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Advocating for Evidence Based Marijuana Policy

Monthly Archives: April 2015

Heavy Marijuana use may double risk of lung cancer

Marijuana use and risk of lung cancer: a 40-year cohort study

Russell C. Callaghan • Peter Allebeck • Anna Sidorchuk
Cancer Causes Control (2013) 24:1811–1820

Published online: 12 July 2013, copywrite Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013


Purpose Cannabis (marijuana) smoke and tobacco smoke contain many of the same potent carcinogens, but a critical—yet unresolved—medical and public-health issue is whether cannabis smoking might facilitate the development of lung cancer. The current study aimed to assess the risk of lung cancer among young marijuana users. Methods A population-based cohort study examined men (n = 49,321) aged 18–20 years old assessed for cannabis use and other relevant variables during military conscription in Sweden in 1969–1970. Participants were tracked until 2009 for incident lung cancer outcomes in nationwide linked medical registries. Cox regression modeling assessed relationships between cannabis smoking, measured at conscription, and the hazard of subsequently receiving a lung cancer diagnosis.

At the baseline conscription assessment, 10.5 % (n = 5,156) reported lifetime use of marijuana and 1.7 % (n = 831) indicated lifetime use of more than 50 times, designated as ‘‘heavy’’ use. Cox regression analyses (n = 44,284) found that such ‘‘heavy’’ cannabis smoking was significantly associated with more than a twofold risk (hazard ratio 2.12, 95 % CI 1.08–4.14) of developing lung cancer over the 40-year follow-up period, even after statistical adjustment for baseline tobacco use, alcohol use, respiratory conditions, and socioeconomic status.

Our primary finding provides initial longitu- dinal evidence that cannabis use might elevate the risk of lung cancer. In light of the widespread use of marijuana, especially among adolescents and young adults, our study provides important data for informing the risk–benefit calculus of marijuana smoking in medical, public-health, and drug-policy settings.

No Apparent Substitution Effect in Colorado Opioid Deaths

WTR-RI Research and Analysis Team Note: Proponents of Marijuana Legalization of Marijuana Use suggest it will lead to a substitution effect and that persons struggling with Heroin and Prescription Opioids will switch to MJ.  According to a Colorado Public Radio (CPR) report this has not been the case.  Below are links to the CPR report’s transcript and to a SAMSHA chart showing trends in Colorado’s college age MJ use.

Chart: Colorado among states with growing heroin, prescription drug abuse problem


Past Month College Age 2014 Samsa-PDF

Marijuana may double the risk of testicular cancer in young males.

WTR-RI Research and Analysis Team note:  The three articles referenced below relate results of studies published in the journal Cancer.  They indicate that marijuana use in puberty and adolescence may double the risk of testicular cancer, a condition that is reported to have a usual prevalence rate of .5% in the general population. 

Population-based case-control study of recreational drug use and testis cancer risk confirms an association between marijuana use and nonseminoma risk

John Charles A. Lacson MS, Joshua D. Carroll BA, Ellenie Tuazon MPH, Esteban J. Castelao MD, PhD, Leslie Bernstein PhD and Victoria K. Cortessis MSPH, PhD

Cancer Volume 118,  Issue 21pages 5374–53831 November 2012

Marijuana use and testicular germ cell tumors

Britton Trabert PhD  et. al.

Cancer Volume 117,  Issue 4pages 848–85315 February 2011

Association of marijuana use and the incidence of testicular germ cell tumors

Janet R. Daling PhD et al.

Effects of marijuana use on impulsivity and hostility in daily life

  • Marijuana use was associated with increased impulsivity relative to non-use days.
  • Increased impulsivity was also observed for the day following marijuana use.
  • Marijuana use was associated with greater hostile perceptions and behaviors.
  • Findings highlight the relevance of studying real world effects of marijuana use.


Marijuana use is increasingly prevalent among young adults. While research has found adverse effects associated with marijuana use within experimentally controlled laboratory settings, it is unclear how recreational marijuana use affects day-to-day experiences in users. The present study sought to examine the effects of marijuana use on within-person changes in impulsivity and interpersonal hostility in daily life using smartphone administered assessments.


Forty-three participants with no substance dependence reported on their alcohol consumption, tobacco use, recreational marijuana use, impulsivity, and interpersonal hostility over the course of 14 days. Responses were analyzed using multilevel modeling.


Marijuana use was associated with increased impulsivity on the same day and the following day relative to days when marijuana was not used, independent of alcohol use. Marijuana was also associated with increased hostile behaviors and perceptions of hostility in others on the same day when compared to days when marijuana was not used. These effects were independent of frequency of marijuana use or alcohol use. There were no significant effects of alcohol consumption on impulsivity or interpersonal hostility.


Marijuana use is associated with changes in impulse control and hostility in daily life. This may be one route by which deleterious effects of marijuana are observed for mental health and psychosocial functioning. Given the increasing prevalence of recreational marijuana use and the potential legalization in some states, further research on the potential consequences of marijuana use in young adults’ day-to-day life is warranted.

Most Americans say medical marijuana shouldn’t be used by kids or in front of kids, legal or not

Most Americans say medical marijuana shouldn’t be used by kids or in front of kids, legal or not

University of Michigan Health System. (2015, April 20). Most Americans say medical marijuana shouldn’t be used by kids or in front of kids, legal or not. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150420084545.htm

ScienceDaily Summary:
Medical marijuana and children don’t mix, most Americans say. While nearly two-thirds of people agree that their state should allow medical marijuana for adults, half as many — just over a third — say it should be allowed for children, according to a new poll representing a national sample of adults in the U.S.

