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Misuse of Marijuana among teens in legal states, Research finds

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teens who consume cannabis

A new research, conducted by the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health found out that misuse of cannabis among teens and adults doubled after legalization of recreational use of cannabis. The study was conducted in JAMA Psychiatry on both use and abuse of cannabis. Many states have legalized marijuana for recreational and medicinal use.

The researchers found that misuse of cannabis among teens aged 12-17 was 25% higher in comparison to states without legalization of recreational use. Frequent use increased by 23%, while problematic use increased by 37%. There was no difference found in frequent or problematic use among people aged 18-25.

The study’s main author Magdelena Cerda said that there are many benefits of legalizing cannabis use. He suggested  “Our findings suggest that as more states move toward legalizing marijuana for recreational use, we also need to think about investing in substance use prevention and treatment to prevent unintended harms—particularly among adolescents.”

Cerda and colleagues analyzed data from the first 4 states to legalize recreational use of marijuana before and after legalization. They compared the results and examined the use and misuse in the past month and over the past year. The respondents were classified by symptoms based DSM-IV criteria.

Silvia S. Martins, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and senior author of this study said that prolonged use of cannabis in early age can lead to long term consequences on health. The researchers also conducted a sensitivity analysis as higher potency cannabis products are available in the illegal market. It was concluded that more research needs to be done. Silvia S. Martins explained “Given our findings on problematic use across age groups, legalization efforts should coincide with prevention and treatment. The general public should be informed about both benefits and potential harms of marijuana products to make informed decisions.”

 

There were limitations in conducting this study. The first one being that not all the people who use marijuana came forward. The second being frequent use of cannabis and use disorders are only 2 aspects. According to Cerda and colleagues, further research should be conducted to find THC potency in marijuana products and a more comprehensive assessment should be done.

Cerda and Martin’s team of researchers include other highly qualified people Christine Mauro, Ava HamiltonNatalie S. Levy, Julian Santaella-Tenorio, Deborah Hasin, Melanie M. Wall,  and Katherine M. Keyes.

Funding for the study was provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse grant.

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Cannabis

How To Make The Ideal Cannabis And Coffee Pairing

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Coffee and cannabis, how to make the ideal combination

Coffee and cannabis may not immediately seem like good bedfellows. After all, the two bear strikingly dissimilar histories and cultural images. The word ‘coffee’ brings to mind a warm, cozy, family-friendly beverage for the earnest workers. Yet unfortunately, cannabis had, up until recently, received the label as the drug of choice of the undesirables. However, an educated mind knows that both products should not bear judgment solely according to cultural propaganda. And together, these two products form an underrated, flavorful experience.

The rationale behind this, as believed by an increasing number of connoisseurs, deals with the diversity of both. There simply doesn’t exist a single monolithic taste of coffee, and neither in the case of marijuana. Many modern fans of weed eagerly spend hours devising up ideal ratios and combinations to achieve the optimal high. Conversely, just as many avid coffee enthusiasts worldwide spend large sums on imported coffee strains hoping to achieve something similar.

As more and more fans of both discover, a good cup of coffee can often complement a joint well. And keep in mind that we don’t just mean any old, stinky hash doobie with a poor cup of cheap, processed instant coffee. When it comes to weed, factors like the terpene-profile come into play in complex ways. Indeed, the list we show you below takes the very best of both into consideration. This means that after a long day, you too can unwind with a sensual, decadent dive into colliding world’s of flavor.

The main points to know when it comes to understanding the flavor of cannabis still don’t scratch the surface. As with any product, complex biochemistry determines the extent of every unique terpene scent or flavor. Regardless, having some level of entry-level understanding will still set one apart from the casual consumer.

The key to pairing a particular cannabis product to a specific coffee type lies in understanding the natures of both

No one would ever recommend drinking a shot of tequila while eating something spicy. Likewise, the appeal of pineapple on pizza lies in the way the sweetness interplays with the tanginess of the pizza sauce. As with these, cannabis and coffee pair together accordingly. Feel free to modify and adjust as per individual taste. There just isn’t a gold standard when it comes to flavors as non-discrete as these.

