News

Cannabis, ‘spice’ – better think twice

Marijuana is the most commonly abused drug in the world, and the advent of synthetic cannabinoids creates additional challenges to the society because of their higher potency and ability to escape drug detection screenings.  Scientists have a warning about a new danger coming from cannabinoid abuse.


Medical students not trained to prescribe medical marijuana

More than half of the states in the US now allow some type of legal marijuana use, primarily medical marijuana. But, in a survey of medical residents and deans at the nation’s medical schools, researchers have found that the majority of schools are not teaching their students about medical marijuana, and the majority of students don’t feel prepared to discuss the subject with patients.


Marijuana may produce psychotic-like effects in high-risk individuals

Marijuana may bring on temporary paranoia and other psychosis-related effects in individuals at high risk of developing a psychotic disorder, finds a preliminary study.


Reversing the negative effects of adolescent marijuana use

Researchers have identified a specific mechanism in the prefrontal cortex for some of the negative mental health risks associated with adolescent marijuana use. By demonstrating that adolescent THC exposure modulates the activity of a neurotransmitter called GABA in the prefrontal cortex region of the brain, they were also able to identify a mechanism to reverse those risks.


Do we need to reform international drug treaties as more countries legalize cannabis?

The future of international drug control treaties is in doubt because of recent treaty-violating decisions to legalize cannabis use in Canada, the United States and Uruguay. A professor, whose 2014 review of 20 years of cannabis research made world headlines, thinks so. If decriminalization is the way of the future, he advocates a cautious approach to policy reform that would involve trialing and evaluating the effects of incrementally more liberal drug policies.


CBD may protect against psychiatric risk from high-THC cannabis strains

A study by neuroscientists finds that a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis called cannabidiol, or CBD, appears to protect against the long-term negative psychiatric effects of THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.


Marijuana use amongst youth stable, but substance abuse admissions up

While marijuana use amongst youth remains stable, youth admission to substance abuse treatment facilities has increased.


Marijuana associated with three-fold risk of death from hypertension

Marijuana use is associated with a three-fold risk of death from hypertension, according to new research.


Muted stress response linked to long-term cannabis use

A new study reveals a dampened physiological response to stress in chronic cannabis users. This is the first study to examine the effects of acute stress on salivary cortisol levels in chronic cannabis users compared to non-users.


Pattern of marijuana use during adolescence may impact psychosocial outcomes in adulthood

A pattern of escalating marijuana use in adolescents is linked to higher rates of depression and lower educational accomplishments in adulthood.


Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation via cannabinoids

Chemical compounds called cannabinoids are found in marijuana and also are produced naturally in the body from omega-3 fatty acids. A well-known cannabinoid in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, is responsible for some of its euphoric effects, but it also has anti-inflammatory benefits. A new study in animal tissue reveals the cascade of chemical reactions that convert omega-3 fatty acids into cannabinoids that have anti-inflammatory benefits – but without the psychotropic high.


Depression among young teens linked to cannabis use at 18

Young people with chronic or severe forms of depression were at elevated risk for developing a problem with cannabis in later adolescence, found a study looking at the cumulative effects of depression in youth.


Canada should continue with separate medical stream after cannabis is legalized for recreational use: Study

After cannabis is legalized, Canada should continue with a separate medical cannabis stream to keep patients safe, argues a new commentary.


Closing medical marijuana dispensaries increases crime, according to new study

Contrary to popular belief, medical marijuana dispensaries (MMDs) reduce crime in their immediate areas, suggests a new report.


Scientists lay the groundwork for a reliable marijuana breathalyzer

An important step has been taken toward a reliable marijuana breathalyzer by measuring the vapor pressure of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — a measurement that, due to the compound’s chemical structure, is very difficult and has not been accomplished before.


Marijuana and vulnerability to psychosis

The link between marijuana use and psychotic-like experiences has been confirmed in a Canadian adolescent cohort.


Legal cannabis laws impact teen use

A new study has found that adolescents living in medical marijuana states with a plethora of dispensaries are more likely to have tried new methods of cannabis use, such as edibles and vaping, at a younger age than those living in states with fewer dispensaries.


Rates of marijuana use, heavy use, and cannabis use disorder depend on where you live

Adult marijuana use rose significantly in states that passed loosely regulated medical marijuana laws (MMLs) according to a new study. The highest increases were reported among adults ages 26 and over. Little change was found in past-month marijuana use among adolescents or young adults between the ages 18 and 25.


Marijuana use among college students on rise following Oregon legalization, study finds

College students attending an Oregon university are using more marijuana now that the drug is legal for recreational use, but the increase is largely among students who also report recent heavy use of alcohol, a new study has found.


Mixing booze, pot is a serious threat to traffic safety

Use of marijuana in combination with alcohol by drivers is especially dangerous, according to a study. Drivers who used alcohol, marijuana, or both were significantly more likely to be responsible for causing fatal two-vehicle crashes compared to drivers who were involved in the same crashes but used neither of the substances.


Why the marijuana and tobacco policy camps are on very different paths

New research looked at diverging trajectories of cannabis and tobacco policies in the US and attempts to explain some of the reasoning behind the different paths, while discussing possible implications.