Full report: C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health http://mottnpch.org/reports-surveys/support-medical-marijuana-use-lower-kids-adults

Clearing the Haze | A perspective series by The Gazette

Clearing the Haze | A perspective series by The Gazette

Day 1: Regulation 
Sunday, March, 22 2015

Two important assumptions about successful legalization of marijuana in Colorado were made. Regulation would provide a safer solution to the state’s drug problems and by regulating the sale of marijuana the state could make money otherwise locked up in the black market. Sunday’s stories suggest the net gain from taxes and fees related to marijuana sales will not be known for a while, as costs are not known or tracked well, and there are many other unknowns about pot’s effects on public health and safety.

Day 2: Marijuana and Crime
Monday, March, 23 2015

Proponents of Amendment 64 said legalizing recreational sales and use of marijuana would stifle the black market in Colorado. That is not the case; crime statistics indicate we have more to learn about the long-term effects of legal pot on public safety and other concerns. Data indicate there is new black market trafficking across the country as a result of legalized pot sales in Colorado. Other safety concerns surrounding concentrates and their manufacture are consequences of legalization that were never anticipated.

“Only 1.4 percent of inmates in the state corrections system were imprisoned for offenses involving only marijuana-related crimes.”

– Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2004

Day 3: Youthful Addiction 
Tuesday, March, 24 2015

Protecting our children was a priority as the public headed to the polls to vote on Amendment 64. The most recent research on adolescent brain development and related addiction studies indicates this is more important than ever thought before. Adolescent exposure to marijuana is most troubling because young users are more vulnerable to addiction throughout their lives. Post-legalization trends in Colorado raise concerns because regulation has fallen short of the promises made by the state. The increasing rate of pot use also is a concern of employers.

“In 2009, Children’s Hospital Colorado reported two marijuana ingestions among children younger than 12. In the first six months of 2014, there were 12.”

– Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area

Day 4: Medical Marijuana 
Wednesday, March, 25 2015

Medical marijuana sales in Colorado exploded after October 2009 as the result of a federal memorandum stating that resources likely would not be used to prosecute people involved in the business, which remains illegal under federal law. Gazette research confirmed the medical marijuana market continues to grow as the result of porous regulation and a favorable price differential versus retail marijuana sales. The issue is big and complex and may derail legitimate efforts to conduct research on parts of the marijuana plant that could produce new, clinically proven medicines.

Teen driving and marijuana use: More than one in four high school seniors …

Teen driving and marijuana use: More than one in four high school seniors drive after using alcohol or drugs, or ride with a driver who has.

American Public Health Association (APHA). (2013, September 12). Teen driving and marijuana use: More than one in four high school seniors drive after using alcohol or drugs, or ride with a driver who has. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2015 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130912202847.htm

ScienceDaily Summary:
A new study finds that 28 percent of U.S. high school seniors have driven after using drugs or drinking alcohol in the past two weeks, or ridden in a vehicle with a driver who did. In particular, driving after smoking marijuana has increased over the past three years.  (“…the most recent three years have shown an increase in driving after using marijuana, which rose from 10 percent in 2008 to 12 percent in 2011.”)

Journal Reference:
Patrick M. O’Malley, Lloyd D. Johnston. Driving After Drug or Alcohol Use by US High School Seniors, 2001–2011American Journal of Public Health, 2013; e1 DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301246

Simultaneous drinking, smoking marijuana increases odds of drunk driving …

Simultaneous drinking, smoking marijuana increases odds of drunk driving, social consequences and harms to self.

Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. (2015, April 14). Simultaneous drinking, smoking marijuana increases odds of drunk driving, other. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2015 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150414212309.htm

ScienceDaily Summary:
Marijuana is becoming increasingly permitted in the US for medical and recreational use. A new study look at the relationship between alcohol and simultaneous versus concurrent marijuana use. Simultaneous users had double the odds of drunk driving, social consequences, and harms to self.

Journal Reference:
Meenakshi S. Subbaraman, William C. Kerr. Simultaneous Versus Concurrent Use of Alcohol and Cannabis in the National Alcohol SurveyAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2015; 39 (5): 872 DOI: 10.1111/acer.12698


Race/Ethnicity Differences in Alcohol, Marijuana, and Co-occurring Alcohol and Marijuana Use Disorders

Race/Ethnicity Differences between Alcohol, Marijuana, and Co-occurring Alcohol and Marijuana Use Disorders and Their Association with Public Health and Social Problems
Lauren R. Pacek BS1, Robert J. Malcolm MD2 & Silvia S. Martins MD, PhD1

Medical marijuana in treatment of certain brain diseases

Medical marijuana in treatment of certain brain diseases: Experts weigh in

American Academy of Neurology (AAN). (2014, April 28). Medical marijuana in treatment of certain brain diseases: Experts weigh in. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140428163633.htm

ScienceDaily Summary:
A review of available scientific research on the use of medical marijuana in brain diseases finds certain forms of medical marijuana can help treat some symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), but do not appear to be helpful in treating drug-induced (levodopa) movements in Parkinson’s disease. Not enough evidence was found to show if medical marijuana is helpful in treating motor problems in Huntington’s disease, tics in Tourette syndrome, cervical dystonia and seizures in epilepsy.

Journal Reference:

  1. B. S. Koppel, J. C. M. Brust, T. Fife, J. Bronstein, S. Youssof, G. Gronseth, D. Gloss. Systematic review: Efficacy and safety of medical marijuana in selected neurologic disorders: Report of the Guideline Development Subcommittee of the American Academy of NeurologyNeurology, 2014; 82 (17): 1556 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000363
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