Category Archives: Marijuana Disadvantages

Half a cannabis cigarette causes quasi-psychotic effects like schizophrenia in healthy people

By LIZZIE PARRY FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
3 December 2015
dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3345090/Just-HALF-joint-cannabis-causes-psychosis-like-effects-healthy-people-s-similar-schizophrenia-say-experts.html
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  • Active ingredient in cannabis delta-9-THC is linked to psychosis effects
  • Scientists do not fully understand mechanisms that cause these effects
  • Yale team found delta-9-THC increases random neural activity, or noise
  • Believe increased neural noise plays role in psychosis triggered by drug
  • Experts say effects are similar to the symptoms of schizophrenia

Smoking cannabis can induce psychosis-like effects, similar to the symptoms people diagnosed with schizophrenia endure, scientists have said.
While past research as come this this conclusion in the past, the mechanisms underlying these effects are less clear.

Now, a team of scientists at Yale School of Medicine have found the active ingredient in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC) increases random neural activity, known as neural noise, in the brains of healthy drug-users.

Their findings suggest increased neural noise may play a role in the psychosis-like effects of cannabis.
Dr Deepak D’Souza, a professor of psychiatry at Yale, said: ‘At doses roughly equivalent to half or a single joint, delta-9-THC produced psychosis-like effects and increased neural noise in humans.’
First author of the study, Dr Jose Cortes-Briones, a postdoctoral associate in psychiatry at Yale, added: ‘The dose-dependent and strong positive relationship between these two findings suggest that the psychosis-like effects of cannabis may be related to neural noise which disrupts the brain’s normal information processing.’

Researchers studied the effects of delta-9-THC on electrical brain activity in 24 human subjects, who took part in a three-day study.

During the experiments, they received two doses of intravenous delta-9-THC or a placebo in a double-blind, randomised, cross-over and counterbalanced design.

If confirmed, the link between neural noise and psychosis could shed light on the biology of some of the symptoms associated with schizophrenia.

Dr John Krystal, editor of Biological Psychiatry, the journal in which the study is published, said the research marks an important part of the debate over whether cannabis should be legalised.
He said: ‘This interesting study suggests a commonality between the effects on the brain of the major active ingredient in marijuana and symptoms of schizophrenia.

‘The impairment of cortical function by delta-9-THC could underlie some of the cognitive effects of marijuana.

‘Not only does this finding aid our understanding of the processes underlying psychosis, it underscores an important concern in the debate surrounding medical and legalised access to marijuana.’

High-Potency Marijuana Could Cause Brain Damage, Psychosis

Coloradoan's Celebrate 4/20 With Marijuana Smokeout

SEATTLE (CBS Seattle) – A new study on marijuana use warns the highly-potent strains of the drug available on the market today could cause brain damage or even lead to psychosis.

British researchers studied the brains of heavy marijuana users in South London.

“If you look at the corpus callosum, what we’re seeing is a significant difference in the white matter between those who use high potency cannabis and those who never use the drug, or use the low-potency drug,” study co-author Paola Dazzan told The Guardian.

White matter in the brain transmits signals from one region of the cerebrum to another and from the cerebrum to other parts of the brain. When the white matter is impaired or damaged, it can block communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.

 

Dazzan blames tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in pot. While most marijuana contains onlu 2-4 percent of THC, about 100 high-potency brands of pot contain as much as 14 percent THC.

“What we can say is if it’s high potency, and if you smoke frequently, your brain is different from the brain of someone who smokes normal cannabis, and from someone who doesn’t smoke cannabis at all,” explained Dazzan.

Dr. Romina Mizrahi, director of the Focus on Youth Psychosis Prevention clinic at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, who has studied marijuana, told Digital Journal the damage can be serious.

 “Teenagers think that cannabis is harmless,” she warned. “It is not. And for some people, it’s particularly dangerous.”

 

The study is published in the journal The Lancet.

