Archive for category Marijuana Use and Abuse

Long-term Memory of Adults Linked To Heavy Marijuana Use During Adolescence

The hippocampus is the human brain’s storage for long-term memory, and was recently found by scientists to be one of the casualties of heavy cannabis use by teenagers.

marijuana memory loss teenager useThis discovery was based on a study by researchers from the Northwestern Medicine who conducted memory tests on young adults who took marijuana for about three years starting at age 16 to 17. Results of the study showed that these individuals fared 18 percent worse in tests that assessed long-term memory, compared to those who did not engage in marijuana abuse.

Study senior author Dr. John Csernansky, who works at the university’s Feinberg School of Medicine as head of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, said that marijuana use may lead people to serious repercussions not only to memory but also to relationships. “The memory processes that appear to be affected by cannabis are ones that we use every day to solve common problems and to sustain our relationships with friends and family,” Csernansky said in a news statement.

The study discovered that part of the reason behind the disruption of memory storage is the abnormal shape of the hippocampus in people engaging in chronic marijuana use. This was confirmed by lead study author Matthew Smith, based on not only the current study but also an earlier one. “Both our recent studies link the chronic use of marijuana during adolescence to these differences in the shape of brain regions that are critical to memory and that appear to last for at least a few years after people stop using it,” Smith said. Although further studies are needed to prove a direct causality of marijuana to create brain changes, Smith added that the team’s study is already proof that “marijuana may be the cause.”

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More Than Half of Pregnant Teenagers Use Drugs and Alcohol

Pregnancy is a highly sensitive condition for many women, but a large proportion of teenage pregnancies are jeopardized by use of alcohol and drugs.

drinking and smoking pregnant womanThis was reported by a recent study by The University of Texas (UT) at Austin, in which Christopher Salas-Wright and a team of researchers investigated a possible link between teenage pregnancy and substance abuse. The research team discovered that 59 percent of pregnant teenagers have used drugs or alcohol for the past 12 months. It also revealed that 34 percent of pregnant adolescents aged 12 to 14 used controlled substances in the past 30 days prior to the survey. Details of the study were published in the Addictive Behaviors’ Spring 2015 edition.

The study used data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2002 to 2012, specifically on teenage girls 12 to 17 years old. Out of the representative sample of 97,850 female adolescents, 810 of them declared that they were with child. Questions from the survey included use of illicit substances such as cocaine, marijuana, opiates, methamphetamines, and alcohol.

According to a news release by UT, alcohol tops the most commonly used substances by pregnant teens, pegged at 16 percent. Cannabis and other illicit substances follow suit at 14 and 5 percent, respectively.

Salas-Wright, an assistant professor at UT, said that their study was the largest research on teenage pregnancy and substance use. The team emphasized the importance of information to prevent substance use by pregnant teens. “Mothers’ substance use during pregnancy can have important consequences for the health and development of newborn babies. Despite efforts to prevent substance use among pregnant teens, our findings suggest that we still have a lot of work to do,” said Salas-Wright.

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Colorado Teen With Cerebral Palsy Denied Medical Marijuana Use In School

Although the state of Colorado allows medical marijuana distribution to patients with prescriptions, a recent incident highlights some restrictions to the bill.

cannabis oilOfficials at Everitt Middle School confiscated medical marijuana from a teenager diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Fourteen-year-old student Jack Linn was allowed prescription of medical marijuana (in the form of cannabis oil) for his condition, but bringing it in school premises is not allowed by the school officials.

The school’s administration staff based its decision on federal law, which prohibits marijuana to be brought to schools and educational institutions. The confiscation occurred when Linn was found being treated with marijuana oil by his personal nurse on school grounds.

Stacey Linn, the teen’s mother, was furious with the incident, but blames the incorrect policy rather than the school implementing such federal restriction. “It’s outrageous. I’m not going to blame the school because they’re following a policy. I blame the policy. It scares me to death that medicine can be taken away from him. Medicine that saves his life,” Linn’s mother said in a news release.

The principal of Everitt Middle School said they will abide with federal law to avoid risk of losing financial support from the federal government.

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Beware of Marijuana Candy During Halloween Trick or Treat

Marijuana-infused candy definitely takes the cake as far as “trick or treat” is concerned.

Although the state of Colorado has pretty much embraced marijuana in its culture, the Denver Police Department recently issued a warning to parents about marijuana edibles disguised as candies for Halloween trick or treat. The police department released a video warning about Haloween marijuana edibles via YouTube:

Responsible owners of marijuana dispensaries support this campaign by Denver Police, stating the near-impossibility of identifying a marijuana candy from a regular sweet treat. “Once that candy dries, there’s really no way to tell the difference between candy that’s infused and candy that’s not infused,” according to marijuana retail owner Patrick Johnson as published in Time. “There’s really no way for a child or a parent or anybody, even an expert in the field, to tell you whether or not a product is infused or not.”

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Drive High, Get A DUI: Colorado Releases Funny Marijuana Impaired Driving PSA

While marijuana is all the rage in Colorado, there’s nothing funny about being under the influence while driving.

That’s why the Department of Transportation in Colorado released a series of public service announcements (PSA) to highlight the adverse effects of driving while under the influence of marijuana. The videos are part of the campaign entitled “Drive High, Get A DUI,” which pokes fun at the real threat of marijuana-impaired driving.

Here’s a funny ad of a man mounting a TV on the wall while high on pot:

You can watch the two other PSAs here and here, both of which are humorous depictions of people high on marijuana but are advised not to drive.

Despite the legality of recreational marijuana in Colorado, the state upholds the safety of its citizens by reminding them of responsible use of marijuana, especially when driving.

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Students Likely To Drop Out of School Due To Marijuana Use

If you are not yet startled by marijuana abuse by kids, this bit of news might shake your mindset and apathy.

legalize_marijuana_mainJust a few weeks after research by New York University revealed the effect of alcohol and marijuana on high school seniors, a recent study showed that teenagers have a 60 percent likelihood to drop out of school when they use marijuana on a daily basis. According to the University of South Wales National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre in Australia, the results of their study could be used as a framework to reconsider legalizing marijuana.

The study based its findings on three earlier researches covering about 3,700 individuals, and looked into the behaviors and academic achievements of the respondents in cross reference to their drug use until they reached 30 years of age.

Study lead author Dr. Edmund Silins emphasized the importance of their study to government decisions in marijuana legalization measures. “The findings are timely given movement in some states in the US and Latin America to decriminalise marijuana, and there is also a movement here in Australia to decriminalise and legalise the drug for medicinal use,” said Dr. Silins in a news release. “Because our study has shown the potential harms of adolescent use, particularly heavy use, policy makers must be aware of this and reform efforts should be carefully considered to protect against this.”

Aside from the scholastic effect of marijuana on teens, the illicit drug was also linked to higher tendency to commit suicide and try other illegal substances.

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