Cannabis/PsychedelicTeen1

Teen cannabis use is not without risk to cognitive development

October 3, 2018

Science Daily/Université de Montréal

A new study confirms that cannabis use is related to impaired and lasting effects on adolescent cognitive development.

 

Although studies have shown that alcohol and cannabis misuse are related to impaired cognition in youth, previous studies were not designed to understand this relationship and differentiate whether cannabis use was causal or consequential to cognitive impairment. A new study by researchers at CHU Sainte-Justine and Université de Montréal, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, shows that beyond the role of cognition in vulnerability to substance use, the concurrent and lasting effects of adolescent cannabis use can be observed on important cognitive functions and appear to be more pronounced than those observed for alcohol.

 

Beyond acute intoxicating effects, alcohol and cannabis misuse has been associated with impairments in learning, memory, attention and decision-making, as well as with lower academic performance. "While many studies have reported group differences in cognitive performance between young users and non-users, what had yet to be established was the causal and lasting effects of teen substance use on cognitive development," said co-author and PhD student at Université de Montréal, Jean-François G. Morin. Senior author and investigator Dr. Patricia Conrod, from the Department of Psychiatry at Université de Montréal, added that "very few studies are designed to look at this question from a developmental perspective. Our study is unique in that it followed a large sample of high school students from 7th to 10th grade using cognitive and substance-use measures. Using this big-data approach, we were able to model the complex nature of the relationship between these sets of variables."

 

To understand the relationship between alcohol, cannabis use and cognitive development among adolescents at all levels of consumption (abstinent, occasional consumer or high consumer), the research team followed a sample of 3,826 Canadian adolescents over a period of four years. Using a developmentally sensitive design, the authors investigated relationships between year-to-year changes in substance use and cognitive development across a number of cognitive domains, such as recall memory, perceptual reasoning, inhibition and working memory. Multi-level regression models were used to simultaneously test vulnerability and concurrent and lasting effects on each cognitive domain. The study found that vulnerability to cannabis and alcohol use in adolescence was associated with generally lower performance on all cognitive domains.

 

"However, further increases in cannabis use, but not alcohol consumption, showed additional concurrent and lagged effects on cognitive functions, such as perceptual reasoning, memory recall, working memory and inhibitory control," Conrod said. "Of particular concern was the finding that cannabis use was associated with lasting effects on a measure of inhibitory control, which is a risk factor for other addictive behaviours, and might explain why early onset cannabis use is a risk factor for other addictions." Morin added: "Some of these effects are even more pronounced when consumption begins earlier in adolescence."

 

In a context where policies and attitudes regarding substance use are being reconsidered, this research highlights the importance of protecting youth from the adverse effects of consumption through greater investment in drug-prevention programs.

 

"It will be important to conduct similar analyses with this cohort or similar cohorts as they transition to young adulthood, when alcohol and cannabis use become more severe," Conrod said. "This might be particularly relevant for alcohol effects: while this study did not detect effects of teen alcohol consumption on cognitive development, the neurotoxic effects may be observable in specific subgroups differentiated based on the level of consumption, gender or age." Morin added: "We also want to identify if these effects on brain development are related to other difficulties such as poor academic performance, neuroanatomical damage, and the risk of future addiction or mental health disorders."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181003090325.htm

Teens who've tried marijuana have used it in more than one form

Smoking tops adolescent pot preference but edibles and vaping entice, too

September 28, 2018

Science Daily/University of Southern California

Most teens who've tried marijuana have used the drug in more than one form, including cannabis products that are smoked, eaten or vaped, new USC research shows.

 

The study, published Friday in JAMA Network Open, raises concerns about adolescent health amid a booming cannabis market that touts sleekly packaged products claiming an array of health benefits.

 

"Cannabis use in adolescence increases risk for chronic use throughout adulthood, addiction and impaired cognitive development," said the study's senior author, Adam Leventhal, professor of preventive medicine and psychology and director of the USC Health, Emotion and Addiction Laboratory at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

 

"In recent years, there's been a shift in teens' perception. Legalization and commercialization of cannabis are fostering the perception that this drug is not harmful," Leventhal said. "On my drive to work, I pass an advertising billboard for marijuana delivery right to your house. Marijuana has gone mainstream."

 

In a survey of 3,177 10th-graders from the Los Angeles area, Leventhal and his colleagues collected data via questionnaires at 10 Los Angeles area high schools from January to October 2015 -- three years before California's 2018 legalization of recreational marijuana.

 

Tenth-graders were asked, "Have you ever used the following substances in your life?" Combustible cannabis was worded as "smoking marijuana" (or weed, hash, reefer or bud); vaping was worded as liquid pot, dabbing or weed pen; edible marijuana included drinks infused with THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis), brownies, butter and oil.

 

Of the 33.9 percent of students who reported ever using cannabis, smoking it was the most popular, followed by cannabis products that were edible or vaporized. Most 10th-graders (61.7 percent) who had ever used cannabis used multiple products to administer the drug.

 

Notably, 7.8 percent of cannabis "ever users" had never smoked pot, but instead ingested cannabis via edibles or vaping.

 

"A key question is whether a new pool of teens who've traditionally been at lower risk for smoking marijuana have been drawn to using the drug in these alternative non-smoked forms," said Leventhal, the study's corresponding author. In other words, cannabis products such as bubblegum-flavored vaping liquid may appeal to teen users who would otherwise be turned off by the smell or harsh sensation of marijuana smoke.

 

This study, supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (R01-DA033296), is part of an ongoing project looking at patterns of substance use and mental health over time.

 

Leventhal's previous survey studies have found digital media use is linked to behavioral and attention problems in kids, and that higher concentrations of nicotine in vaping liquid used by teens is associated with traditional cigarette use.

 

The study authors include Leventhal, Jessica L. Barrington-Trimis of USC's Department of Preventive Medicine; Erica N. Peters of the Battelle Public Health Center for Tobacco Research, Battelle Memorial Institute, Baltimore; Dayoung Bae of the Center for Family Research, University of Georgia, Athens; and Prantley P. Jarvis of NorthTide Group, LLC, Edgewood, Md.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180928112949.htm

 

Children whose mothers use marijuana are more likely to try it at younger age

September 24, 2018

Science Daily/Elsevier

When mothers use marijuana during the first 12 years of their child's life, their cannabis-using children are more likely to start at an earlier age than children of non-using mothers, according to a new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. This study is the first to establish a relationship between maternal cannabis use during a child's lifetime and earlier initiation in a nationally-representative, longitudinal cohort, and examine the role of race, gender, and other social environmental factors.

 

"Early initiation is one of the strongest predictors of the likelihood of experiencing health consequences from marijuana use. In a shifting regulatory environment in which we expect adult marijuana use to become more normative, developing a deeper and more nuanced understanding of social risk factors for early initiation is a critical step in intervention design and delivery. Incorporating maternal cannabis use into our understanding of the important risk factors for early initiation may help us better identify at-risk youth for more tailored or intensive prevention strategies," explained lead investigator Natasha A. Sokol, ScD, currently of the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, RI, USA.

 

The investigators analyzed two linked cohorts of The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (1980-1998 waves) and Child and Young Adults (1988-2014 waves) to assess the timing and extent of maternal and child marijuana use and initiation. They evaluated the data for 4,440 children and 2,586 mothers for the effect of maternal marijuana use between a child's birth and age 12 on that child's subsequent marijuana initiation, controlling for potentially important factors related to the child's early life behavior and cognition and the family's socioeconomic position and social environment. Overall, 2,983 children (67.2 percent) and 1,053 mothers (35.3 percent) self-identified as cannabis users. The investigators found that the children whose mothers used marijuana were at increased risk for marijuana initiation prior to age 17 and began at a median age of 16, compared to age 18 among children of non-users, noting that this effect was slightly stronger among non-Hispanic non-black children.

