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Study: Early Marijuana Use Not Associated with Adverse Outcomes in Adulthood

Study: Early Marijuana Use Not Associated with Adverse Outcomes in Adulthood

PITTSBURGH, PA — The use of marijuana by adolescents and young adults, including self-reported chronic use, is not positively associated with poorer quality of life outcomes later in life, according to an assessment of longitudinal data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Investigators from the Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Rutgers University prospectively examined whether male subjects who consumed cannabis between the ages of 15 and 26 differed in terms of socioeconomic, social, and life satisfaction outcomes by…

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Studies: Fewer Teens Using Marijuana, Younger Adolescents More Likely to Voice Disapproval

Studies: Fewer Teens Using Marijuana, Younger Adolescents More Likely to Voice Disapproval

Self-reported use of marijuana by high-school students is significantly lower today than it was 15 years ago, according to an analysis of CDC data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore assessed data compiled by US Center for Disease Control’s National Youth Risk Behavior Survey for the years 1999 to 2013. The Survey is a biennial school-based evaluation of more than 100,000 high-schoolers nationwide.

Investigators reported that lifetime use of…

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Federal Survey: Teen Marijuana Use Flat, Use of Alcohol and Cigarettes at Record Lows

Federal Survey: Teen Marijuana Use Flat, Use of Alcohol and Cigarettes at Record Lows

Current use of marijuana by those between the ages of 12 to 17 has remained largely unchanged over the past decade, while young people’s self-reported consumption of alcohol and cigarettes has fallen to record lows, according to federal data compiled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

According to SAMHSA’s 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the percentage of respondents ages 12 to 17 who reported past-month use of marijuana remained steady from 7.6 percent in 2004 to 7.4 percent in 2014. By…

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Study: Patients Replace Prescription Drugs With Cannabis

Study: Patients Replace Prescription Drugs With Cannabis

MESA, AZ — Patients with legal access to medical marijuana reduce their consumption of conventional pharmaceuticals, according to a demographic review of patient characteristics published online in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

Investigators affiliated with the Medical Marijuana Research Institute in Mesa surveyed responses from 367 state-qualified patients recruited from four Arizona medical cannabis dispensaries. Respondents were more likely to be male, in their mid-40s, and daily consumers of cannabis.

Respondents most often…

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Washington: Marijuana Law Changes Not Associated with Increased Teen Use

Washington: Marijuana Law Changes Not Associated with Increased Teen Use

Changes in marijuana laws are not associated with increased use of the substance by teens, according to data compiled by Washington’ Healthy Youth Survey and published by the Washington State Institute of Public Policy.

State survey results from the years 2002 to 2014 show little change in cannabis consumption by Washington teens despite the passage of laws permitting and expanding the use of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes during this time.

Self-reported marijuana use fell slightly among 8th graders, 10th graders, and…

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Study: Smoking Still Remains Cannabis Consumers’ Preferred Method of Ingestion

Study: Smoking Still Remains Cannabis Consumers’ Preferred Method of Ingestion

ATLANTA, GA — The majority of people who self-report consuming cannabis do so by methods that involve smoking the substance, according to nationally representative survey data published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Investigators from the US Center for Disease Control and Emory University assessed survey data from those over the age of 18 in regard to their mode of marijuana ingestion and current reason for use.

Authors reported: “Overall, 7.2 percent of respondents reported current marijuana use;…

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Latest JAMA Studies Largely Fail to Support Past Claims About Marijuana and Brain Health

Latest JAMA Studies Largely Fail to Support Past Claims About Marijuana and Brain Health

Two new studies published online this week in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Psychiatry provide little support for previous claims that cannabis exposure is significantly harmful to the developing brain.

The first study, which assessed the effects of cannabis exposure on brain volume in exposed and unexposed sibling pairs, reported that any identifiable differences “were attributable to common predispositional factors, genetic or environmental in origin.” By contrast, authors found “no evidence for the causal…

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Study: Cannabis Users Less Likely To Be Obese, Possess Lower Diabetes Risk

Study: Cannabis Users Less Likely To Be Obese, Possess Lower Diabetes Risk

A history of cannabis use is associated with a lower likelihood of obesity and diabetes, according to population-based data published in the journal Obesity.