Study sheds light on damaging effects of marijuana among college-aged adults

eagnews.org/study-sheds-light-on-damaging-effects-of-marijuana-among-college-aged-adults/

NucleusAccumbens-AmygdalaAugust 13, 2014, at 2:13 PM | By Rachel Daly

As support for legalized recreational marijuana use increases, some have warned that there is presently little research indicating the effects of low to moderate use of the drug. However, the results of a small but sobering study released in April by several Boston-based researchers have shed light on the damaging effects of even casual use of the drug among young adults, according to the Society for Neuroscience. The results of the study may hold import for colleges and universities, which struggle perennially with Acrobat file binge drinking, drug use, and the subsequent host of Acrobat file negative decisions.

The study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, which compared high-resolution MRI brain scans of recreational marijuana users aged 18 to 25 with those of nonusers, found significant abnormalities in the left nucleus accumbens and the left amygdala of marijuana users, even those who smoked just once per week. These regions of the brain are responsible for pleasure and reward, processing memory, emotional reactions, and the assessment of negative consequences.

Previously, the only existing studies on the subject had applied to those who smoked excessively—for example, once per day for approximately three years. This study targets those who smoke only a few times per week.

girlExhalingFrom a moral standpoint, Dr.Taylor Marshall has made a Thomistic argument against the use of marijuana, asserting that it inexcusably inhibits man’s most God-like faculty—rationality—thus diminishing users to the level of beasts. He distinguishes it from alcohol, the effects of which can be graduated, and from medical use of marijuana and similar drugs. He ultimately concludes that its use is immoral. Even his critics, who consider the effects of marijuana to be as graduated as those of alcohol, concede that the drug’s recreational use is not altogether benign.

Scientists agree that while the study examined only a small sample, its results encourage deeper study and a greater dissemination of information. “There is this general perspective out there that using marijuana recreationally is not a problem —that it is a safe drug,” said co-author of the study, Anne Blood, in a News.Micarticle. “We are seeing that this is not the case.”

It is yet to be seen whether the expected growth in research on the topic may begin to curtail some of the marijuana use that has been on the rise since the mid-1990s.

PotKids

Pot seen as reason for rise in Denver homeless

DENVER (AP) — Officials at some Denver homeless shelters say the legalization of marijuana has contributed to an increase in the number of younger people living on the city’s streets.

One organization dealing with the increase is Urban Peak, which provides food, shelter and other services to homeless people aged 15 to 24 in Denver and Colorado Springs.

“Of the new kids we’re seeing, the majority are saying they’re here because of the weed,” deputy director Kendall Rames told The Denver Post (http://dpo.st/1l1vQER ). “They’re traveling through. It is very unfortunate.”

The Salvation Army’s single men’s shelter in Denver has been serving more homeless this summer, and officials have noted an increase in the number of 18- to 25-year-olds there.

The shelter housed an average of 225 each night last summer, but this summer it’s averaging 300 people per night. No breakdown was available by age, but an informal survey found that about a quarter of the increase was related to marijuana, including people who moved hoping to find work in the marijuana industry, said Murray Flagg, divisional social services secretary for the Salvation Army’s Intermountain Division.

Some of the homeless have felony backgrounds that prevent them from working in pot shops and grow houses, which are regulated by the state, Flagg said. He also thinks others may find work but don’t earn enough to pay rent in Denver’s expensive housing market.

At the St. Francis Center, a daytime homeless shelter, pot is the second most frequently volunteered reason for being in Colorado, after looking for work.

St. Francis executive director Tom Leuhrs also sees an economic reason for the increase of the number of homeless young people. They’re having difficulty moving from high school and college to the workforce, Leuhrs said.

“The economy is not supporting them. There are not enough jobs,” he said.

Edward Madewell said he was on his way back home to Missouri when he decided to head to Colorado so he could keep smoking the marijuana he uses to control seizures. “I’m not going to stop using something organic. I don’t like the pills,” he said.

Dusty Taylor, 20, said he moved back to Colorado, where he grew up, to avoid legal problems. “I don’t want to catch a felony for smoking,” he said.

Potential for heart attack, stroke risk seen with marijuana use

potHeartlatimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-heart-attack-stroke-marijuana-20140423,0,3208786.story

By Melissa Healy | April 23, 2014, 4:35 p.m.

