Prenatal marijuana use can affect infant size and behavior, study finds

As regulations crack down on the dangers of cigarette smoke, a new study is warningSmoking during pregnancy has well-documented negative effects on birth weight in infants and is linked to several childhood health problems. Now, researchers at the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions have found that prenatal marijuana use also can have consequences on infants’ weight and can influence behavior problems, especially when combined with tobacco use.

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SciemceDaily. “Prenatal marijuana use can affect infant size, behavior, study finds” http://www.sciencedaily.com. 10 May 2018. Web. 7 June 2018.

More Parents Smoking Marijuana Around Children, Study Says

As regulations crack down on the dangers of cigarette smoke, a new study is warning that many parents are undoing all of this progress by exposing their children to secondhand marijuana smoke.

According to researchers from Columbia University, the number of cigarette-smoking parents who said they used marijuana increased from 11 percent in 2002 to over 17 percent in 2015. “Overall, cannabis use is much more common among cigarette-smoking parents versus nonsmokers, but it is increasing in both groups,” lead researcher Renee Goodwin said, via UPI.

The study adds that as tobacco laws increase, states have loosened the laws governing marijuana use. Dr. Karen Wilson says the ability for more parents to smoke pot legally could create a dangerous environment for children breathing in secondhand smoke. “We do suspect kids exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke, their nicotine receptors are primed to make them more susceptible to cigarette smoking,” Wilson said. “It’s too early to say whether the same is true for marijuana smoke.”

Whether marijuana smoke is as addictive as tobacco smoke may be up for debate, but the damage from inhaling it has already been studied. A recent study by biologist Matthew Springer found that marijuana smoke is three times worse for the arterial walls than cigarette smoke.

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CBS Denver. “More Parents Smoking Marijuana Around Children, Study Says” www.denver.cbslocal.com. 16 May 2018. Web. 5 June 2018.

Exposure to Advertisements and Marijuana Use Among US Adolescents

Hongying Dai, PhD

Introduction

This study examined whether exposure to marijuana advertisements was associated with current marijuana use and frequency of use among US adolescents in grades 8, 10, and 12.

Conclusion

Exposure to marijuana advertisements was associated with higher odds of current marijuana use among adolescents. Regulations that limit marijuana advertisements to adolescents and educational campaigns on harmfulness of illicit marijuana use are needed.

 To see the full details on the study, click here.

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National Center for Biotechnology Information. “Exposure to Advertisements and Marijuana Use Among US Adolescents” www.ncbi.gov. 30 November 2017. Web. 31 May 2018.

Marijuana recreational use and its dangers

Delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive that is a mind-altering ingredient in marijuana and is responsible for the majority of the effects of using marijuana. THC is a highly lipid soluble, which means that it can cross the blood-brain barrier and reside in certain body tissues for extended periods of time up to 30 days.

When looking at heavy recreational marijuana use, there are adverse effects on cardiovascular health in some individuals, including the development of new onset arrhythmia and even heart attacks. Additionally, heavy and or long-term marijuana use can have negative effects on certain neurologic functions, and these consequences have been reportedly quite long term, if not irreversible. Cognitively, marijuana may diminish the user’s ability to:

  • Reason.
  • Use short-term memory
  • Learn new tasks.

On a molecular level, marijuana affects the formation of new connections between neurons, which is essential to the cognitive tasks mentioned above.

Marijuana use at a young age, that is 18 years and below, is also correlated with episodes of psychosis later in life, and there has been historical mention in the literature of a possible “cannabis psychosis” that can accompany years of heavy use. The respiratory system may also be affected by marijuana abuse. Similar to tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke is a lung irritant.

From my experience as a psychiatrist, the use of marijuana increases the incidents of mental disorder. The benefits of use versus the risk of problems are incomparable. True, not everybody who uses it will become ill but you do not know your risk level. The recent move is regrettable. We will help those who need our help and more people will need marijuana detox and rehab services.

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The Herald. “Marijuana recreational use and its dangers” www.herald.co. 17 March 2018. Web. 29 May 2018.