So now that we have covered the essentials, it’s time to transition from theory to practical application. Don’t ever be afraid to get creative, but feel free to use the following as rough guides. And of course, these are merely a few examples of limitless possibilities. Here goes nothing!

‘Chemdog’ and Costa Rican

The former stands apart from the rest due to its strong citric-peppery scent. This should definitely make things interesting when matched with a hot cup of Costa Rican. That coffee gives off mild flavors, pleasantly sour and sweet. Hence together they will provide an experience akin to a nice slice of pumpkin pie. The devil’s in the details.

‘Zkittlez’ and Columbian

Don’t let the silly name fool you. This linalool terpene laced weed provides subtle tastes of lavender and bears a flowery scent. Columbian coffee, with its sweet, earthy tastes would enhance the sweetness. This combination surely makes the user elated and giddy from the aroma.

‘Forbidden Fruit’ and Ethiopian

The name comes off as sensual, and the flavor bears hints of raspberry and grapefruit, with noticeable terpene scents. Ethiopian coffee, like the aforementioned weed, comes off as strongly scented and aromatic. Unmistakable undertones of fruitiness and sweet flavor abound, so this is practically a match made in heaven.

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The Unsettled Science On The Effect of Cannabis On COVID-19

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COVID-19 and cannabis usage leaves mixed data

Cannabis certainly made its mark upon the medical world within the past few decades. Historically shunned, and dismissed as a cheap drug, weed now bears its own therapeutic prowess. Researchers, healthcare experts and experienced users alike all testify to its claimed health benefits and properties. Even when it comes to the terrible COVID-19 pandemic, cannabis gets talked about and undergoes consideration fairly frequently.

However, scientists admit the matter of just how useful cannabis is for use in COVID-19 patients stumps them. Unlike the concept of gravity or climate change, there exists no consensus. Some argue the drug holds several positive health effects, while others that it may worsen symptoms. So, all in all, cannabis still comprises of widely-polarizing evidence that only serves to increase mistrust in it.

Recent studies highlight marked benefits to cannabis when used to treat COVID-19

One of the most exciting, and high-profile, studies that showcase cannabis’s therapeutic potential is this Israeli one. Eybna and CannaSoul, two collaborating cannabis companies, recently launched a joint study into cannabis terpenes and coronavirus. Terpenes, small molecules of organic nature naturally present in the cannabis plant, create the distinct scent of weed. This study found that terpenes proved an effective treatment for COVID-19 patients with ‘cytokine storm’.

Cytokine storm refers to a serious feared complication seen in some younger patients infected with COVID-19. Normally, the body releases cytokines as mediators of immune response. Thus, moderate levels of cytokines play a vital role in immunity. However, in some patients the immune system flares up so severely that excess cytokines release into the blood. This phenomenon leads to inflammation, fever, gastrointestinal disturbances, respiratory issues and even death. Hence, the study’s findings proved game-changing, and even seemed more effective than dexamethasone.

However, evidence also shows cannabis intake may severely hinder essential immune responses

Despite the previous study, scientists also investigate the side-effects of cannabis use and links to COVID-19. They found recently that cannabis may hinder immune responses even in uninfected patients. This is best explained by the way weed works on the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates sleep, immunity and other functions. Because combating infections requires an initial surge in immune response, cannabis users may make themselves more open to coronavirus infections.

Furthermore, a recent study that called into question cannabis’s negative effects in immunotherapy patients. To treat certain cancers, immunotherapy seeks to destroy cancerous cells. And ideally, the body’s innate immune cells should take as little damage as possible. Unfortunately, given marijuana’s tendency to reduce immunity, users on immunotherapy get weakened results. Hence, researchers now suggest users with suspected COVID-19 symptoms hold off on the pot.

Despite mixed results with treating COVID-19, medicinal cannabis still holds a wide array of therapeutic benefits

Let’s face it, cannabis still doesn’t get the attention and respect it deserves. In the medical field, however, it gets harder to ignore weed’s influence and popularity. Dentists and surgeons now use it for post-operation recoveries due to its painkilling effects. Its ability to smooth out brain waves makes it ideal for juvenile seizure patients. And lastly, what better drug to ease anxiety and depression patients?