Over a five-year period, a government-mandated tracking system in France showed that physicians in that country treated 1,979 patients for serious health problems associated with the use of marijuana, and nearly 2% of those encounters were with patients suffering from cardiovascular problems, including heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia and stroke, and circulation problems in the arms and legs. In roughly a quarter of those cases, the study found, the patient died.

In the United States, when young and otherwise healthy patients show up in emergency departments with symptoms of heart attack, stroke, cardiomyopathy and cardiac arrhythmia, physicians have frequently noted in case reports that these unusual patients are regular marijuana users.

Such reporting is hardly the basis for declaring marijuana use an outright cause of cardiovascular disease. But on Wednesday, cardiologists writing in the Journal of the American Heart Association warned that “clinical evidence … suggests the potential for serious cardiovascular risks associated with marijuana use.” And with a growing movement to decriminalize marijuana use, they called for data-collection efforts capable of detecting and measuring marijuana’s cardiovascular impact among American users of cannibis setiva.

“There is now compelling evidence on the growing risk of marijuana-associated adverse cardiovascular effects, especially in young people,” said Emilie Jouanjus, lead author of the French study, which was also published in the Journal of the American Heart Assn. That evidence, Jouanjus added, should prompt cardiologists to consider marijuana use a potential cause of cardiovascular disease in patients they see.

Marijuana use probably increases clotting factors in the blood, and heavy marijuana use may lead to significant changes in the tiny vessels carrying blood to the heart and brain, such that even after clearance of a major blockage, blood flow remains impeded. Case studies linked recent marijuana use in patients seeking care for increased angina, ischemic ulcers and gangrene associated with blocked blood flow to extremities and transcient ischemic attacks, sometimes called “mini-strokes.” Notably these complaints often came from patients who were young and had no previous evidence of cardiovascular disease.In an editorial published Wednesday in the AHA journal, Drs. Sherief Rezkalla and Robert A. Kloner asked, “Do we really know enough about the cardiovascular effects of marijuana to feel comfortable about its use in patients with known cardiovascular disease or patients with cardiovascular risk factors,” including obesity, sedentary behavior, high blood pressure and worrisome cholesterol numbers.

Rezkalla and Kloner combed the recent medical literature for animal experiments, observational studies and case reports linking marijuana use in close temporal proximity with cardiovascular events. They cited evidence that marijuana use probably increases clotting factors in the blood and that heavy marijuana use may lead to significant changes in the tiny vessels carrying blood to the heart and brain, such that even after clearance of a major blockage, blood flow remains impeded.

Aside from heart attacks and strokes, case studies linked recent marijuana use in patients seeking care for increased angina, ischemic ulcers and gangrene associated with blocked blood flow to extremities and transcient ischemic attacks, sometimes called “mini-strokes.” Notably these complaints often came from patients who were young and had no previous evidence of cardiovascular disease.

“We think the time has come to stop and think about what is the best way to protect our communities from the potential danger of widespread marijuana use in the absence of safety studies,” added Rezkalla, a cardiologist at the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin, and Kloner, a cardiologist at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. “It is the responsibility of the medical community to determine the safety of the drug before it is widely legalized for recreational use.”

Brain Changes are Associated with Casual Marijuana Use in Young Adults

sfn.org/Press-Room/News-Release-Archives/2014/Brain-Changes-Are-Associated-with-Casual-Marijuana-Use-in-Young-Adults