Marijuana Use is Linked to Increased Suicide Risk

Daily marijuana use below age 18 is connected to 7x the risk of attempted suicide before age 30. In today’s world, students have challenges even if they don’t abuse substances.  Marijuana is the most likely drug of abuse for teens. Any substance abuse –marijuana, alcohol, opiates, other drugs, or a combination – generally makes the depression more difficult to overcome.

The town of Pueblo, Colorado has had an alarming trend of suicides among its teens, at least five this year. Although local officials link these deaths to bullying, Pueblo is infiltrated with marijuana and other drugs. Dr. Steven Simerville, head of pediatrics at a Pueblo hospital, has spoken about the connection between marijuana and teen suicide.   In October 2016, he said that all but one of teens who attempted suicide had THC in their toxicology reports.

Suicide rates in Colorado have reached all-time highs, according to a recent report by the Colorado Health Institute. Each one of Colorado’s 21 health regions had a suicide rate higher than the national average.

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Parents Opposed to Pot. “Marijuana Use is Linked to Increased Suicide Risk” www.poppot.org. 9 March 2018. Web. 24 May 2018.

Marijuana Involved in Fatal Crash in Fremont

The CHP is investigating a deadly collision involving five vehicles on Interstate 880 in Fremont that killed three people, including two juveniles. The CHP believes the driver who was responsible for the crash may have been under the influence of marijuana.

There was devastation after a five-vehicle crash left three people dead. The three of them were ejected from their Cadillac Escalade. Five others were inside the Escalade, including four children who were injured and taken to the hospital.

The CHP says it appears the three who died were not wearing their seatbelts.

CHP investigators believe 21-year-old Dang Tran of San Jose was responsible for the crash and driving under the influence of marijuana. Witnesses say Tran was speeding and driving his Toyota Camry erratically before the crash.

Tran faces several charges, including gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated as well as counts for DUI and causing bodily injury.

“The decision this person made to drive under the influence changed these people’s lives forever,” CHP Officer Manuel Leal added.

Compared to last year the CHP expects DUI marijuana arrests in the Bay Area will be up by 70 percent by the end of 2018

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ABC 7 News. “Teenager, 9-year-old among those killed in triple-fatal crash on I-880 in Fremont” www.abc7news.com. 16 May 2018. Web. 21 May 2018.

The PopPot Report on Child Deaths Directly Linked to Marijuana Use.

Use of pot creates victims, including children who die from neglect or violence when parents, mothers’ boyfriends or caregivers use pot. We have been tracking news reports of child abuse and neglect linked to marijuana since November 2012. The columns show official causes of death related to the caregivers’ marijuana use. We found news reports of 106 such deaths in 30 states; actual number could be much higher. Violent neglect includes marijuana DUI (11), guns (4) and pit bulls. The last column includes infants (9) who died shortly after birth.

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Parent Opposed to Pot. “The PopPot Report on Child Deaths Directly Linked to Marijuana Use.” www.poppot.org. 23 April 2018. Web. 17 May 2018.

A Perplexing Marijuana Side Effect Relieved by Hot Showers

By the time Thomas Hodorowski made the connection between his marijuana habit and the bouts of pain and vomiting, he had been to the emergency room dozens of times, tried anti-nausea drugs, anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants, endured an upper endoscopy procedure and two colonoscopies, seen a psychiatrist and had his appendix and gallbladder removed.

The only way to get relief for the nausea and pain was to take a hot shower. He often stayed in the shower for hours at a time and could be in and out of the shower for days. When the hot water ran out, “the pain was unbearable, like somebody was wringing my stomach out like a washcloth,” said the 28-year-old.

It was nearly 10 years until a doctor finally convinced him the diagnosis was cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, a condition that causes cyclic vomiting in heavy marijuana users and can be cured by quitting marijuana.

Until recently the syndrome was thought to be uncommon or even rare. But as marijuana use has increased, emergency room physicians say they have been seeing a steady flow of patients with the telltale symptoms.

“C.H.S. went from being something we didn’t know about and never talked about to a very common problem over the last five years,” said Dr. Eric Lavonas, director of emergency medicine at Denver Health and a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Authors of a study based on interviews at Bellevue Hospital in New York City estimated that up to 2.7 million of the 8.3 million Americans known to smoke marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis may suffer from at least occasional bouts of C.H.S.