Investigators from the Conference of Quebec University Health Centers assessed cannabis use patterns and body mass index (BMI) in a cohort of 786 Inuit (Arctic aboriginal) adults ages 18 to 74. Researchers reported that subjects who consumed cannabis in the past year were more likely to possess a lower BMI, lower fasting insulin, and lower HOMA-IR (insulin resistance) as compared to…

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Study: Adolescent Marijuana Use Not Associated With Health Problems In Early Adulthood

Study: Adolescent Marijuana Use Not Associated With Health Problems In Early Adulthood

Marijuana use by adolescents, including self-reported chronic use, is not associated with adverse health effects later in life, according to an assessment of longitudinal data published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

Investigators from the Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Rutgers University prospectively examined whether young men who consumed cannabis during adolescence and/or young adulthood experienced a heightened risk of developing physical and mental health problems in their mid-30s.

Researchers controlled for…

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NIDA Director Says Cannabidiol is a “Safe Drug”

NIDA Director Says Cannabidiol is a “Safe Drug”

The director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Nora Volkow, believes that cannabidiol (CBD) – a nonpsychotropic cannabinoid – is “a safe drug with no addictive effects.”

Volkow made the comments in an op-ed published by The Huffington Post.

Volkow further acknowledged, “[P]reliminary data suggest that it may have therapeutic value for a number of medical conditions.”

Preclinical studies have documented CBD to possess a variety of therapeutic activities, including anti-cancer properties, anti-diabetic properties,…

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Study: Sleep-Disturbed Patients Report Relief from Cannabis

Study: Sleep-Disturbed Patients Report Relief from Cannabis

BERKELEY, CA — Patients with sleep disorders find relief from the ingestion of various strains of cannabis, according to data published in the journal Addictive Behaviors.

Investigators from the University of California at Berkeley, the National Center for PTSD, and John Hopkins University in Baltimore evaluated cannabis species and cannabinoid concentration preferences among medical cannabis users who reported using the plant for the management of sleep problems.

Participants who consumed cannabis for nightmares preferred sativa strains to…

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Study: Changes in State Marijuana Laws not Associated with Greater Acceptance by Young People

Study: Changes in State Marijuana Laws not Associated with Greater Acceptance by Young People

AUSTIN, TX — The use of marijuana by younger adolescents is falling while their perceived disapproval of cannabis use is rising, according to data published this week in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

Investigators from the University of Texas at Austin evaluated trends in young people’s attitudes toward cannabis and their use of the substance during the years 2002 to 2013 – a time period where 14 states enacted laws legalizing the medical use of the plant, and two states approved its recreational use by adults. (Six…

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Study: Use Of Vaporizers Mitigates Pulmonary Risks Associated With Cannabis Smoking

Vaporization technology heats cannabis to a point where cannabinoid vapors form, but below the point of combustion.

“The vaporizer raises cannabinoid levels in humans but does not raise exhaled CO (carbon monoxide) levels,” researchers concluded. “The majority of studies suggest that vaporizers adequately reduce risk of pulmonary symptoms.”

Previous clinical trials of cannabis vaporization have concluded the method to be a safe and efficient vehicle for rapid cannabinoid administration.

Full text of the review, “What the initial…

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Study: Cannabis Use Inversely Associated With Diabetes

Study: Cannabis Use Inversely Associated With Diabetes

EAST LANSING, MI — A history of cannabis use is inversely correlated with diabetes mellitus, according to an epidemiological review published online ahead of print in the journal Epidemiology.

Investigators at Michigan State University, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics performed a meta-analytic study assessing cannabis use and diabetes in the general population.

“Recently active cannabis smoking and diabetes mellitus are inversely associated,” they determined. Authors estimated that subjects with a history of cannabis use…

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Study: Parents Report CBD Extracts Reduce Seizures In Children

Study: Parents Report CBD Extracts Reduce Seizures In Children

LOS ANGELES, CA — The administration of cannabis preparations high in cannabidiol (CBD) are associated with a reduction in seizure frequency in adolescents, according to survey data published in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior.

Investigators at Mattel’s Children’s Hospital at the University of California, Los Angeles surveyed 117 parents who reported administering CBD-enriched products to their epileptic children.

Authors reported that 85 percent of respondents acknowledged a reduction in their child’s seizure frequency, and 14…

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Study: Oral Cannabis Extracts Associated With Seizure Control In Children With Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy

Study: Oral Cannabis Extracts Associated With Seizure Control In Children With Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy

The administration of oral cannabis extracts is associated with the mitigation of seizures in adolescents with epilepsy, according to clinical data published this month in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior.