Teen cannabis use and illicit drug use in early adulthood linked

Researchers have found regular and occasional cannabis use as a teen is associated with a greater risk of other illicit drug taking in early adulthood. The study also found cannabis use was associated with harmful drinking and smoking.


Low-dose THC can relieve stress; more does just the opposite

Low levels tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, does reduce stress, but in a highly dose-dependent manner, new research confirms.


Why pot-smoking declines, but doesn’t end, with parenthood

Adults who smoke marijuana often cut back after becoming parents — but they don’t necessarily quit. The influence of a significant other and positive attitudes toward the drug overall, in addition to the onset of parenthood, also are factors in whether someone uses marijuana.


Legalizing marijuana will harm health of youth in Canada, study shows

The Canadian federal government’s bill C-45 to legalize marijuana in Canada will jeopardize the health of young people and Parliament should vote against it, argues a new article.


Cannabidiol reduces seizures in children with severe epilepsy

Children with Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy, had fewer seizures after taking a daily oral solution of the cannabis compound called cannabidiol, which does not have the psychoactive properties of marijuana, results from a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial reveal.


Benefits of medical marijuana for treatment of epilepsy examined

Although cannabis had been used for many centuries for treatment of seizure disorders, medical use became prohibited in the 20th century. However, with the loosening of laws regarding medical marijuana, research and clinical use of marijuana-derived substances are increasing. This has prompted the publishing of an in-depth assessment of the potential of cannabinoids for the effective treatment of epilepsy. Cannabinoids are components of the cannabis plant.


A third of high school students ride with drivers who have been drinking

One in three high school students reports riding with a driver who has been drinking, while nearly one in five was in a car where the driver had consumed marijuana, according to a new study.


Trying new marijuana products and edibles is associated with unexpected highs

Unexpected highs are a consequence of using new marijuana products and edibles, products that have flooded the marijuana market since legalization of recreational marijuana use.


Marijuana use tied to poorer school performance

When high school students started smoking marijuana regularly they were less likely to get good grades and want to pursue university, according to a new study.


Cannabis reverses aging processes in the brain, study suggests

Memory performance decreases with increasing age. Cannabis can reverse these ageing processes in the brain. This was shown in mice by scientists at the University of Bonn with their colleagues at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel). Old animals were able to regress to the state of two-month-old mice with a prolonged low-dose treatment with a cannabis active ingredient. This opens up new options, for instance, when it comes to treating dementia.


ER visits related to marijuana use at a Colorado hospital quadruple after legalization

Visits by teens to a Colorado children’s hospital emergency department and its satellite urgent care centers increased rapidly after legalization of marijuana for commercialized medical and recreational use, according to new research.


Neuroscientists seek brain basis of craving in addiction and binge eating

A new article details the first step in revealing how craving works in the brain. Scientists have now proposed a quantitative model for drug addiction research. The model focuses on craving: the intense, urgent feeling of needing or wanting drugs. Their ongoing research and subsequent findings have the potential to open a new frontier of alcohol and substance abuse treatment.


Cannabis use in adolescence linked to schizophrenia

A new study points to cannabis as a trigger for schizophrenia. The research finds that smoking pot or using cannabis in other ways during adolescence may serve as a catalyst for schizophrenia in individuals already susceptible to the disorder.


Do medical marijuana laws promote illicit cannabis use and disorder?

Illicit cannabis use and cannabis use disorders increased at a greater rate in states that passed medical marijuana laws than in other states, according to latest research. The new study is among the first to analyze the differences in cannabis use and cannabis use disorders before and after states passed medical marijuana laws, as well as differentiate between earlier and more recent periods and additionally examine selected states separately.


Chili peppers and marijuana calm the gut, study suggests

You wouldn’t think chili peppers and marijuana have much in common. But when eaten, both interact with the same receptor in our stomachs, according to a new paper. The research could lead to new therapies for diabetes and colitis, and opens up intriguing questions about the relationship between the immune system, the gut and the brain.


Genetic factors may contribute to adverse effects produced by synthetic cannabinoids

Synthetic cannabinoid abuse is a growing problem in the US. New discoveries tied to genetic factors that increase a person’s risk for experiencing the most dangerous effects of these drugs could lead to more effective treatments and antidotes.


Risk of psychosis from cannabis use lower than originally thought, say scientists

Scientists have shown that the risk of developing psychosis, such as hallucinations, from cannabis use is small compared to the number of total users.


For young adults, cigarettes more pleasurable with alcohol than with pot

Young adults get more pleasure from smoking cigarettes while they are drinking alcohol than they do while using marijuana, according to a new American study.


Natural chemical helps brain adapt to stress

A natural signaling molecule that activates cannabinoid receptors in the brain plays a critical role in stress-resilience — the ability to adapt to repeated and acute exposures to traumatic stress.


Early use of marijuana can increase its negative health impacts

The need for age guidelines for marijuana use is the focus of a new study. The findings show that young users report the most impact to their physical and mental health.