 

Although marijuana is generally thought to be less harmful compared with other drugs of abuse, the likelihood of experiencing health consequences associated with marijuana use is strongly linked to age at initiation, such that those who initiate earlier are at much greater risk. Negative consequences may be particularly marked for children and adolescents during these developmentally critical ages. Child and adolescent cannabis use is associated with impairments in attention, concentration, decision-making and working memory, and increased impulsivity, which may persist for weeks after use, with evidence that some cognitive effects, including reductions in IQ, may linger into adulthood. Among cannabis users, earlier initiation is associated with increased risk of anxiety and depressive disorders.

 

The United States is currently experiencing a sea change surrounding marijuana. This cultural shift is expected to result in increases in the prevalence, frequency, visibility, and/or acceptability of adult marijuana use. Understanding the impact of parent use on early marijuana initiation is an important step in anticipating the ways in which social environmental changes may alter the disease burden associated with marijuana in the US.cognitive effects

 

The findings indicate that children of marijuana-using parents may be an important subgroup for identification and early, evidence-based intervention by pediatricians and adolescent healthcare providers. Although future research on the mechanisms underpinning this relationship is necessary before more specific recommendations can be made, marijuana prescribers and other physicians may consider educating marijuana-using parents about early marijuana initiation and equipping them with evidence-based preventive strategies to delay marijuana use in their children. Further research may seek to understand best practices for preventing early initiation, such as decreasing or pausing use, reducing the visibility of use until children are older, and providing training, tools, and resources to help address these issues.

 

"Cannabis has recognized therapeutic benefits for treating a number of different medical conditions. There is also evidence that the availability of legal medical and recreational cannabis may reduce population opioid overdose deaths. Cannabis arrests account for more than half of all drug arrests in the US, and cannabis possession is a major driver of racial disparities in arrest and incarceration. For these reasons, total cannabis prohibition may not be consistent with public health objectives. Instead, given the neurocognitive, health, and social consequences associated with early use, delaying initiation may be an important, but undervalued, public health goal," commented Dr. Sokol.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180924084340.htm

Content of illicit cannabis extracts used to treat children with epilepsy revealed

Families who turned to black market did not get CBD-rich products; majority reduced seizures

July 5, 2018

Science Daily/University of Sydney

A pioneering study has found Australian parents who turned to medicinal cannabis to treat children with epilepsy overwhelmingly (75 percent) considered the extracts as "effective." Contrary to parental expectations, extracts generally contained low doses of cannabidiol (CBD) -- commonly considered to be a key therapeutic element and that has been successfully used in recent clinical trials to treat epilepsy.

 

The research, which commenced two years ago by the University of Sydney's Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics, not only sheds light on the composition of cannabis used in the community but also reveals the legal, bureaucratic, and cost issues faced by families who relied on the products, as well as demonstrating the barriers to accessing medicinal cannabis.

 

The study found that the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC), and the closely related compound THCA, were present in most extracts, although the quantity was generally not enough to produce intoxicating effects. Just over half the extracts were associated with a seizure reduction of 75-100 percent, which reinforces observations from animal studies and case reports of anticonvulsant effects of THC and THCA. As well, 65 percent were associated with other beneficial effects like improved cognition (35 percent) and language skills (24 percent).

 

The findings are published today by Springer Nature in its leading journal, Scientific Reports.

 

Lead author and PhD candidate with the Lambert Initiative at the Brain and Mind Centre, Ms Anastasia Suraev, said just under half the families who used medicinal cannabis reduced their antiepileptic medication.

 

"Our findings highlight the huge unmet clinical need in the management of treatment-resistant epilepsy in childhood," said Miss Suraev, from the School of Psychology.

 

Corresponding author and academic director of the Lambert Initiative, Professor Iain McGregor, said: "Although the illicit extracts we analysed contained low doses of CBD, three in four were reported as 'effective', indicating the importance of researching the cannabis plant in its entirety for the treatment of epilepsy.

 

"And despite the overwhelming presence of generally low levels of THC, concentrations did not differ between samples perceived as 'effective' and 'ineffective'.

 

"Our research indicates there is a potential role for other cannabinoids, alone or in combination with conventional drugs, in treatment-resistant epilepsy -- and this warrants further investigation so we can hopefully develop safer and more effective medicines."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180705115620.htm

Synthetic cannabis ('spice', 'k2') use may boost stroke risk in young users

25 year old prison inmate was left with permanent disability in absence of other traditional risk factors

June 8, 2018

Science Daily/BMJ

Synthetic cannabis, also popularly known as 'spice' or 'k2,' may boost the risk of a stroke in young users, warn US doctors.

 

The warning follows their treatment of a 25 year old prison inmate who had no family history of heart disease or traditional cardiovascular risk factors, and who was left with a permanent disability.

 

He was brought to emergency care in a state of severe confusion, with weakness on the right side of his body and double incontinence.

 

Prison warders had found him collapsed on the bathroom floor and thought that he might have used synthetic marijuana as a 'suspicious' looking substance had been found by his side, and he had had several episodes of confusion after using 'spice' in the preceding six months.

 

He had smoked cigarettes for five years, but had given up two years previously, and tests for traditional cardiovascular risk factors were all within the normal range.

 

But a scan revealed an extensive area of stroke and swelling in the brain while a heart trace showed evidence of a previous heart attack.

 

He was treated with drugs to stave off further strokes and to stabilise his heart failure, and given physiotherapy to correct his right sided weakness: this improved but didn't return to normal, leaving him with a permanent degree of disability.

 

His doctors attributed his stroke and heart attack to his use of synthetic cannabis, although they couldn't be absolutely sure: the active ingredient of cannabis (THC) didn't show up in a urine test. But this isn't unusual as the standard battery of tests can't detect synthetic variants, say the authors.

 

This is only one case, and the authors caution that they were unable to glean whether genetic factors might have been involved, added to which this young man had high levels of clotting factor (factor VIII), which may have increased his risk of cardiovascular problems.

 

But they point out that several other studies have linked synthetic cannabis use with a heightened risk of heart attack/stroke and that its low cost and ready availability are fuelling an increase in popularity.

 

Synthetic cannabis has also been linked to a wide range of other reported side effects. These include anxiety; psychotic episodes; rapid or slowed heartbeat; chest pain; low blood pressure; fainting; kidney damage (tubular necrosis); and inflamed arteries and veins in the hands and feet (thromboangiitis obliterans).

 

Greater awareness of the dangers of synthetic cannabis use is needed, they suggest.

 

"The development of immunoassays aimed at detecting these drugs in serum or urine will also help in stratifying the population at risk," they write. "However, the diversity among different drugs under this common umbrella of 'synthetic marijuana' will remain a barrier to successful testing of all chemicals with a single battery of tests," they conclude.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180608003218.htm

Cannabis: It matters how young you start

May 18, 2018

Science Daily/University of Montreal

Researchers find that boys who start smoking pot before 15 are much more likely to have a drug problem at 28 than those who start at 15 or after.

 

What a difference a year or two can make: If you started smoking marijuana at the start of your teens, your risk of having a drug abuse problem by age 28 is 68 per cent, but if you started smoking between 15 and 17 your risk drops to 44 per cent, according to a new study by Université de Montréal researchers.