Researchers from the Colorado Children’s Hospital in Denver performed a retrospective chart review of 75 children provided cannabis extracts. Authors reported that 57 percent of subjects showed some level of improvement in seizure control while 33 percent reported a greater than 50 percent reduction in seizure frequency.

Researchers also…

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Feds Seek to Increase Marijuana Production Quotas

Feds Seek to Increase Marijuana Production Quotas

WASHINGTON, DC — For the second year in a row, federal officials are seeking to increase the supply of cannabis the government makes available for research protocols.

DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart filed paperwork Tuesday announcing that the agency is seeking to increase its marijuana production quota for the year 2015 by nearly three-fold.

Federal regulations permit a farm at the University of Mississippi to cultivate set quantities of cannabis for use in federally approved clinical trials.

Regulators at the DEA, the US Food and Drug…

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Study: Vaporized Cannabis Mitigates Treatment-Resistant Diabetic Neuropathy

Study: Vaporized Cannabis Mitigates Treatment-Resistant Diabetic Neuropathy

Vaporized cannabis mitigates pain intensity in diabetic subjects in a dose-dependent manner, according to clinical trial data published online ahead of print in The Journal of Pain.

Investigators at the University of California, San Diego assessed the efficacy of inhaled cannabis versus placebo in 16 patients with painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN).

Authors reported:

“This small, short-term, placebo-controlled trial of inhaled cannabis demonstrated a dose-dependent reduction in diabetic peripheral neuropathy pain in patients with…

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Study: CBD Administration Enhances Skeletal Healing

Study: CBD Administration Enhances Skeletal Healing

The administration of the non-psychotropic cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) leads to improvement in bone fracture healing, according to preclinical data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Investigators at the Hebrew University Bone Laboratory in Israel assessed the ability of CBD administration to promote healing in rats with mid-femoral fractures. Researchers reported, “CBD markedly enhanced the biomechanical properties of the healing femora after 8 weeks.”

Authors also evaluated the administration…

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Study: Parkinson’s Patients Report Subjective Relief From Cannabis

Study: Parkinson’s Patients Report Subjective Relief From Cannabis

AURORA, CO — Patients with Parkinson’s self-report cannabis to be a highly efficacious alternative medicine in the treatment of the disease, according to survey data published online ahead of print in the journal Evidence-Based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine.

Investigators reported that cannabis use remains comparatively uncommon among patients with Parkinson’s disease. However, those respondents who acknowledged using the plant rated it as one of the “most effective” alternative treatment therapies available.

“Cannabis…

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Study: Plant-Derived Cannabinoid Extract More Efficacious Than Isolated Compound

Study: Plant-Derived Cannabinoid Extract More Efficacious Than Isolated Compound

JERUSALEM — The administration of plant-derived cannabidiol(CBD) extracts provide greater efficacy in the treatment of pain and inflammation than does the use of a purified CBD alternative, according to preclinical data published online ahead of print in the journal Pharmacology & Pharmacy.

Investigators at the Hebrew University, Institute for Drug Research assessed the anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive activities of plant-derived CBD extracts in animals.

Researchers reported that extracts derived from a CBD-dominant strain of…

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Researcher Closer to Starting Medical Marijuana PTSD Study in Arizona

Researcher Closer to Starting Medical Marijuana PTSD Study in Arizona

PHOENIX, AZ — An Arizona researcher is one step closer to starting research on the effect of medical marijuana in treating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Dr. Sue Sisley, the researcher who was fired last year from the University of Arizona College of Medicine for reasons she believed to be linked to her high-profile work in medical marijuana research, aims to study the impact of four marijuana strains on veterans suffering from PTSD.

Dr. Sue Sisley

Dr. Sue Sisley

Dr. Sisley said this week she plans to conduct independent research in…

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Study: Cannabis Use Linked With Lower Diabetes Risk In HIV/HCV Patients

Study: Cannabis Use Linked With Lower Diabetes Risk In HIV/HCV Patients

MARSEILLE, FRANCE — A history of cannabis use is positively associated with a lower risk of insulin resistance (IR) in HIV/Hepatitis C co-infected patients, according to a longitudinal analysis published online ahead of print in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. Insulin resistance is a leading cause of type 2 diabetes.