Society for Neuroscience | April 15, 2014

Preliminary study suggests effects of drug even in those who are not addicted

Washington, DC — The size and shape of two brain regions involved in emotion and motivation may differ in young adults who smoke marijuana at least once a week, according to a study published April 16 in The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings suggest that recreational marijuana use may lead to previously unidentified brain changes, and highlight the importance of research aimed at understanding the long-term effects of low to moderate marijuana use on the brain.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, with an estimated 18.9 million people reporting recent use, according to the most current analysis of the National Survey on Drug Use and Mental Health. Marijuana use is often associated with motivation, attention, learning, and memory impairments. Previous studies exposing animals to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the main psychoactive component of marijuana — show that repeated exposure to the drug causes structural changes in brain regions involved with these functions. However, less is known about how low to moderate marijuana use affects brain structure in people, particularly in teens and young adults.
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In the current study, Jodi Gilman, PhD, Anne Blood, PhD, and Hans Breiter, MD, of Northwestern University and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to compare the brains of 18- to 25-year olds who reported smoking marijuana at least once per week with those with little to no history of marijuana use. Although psychiatric evaluations ruled out the possibility that the marijuana users were dependent on the drug, imaging data revealed they had significant brain differences. The nucleus accumbens — a brain region known to be involved in reward processing — was larger and altered in its shape and structure in the marijuana users compared to non-users.

“This study suggests that even light to moderate recreational marijuana use can cause changes in brain anatomy,” said Carl Lupica, PhD, who studies drug addiction at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and was not involved with this study. “These observations are particularly interesting because previous studies have focused primarily on the brains of heavy marijuana smokers, and have largely ignored the brains of casual users.”

The team of scientists compared the size, shape, and density of the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala — a brain region that plays a central role in emotion — in 20 marijuana users and 20 non-users. Each marijuana user was asked to estimate their drug consumption over a three-month period, including the number of days they smoked and the amount of the drug consumed each day. The scientists found that the more the marijuana users reported consuming, the greater the abnormalities in the nucleus accumbens and amygdala. The shape and density of both of these regions also differed between marijuana users and non-users.

“This study raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn’t associated with bad consequences,” Breiter said.

This research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Marijuana Use During Pregnancy Affects Baby’s Brain

livescience.com/42853-marijuana-during-pregnancy-baby-brain.html

By Tanya Lewis |   January 27, 2014

pregnantMarijuanaUsing marijuana during pregnancy could affect a baby’s brain development by interfering with how brain cells are wired, a new study in mice and human tissue suggests.

Researchers studied marijuana’s effects on mice and brain tissue from human fetuses, and found that the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, interferes with the formation of connections between nerve cells in the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain responsible for higher thinking skills and forming memories.

MiswiringTheBrain“Our advice is that [pregnant] mothers should avoid marijuana,”said neuroscientist Tibor Harkany of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and the Medical University of Vienna, in Austria, who led a study detailed today (Jan. 27) in the EMBO Journal.

Harkany added that the effects of prenatal marijuana exposure could even last into adulthood. The drug could have direct effects, or it could sensitize the brain to future drug exposure or neuropsychiatric illnesses.

Pot during pregnancy

Previous studies have found that exposure to marijuana during pregnancy can increase a child’s risk of having cognitive deficits or psychiatric disorders.

While it is not exactly clear how marijuana may affect the fetal brain at a molecular level, it seems the brain may be particularly sensitive to THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) during early development, when neurons are forming critical connections. Any drug that interferes with this development could be detrimental to the child, Harkany said.

In the study, Harkany and his colleagues tested marijuana’s effects in three ways: They grew brain cells from mice in the presence of THC, they injected pregnant mice with THC, and they studied the brains of electively aborted human fetuses whose mothers had used marijuana during pregnancy.

The researchers identified a specific protein in nerve cells, called Superior Cervical Ganglion 10 (SCG10), which is essential for normal brain wiring. They found lower levels of this protein in the brains of both human and mouse fetuses exposed to THC compared with individuals who weren’t exposed to THC, suggesting that marijuana exposure has a specific effect on the developing brain.

Marijuana and brain development

“Prenatal cannabis disrupts synapses [nerve connections] critical for higher order executive and cognitive function,” study researcher Yasmin Hurd, a neuroscientist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, told LiveScience in an email.

An increasing number of women of childbearing age are using marijuana, and this group should be made aware of the potential impact on the brain development of their children, she said.

Harkany added that pregnant women should avoid using marijuana use for medical purposes.

Previous long-term studies have shown that children exposed to marijuana in the womb may have an increased risk of showing cognitive effects, seeking out drugs, or having attention deficit disorder, anxiety or depression, according to the study.