So therefore, it seems a minor side effect of COVID-19 may leave users unsafe. As experts recommend, abstaining just until the COVID-19 vaccine comes out might prove safe. In the meantime, let’s hope more and more healthcare providers turn to prescribing cannabis where appropriate.

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Exposure to Marijuana during pregnancy linked to mental disorders in children

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Children born to expectant mothers who used marijuana during pregnancy are at a higher risk of developing mental disorders. The results were discovered in a recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry which analysed around 11,489 children for research purposes. The spectrum of disorders included a number of problems like autism, psychotic-like behaviors, and ADHD among many others.

The children were part of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study which is considered as the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the United States.

Findings of the study

Out of the 11,489 children who were studied, almost 655 were exposed to marijuana during their gestational period. The negative effects were magnified in women who continued using marijuana through out their pregnancy and also while breastfeeding their infants. “Use of cannabis despite knowledge of pregnancy might represent a preexisting and more severe form of cannabis use,” the authors wrote.

Marijuana usage and Mental Disorders

The increased decriminalization and evolving legal acceptance of marijuana is leading to an escalation in its usage rates.

Compounds in marijuana bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and induce side-effects like intoxication, euphoria and cognitive delays. This is the main reason for its classification as a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level in the United States. For states where it is considered legal, the medicinal benefits attached to some of its non-psychoactive compounds are valued above the side-effects.

In general, the risks of addiction and other associated side-effects increase with the concentration of THC (psychoactive compound). The negative consequences can be more detrimental if the exposure happens at an earlier developmental age. This is why the incidence of marijuana use and mental disorders is higher for children who get exposed to it in the womb.

According to a research published by U.S Surgeon General Jerome Adams, the concentration of compounds in marijuana have changed overtime. The marijuana available today is much more stronger and THC concentrated as compared to what it was earlier. THC concentration in marijuana crops has increased by three-folds between 1995 and 2014.

In addition, according to his research, marijuana products sold in legal dispensaries may contain THC concentrations ranging between 17.7% to 23.2%. This is separate from the other class of concentrated products that are exclusively designed for recreational use. These products tend to contain between 23.7% to 75.9%  concentration levels of THC in them.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has reported that the usage rates of marijuana had more than doubled between 2002 and 2017 among pregnant women. Most of this use was recreational rather than medicinal in nature.  Surprisingly, there are mothers who used marijuana because they considered it safer as compared to prescription medications.

Side-effects of marijuana on fetal development

THC affects the fetal brain via the mother’s bloodstream. It disrupts the mother’s endocannabinoid system, affecting fetal brain development. Outcomes of this early exposure to dangerous levels of THC and leads to anxiety, agitation and psychosis in children.

Some newborns exposed to marijuana have also reportedly experienced withdrawal symptoms including tremors, crying and sleep deprivation. Furthermore, some of the risks during gestation include lower birth weight, preterm labor and increased risk of miscarriages.

In addition to this, studies conducted by Duke University Medical Center have shown a clear link between autism and marijuana. It was a first study to highlight the changes in sperm genes that occur with a man’s cannabis intake. These changes in the sperm of marijuana users have been found to trigger autism in their offspring.

Effect of marijuana exposure later in life of children

According to Dr. Compton there is enough retrospective data to show an association between marijuana usage and the onset of psychotic symptoms. “Adolescent/premorbid marijuana use is not only a risk factor for the later development of primary psychotic disorders (which has been shown in prior studies), but is also a risk factor for an earlier onset of those disorders.”

Can the damage be controlled?

Camille Hoffman, MD, MSCS, is an associate professor of maternal- fetal medicine in University of Colorado School of Medicine. He has conducted a detailed study on the negative effects of marijuana on fetal development. His studies have found that maternal marijuana use begins to negatively impact the fetal brain at an earlier stage in pregnancy. However, some dietary measures can help to curtail these damages. “We also found that eating choline-rich foods or taking choline as a supplement may protect the child from potential harm.”

 

 

 

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