 

All the more reason, they say, to educate kids early, in primary school, about the risks of starting pot smoking, especially now that the potency is much greater than it was in decades past and that public acceptance is being spurred by legalization in jurisdictions such as Canada.

 

"The odds of developing any drug abuse symptoms by age 28 were reduced by 31 per cent for each year of delayed onset of cannabis use in adolescence," the researchers at UdeM's Department of Psychology, School of Psychoeducation and the CHU Saint-Justine Hospital Research Centre found.

 

Their study was published April 22 in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

 

Percentage nearly tripled

According to a 2011 study by University of Waterloo researchers in the journal Addictive Behaviors, 10 per cent of Canadian adolescents consumed cannabis in Grade 8. By Grade 12, that percentage nearly tripled to 29 per cent. Early-onset cannabis use has been linked to further drug abuse problems later in life.

 

The new study, done by UdM doctoral student Charlie Rioux under the supervision of professors Natalie Castellanos-Ryan and Jean Séguin, shows just how much.

 

The researchers looked at data for 1,030 boys in the Montreal Longitudinal and Experimental Study of white francophones from some of the city's impoverished neighbourhoods begun in the early 1980s. Every year between ages 13 and 17, the boys were asked if they had consumed cannabis at all in the previous year.

 

At 17, and again at 20 and 28, they were asked not only whether they consumed cannabis, but also other drugs, including hallucinogens, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, tranquilizers, heroin and inhalants. Then the data were correlated with the age at which they started using cannabis.

 

Double the chance if frequent use

The results confirmed the researchers' suspicions: the younger they started, the more likely the boys had a drug problem later as young men. This is partly explained by the frequency with which they consumed cannabis and other drugs, but those who started before age 15 were at higher risk regardless of how often they consumed.

 

"The odds of developing any drug abuse symptoms by age 28 were non-significant if cannabis use had its onset at ages 15 to 17, but were significant and almost doubled each year if onset was before age 15," the study says. Even if those who start smoking cannabis at 17 years were at lower risk, frequent users (20 or more times a year) at age 17 had almost double the chance of abuse by age 28 than occasional users.

 

And that may be underestimating the problem, the researchers say.

 

"Notably, considering that the potency of cannabis products increased over the last two decades and that [inthis study] adolescent cannabis use was assessed from 1991 to 1995, it is possible that the higher content of ?-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in the cannabis available today would be associated with higher rates of drug abuse symptoms."

 

Gangs, thievery, drinking

The researchers also found that the earlier that boys were involved in gangs, drank alcohol, got into fights, stole or vandalized property, the earlier they used cannabis and the higher their odds of having drug abuse issues by 28. Those who started drinking at 17 also were at higher risk of having an alcohol problem at 28.

 

The finding that starting pot smoking between ages 13 and 15 increases the odds of developing a drug problem later on makes it all the more important to prevent or reducing cannabis use as early as possible, the researchers say.

 

"It may be important to implement these programs by the end of elementary school to prevent early onset of cannabis use," said Rioux. "Since peer influence and delinquency were identified as early risk factors for earlier cannabis onset and adult drug abuse, targeting these risk factors in prevention programs may be important, especially since prevention strategies working on the motivators of substance use have been shown to be effective."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180518102757.htm

Viewing more medical marijuana ads linked to higher pot use among adolescents

Higher ad viewing also linked to positive views about cannabis

May 17, 2018

Science Daily/RAND Corporation

As prohibitions on the sale and use of marijuana ease, one result is more advertising about cannabis. A new study suggests that may have consequences on adolescents, with those who view more advertising for medical marijuana being more likely to use marijuana, express intentions to use the drug and have more-positive expectations about the substance.

 

Adolescents who view more advertising for medical marijuana are more likely to use marijuana, express intentions to use the drug and have more-positive expectations about the substance, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

 

The findings -- from a study that tracked adolescents' viewing of medical marijuana ads over seven years -- provides the best evidence to date that an increasing amount of advertising about marijuana may prompt young people to increase their use of the drug. The study was published by the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

 

"This work highlights the importance of considering regulations for marijuana advertising that would be similar to rules already in place to curb the promotion of tobacco and alcohol across the United States," said Elizabeth D'Amico, the study's lead author and a senior behavioral scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.

 

Researchers say the issue is of increasing importance because 29 states and Washington D.C. have approved sales of medical marijuana, and nine states and Washington D.C. also have approved recreational sales of the drug. Both actions are likely to lead to more marijuana advertising that will be visible to adolescents, even if they are not the target of the ads.

 

The RAND study followed 6,509 adolescents from 2010 until 2017 who were originally recruited from 16 middle schools in three school school districts in Southern California, and went on to more than 200 high schools in the region. Participants were periodically surveyed to assess their exposure to medical marijuana advertising, and asked about marijuana use and related topics.

 

The participants were ethnically diverse. and rates of marijuana use at the outset of the study were similar to national samples of adolescents.

 

The proportion of adolescents who reported viewing medical marijuana advertising increased sharply over the course of the study. In 2010, 25 percent of the participants reported seeing at least one medical marijuana advertisement during the previous three months -- the exposure rate grew to 70 percent by 2017.

 

Adolescents who reported greater exposure to medical marijuana advertising were more likely to report having used marijuana over the previous 30 days, and were more likely to report that they expected to use marijuana during the next six months. Viewing more medical marijuana advertising also was associated with having more-positive views about the drug, such as agreeing that marijuana relaxes a person and helps a person get away from their problems.

 

Youth who were exposed to more medical marijuana advertising also were more likely to report negative consequences because of marijuana. This included missing school, having trouble concentrating on tasks, doing something they felt sorry for later or having gotten into trouble at school or home.

 

"Our findings suggest that increased exposure to medical marijuana advertising is associated with increased marijuana use and related negative consequences throughout adolescence," D'Amico said. "Thus, it is possible that teens who were exposed to the most medical marijuana advertising were more likely to use marijuana heavily and therefore experience more negative consequences."

 

Researchers say that future research should look more closely at the impact of different sources of marijuana advertising, such as billboards, magazine ads or signage at retail outlets.

 

"As more states legalize marijuana for medical or recreational uses, we must think carefully about the best ways to regulate marijuana advertising so that we can decrease the chances of harm occurring, particularly for adolescents," D'Amico said. "We must also continue to address beliefs about the effects of marijuana as part of our prevention and intervention efforts with this age group."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180517081845.htm

Young people are choosing marijuana before cigarettes and alcohol

New research shows that the percentage of 12- to 21-year-olds who start using marijuana before other substances has increased significantly over the past decade

May 17, 2018

Science Daily/Springer

More young people are turning to marijuana as their first substance of choice, rather than smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol. This pattern is especially prevalent among young men of specific racial and ethnic groups in the US, says Brian Fairman of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in the US, in Springer's journal Prevention Science. He says that young people who start off on marijuana before alcohol or tobacco are more likely to become heavy users and have cannabis-related problems later in life.

 

The research team analyzed nationally-representative, cross-sectional survey data available as part of the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health. This data draws on information from more than 275,500 individuals aged 12 to 21 and was collected between 2004 and 2014. Survey respondents were asked about their use of marijuana, cigarettes, alcohol, and other forms of tobacco or illegal drugs. Those who used these substances provided further information about which they started using first, and at what age.

 

The researchers found that 8 per cent of participants reported in 2014 that marijuana was the first drug they ever used. This percentage had almost doubled from 4.8 per cent in 2004. According to Fairman, this could be related to a concurrent decline in those who start smoking cigarettes first, which dropped from about 21 per cent in 2004 to 9 per cent in 2014.

