College Marijuana Use Linked With Skipped Classes, Lower Grades, Late Graduation

College Marijuana Use Linked With Skipped Classes, Lower Grades, Late Graduation
A new study finds marijuana use in the first year of college can lead to students missing classes. The more frequently a student uses marijuana, the more they tend to skip class, earn lower grades, and graduate later. Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health followed 1,117 college students for eight years to test the direct and indirect effects on marijuana use on GPA and time to graduation. The findings are part of a larger study, called the College Life Study, which began in 2003. “Alcohol and other drug use are also related to skipping class, but when we adjusted for other substance use we still found a relationship between marijuana and skipping class,” said lead researcher Amelia Arria, Associate Professor of Behavioral and Community Health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. She noted previous studies have found a relationship between marijuana and other...
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Teens Likely to Use Alcohol Before Trying Marijuana or Tobacco

Teens Likely to Use Alcohol Before Trying Marijuana or Tobacco
Teens are likely to try alcohol before they try either tobacco or marijuana, a new study concludes. The findings come from a study of 2,835 U.S. high school seniors, The Washington Post reports. The researchers from Texas A&M University and the University of Florida examined data from the Monitoring the Future study, an annual survey of teen substance use. The researchers found that teens were less likely to start using marijuana first, compared with alcohol and tobacco. “Alcohol was the most widely used substance among respondents, initiated earliest, and also the first substance most commonly used in the progression of substance use,” the researchers wrote in the Journal of School Health. Teens who started drinking alcohol in sixth grade reported significantly greater lifetime illicit substance use, and more frequent illicit substance use, compared with teens who started drinking in ninth grade or later. Teens who had their first drink in...
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Some States Remain Staunch Opponents of Marijuana Legalization

Some States Remain Staunch Opponents of Marijuana Legalization
While marijuana, both recreational and medical, is legal in a growing number of states, some states remain unlikely to legalize the drug any time soon, according to USA Today . These include states in the South, West and Midwest. The newspaper predicts that the 11 states least likely to legalize marijuana are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming. Recreational marijuana is legal in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, while medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states, the article notes. In all of the states least likely to legalize marijuana, possessing the drug is a felony under certain circumstances. Marijuana use rates are below averages in these states. All of the states voted for the conservative candidate in the 2012 presidential election, according to the newspaper. In Alabama, 9.7 percent of residents 12 years and older report using marijuana, compared with the national...
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Synthetic Marijuana – The New Street Drug

Synthetic Marijuana – The New Street Drug
Synthetic marijuana, once sold mostly online and in convenience stores, is now largely a street drug, according to PBS NewsHour . People who use the drug tend to be poor, urban and homeless, experts say. “We originally felt that [synthetic marijuana] was being marketed for younger people, for teenagers,” said Lt. Andrew Struhar, Acting Lieutenant of the Narcotics Unit of the Washington D.C. Police. “But it has definitely drilled down to the street, and unfortunately a great deal to the homeless population.” He noted, “The progression of the drug from when we started, being advertised in windows of gas stations and convenience stores to street sales, has definitely been a bad case scenario. Because street sales are much more difficult to find, to locate and prosecute.” Synthetic marijuana is banned in all 50 states, but manufacturers continually change the drug’s chemistry to stay one step ahead of new legislation. The...
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University Of Washington Study Finds No Easy Answers in Study of Legal Marijuana's Impact on Alcohol Use

University Of Washington Study Finds No Easy Answers in Study of Legal Marijuana's Impact on Alcohol Use
Does legal marijuana tempt pot users to consume more alcohol -- or are they likely to opt for cannabis instead of chardonnay? A University of Washington team of researchers sought to address those questions in the context of evolving marijuana policies in the United States. Their findings, published online Dec. 21 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research , highlight the difficulties of gauging the impact of a formerly illicit drug as it moves into the mainstream Recreational marijuana use is now legal in four states and medical marijuana in 23 states. Research on legalization policies has focused largely on how they impact marijuana access and use. But the UW team wanted to know how legalization affects the use of alcohol, by far the nation's most popular drug. The majority of adults in the U.S. imbibe to varying degrees, and alcohol abuse is the third leading preventable cause of...
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Institute for Behavior and Health Issues Marijuana Commentary