Depression, alcohol, and marijuana linked to later use of synthetic marijuana among teens

In the first prospective study of synthetic cannabinoids or SCs — the group of chemicals that mimic the effects of marijuana — researchers have found that symptoms of depression, drinking alcohol, or using marijuana was linked to an increased risk of SC use one year later.


Marijuana use associated with increased risk of stroke, heart failure

Using marijuana raises the risk of stroke and heart failure even after accounting for demographic factors, other health conditions and lifestyle risk factors such as smoking and alcohol use, according to new research.


Cannabis use in people with epilepsy revealed: Australian survey

The first Australian nationwide survey on the experiences and opinions of medicinal cannabis use in people with epilepsy has revealed that 14 per cent of people with epilepsy have used cannabis products as a way to manage seizures. The study showed that of those with a history of cannabis product use, 90 per cent of adults and 71 per cent of parents of children with epilepsy reported success in managing seizures after commencing using cannabis products.


Consumption of alcohol and marijuana associated with lower GPA in college

College students who consume medium-to-high levels of alcohol and marijuana have a consistently lower GPA, according to a new study.


Pro-pot arguments fly higher with likely voters

As more states consider legalizing recreational marijuana, a range of arguments for and against legalization is swirling around the national conversation. Which of these arguments resonate most strongly with Americans? It’s the arguments that support legalization, according to a new study.


Given the choice, patients will reach for cannabis over prescribed opioids

Chronic pain sufferers and those taking mental health meds would rather turn to cannabis instead of their prescribed opioid medication, according to new research.


Lollipop or edible?

Pot brownies may be a thing of the past as there are new edible marijuana products, or edibles, on the market, including chocolates, candies, and cookies. These products are legally sold in Colorado and Washington, and according to a new study, changes to their labels are needed to ensure people know what they are consuming and that they are safely consuming the products.


How can marijuana policy protect the adolescent brain?

As more states begin to legalize the use of marijuana, more young people may believe that it’s safe to experiment with the drug. However, those under 25 are more vulnerable to the effects of drugs than are older adults. New legislation on legal marijuana use should include consideration of age limits and other guidelines for safe use, according to the authors of a new article.


Neurobiologist illuminates the underexplored potential of cannabis to address opioid addiction

Cannabinoids, extracts of cannabis legally sold as medical marijuana, could reduce cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms in heroin users, a number of animal studies and a small human pilot study have revealed.


So-called ‘synthetic marijuana’ linked to serious health problems

Synthetic marijuana compounds are marketed as safe, legal alternatives to marijuana that cannot be detected by standard drug testing, but these substances differ chemically from marijuana; are linked to dangerous side effects, including seizures, psychosis, dependence, and death; and are not safe substitutes, research shows.


Delaying marijuana smoking to age 17 cuts risks to teens’ brains, new study suggests

Adolescents who smoke marijuana as early as 14 do worse by 20 points on some cognitive tests and drop out of school at a higher rate than non-smokers. But if they hold off until age 17, they’re less at risk.


Cannabis: Non-addictive pathway to pain relief?

New research suggests an avenue for developing treatments for chronic pain that harness the medicinal properties of cannabis while minimizing the threat of addiction. Therapeutics that target the endocannabinoid system might produce pain relief with fewer side effects compared with opioids.


More older Americans using cannabis, underscoring need for research

Cannabis use among older adults in the US is on the rise, yet there is currently a lack of biomedical, clinical, and public health research to inform policy related to this trend, according to a new article.


Legal or not, marijuana can increase the risk of developing alcohol use disorders

Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) develop with time and in stages. Following the initiation of drinking, some people progress to problem drinking, and then develop a “cluster” of specific problems to comprise an AUD. However, not all stages of AUD development have been studied equally. This report examines high-risk families to understand underlying influences across multiple stages of AUD development.


Scrapping excessive neural connection helps build new connections

Neural activity that retracts excessive early innervation in a certain pathway helps make late neural connections in a different pathway, research has found. This may provide a self-organizing mechanism of neural connections, and additionally, early excessive innervation may serve as a guide for making late neural connections.


Pain relief without the high

Researchers have set ‘gold standards’ for developing new painkillers based on the medicinal effects of cannabis, but without some of its side effects.


Did teen perception, use of marijuana change after recreational use legalized?

Marijuana use increased and the drug’s perceived harmfulness decreased among eighth- and 10th-graders in Washington after marijuana was legalized for recreational use by adults but there was no change among 12th-graders or among students in the three grades in Colorado after legalization for adults there, according to a new study.


New research shows uptick in past-month marijuana use among women of reproductive age

The prevalence of past-month marijuana use among reproductive-aged women rose from 2.4 percent in 2002 to 3.9 percent in 2014, an increase of 62 percent. Past-month marijuana use was highest among those ages 18 to 25 years, reaching 7.5 percent in 2014, and significantly higher among those ages 26 to 44 years (2 percent).


Causal links between cannabis, schizophrenia: New evidence

People who have a greater risk of developing schizophrenia are more likely to try cannabis, according to new research, which also found a causal link between trying the drug and an increased risk of the condition.