 

"We also observed a significant increase in youth abstaining from substance use altogether, which rose from 36 per cent to 46 per cent, and therefore, it is unclear the degree to which increases in those initiating marijuana first could be due to youth abstaining or delaying cigarettes," says Fairman.

 

Fairman and his colleagues further found that those using marijuana first, rather than alcohol or cigarettes, were more likely to be male, and Black, American Indian/Alaskan Native, multiracial, or Hispanic. The researchers established that youths who used marijuana first were more likely to become heavy users later in life, and to develop a cannabis use disorder.

 

"Our findings suggest important targets for public health intervention and prevention of marijuana use, especially among American Indian/Alaska Native and Black youth, who are less likely to have access to treatment or successful treatment outcomes," says Fairman, who believes that drug prevention strategies could be improved by targeting to groups differently, based on their risk of initiating tobacco, alcohol, or marijuana first.

 

"To the degree these trends continue and greater numbers of youth start with marijuana as their first drug, there may be an increasing need for public interventions and treatment services for marijuana-related problems," Fairman explains.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180517102358.htm

Cannabis use up among parents with children in the home

Study finds combined use of cigarettes and marijuana may increase children's exposure to second-hand smoke

May 14, 2018

Science Daily/Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health

Cannabis use increased among parents who smoke cigarettes, as well as among non-smoking parents, according to a latest study from researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and City University of New York. Cannabis use was nearly four times more common among cigarette smokers compared with non-smokers. Until now, little had been known about current trends in the use of cannabis among parents with children in the home, the prevalence of exposure to both tobacco and cannabis, and which populations might be at greatest risk. The findings will be published online in the June issue of Pediatrics.

 

"While great strides have been made to reduce children's exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke, those efforts may be undermined by increasing use of cannabis among parents with children living at home," said Renee Goodwin, PhD, in the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, and corresponding author.

 

Analyzing data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2002 to 2015, the researchers found past-month cannabis use among parents with children at home increased from 5 percent in 2002 to 7 percent in 2015, whereas cigarette smoking declined from 28 percent to 20 percent. Cannabis use increased from 11 percent in 2002 to over 17 percent in 2015 among cigarette-smoking parents and from slightly over 2 percent to 4 percent among non-cigarette-smoking parents. Cannabis use was nearly 4 times more common among cigarette smokers versus nonsmokers (17 percent vs 4 percent), as was daily cannabis use (5 percent vs 1 percent). The overall percentage of parents who used cigarettes and/or cannabis decreased from 30 percent in 2002 to 24 percent in 2015.

 

"While use of either cigarettes or cannabis in homes with children has declined, there was an increase in the percent of homes with both. Therefore, the increase in cannabis use may be compromising progress in curbing exposure to secondhand smoke," noted Goodwin, who is also at the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy at CUNY.

 

Cannabis use was also more prevalent among men who also smoked compared to women (10 percent vs 6 percent) and among younger parents with children in the home (11 percent) compared with those 50 and older (4 percent). The strength of the relationship between current cannabis use and cigarette smoking was significant and similar for all income levels.

 

"The results of our study support the public health gains in reducing overall child secondhand tobacco smoke but raise other public health concerns about child exposure to secondhand cannabis smoke and especially high risk for combined exposures in certain subpopulations," observed Goodwin.

 

Noteworthy, according to Goodwin, is that there remains a lack of information on the location of smoking, whether it occurs in the house or in the proximity of children. Unlike cigarettes, smoking cannabis outdoors and in a range of public areas is illegal in most places. Therefore, there is reason to believe that cannabis use is even more likely to occur in the home than cigarette smoking given their differences in legal status.

 

"Efforts to decrease secondhand smoke exposure via cigarette smoking cessation may be complicated by increases in cannabis use," said Goodwin. "Educating parents about secondhand cannabis smoke exposure should be integrated into public health education programs on secondhand smoke exposure."

 

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA20892).

 

Co-authors are Melanie Wall, Deborah Hasin, and Samantha Santoscoy, Mailman School of Public Health; Keely Cheslack-Postava, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; Nina Bakoyiannis, CUNY; and Bradley Collins and Stephen Lepore, Temple University.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180514083935.htm

Prenatal marijuana use can affect infant size, behavior

May 10, 2018

Science Daily/University at Buffalo

Smoking 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.

 

"Nearly 30 percent of women who smoke cigarettes during pregnancy also report using marijuana," says Rina Das Eiden, PhD, RIA senior research scientist. "That number is likely to increase with many states moving toward marijuana legalization, so it's imperative we know what effects prenatal marijuana use may have on infants."

 

Through a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Eiden studied nearly 250 infants and their mothers. Of these, 173 of the infants had been exposed to tobacco and/or marijuana during their mothers' pregnancies. None were exposed to significant amounts of alcohol.

 

Eiden found that infants who had been exposed to both tobacco and marijuana, especially into the third trimester, were smaller in length, weight and head size, and were more likely to be born earlier, compared to babies who were not exposed to anything. They also were more likely to be smaller in length and weight compared to babies exposed only to tobacco in the third trimester. The results were stronger for boys compared to girls.

 

"We also found that lower birth weight and size predicted a baby's behavior in later infancy," Eiden says. "Babies who were smaller were reported by their mothers to be more irritable, more easily frustrated and had greater difficulty calming themselves when frustrated. Thus, there was an indirect association between co-exposure to tobacco and marijuana and infant behavior via poor growth at delivery."

 

Furthermore, women who showed symptoms of anger, hostility and aggression reported more stress in pregnancy and were more likely to continue using tobacco and marijuana throughout pregnancy. Therefore, due to the co-exposure, they were more likely to give birth to infants smaller in size and who were more irritable and easily frustrated. The infants' irritability and frustration is also linked to mothers who experienced higher levels of stress while pregnant.

 

"Our results suggest that interventions with women who smoke cigarettes or use marijuana while pregnant should also focus on reducing stress and helping them cope with negative emotions," Eiden says. "This may help reduce prenatal substance exposure and subsequent behavior problems in infants."

 

The study appeared in the March/April issue of Child Development and was authored by Pamela Schuetze, PhD, Department of Psychology, Buffalo State College, with co-authors Eiden; Craig R. Colder, PhD, UB Department of Psychology; Marilyn A. Huestis, PhD, Institute of Emerging Health Professions, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia; and Kenneth E. Leonard, PhD, RIA director.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180510145924.htm

Correlation between secondhand marijuana and tobacco smoke exposure and children ED visits

New research examines the impact of second hand smoke from tobacco to understand marijuana's impact on children

May 5, 2018

Science Daily/Pediatric Academic Societies

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit substance in the US. Secondhand marijuana smoke (SHMS) exposure and its subsequent impact on child health have not been studied. The objective of this study was to determine association between SHMS exposure and rates of emergency department visitation, and rates of tobacco sensitive conditions (asthma, otitis media and viral respiratory infections).

 

Children exposed to the combination of marijuana and tobacco smoke have increased emergency department (ED) visitation and otitis media episodes compared to children with no smoke exposure, according to a new survey being presented during the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) 2018 Meeting. This association was not seen in children exposed to only marijuana smoke or to only tobacco smoke. This is the first study to demonstrate the notable impact between second hand marijuana smoke exposure and child health.

 

Marijuana is the most common illicit substance in the U.S. The goal of this study was to determine association between second hand marijuana smoke (SHMS) exposure and rates of ED visitation, and rates of tobacco sensitive conditions: asthma, otitis media and viral respiratory infections.

