What's the Rush, RI?

Advocating for Evidence Based Marijuana Policy

Homeless in Marijuana Country: A Walk up Denver’s Stoner Hill

Homeless in Marijuana Country: A Walk up Denver’s Stoner Hill

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Cannabis use associated with reduced dopamine release

Heavy cannabis use associated with reduced dopamine release in brain: Effect similar to other addictions.

Source:  Columbia University Medical Center: 
“Heavy cannabis use associated with reduced dopamine release in brain: Effect similar to other addictions.” ScienceDaily. 14 April 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160414214826.htm>.

ScienceDaily Summary:
Evidence of a compromised dopamine system has been found in heavy users of marijuana. Lower dopamine release was found in the striatum — a region of the brain that is involved in working memory, impulsive behavior, and attention. Previous studies have shown that addiction to other drugs of abuse, such as cocaine and heroin, have similar effects on dopamine release, but such evidence for cannabis was missing until now.

What’s the Rush, Research and Analysis Team Note:
Researchers also that in all participants lower dopamine release was associated with worse performance on learning and working memory tasks.  Heavy use was defined as daily for seven years beginning at age 16.

Journal Reference:
E van de Giessen, J J Weinstein, C M Cassidy, M Haney, Z Dong, R Ghazzaoui, N Ojeil, L S Kegeles, X Xu, N P Vadhan, N D Volkow, M Slifstein, A Abi-Dargham. Deficits in striatal dopamine release in cannabis dependenceMolecular Psychiatry, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/mp.2016.21

Cannabis Exposure Affects Fetal Growth Trajectories

Marijuana, the most common illicit substance used during pregnancy, can reduce birthweight by an average of 15 ounces over the course of a full term pregnancy. The 2009 study conducted in the Netherlands among 7,500 mothers was  Researchers also found a statistically significant reduction in head circumference.

The abstract and entire article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatric and Adolescent Psychiatry can be found at:  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890856709660731

MJ use during pregnancy linked to lower birth weights, increased need for postnatal intensive care and increased maternal anemia.

A meta-analysis of 24 related studies published April 5, 2016 indicates that babies born to mothers who use marijuana during pregnancy are 77% more likely to be born underweight; that twice as many will require postnatal intensive care; and that 36% of their mothers will develop anemia.  This study suggests that the public health impacts and costs of marijuana use would be much higher than proponents of legalization for recreational purposes have asserted.

The study, conducted by the University of Arizona School of Epidemiology published in the on line journal BMJ is available at http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/4/e009986.

 

High-Potency Cannabis Linked to Brain Damage, Experts Warn

High-Potency Cannabis Linked to Brain Damage, Experts Warn

by Liam Davenport
Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health, December 15, 2015

WTR-RI Research & Analysis Team Comment:

This study, Effect of high-potency cannabis on corpus callosum microstructure was conducted by Silvia Rigucci, MD, Department of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Sensory Organs, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy in collaboration with colleagues at the Department of Psychosis Studies, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, London, UK.

Results indicate that regular use of today’s high potency strains of marijuana “is associated with disturbed callosal microstructure organization in individuals with and without psychosis”. (see abstract at http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=10044996&fulltextType=RA&fileId=S0033291715002342)

As the Medscape summary article notes, “Smoking high-potency, or “skunk”-like, cannabis may cause white matter damage in the corpus callosum, thus interfering with communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain …” (see summary at article at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/855971?nlid=93987_2051&src=wnl_edit_medn_psyc&uac=238333HT&spon=12&impID=924712&faf=1#vp_1).

 

Medical marijuana should be held to same standard as other drugs.

Medical marijuana should be held to same standard as other drugs, pharmacist says

Source:
University at Buffalo. (2015, November 10). Medical marijuana should be held to same standard as other drugs, pharmacist says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 12, 2015 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151110171602.htm
ScienceDaily Summary:
Medical marijuana needs to be studied like any other drug. No one is opposed to the active ingredients in it, but we need to have some data. That is what we would expect from any other drug, an expert says.

Biology of Addiction: Drugs and Alcohol Can Hijack Your Brain

Biology of Addiction:
Drugs and Alcohol Can Hijack Your Brain

Source:  National Institute of Health Newsletter October 2015

https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/oct2015/feature1

“People with addiction lose control over their actions. They crave and seek out drugs, alcohol, or other substances no matter what the cost—even at the risk of damaging friendships, hurting family, or losing jobs. What is it about addiction that makes people behave in such destructive ways? And why is it so hard to quit?”

WTR-RI Research and Analysis Team Note:
This brief, readable and non-technical one page article is an excellent primer on the current state of knowledge on the any addictive substance gains control of the brain.  It is especially helpful in understanding the special vulnerability of adolescent brains (through age 25 to 28) to these substances. 

Teen marijuana use increasing again since 2009 but down overall since 1999.

Teen marijuana use down despite greater availability

Concerns abound over whether laws legalizing pot for medical, recreational use will get drug into hands of more young people

Source:
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2015, September 15). Teen marijuana use down despite greater availability: Concerns abound over whether laws legalizing pot for medical, recreational use will get drug into hands of more young people. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2015 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150915141045.htm

ScienceDaily Summary:
Marijuana use among American high school students is significantly lower today than it was 15 years ago, despite the legalization in many states of marijuana for medical purposes, a move toward decriminalization of the drug and the approval of its recreational use in a handful of places, new research suggests.
Journal Reference:

  1. Renee M. Johnson, Brian Fairman, Tamika Gilreath, Ziming Xuan, Emily F. Rothman, Taylor Parnham, C. Debra M. Furr-Holden. Past 15-year trends in adolescent marijuana use: Differences by race/ethnicity and sexDrug and Alcohol Dependence, 2015; DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.08.025

Daily marijuana use among U.S. college students highest since 1980

Daily marijuana use among U.S. college students highest since 1980

Source:
University of Michigan. (2015, September 1). Daily marijuana use among U.S. college students highest since 1980. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2015 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150901095321.htm
ScienceDaily Summary:
Daily marijuana use among the nation’s college students is on the rise, surpassing daily cigarette smoking for the first time in 2014.

WTR-RI Research and Analysis Note:
This analysis of trends in the Monitoring the Future Study data includes trends in prescription   drug, opiates, cocaine, alcohol and several other abusive substance categories.  The full report is available online at: http://monitoringthefuture.org/pubs/monographs/mtf-vol2_2014.pdf


 

Teens with medical marijuana cards much likelier to say they’re addicted

Teens with medical marijuana cards much likelier to say they’re addicted, but few teens have them

Source:
University of Michigan. (2015, July 23). Teens with medical marijuana cards much likelier to say they’re addicted, but few teens have them. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2015 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150723140207.htm
ScienceDaily Summary:
Teens using marijuana for medical reasons are 10 times more likely to say they are hooked on marijuana than youth who get marijuana illegally, a new study shows. The study is the first to report on a nationally representative sample of 4,394 high school seniors and their legal or illegal medical marijuana use as it relates to other drug use. In the study, 48 teens had medical marijuana cards, but 266 teens used medical marijuana without a card.

Journal Reference:

  1. Carol J. Boyd, Philip T. Veliz, Sean Esteban McCabe. Adolescents’ Use of Medical Marijuana: A Secondary Analysis of Monitoring the Future DataJournal of Adolescent Health, 2015; 57 (2): 241 DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.04.008

 

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