Institute for Behavior and Health Issues Marijuana Commentary
In a new Institute for Behavior and Health (IBH) Commentary Robert L. DuPont, MD discusses the significant increase in self-reported marijuana use among adults over the past decade and the corresponding significant increase in the number of Americans with a marijuana use disorder. Following is a reprint of that commentary which is available on the IBH wbsite at www.IBHinc.org. With Marijuana Legalization There Is More Marijuana Use and More Addiction While the Illegal Market Continues to Thrive It comes as no surprise that the prevalence of marijuana use has significantly increased over the last decade .1 With marijuana legal for recreational use in four states and the District of Columbia and for medical use in an additional 31 states, the public perception about marijuana has shifted, with more people reporting that they support legalization. 2 However, there is little public awareness, and close to zero media attention to the near-doubling...
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Employers in States Where Marijuana is Legal Toughen Up Drug Policies: Survey

Employers in States Where Marijuana is Legal Toughen Up Drug Policies: Survey
Managers in states where marijuana is legal are toughening up their drug policies, according to a new survey. Many employers in these states say they will not hire employees who smoke marijuana on their own time, Bloomberg Business reports. The survey, conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), included responses from 623 human resources managers in states where marijuana is legal. Almost half of the managers said they have policies, or plan to implement them, that restrict employing people who use marijuana. The survey found 38 percent said they will not hire people who use marijuana, even if it is for medical reasons. Six percent said their policy excludes only those who smoke marijuana for recreational reasons. “There is what I consider to be a significant number of employers that are saying they wouldn’t hire an employee that uses marijuana,” said Evren Esen, Director of Survey Programs at...
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High-Potency Marijuana May Damage Nerve Fibers in Brain, Study Suggests

High-Potency Marijuana May Damage Nerve Fibers in Brain, Study Suggests
A new study suggests smoking high-potency marijuana may cause damage to nerve fibers responsible for communication between the brain’s two hemispheres. The study included MRI scans of 99 people, including some who were diagnosed with psychosis, HealthDay reports. The researchers found an association between frequent use of high-potency marijuana and damage to the corpus callosum, which is responsible for communication between the brain’s left and right hemispheres. The corpus callosum is especially rich in cannabinoid receptors. THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, acts on these receptors. Today’s high-potency marijuana has been shown to contain higher proportions of THC compared with a decade ago. Scientists have known that the use of marijuana with higher THC content has been associated with greater risk and earlier onset of psychosis, the researchers noted. This study is the first to examine the effect of marijuana potency on brain structure, according to a news release from...
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10 Percent of Adults Reporting Marijuana Use. Many Now Addicted.

10 Percent of Adults Reporting Marijuana Use. Many Now Addicted.
According to the Oregonian , a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry , has found that marijuana use has more than doubled since 2001, with nearly 10 percent of adults across the country reporting marijuana use in 2013. The percentage of people reporting dependence or abuse of marijuana also doubled, from 1.5 percent in 2001 to nearly 3 percent in 2013. Among marijuana users, the report found that 3 out of every 10 people, or nearly 7 million Americans, have a marijuana abuse or addiction problem. The biggest increases in marijuana abuse and dependence was found among middle aged or older adults, women, African-Americans, Hispanics and people living in the southern U.S. “While many in the United States think prohibition of recreational marijuana should be ended, this study and others suggest caution and the need for public education about the potential harms in marijuana use, including the risk for addiction,”...
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Teens Are Smoking Less, Using Pot More

Teens Are Smoking Less, Using Pot More
American teens are smoking less, as much as a 64 percent drop in recent years, but a new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that teen use of pot has doubled, according to HealthDay . Vince Wilmore, vice president for communications at Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, commented, “The nation’s remarkable progress in reducing youth smoking since 1997 is great news, but the battle is far from over.” Tracking smoking rates from 1997 to 2013, the report, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, shows that nearly a third of white, black and Hispanic teens smoked cigarettes, cigars or marijuana in 2013. Wilmore continued, “This study reminds us that we know exactly what to do to further reduce smoking: increase tobacco taxes, enact smoke-free laws, fund effective prevention programs and implement hard-hitting mass media campaigns. These proven strategies must be continued and strengthened.”...
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