The condition can be quite serious. One 33-year-old military veteran who asked not to be identified by name described bouts lasting up to 12 hours in which he felt “like a puffer fish with sharp spikes was inflating and driving spikes into my spine from both sides. I’ve broken bones, and this blew it out of the water.”

Patients often arrive at the hospital severely dehydrated from the combination of hot showers and the inability to keep food or liquids down, and that can lead to acute kidney injury, said Dr. Habboushe.

It’s unclear why marijuana can produce such discordant effects in some users. But Dr. Cecilia J. Sorensen, an emergency room doctor at University of Colorado Hospital at the Anschutz medical campus in Aurora, often tells patients that it’s similar to developing an allergy to a favorite food.

Getting the right diagnosis often takes a long time. The average patient makes seven trips to the emergency room, sees five doctors and is hospitalized four times before a definitive diagnosis is made, running up approximately $100,000 in medical bills, Dr. Sorensen’s study found.

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The New York Times. “A Perplexing Marijuana Side Effect Relieved by Hot Showers” www.nytimes.com. 5 April 2018. Web. 15 May 2018.

Arkansas man charged with aggravated DUI (including cannabis) following I-57 crash

CHAMPAIGN, IL. (WICS/WRSP) — An Arkansas man has been charged Wednesday by Illinois State Police in relation to one of the car accidents that occurred on I-57 Tuesday afternoon.

41-year-old Jess Plunkett, of Arkansas, was charged with two counts of Aggravated Driving Under the Influence of drugs, both class 4 felonies. He was arraigned Wednesday morning with bond set at $200,000.

Illinois State Police said Plunkett admitted to smoking cannabis and snorting crushed pills just hours before the crash occurred. Plunkett was driving a semi-truck around 2 p.m. that rear-ended three vehicles and the trailer of a semi-truck.

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Fox Illinois, WICS News Team. “Arkansas man charged with aggravated DUI (including cannabis) following I-57 crash” www.newschannel20.com. May 2018. Web. 10 May 2018.

 

Labs warn of dangerous, contaminated pot at dispensaries

Recreational cannabis is legal in California but is it safe? As of today, the State Bureau of Cannabis says there are just 57 labs statewide to test millions of pounds of weed and they can’t test it all yet.

According to the cannabis industry association, just 5-percent of cannabis products for sale in the state are tested for safety. And some experts believe as much as half the pot being grown is contaminated with potentially dangerous chemicals or bacteria.

“Pesticides are one of the things, but there are a variety of pathogenic molds and fungus that can also grow on cannabis. it can be dangerous to human beings, especially people who have compromised immune systems,” said [Steve] DeAngelo.

Up until now, pot agriculture has been unregulated. That changed January first. The state now requires testing for 66 pesticides, harmful chemicals, and dangerous fungi.

The state has given growers and sellers until July first to sell the pot they already have -without testing – raising concerns about what is safe.

“A very significant percentage of what we test, would fail in a regulated market,” added [Tony] Daniel.

Anthony Torres is a Senior Researcher at Steep Hill, he showed us a nasty mold covered petri dish and explained, “What I have here is a plated sample from cannabis that is contaminated with a few different types of fungus.”

“So – this looks pretty bad – right? Pretty bad growing on a plate, can you imagine what it would look like growing in your lungs?” he added.

Unfortunately, we may know what such an infection would look like. Doctors at U.C. Davis Medical Center in Sacramento believe a cancer patient died from a rare fungal infection last February. Researchers were able to trace the illness back to the pot that was supposed to make the patient feel better.

Even the chemicals that would have prevented those dangerous fungi from growing could harm you. Fungicides and pesticides that may be safe to use on food, may not be when they are smoked.

Torres explained that one of them is particularly bad, “Upon combustion, myclobutanil forms cyanide gas – which can make it into your bloodstream and it’s very toxic,” he said.

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Ken Miguel and Natasha Zouves. “Labs warn of dangerous, contaminated pot at dispensaries” www.abc7news.com. April 2018. Web. 8 May 2018.