allowed VA physicians to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in states where it is legal, but the measure failed to pass the House. In order for VA doctors to be able to recommend a drug, federal law requires...
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Almost Six Million U.S. Adults Experienced Marijuana Use Disorder in Past Year

Almost Six Million U.S. Adults Experienced Marijuana Use Disorder in Past Year
Almost six million American adults experienced marijuana use disorder in the past year, according to a study by scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Symptoms of marijuana use disorder include cravings, developing a tolerance, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms, including inability to sleep, nervousness, anger, or depression, within a week of stopping heavy use, according to Medical Daily . The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry , found 6.3 percent of adults acquire a dependence on marijuana at some point in their lives, and 2.5 percent of adults have experienced marijuana use disorder in the past year. The researchers interviewed more than 36,000 adults about their drug and alcohol use, and related psychiatric conditions. They found marijuana use disorder is about twice as common in men than women. Younger people are much more likely than those over 45 to experience the disorder. The researchers note cannabis dependence...
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Law Enforcement Sees More High-Potency Marijuana, Called “Shatter”

Law Enforcement Sees More High-Potency Marijuana, Called “Shatter”
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents in Houston are seeing an increasing amount of a type of high-potency marijuana known as “shatter,” ABC7NY reports. Some forms of shatter have as much as 90 percent THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. That is about five times the potency of unrefined smoked marijuana. It is more powerful than standard hash oil. Shatter is a thin, hard layer that is similar to glass. It can shatter if dropped. The drug, also called wax or 710, is a concentrated form of marijuana oil. “If you’re looking at something that has three, five, seven, or nine percent THC content, that’s a drastic difference to somebody that is consuming something with 80 or 90 percent THC content,” said Wendell Campbell, DEA special agent. Houston DEA agents report an increase in marijuana concentrate seizures in the past year, the article notes. The concentrates are often hidden in beauty...
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Congressional Bill Designed to Enable Students with Drug Convictions to Receive Financial Aid

Congressional Bill Designed to Enable Students with Drug Convictions to Receive Financial Aid
A bill introduced recently by three U.S. senators would make it easier for college students with drug convictions to receive financial aid, by dropping questions about drug convictions on financial aid forms. The Stopping Unfair Collateral Consequences from Ending Student Success Act (SUCCESS) Act is sponsored by Senators Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, according to U.S. News & World Report . The measure would require that Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms not contain questions about an applicant’s conviction for the possession or sale of illegal drugs. College students submit the forms each year to determine their eligibility for aid. According to The Huffington Post , students applying for financial aid must answer a question about whether they have been convicted of possessing or selling illegal drugs while receiving federal student aid in the past. If they answer yes...
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Study Links Marijuana Use to Greater Risk for Developing Addiction to Other Drugs

Study Links Marijuana Use to Greater Risk for Developing Addiction to Other Drugs
A new study suggests marijuana smokers may be significantly more likely to develop an addiction to other drugs and alcohol than people who don’t use marijuana. People who used marijuana were not more likely to develop a mood or anxiety disorder, HealthDay reports. “This new finding raises the possibility that the recent rise in marijuana use may be contributing to the coincident rise in serious harms related to narcotics and other drugs of abuse,” said lead researcher Dr. Mark Olfson of Columbia University Medical Center. The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry , included almost 35,000 adults who were interviewed three years apart. At the time of the first interview, almost 1,300 used marijuana. After three years, two-thirds of people who used marijuana had some form of substance use disorder, compared with less than 20 percent of people who did not use marijuana in the previous year. People who used marijuana...
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Sales of Legal Marijuana Jumped 17 Percent to $5.4 Billion in 2015

Sales of Legal Marijuana Jumped 17 Percent to $5.4 Billion in 2015
Sales of legal marijuana jumped 17 percent to reach $5.4 billion last year, according to a new report. Sales could grow 25 percent this year, to $6.7 billion, according to the marijuana industry investment and research firm ArcView Market Research. By 2020, sales of legal marijuana could reach $21.8 billion, Fortune reports. “I think that we are going to see in 2016 this next wave of investors, the next wave of business operators, and people who’ve sort of been watching or dipping their toe in, really starting to swing for the fences and take it really seriously,” ArcView CEO Troy Dayton said. The report includes medical and recreational dispensary sales, as well as cannabis products sold through delivery services and medical marijuana “caregivers” who can legally grow and distribute the drug. The increase in sales coincided with the first full year of recreational marijuana sales in Washington state, the article...
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Testing Drivers for Evidence of Marijuana Use is Difficult

Testing Drivers for Evidence of Marijuana Use is Difficult
It is very difficult to test whether a driver has been using marijuana. The reason is that the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, THC, dissolves in fat, unlike alcohol, which dissolves in water, experts tell NPR . “It’s really difficult to document drugged driving in a relevant way, [because of] the simple fact that THC is fat soluble,” said Margaret Haney, a neurobiologist at Columbia University. “That makes it absorbed in a very different way and much more difficult to relate behavior to, say, [blood] levels of THC or develop a breathalyzer.” When a person drinks, alcohol spreads through the saliva and breath, and evenly saturates the lungs and blood, the article notes. That means measuring the volume of alcohol in one part of the body reliably indicates how much is in other parts, including the brain. Marilyn Huestis, who headed the chemistry and drug metabolism section at the National Institute...
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Facing Addiction and The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) are proud to announce the merger of our organizations – creating a national leader in turning the tide on the addiction epidemic.
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