Harkany and his colleagues didn’t study the effects of marijuana use prior to pregnancy, but he said the drug is cleared from the body in a period days, not months, and using it prior to conception is more likely to affect the likelihood of becoming pregnant than the fetus itself.

So far, Harkany said, no studies have compared the effect of marijuana to that of other drugs, such as alcohol, on fetal brain development.

America ill-prepared for marijuana mayhem

www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/01/10/america-ill-prepared-for-marijuana-mayhem/

By Dr. Keith Ablow – January 10, 2014 – FoxNews.com

With many states legalizing medical marijuana, and Colorado legalizing recreational marijuana, we are about to learn what I already know as a practicing psychiatrist: Marijuana is not harmless and will lead many millions of people into addiction, depression, psychosis, anxiety and lack of motivation.

I support legalizing marijuana, because I do not support the government making the decision whether people use it or not.

I also don’t like jailing people for the same behavior (drug use) that so many of our elected officials have engaged in. And I believe strongly that, in carefully selected cases, marijuana (and other potentially addictive drugs, by the way) can be very useful, medically.

Here’s the big trouble, though: We are way behind the curve educating people about the risks of marijuana abuse and dependence—which could cost us many billions of dollars and ruin many, many lives.

I know this sounds alarmist, but it is true, and we are completely unprepared for the fallout.

Research studies show that cannabis users are at a 40 percent increased risk of psychosis. Research studies show that marijuana may well be a risk factor for schizophrenia, depression and anxiety disorders.

And research shows that marijuana is linked to a syndrome in which people have little motivation to pursue goals and interests that they once found compelling. Continue reading

Legal Abandonment of Children and Adolescents to the Glamour Marijuana Culture

By William Keevers

Imagine if, when Prohibition was repealed, instead of shielding children from harmful exposure to alcohol, state and federal governments had essentially abandoned them to the glamour drinking culture.

We might have seen documentaries about the social problems by 1938. Socially conservative elements in society might have lamented the situation, given the fact that such conditions couldn’t have prevailed if there were an effective government of laws, not of men.

Eventually, society would have decayed to a film noir alternate reality like that in Dashiell Hammett’s horribly cynical “Red Harvest. The American “City on a Hill” would be well on its way to the complete dominance of brute force portrayed in Alessandro Manzoni’s “The Betrothed”.

This is essentially the situation today, with the news announcement that the US Justice Department will not prosecute any marijuana crimes unless there is indication of organized crime infiltration—as happened in the Netherlands when cannabis and hashish possession for personal use were decriminalized.

The core issue is that underage users are most seriously impacted. There are no public discussions about the effects upon minors of the marijuana gray market. The only group with an organized platform of political agitation is the “medical” marijuana industry, which has substantial incentives for current conditions to remain as they are, including essentially unregulated use by minors. Continue reading

Teen pot use could hurt brain and memory, new research suggests

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/teen-pot-use-could-hurt-brain-memory-new-research-suggests-2D11741988

Brian Alexander, NBC News
Dec. 16, 2013

Teenage pot smokers could be damaging brain structures critical to memory and reasoning, according to new research that found changes in the brains of heavy users.

PABLO PORCIUNCULA / AFP - Getty Images New research shows young pot smokers could be damaging brain structures critical to memory and reasoning.

PABLO PORCIUNCULA / AFP – Getty Images
New research shows young pot smokers could be damaging brain structures critical to memory and reasoning.

Research released Monday in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin showed the brains of young heavy marijuana users were altered in so-called sub-cortical regions — primitive structures that are part of the memory and reasoning circuits. And young people with such alterations performed worse on memory tests than non-using controls, despite the fact that the heavy users had not indulged for more than two years, on average, before the testing.

“We see that adolescents are at a very vulnerable stage neurodevelopmentally,” said Matthew Smith, who led the research team at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “And if you throw stuff into the brain that’s not supposed to be there, there are long-term implications for their development.”

The portion of people ages 12 to 17 who used marijuana during the past month fell to 9.5 percent last year from almost 12 percent in 2002, according to the latest figures from the government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. But that still represents millions of adolescents and teenagers — and the legalization of marijuana has raised the specter that underage people will have easier access. Continue reading