 

The research included a cross-sectional survey of caregivers of children presenting to the ED of an urban, tertiary care, academic children's hospital in Colorado. Data collected included caregiver demographics and use of tobacco and/or marijuana, along with index child medical history, number of overall ED visits and number of tobacco sensitive conditions in the prior year. Caregivers were classified into four categories depending on use: marijuana use only, tobacco use only, both tobacco and marijuana use, and neither marijuana nor tobacco use (control group). Poisson regression models were created to determine differences in overall ED visitation, as well as tobacco sensitive conditions. Results were expressed using incident rate ratios (IRR) and 95% confidence intervals. A total of 1,500 caregivers completed the survey.

 

The survey found that overall, 140 caregivers (9.2 percent, 95%CI = 7.7-10.7 percent) reported regularly smoking marijuana, and 285 caregivers (19 percent, 17.1-21.1 percent) reported regularly smoking tobacco. Exposure groups included: marijuana only (n=62, 4.1 percent), tobacco only (n=213, 14.2 percent), marijuana and tobacco (n=75, 5percent), and unexposed (n=1147, 76.6 percent). When compared against each other, all groups had a similar rate of ED visitation other than the marijuana and tobacco group which had a significantly higher rate of ED visits compared to the controls. Children in the marijuana + tobacco group also had a statistically significant increase in otitis media episodes compared to controls (IRR = 1.81, 95%CI = 1.38, 2.35); differences were not elicited among the other groups or for other tobacco sensitive conditions.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180505091833.htm

Smoking heightens risk of psychoses

March 12, 2018

Science Daily/Academy of Finland

Smoking at least ten cigarettes a day is linked to a higher risk of psychoses compared to non-smoking young people. The risk is also raised if the smoking starts before the age of 13. This has been shown in a study led by Academy Research Fellow, Professor Jouko Miettunen. The results were recently published in the journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica.

 

"This was an extensive longitudinal study based on the general population. It revealed that daily and heavy smoking are independently linked to the subsequent risk of psychoses, even when accounting for previous psychotic experiences, the use of alcohol and drugs, substance abuse and the parents' history of psychoses. Smoking begun at an early age was a particularly significant risk factor. Based on the results, prevention of adolescent smoking is likely to have positive effects on the mental health of the population in later life," Miettunen says.

 

The aim of the study was to investigate whether young people's daily cigarette smoking is associated with a risk of psychoses, after accounting for several known, confounding factors, such as alcohol and drug use, the hereditary taint of psychoses and early symptoms of psychosis.

 

The research material comprised the 1986 birth cohort of Northern Finland and it originally included more than 9,000 people. 15-16-year-old members of the cohort were invited to participate in a follow-up study carried out in 2001-2002. The final sample included 6,081 subjects who answered questions on psychotic experiences and alcohol and drug use. The follow-up continued until the subjects had reached the age of 30.

 

The research team has also conducted a study on cannabis use, which has been published in The British Journal of Psychiatry. The study found that teenage cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of psychosis. It also showed that people who had used cannabis and had psychotic experiences early in life experienced more psychoses during the period of study.

 

"We found that young people who had used cannabis at least five times had a heightened risk of psychoses during the follow-up, even when accounting for previous psychotic experiences, use of alcohol and drugs and the parents' history of psychoses. Our findings are in line with current views of heavy cannabis use, particularly when begun at an early age, being linked to an increased risk of psychosis. Based on our results, it's very important that we take notice of cannabis-using young people who report symptoms of psychosis. If possible, we should strive to prevent early-stage cannabis use," says Antti Mustonen, Lic. Med.

 

The two studies were part of Jouko Miettunen's research project "Trends and interactions of risk factors in psychotic disorders -- Northern Finland birth cohort studies 1966 and 1986," which was funded by the Academy of Finland. The published articles are part of Antti Mustonen's forthcoming doctoral thesis on the link between alcohol and drug use and the risk of psychoses. In addition to researchers from the University of Oulu, the team included researchers from the University of Cambridge and the University of Queensland.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180312091409.htm

Experts challenge claims about medical marijuana's impact on teen recreational use and opioid deaths

February 22, 2018

Science Daily/Society for the Study of Addiction

Two papers published today look at the current evidence of the effects of medical marijuana laws and conclude there is little support that such laws increase recreational marijuana use among adolescents or reduce opioid overdose deaths.

 

In 1996, California became the first US state to legalise marijuana use for medical purposes. Medical marijuana is now legal in 29 states. Opponents of medical marijuana argue that such laws increase recreational marijuana use among adolescents, while advocates contend that medical marijuana helps to address the US opioid crisis by reducing overdose deaths.

 

Two papers published today in the scientific journal Addiction look at the current evidence of the effects of medical marijuana laws and conclude that there is little support for either claim.

 

The first claim, that legalizing medical marijuana increases recreational use among adolescents, is addressed by a new meta-analysis that pooled the results of eleven separate studies of data from four large-scale US surveys dating back as far as 1991. Results of the meta-analysis indicate that no significant changes (increases or decreases) occurred in adolescent recreational use following enactment of medical marijuana laws. Far fewer studies examined the effects of medical marijuana laws among adults, although existing evidence suggests that adult recreational use may increase after medical marijuana laws are passed

 

Senior author Professor Deborah Hasin says, "Although we found no significant effect on adolescent marijuana use, we may find that the situation changes as commercialized markets for medical marijuana develop and expand, and as states legalize recreational marijuana use. However, for now, there appears to be no basis for the argument that legalising medical marijuana increases teens' use of the drug."

 

The second claim, that legalising medical marijuana reduces opioid overdose deaths by offering a less risky method of pain management, is addressed in an editorial co-authored by several members of Addiction's editorial board. Here, the evidence is clear but weak, being rooted in ecological studies whose results have not been confirmed through more rigorous methods. Although those studies show a correlation over time between the passage of medical marijuana laws and opioid overdose death rates, they do not provide any evidence that the laws caused the reduction in deaths. In fact, several recent studies have shown that chronic pain patients who use cannabis do not use lower doses of opioids. There are more plausible reasons for the reduction in opioid deaths that ought to be investigated.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180222090343.htm

Risk of fatal traffic crash higher during annual 4/20 cannabis celebration

Over 25 years, 142 additional deaths

February 12, 2018

Science Daily/University of British Columbia

US drivers are more likely to be in a fatal traffic crash during the annual April 20 cannabis celebration. Twenty-five years' worth of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes after 4:20 pm on April 20 is higher compared to the same time intervals on control days one week earlier and one week later.

 

"One-fifth of Americans now live in states that have legalized recreational cannabis, and legalization is set to occur for all Canadians in July 2018," said lead researcher Dr. John Staples, a clinical assistant professor of medicine and scientist at UBC's Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences. "We hope that legalization doesn't lead to more people driving while high."

 

Along with University of Toronto professor Dr. Donald Redelmeier, Staples examined 25 years of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data on all fatal traffic crashes in the United States. They compared the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes after 4:20 p.m. on April 20 with the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes during the same time intervals on control days one week earlier and one week later.

 

The investigators found that April 20 was associated with a 12 per cent increase in the risk of a fatal traffic crash. Among drivers younger than 21 years of age, the risk was 38 per cent higher than on control days. The overall increase amounted to 142 additional deaths over the 25-year study period.