French investigators evaluated the association between cannabis use and IR in a nationwide cohort of HIV/HCV co-infected patients over a 60-month period. Researchers reported that patients with a history of cannabis…

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Cannabis, Science, and the Media

Cannabis, Science, and the Media

Prohibitionists keep circulating scare stories about marijuana, and people keep believing them.

Lurid tales of insanity and murder were quite effective in the 1930s. Seen now as ridiculous; yet nonetheless, modern tales, equally ridiculous, are widely accepted.

If marijuana actually caused some trouble — health problems, madness, violence, mental deficit, lasting effects after the immediate intoxication — ask yourself: Wouldn’t it be obvious? Tens of millions of people in this country partake of it. The vast majority use it in…

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Study: Elevated THC/Blood Levels Persist in Habitual Cannabis Consumers

Study: Elevated THC/Blood Levels Persist in Habitual Cannabis Consumers

VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA — The presence of THC may persist in the blood of habitual cannabis consumers for multiple days at concentrations above 5ng/ml, according clinical data recently published in the journal Forensic Science International.

Australian researchers assessed daily concentrations of THC in the blood of 21 subjects over a period of 7 days of monitored abstinence. Subjects reported having engaging in the “heavy” use of cannabis during the months leading up to the study.

Of the 11 participants who completed the entire 7-day…

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RI: Most Medical Marijuana Patients Substitute Cannabis for Prescription Drugs

RI: Most Medical Marijuana Patients Substitute Cannabis for Prescription Drugs

PROVIDENCE, RI — The majority of qualified patients in Rhode Island who obtain cannabis from a state-licensed dispensary report having used it as an alternative to conventional prescription drugs, according to a demographic review of patient characteristics published in The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

Investigators Brown University in Providence and the University of Arkansas reported that over two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) used cannabis to treat chronic pain and that the majority (56 percent) indicated that they had used…

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Study: Perceived Risk of Marijuana Use Influenced by Gender, Age, Household Income

Study: Perceived Risk of Marijuana Use Influenced by Gender, Age, Household Income

BALTIMORE, MD — Females are nearly twice as likely as males to perceive the regular use of marijuana as risky behavior, according to findings published online ahead of print in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Investigators at John Hopkins University and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health analyzed data from 614,579 participants in the 2002-2012 National Survey on Drug Use and correlated demographic characteristics with subjects’ beliefs regarding marijuana’s perceived risks.

Researchers reported that female…

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Study: Marijuana Use Not Associated with Previously Reported Changes in Brain Morphology

Study: Marijuana Use Not Associated with Previously Reported Changes in Brain Morphology

It was less than a year ago when the mainstream media was chock-full of headlines like this one: ‘Brain changes associated with casual marijuana use in young adults, study finds.’ The alarmist headlines were in response to a controversial paper published by researchers at Harvard University in Boston and Northwestern University in Chicago which alleged to have found differences in brain morphology in a cohort of 20 college-age marijuana users as compared to 20 non-users. The study’s investigators attributed the differences to…

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Federal Study: THC-Positive Drivers Not More Likely to be Involved in Motor Vehicle Crashes

Federal Study: THC-Positive Drivers Not More Likely to be Involved in Motor Vehicle Crashes

WASHINGTON, DC — Drivers who test positive for the presence of THC in blood are no more likely to be involved in motor vehicle crashes than are drug-free drivers, according to a federally sponsored case-control study involving some 9,000 participants.

The study, published Friday by the United States National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), is the first large-scale case-control study ever conducted in the United States to assess the crash risk associated with both drugs and alcohol use by drivers.

Authors reported that drivers who…

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History of Cannabis Use Associated with Reduced Bladder Cancer Risk

History of Cannabis Use Associated with Reduced Bladder Cancer Risk

LOS ANGELES, CA — Cannabis use is inversely associated with incidences of bladder cancer in males, according epidemiological findings published in the February issue of the journal Urology.

Investigators at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, Department of Neurology assessed the association of cannabis use and tobacco smoking on the risk of bladder cancer in a multiethnic cohort of more than 80,000 men aged 45 to 69 years old over an 11-year period.

