Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Reblog] Follow Legalization of Marijuana and Implications on Public Health – #PubHT Chat 2/3

From the 2 February 2014 post at Public Health Talks

English: one high-quality "bud " nug...

English: one high-quality “bud ” nugget of marijuana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On January 1st, 2014, Colorado enacted a law that legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults. For long, discussions have gathered around the health risks involved with the legalization of marijuana.

Marijuana’s long term use can lead to addiction along with respiratory illnesses and cognitive impairment. The risks of addiction are most prominent amongst adolescents. The legalization of marijuana and its increased accessibility can lead to increased use and abuse of the drug. However, with decriminalizing the drug many see benefits arise.

#PubHT wants to discuss the public health implications of legalization of marijuana with you! Please join us on Monday, February 3 at 9 PM ET for a one hour discussion on this topic.

For more information on marijuana use visit:http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana
    Excepts from the publication

  • How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain?
    Marijuana overactivates the endocannabinoid system, causing the “high” and other effects that users experience. These effects include altered perceptions and mood, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and disrupted learning and memory.Marijuana also affects brain development, and when it is used heavily by young people, its effects on thinking and memory may last a long time or even be permanent.
  • What Are the Other Health Effects of Marijuana?

Marijuana use may have a wide range of effects, particularly on cardiopulmonary and mental health.

Marijuana smoke is an irritant to the lungs, and frequent marijuana smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems experienced by tobacco smokers, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illness, and a heightened risk of lung infections.

  • Is Marijuana Medicine?

Many have called for the legalization of marijuana to treat conditions including pain and nausea caused by HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other conditions, but clinical evidence has not shown that the therapeutic benefits of the marijuana plant outweigh its health risks.

However, THC-based drugs to treat pain and nausea are already FDA approved and prescribed, and scientists continue to investigate the medicinal properties of other chemicals found in the cannabis plant—such as cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound that is being studied for its effects at treating pain, pediatric epilepsy, and other disorders. For more information, see DrugFacts – Is Marijuana Medicine?

  • Additionally, because it seriously impairs judgment and motor coordination, marijuana contributes to risk of injury or death while driving a car. A recent analysis of data from several studies found that marijuana use more than doubles a driver’s risk of being in an accident.
  • Research shows marijuana may cause problems in daily life or make a person’s existing problems worse. Heavy marijuana users generally report lower life satisfaction, poorer mental and physical health, more relationship problems, and less academic and career success compared to non-marijuana-using peers. For example, marijuana use is associated with a higher likelihood of dropping out of school. Several studies also associate workers’ marijuana smoking with increased absences, tardiness, accidents, workers’ compensation claims, and job turnover.

[Letter to editor] Legalizing marijuana and preventing youth pot use

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February 3, 2014 Posted by | Health Education (General Public) | , , , , | Leave a comment

Cannabis Does Not Reduce Pain, It Makes It More Bearable

English: Tetrahydrocannabinol; THC; Marinol-ak...

English: Tetrahydrocannabinol; THC; Marinol-aka mary jane. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the 24 December 2012 article at Medical News Today

 

Using cannabis for pain relief does help, however, it makes pain more bearable rather than getting rid of it, researchers from Oxford University’s Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB) reported in the journal Pain.

The authors added that people in pain act differently to cannabis, according to their brain imaging study.

The principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis is called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The researchers found that when volunteers took oral tablets of THC, they tended to find the experience of pain more tolerable. There was no evidence that THC reduced pain intensity.

Several studies have found that cannabis is associated with some kind of improvement in pain symptoms. Researchers from McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and McGill University reported in CMAJ in 2010 that patients with chronic neuropathic pain experienced pain relief, improved mood and better quality sleep after smoking cannabis.

Scientists from Imperial College London found that Cannador, another cannabis plant extract, effectively relives pain after major surgery. They reported their findings in the journalAnerthesiology.
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Read the entire article here

 

 

December 27, 2012 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Fake Marijuana’ Users Showing Up in Emergency Rooms

HealthDay news image

Called ‘K2’ or ‘Spice,’ the drug is legal in many states

From a November 11, 2010 Health Day news item

THURSDAY, Nov. 11 –(HealthDay News) — A form of synthetic marijuana known as “K2” is sending young people to the hospital with racing heart beats, extreme anxiety and hallucinations, toxicologists warn.

In recent months, physicians and toxicologists say more young people have been showing up in emergency rooms after smoking synthetic marijuana. Despite the side effects, K2 is legal in many states, although many state legislators are rushing to pass legislation banning it.

Since the start of 2010, the American Association of Poison Control Centers has received nearly 2,000 reports of people who became ill after smoking K2, compared to about a dozen in 2009. Poison control officials described some of the symptoms as “life-threatening.”

K2 is often marketed as incense and sold in packets of herbs laced with synthetic marijuana at “head shops,” gas stations, convenience stores and online for about $30 to $40 per three-gram bag. The drug also goes by other names, including Spice, Spice Gold, Spice Diamond, Yucatan Fire, Solar Flare, K2 Summit, Genie, PEP Spice, and Fire n Ice, according to the U.S. Drug Intelligence Center.

While people who smoke K2 think they’re going to experience deep relaxation and euphoria, those who end up in the hospital report unpleasant experiences, said Dr. Anthony Scalzo, medical director of the Missouri Poison Center and chief of toxicology at St. Louis University.

“The classic symptoms are agitation, anxiety, racing heart beat, elevated blood pressure,” Scalzo said. “And some kids are having very negative psychotropic experiences. One said, ‘I felt like I went down to hell’.”

In some cases, the drug also causes vomiting, tremors and seizures, according to federal drug abuse agencies….

…The chemical makeup of the drug, which he called JWH-018 and JWH-073, was similar to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, only considerably more potent.

While THC is a cannabinoid, it’s one of many, Huffman said. There are many other substances that interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and other organs, Huffman said….

…SOURCES: Anthony Scalzo, M.D., chief of toxicology, St. Louis University, St. Louis, Mo.; John Huffman, Ph.D., research professor, organic chemistry, Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.

 

 


November 14, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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