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Daily Mail April 2019 11:16 

Using marijuana during pregnancy to treat morning sickness could damage an unborn baby's brain, a new study says.

Research conducted on rats found that expecting mothers who used cannabis affected the section of the brain involved in memory and learning.

The rate of pregnant women using pot for severe nausea and vomiting has increased by 11.3 percent over the last decade and by more than 62 percent for general overall use.

Previous studies have shown that children born to women who used marijuana during pregnancy are more likely to develop cognitive and behavioral problems.

The team, from Auburn University in Alabama, says its findings confirm pot's harmful effects on developing brains and advise that there are no safe levels when it comes to expectant mothers.

'Marijuana is becoming one of the most consumed drugs in pregnancy, but we know from past studies that it has harmful effects on developing brains,' co-author Priyanka Das Pinky, a graduate student at Auburn University, told DailyMail.com.

For the new study, the team wanted to examine the effects cannabis use could have on a fetus's hippocampus, which is responsible for processing memory and emotional responses.

They raised pregnant female rats and exposed one group to a synthetic chemical that acts similarly to marijuana.

The dose was equivalent to a pregnant human mother using moderate to heavy amounts of cannabis.

When the baby rats were born, the researchers examined their brains and found that the nerve connections in the 'brain's memory bank' were reduced in rats exposed to synthetic pot in the womb compared to those that weren't exposed.

Researchers found that this was due to a reduction in a protein known as Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule (NCAM), which helps maintain neural connections and strength.

'When we examined what was causing this, we found this molecule in brain was not maintaining proper connection in neurons,' Pinky said. 'There has not been much data on this molecule before, so that was exciting to see.

For complete story

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Apr 14, 2019 

Uh-Oh! Drug use is on the rise in the workplace

This past week, Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX), a leading diagnostic testing firm, and the company responsible for testing millions of Americans a year in the workplace for illicit substances, released its latest analysis, known as the Drug Testing Index, on workplace drug usage. Having tested more than 10 million urine samples in 2018, Quest found that 4.4% resulted in a positive test, which includes a combination of illicit (i.e., illegal) drugs and prescription medicines. This 4.4% workforce positivity rate is a 14-year high, and it's a 25% increase from the all-time low of 3.5% recorded between 2010 and 2012.

What's driving higher workplace drug use? According to data from Quest Diagnostics, it's not oxycodones, opiates, heroin, or cocaine. For the general population and safety-sensitive workers (e.g., truck or bus drivers, mechanics, pharmacists, nurses, and so on), usage of these illicit and/or prescribed medications has fallen or been relatively steady between 2012 and 2018.

Meanwhile, amphetamine and marijuana use has risen significantly over the same period. Just over 1% of the general population now tests positive for amphetamines, up from just under 1% in 2012. But the biggest increase is seen with the cannabis positivity rate, which has increased by 40% between 2012 and 2018 to 2.8% among the general population. It rose ever so slightly to 0.88% from 0.84% for safety-sensitive workers between 2017 and 2018. Combining the two categories, the national positivity rate in the workforce for urine tests was 2.3% last year. 

Should we be blaming cannabis for this increase?

Just as concerning is that positivity following an accident has been increasing substantially. As Quest noted, "In the federally mandated, safety-sensitive workforce, positivity for post-accident urine testing jumped more than 51% year over year (3.1% in 2017 versus 4.7% in 2018) and increased by nearly 81% between 2014 and 2018." But the report is clear that prescription opiates were the primary driver in 2018.

This, of course, isn't the case with a handful of recent state-level studies. One 2018 study from the Highway Loss Data Institute finds that while fatalities aren't necessarily up as a result of cannabis use, crashes in recreationally legal states are. In Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, crash statistics have risen as much as 6% since weed was fully legalized. 

For complete story - This new data brings to light a number of bigger problems.

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April 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis mother has struggled to cope with her son's untimely death. He died from complications of using marijuana, and now the mother is warning parents about the condition that took her son's life.

"He said mom I can't breathe. I rolled him over, and my son was gone," Regina Denney said.

It was one year ago that Denney's son was diagnosed with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. A condition caused by chronic marijuana usage that leads to extreme vomiting, nausea and stomach pain.

 For complete article

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 (This was 12 years ago…it’s even worse now!!!)

Record numbers of teenagers are requiring drug treatment as a result of smoking skunk, the highly potent cannabis strain that is 25 times stronger than resin sold a decade ago.

More than 22,000 people were treated last year for cannabis addiction - and almost half of those affected were under 18. With doctors and drugs experts warning that skunk can be as damaging as cocaine and heroin, leading to mental health problems and psychosis for thousands of teenagers, The Independent on Sunday has today reversed its landmark campaign for cannabis use to be decriminalised.

A decade after this newspaper's stance culminated in a 16,000-strong pro-cannabis march to London's Hyde Park - and was credited with forcing the Government to downgrade the legal status of cannabis to class C - an IoS editorial states that there is growing proof that skunk causes mental illness and psychosis.

The decision comes as statistics from the NHS National Treatment Agency show that the number of young people in treatment almost doubled from about 5,000 in 2005 to 9,600 in 2006, and that 13,000 adults also needed treatment.

The skunk smoked by the majority of young Britons bears no relation to traditional cannabis resin - with a 25-fold increase in the amount of the main psychoactive ingredient, tetrahydrocannabidinol (THC), typically found in the early 1990s. New research being published in this week's Lancet will show how cannabis is more dangerous than LSD and ecstasy. Experts analysed 20 substances for addictiveness, social harm and physical damage. The results will increase the pressure on the Government to have a full debate on drugs, and a new independent UK drug policy commission being launched next month will call for a rethink on the issue.

The findings last night reignited the debate about cannabis use, with a growing number of specialists saying that the drug bears no relation to the substance most law-makers would recognise. Professor Colin Blakemore, chief of the Medical Research Council, who backed our original campaign for cannabis to be decriminalised, has also changed his mind. He said: "The link between cannabis and psychosis is quite clear now; it wasn't 10 years ago."

Many medical specialists agree that the debate has changed. Robin Murray, professor of psychiatry at London's Institute of Psychiatry, estimates that at least 25,000 of the 250,000 schizophrenics in the UK could have avoided the illness if they had not used cannabis. "The number of people taking cannabis may not be rising, but what people are taking is much more powerful, so there is a question of whether a few years on we may see more people getting ill as a consequence of that."

"Society has seriously underestimated how dangerous cannabis really is," said Professor Neil McKeganey, from Glasgow University's Centre for Drug Misuse Research. "We could well see over the next 10 years increasing numbers of young people in serious difficulties."

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Relations to Substance Misuse, Mental Health, and Pain Experience - Journal of Addiction Medicine:  doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000493

Results: Results suggest that, compared to opioid use alone, opioid and cannabis co-use was associated with elevated anxiety and depression symptoms, as well as tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, and sedative use problems, but not pain experience.

Conclusions: These findings highlight a vulnerable population of polysubstance users with chronic pain, and indicates the need for more comprehensive assessment and treatment of chronic pain.

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