Researchers determined that cannabis use was associated with a decreased…

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Study: Synthetic Cannabinoid Relieves PTSD-Associated Nightmares

Study: Synthetic Cannabinoid Relieves PTSD-Associated Nightmares

OTTAWA — The administration of nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, mitigates the frequency and intensity of trauma-related nightmares in military personnel suffering from treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress, according to clinical trial data published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Investigators from the Canadian Forces Health Services Group and the Operational Trauma and Stress Support Centre in Ottawa assessed the efficacy of nabilone, an FDA-approved selective CB1 agonist, versus placebo over a 16-week period in a cohort…

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Study: Daily Marijuana Use Does Not Shrink Your Brain

Study: Daily Marijuana Use Does Not Shrink Your Brain

BOULDER, CO — Daily marijuana use is not associated with brain shrinkage when using a like-for-like method to control for the effects of alcohol consumption on those who both drink and toke up, a new study from Colorado has found.

The study, led by neuroscientists at the University of Colorado at Boulder and published Jan. 28 in the Journal of Neuroscience, points to continued uncertainty about how pot use alters the structure of the brain. Even so, other studies have found the drug has short-term effects on learning and memory.

The latest…

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US Surgeon General Acknowledges “Marijuana Can Be Helpful”

US Surgeon General Acknowledges “Marijuana Can Be Helpful”

WASHINGTON, DC — Newly appointed US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy believes that cannabis possesses therapeutic utility — an acknowledgment that contradicts the plant’s present placement as a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law.

Speaking to CBS News, Murthy said: “We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms that marijuana can be helpful.”

He added, “I think we have to use that data to drive policy making and I’m very interested to see where that data takes us.”

Dr. Murthy…

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Study: History of Cannabis Use Associated with Reduced Cancer Risk

Study: History of Cannabis Use Associated with Reduced Cancer Risk

Cannabis use is inversely associated with incidences of bladder cancer in males, according epidemiological findings published in the February issue of the journal Urology.

Investigators at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, Department of Neurology assessed the association of cannabis use and tobacco smoking on the risk of bladder cancer in a multiethnic cohort of more than 80,000 men aged 45 to 69 years old over an 11-year period.

Researchers determined that a history of cannabis use was associated with a decreased risk of…

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American Academy of Pediatrics Says Medical Marijuana Could be Good for Some Kids

American Academy of Pediatrics Says Medical Marijuana Could be Good for Some Kids

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which has the largest pediatric publishing program in the world, recommends decriminalizing marijuana and says it could be good for some kids in a new policy statement.

“The AAP opposes ‘medical marijuana’ outside the regulatory process of the US Food and Drug Administration,” says the new statement. However, it recognizes certain situations could be benefitted by marijuana.

“Notwithstanding this opposition to use, the AAP recognizes that marijuana may currently be an…

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American Academy of Pediatrics Calls for Rescheduling Cannabis

American Academy of Pediatrics Calls for Rescheduling Cannabis

CHICAGO, IL — An updated policy statement issued Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) calls for the rescheduling of the cannabis plant under federal law to better facilitate clinical trial research and to promote the plant’s eventual pharmaceutical development.

The new position statement resolves: “The AAP strongly supports research and development of pharmaceutical cannabinoids and supports a review of policies promoting research on the medical use of these compounds. The AAP recommends changing marijuana from a Drug…

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Smoking Marijuana “Distinctly Different” on Lungs than Tobacco Use

Smoking Marijuana “Distinctly Different” on Lungs than Tobacco Use

Study Finds That Long Term Cannabis Exposure “Not Associated With Significant Effects On Lung Function”

ATLANTA, GA — The inhalation of one marijuana cigarette per day over a 20-year period is not associated with adverse changes in lung health, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Investigators at Emory University in Atlanta assessed marijuana smoke exposure and lung health in a large representative sample of US adults age 18 to 59. Researchers reported that cannabis…

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Study: Pain Patients Report Cannabis Augments Efficacy Of Opiate-Based Medications

Study: Pain Patients Report Cannabis Augments Efficacy Of Opiate-Based Medications

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Cannabis is often administered as an analgesic agent by chronic pain patients, many of whom report that it augments the pain-relieving properties of opiods, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

An international team of investigators from Australia and England assessed the use of cannabis among a cohort of 1514 Australians who had been prescribed pharmaceutical opioids for chronic non-cancer pain.

Researchers reported that one in six (16 percent) of the patients…

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