 

Since the 4/20 holiday was first popularized in 1991, annual events in Denver, San Francisco, Vancouver, and other cities have grown to include tens of thousands of attendees. It isn't known how commonly drivers get behind the wheel while high on 4/20, but a 2011 study of U.S. college freshmen found 44 per cent of cannabis users drove soon after consuming marijuana in the month prior to the survey. Only half of cannabis users in the 2017 Canadian Cannabis Survey thought cannabis use affected driving.

 

"Assuming fewer than 10 per cent of Americans drive while high on April 20, our results suggest that drug use at 4/20 celebrations more than doubles the risk of a fatal crash," said Redelmeier.

 

Staples and Redelmeier hope that authorities will respond to these results by encouraging safer 4/20 travel options, including public transit, rideshares, taxis and designated drivers. The investigators also note that cannabis retailers and 4/20 event organizers have an opportunity to serve their customers and save lives by warning users not to drive while high.

 

As Canada and other places move toward legalization, Staples says it's also important to employ multiple strategies to reduce driving under the influence of drugs throughout the year.

 

"Driving is a potentially dangerous activity," Staples said. "Improving road safety requires both policymakers and drivers to make smart decisions. If you're going to get behind the wheel, buckle up, put the phone away, don't speed, stay sober and don't drive high."

 

The study was published today in JAMA Internal Medicine. The research was supported by Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, and the Canada Research Chair in Medical Decision Science.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180212112005.htm

Recreational marijuana legalization: Do more youth use or do youth use more?

What impact may legalization of recreational marijuana in Oregon have on teen marijuana use?

January 8, 2018

Science Daily/Oregon Research Institute

What impact may legalization of recreational marijuana in Oregon have on teen marijuana use? Recent results from an Oregon Research Institute (ORI) study indicate that the influence of legalization on youth may depend on whether they were already using at the time of legalization. Following legalization of recreational marijuana, no significant changes in the numbers of youth who used marijuana occurred, yet increases in the frequency of use by youth who were already using marijuana were found. For teenagers who had tried marijuana by 8th grade, the frequency of use during the following year increased 26% more for those who were in 9th grade after marijuana was legalized compared to those who were in 9th grade prior to legalization. The research results are published online in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

 

"When making policy decisions about marijuana, it is important to consider how those policies can effect teenagers. Although legalization of recreational marijuana prohibits use in those under 21, changes in youth attitudes toward marijuana, age of initiation, and frequency of use may occur," said Julie C. Rusby, Ph.D., principal investigator of the research.

 

When Oregon began legal sales of recreational marijuana in October 2015, Rusby and her team were perfectly positioned. Their study examining substance use among Oregon 8th and 9th graders was already underway and investigators were able to collect data about youth marijuana use before and after legalization. Additionally, Oregon allowed counties and cities to prohibit marijuana sales, so investigators examined the impact of community sales policy on teenagers' use. Teenagers from 11 rural and suburban middle schools in seven Oregon school districts answered surveys about their marijuana use, attitudes towards marijuana, and willingness to use marijuana. Their parents answered questions about their own use of marijuana.

 

The association of legalization with changes in youth marijuana use varied by the sales policy of the community. Youth surveyed prior to legalization from communities that later prohibited sales were less likely to increase willingness and intent to try marijuana compared to those from communities that later allowed sales. Similarly, youth surveyed prior to legalization from communities prohibiting sales increased marijuana use at a lower rate by the spring of ninth grade compared with youth in communities with sales. Youth surveyed post-legalization from communities with marijuana sales had lower rates of marijuana use during spring of eighth grade and increased marijuana use almost twice as much by the spring of ninth grade compared with the other groups. There were no differences for legalization and community policy on parent report of their own use.

 

"In states that legalize recreational marijuana, study results point to the importance of preventing youth who use marijuana from escalating their use," noted Rusby.

 

The results indicate there may be an immediate impact of legalization for youth who had already initiated marijuana use because they increased their use after legalization. This was true even in communities that prohibited recreational marijuana sales, indicating that community sales policies may not effectively reduce the frequency of use by teenagers. Research that follows up teenage marijuana use post-legalization for a longer period of time and in different locations could further contribute to inform marijuana policy. Prevention campaigns that educate youth of the risks of using marijuana while their brains are still developing, and building capacity and resources for parents to discuss marijuana with their adolescent children, may provide guidance as communities and states navigate the new landscape of legal recreational marijuana.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180108161204.htm

Vaping popular among teens; opioid misuse at historic lows

NIH's 2017 Monitoring the Future survey shows both vaping and marijuana are more popular than traditional cigarettes or pain reliever misuse

December 14, 2017

Science Daily/NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse

Nearly one in three 12th graders report past year use of some kind of vaping device, raising concerns about the impact on their health. What they say is in the device, however, ranges from nicotine, to marijuana, to "just flavoring." The survey also suggests that use of hookahs and regular cigarettes is declining.

 

These findings come from the 2017 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey of eighth, 10th and 12th graders in schools nationwide, reported today by the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, along with scientists from the University of Michigan, who conduct the annual research. The survey asks teens about "any vaping" to measure their use of electronic vaporizers. It is important to note that some research suggests that many teens don't actually know what is in the device they are using, and even if they read the label, not all labeling is consistent or accurate.

 

The survey shows that 27.8 percent of high school seniors reported "vaping" in the year prior to the survey, which was taken in the beginning of 2017. When asked what they thought was in the mist they inhaled the last time they used the vaping device, 51.8 percent of 12th graders said, "just flavoring," 32.8 percent said "nicotine," and 11.1 percent said "marijuana" or "hash oil." The survey also asks about vaping with specific substances during the past month, with more than one in ten 12th graders saying they use nicotine, and about one in twenty reporting using marijuana in the device.

 

"We are especially concerned because the survey shows that some of the teens using these devices are first-time nicotine users," said Nora D. Volkow, M.D., director of NIDA. "Recent research suggests that some of them could move on to regular cigarette smoking, so it is critical that we intervene with evidence-based efforts to prevent youth from using these products."

 

The survey also indicates that while opioid overdose rates remain high among adults, teens are misusing opioid pain medications less frequently than a decade ago, and are at historic lows with some of the commonly used pain medications. For example, past year misuse of the opioid pain reliever Vicodin among high school seniors dropped to its lowest point since the survey began measuring it in 2002, and it is now at just 2 percent. This compares to last year's 2.9 percent, and reflects a long-term decline from a peak of 10.5 percent in 2003.

 

In overall pain medication misuse, described as "narcotics other than heroin" in the survey, past year misuse has dropped significantly among 12th graders since its survey peak in 2004 -- to 4.2 percent from 9.5 percent. Interestingly, teens also think these drugs are not as easy to get as they used to be. Only 35.8 percent of 12th graders said they were easily available in the 2017 survey, compared to more than 54 percent in 2010.

 

"The decline in both the misuse and perceived availability of opioid medications may reflect recent public health initiatives to discourage opioid misuse to address this crisis," added Volkow. "However, with each new class of teens entering the challenging years of middle and high school, we must remain vigilant in our prevention efforts targeting young people, the adults who nurture and influence them, and the health care providers who treat them."

 

The 2017 survey also confirms the recent trend that daily marijuana use has become as, or more, popular than daily cigarette smoking among teens, representing a dramatic flip in use between these two drugs since the survey began in 1975. In the past decade, daily marijuana use among 12th graders has remained relatively consistent, but daily cigarette smoking has dropped.

 

When combining responses in all three grades, data suggest past year marijuana use is up slightly to 23.9 percent, from 22.6 percent last year, but similar to 2015 rates (23.7 percent). However, because overall marijuana rates remain stable, researchers continue to carefully monitor any potential trends as they emerge. The survey indicates that significantly fewer teens now disapprove of regular marijuana use, with 64.7 percent of 12th graders voicing disapproval, compared to 68.5 percent last year. The survey reports that high school seniors in states with medical marijuana laws are more likely to have vaped marijuana and consumed marijuana edibles than their counterparts without such laws. For example, survey data suggests that 16.7 percent of 12th graders in states with medical marijuana laws report consuming edibles, compared to 8.3 percent in states without such laws.

 

Inhalant use -- the one category of drug use that is typically higher among younger students -- is back up to 2015 levels among eighth graders, measured at 4.7 percent, compared to 3.8 percent in 2016. However, rates are still low, showing a significant decline from peak rates in 1995, when 12.8 percent of eighth graders reported using an inhalant to get high in the past year.

 

Overall, illicit drug use other than marijuana and inhalants, remains the lowest in the history of the survey in all three grades, with 13.3 percent of 12th graders reporting past year use, compared to 9.4 percent of 10th graders and 5.8 percent of eighth graders. These successes underscore the importance of continuing evidence-based prevention programs targeting children approaching their teenage years.

 

After years of steady decline, binge drinking appears to have leveled off this year, and public health researchers will be closely watching these behaviors in the coming years. However, rates are still down significantly from the survey's peak years. Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks in a row sometime in the last two weeks.

 

"While binge drinking among eighth, 10th, and 12th grade students remains well below the levels seen a decade ago, the downward trend in binge drinking appears to have slowed somewhat in recent years," said George F. Koob, Ph.D., director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. "This may signal a need for more emphasis on alcohol prevention strategies in this age group."

 

Monitoring the Future has been conducted by researchers at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor since 1975, expanding the study periodically to include additional grades and topic areas. It is the only large-scale federal government survey that releases findings the same year the data is collected.

 

Other highlights from the 2017 survey:

Illegal and Illicit Drugs:

·     Reported heroin and methamphetamine use remain very low among the nation's teens at less than 0.5 percent in past year measures.

·     Cocaine use remains low in teen students. For example, 12th graders report past year use at 2.7 percent, after a peak of 6.2 percent in 1999.

·     Past year use of anabolic steroids, which peaked at 2.5 percent among the nation's 12th graders in 2004, is now at 1.1 percent.

·     Past year use of LSD among 12th graders is at 3.3 percent, reflecting a modest but significant increase in the past five years. Use still remains lower compared to its peak in 1996 of 8.8 percent.

·     Past year use of K2/Spice, referred to as "synthetic marijuana" in the survey, was reported at 3.7 percent among 12th graders, down from 11.3 percent five years ago. There was a significant drop in past year use among eighth graders, from 2.7 percent in 2016 to 2 percent this year.

 

Other Prescription Drugs:

Reflecting an historic low, high school seniors reported past year misuse of the prescription opioid Oxycontin at 2.7 percent, compared to 5.5 percent at its peak in 2005.

Misuse of prescription stimulants, commonly prescribed for ADHD symptoms, is mostly stable compared to last year, with 5.5 percent of 12th graders reporting past year misuse of Adderall. In fact, this represents a significant drop for this age group from five years ago when misuse peaked at 7.6 percent.

Past year misuse of the therapeutic stimulant Ritalin among 12th graders is at 1.3 percent, nearly a record low since 2001 when it was first measured at 5.1 percent. There was a significant decline this year among eighth graders' past year misuse, reported at 0.4 percent in 2017, down from 0.8 percent last year, and significantly down from 2.9 in 2001. Other Tobacco Products:

Hookah smoking has dropped for the second year in a row with 10.1 percent of seniors reporting past year use compared to 13 percent last year, down from 22.9 percent in 2014. The survey began measuring hookah smoking in 2010.

As for little cigars, 13.3 percent of high school seniors say they smoked little cigars in the past year, from a peak of 23.1 percent in 2010, when it was first included in the survey.

 

Attitudes and Availability:

The survey also measures attitudes about drug use, including perceived availability and harmfulness, as well as disapproval of specific drugs. Generally, attitudes grow more favorable towards drug use as teens get older.

 

·     In 2017, 79.8 percent of eighth graders said they disapprove of regularly vaping nicotine, but that number drops to 71.8 percent among 12th graders.

·     Only 14.1 percent of 12th graders see "great risk" in smoking marijuana occasionally, down from 17.1 percent last year and a staggering drop from 40.6 percent in 1991, but similar to rates when the survey was started in 1975 (18.1 percent).

·     There was a significant change in how eighth graders view K2/Spice (which the survey calls "synthetic marijuana"). In 2017, 23 percent said trying it once or twice would put users at great risk, compared to 27.5 percent in 2016.

·     The survey indicated that 23.3 percent of 10th graders say it is easy to get tranquilizers, up from 20.5 percent last year.

 

Overall, 43,703 students from 360 public and private schools participated in this year's MTF survey. Since 1975, the survey has measured how teens report their drug, alcohol, and cigarette use and related attitudes in 12th graders nationwide. Eighth and 10th graders were added to the survey in 1991. Survey participants generally report their drug use behaviors across three time periods: lifetime, past year, and past month. Questions are also asked about daily cigarette and marijuana use. NIDA has provided funding for the survey since its inception to a team of investigators at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, currently led by Dr. Richard Miech. MTF is funded under grant number DA001411.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171214092235.htm

Medical marijuana for children with cancer? What providers think

Most providers willing to consider medical marijuana use in children with cancer

December 12, 2017

Science Daily/Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago

A study published in Pediatrics examined interdisciplinary provider perspectives on legal medical marijuana use in children with cancer. It found that 92 percent of providers were willing to help children with cancer access medical marijuana. However, providers who are legally eligible to certify for medical marijuana were less open to endorsing its use.

 

While nearly a third of providers received one or more requests for medical marijuana, the lack of standards on formulations, dosing and potency was identified as the greatest barrier to recommending it. These findings reflect survey responses from 288 providers in Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington.

 

"It is not surprising that providers who are eligible to certify for medical marijuana were more cautious about recommending it, given that their licensure could be jeopardized due to federal prohibition," said co-author Kelly Michelson, MD, Critical Care physician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "Institutional policies also may have influenced their attitudes. Lurie Children's, for example, prohibits pediatric providers from facilitating medical marijuana access in accordance with the federal law, even though it is legal in Illinois."

 

Pediatric oncology providers received frequent requests for medical marijuana for relief of nausea and vomiting, lack of appetite, pain, depression and anxiety. Most providers considered medical marijuana more permissible for use in children with advanced cancer or near the end of life than in earlier stages of cancer treatment. This is consistent with the current American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) position that sanctions medical marijuana use for "children with life-limiting or seriously debilitating conditions." Only 2 percent of providers reported that medical marijuana was never appropriate for a child with cancer.

 

The majority of providers (63 percent) were not concerned about substance abuse in children who receive medical marijuana. Their greatest concern was absence of standards around prescribing medical marijuana to children with cancer.

 

"In addition to unclear dosage guidelines, the lack of high quality scientific data that medical marijuana benefits outweigh possible harm is a huge concern for providers accustomed to evidence-based practice," said Michelson. "We need rigorously designed clinical trials on the use of medical marijuana in children with cancer."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171212091039.htm

Cannabis linked to bipolar symptoms in young adults

Cannabis use in youth is linked to bipolar symptoms in young adults, finds new research

November 30, 2017

Science Daily/University of Warwick

Cannabis use in youth is linked to bipolar symptoms in young adults, finds new research by the University of Warwick.

 

Researchers from Warwick Medical School found that adolescent cannabis use is an independent risk factor for future hypomania -- periods of elated mood, over-active and excited behaviour, and reduced need for sleep that are often experienced as part of bipolar disorder, and have a significant impact on day-to-day life.

 

Led by Dr Steven Marwaha, a clinical academic Psychiatrist, the research analysed data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children and found that teenage cannabis use at least 2-3 times weekly is directly associated with suffering from symptoms of hypomania in later years.

 

There was a dose response relationship such that any use still increased the risk but less powerfully.

 

The Warwick research is the first to test the prospective association between adolescent cannabis use and hypomania in early adulthood, whilst controlling for important other factors that might explain this connection (e.g psychotic symptoms).

 

Cannabis use was also found to mediate the association of both childhood sexual abuse and hypomania, and male gender and hypomania.

 

The findings suggest frequent adolescent cannabis use is likely to be a suitable target for interventions that may allay the risk of young people developing bipolar disorder.

 

Commenting on the research, Dr Marwaha said: "Cannabis use in young people is common and associated with psychiatric disorders. However, the prospective link between cannabis use and bipolar disorder symptoms has rarely been investigated.

 

"Adolescent cannabis use may be an independent risk factor for future hypomania, and the nature of the association suggests a potential causal link. As such it might be a useful target for indicated prevention of hypomania."

 

Cannabis is one of the most commonly used illegal substances of abuse in western countries. Problematic use in the general population is as high as 9.5% in the United States, while 2.6% of the UK population report having been cannabis dependent in the last year.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171130214932.htm

Cigarette smokers are 10 times more likely to be daily marijuana users

Strongest relationship between cigarette smoking and daily cannabis use is among 12 to 17 year olds, who are 50 times more likely to be daily cannabis users than non-smokers

November 30, 2017

Science Daily/Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health

Daily marijuana use has been on the rise over the past decade. Now, a new study by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, City University of New York, found that cigarette smokers are 10 times more likely to use marijuana on a daily basis. Marijuana use occurred nearly exclusively among current cigarette smokers -- daily or non-daily smokers -- compared with former smokers and those who have never smoked. However, even among non-smokers, daily marijuana use is increasing, particularly among youth and female cigarette smokers. The findings are published online in the American Journal of Public Health.

 

"While we found that daily cannabis use and cigarette smoking were strongly linked among all subgroups, the most finding striking disparity in daily cannabis use was among youths aged 12 to 17 years," said Renee Goodwin, PhD, Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, and principal investigator. "Nearly one-third of youth who smoke cigarettes reported using cannabis every day. In contrast, less than 1 percent of youth who did not use cigarettes reported daily cannabis use. We are not aware of any previous reports illustrating that daily cannabis use in youths occurs nearly exclusively among those who smoke cigarettes."

 

The researchers analyzed data from 725,010 individuals ages 12 and older in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health for 2002 to 2014 to determine differences in the prevalence of daily cannabis use. They found that an increase in daily cannabis use was significantly higher among nondaily cigarette smokers than among daily smokers and among former smokers than among never smokers.

 

Individuals who reported smoking fewer than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime were classified as never smokers; those who reported smoking 100 cigarettes or more in their lifetime and at least 1 cigarette within the past 30 days were considered to be current smokers. Those who smoked 1 to 29 days of the past 30 days were categorized as current nondaily smokers, and those who smoked all 30 of the past 30 days as current daily smokers. Individuals who reported smoking 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and no cigarettes in the past 30 days were grouped as former smokers.

 

Daily cannabis use increased since 2002 among both nondaily smokers (8 percent in 2014 compared with 3 percent in 2002) and daily smokers (9 percent in 2014 versus 5 percent in 2002). The increase in daily cannabis use was faster among non-daily cigarette smokers relative to daily cigarette smokers. Daily cannabis use increased most rapidly among former cigarette smokers (2.80 percent in 2014 versus 0.98 percent in 2002).

 

"Using marijuana as an alternative substance is viewed as less addictive, less harmful, and carrying less stigma than cigarettes," said Goodwin. "Some clinical data suggest that marijuana lessens the experience of nicotine withdrawal, and people who quit smoking cigarettes might substitute marijuana to lessen their withdrawal symptoms."

 

The fastest rates of increase of cannabis use overall were among those aged 26 years and older versus aged 12 to 17 years and 18 to 25 years. However, cigarette smokers aged 12 to 17 were 50 times more likely to be daily cannabis users than youth who do not use cigarettes. In 2014, 28 percent of daily cigarette smokers and 13 percent of non-daily cigarette smokers aged 12 to 17 used cannabis daily, suggesting that 40 percent of 12 to 17 year olds who smoke cigarettes used cannabis daily in 2014. Among female cigarette smokers, 4 percent used cannabis daily.

 

Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of disease and premature mortality in the United States. There have been substantial declines in smoking prevalence over the past half century in the United States, although the rate of this decline has decelerated in recent years among various groups.

 

"It is conceivable that this stunted decline in cigarette use is owing, in part, to the substantial increase in daily cannabis use among smokers," observed Goodwin.

 

"Understanding the degree to which daily cannabis use may be common among cigarette smokers is critical because previous findings suggest that any past month cannabis use is associated with smoking persistence and relapse," noted Goodwin.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171130141037.htm

Booze and pot use in teens lessens life success

Teens who drank or smoked marijuana heavily are less likely to marry, go to college, or work full time

November 5, 2017

Science Daily/University of Connecticut

Young adults dependent on marijuana and alcohol are less likely to achieve adult life goals, according to new research by UConn Health scientists presented November 5 at the American Public Health Association 2017 Annual Meeting & Expo.

 

UConn Health researchers examined data from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) to track the effect teenage alcohol and marijuana use has on the achievement of life goals, defined as educational achievement, full time employment, marriage and social economic potential. The study includes 1,165 young adults from across the United States whose habits were first assessed at age 12 and then at two-year intervals until they were between 25 and 34 years old. Most of the study participants had an alcoholic grandparent, parent, aunt or uncle.

 

Overall, individuals who were dependent on either marijuana or alcohol during their teen years achieved lower levels of education, were less likely to be employed full time, were less likely to get married and had lower social economic potential.

 

"This study found that chronic marijuana use in adolescence was negatively associated with achieving important developmental milestones in young adulthood. Awareness of marijuana's potentially deleterious effects will be important moving forward, given the current move in the US toward marijuana legalization for medicinal and possibly recreational use," said study author Elizabeth Harari.

 

The researchers also found that dependence may have a more severe effect on young men. Dependent young men achieved less across all four measures, while dependent women were less likely than non-dependent women to obtain a college degree and had lower social economic potential, but were equally likely to get married or obtain full time employment.

 

Previous research had shown that heavy use of alcohol or marijuana in adolescence affects people developmentally. This study followed up on that, to look at what happens after age 18. The life outcomes seem to show the differences are meaningful into adulthood.

 

The study is ongoing.

 "COGA investigators are following many subjects over the years and are using this extensive and growing database to examine several significant research topics," says Dr. Grace Chan, a statistician in the UConn Health department of psychiatry. Chan, Harari and UConn Health Alcohol Research Center Director Victor Hesselbrock are currently looking at whether there are different outcomes between young people dependent on alcohol versus marijuana, as well as why there were marked differences in outcomes between the sexes.

 

Harari's research was supported by Hesselbrock and Chan. The Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism is funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171105193046.htm

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