High on Life? Medical Marijuana Laws and Suicide

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“Our research examines the relationship between medical marijuana laws (hereafter MMLs) and suicides.

Our results suggest that the passage of a MML is associated with an almost 5 percent reduction in the total suicide rate.

We conclude that the legalization of medical marijuana leads to fewer suicides among young adult males.”

https://www.cato.org/publications/research-briefs-economic-policy/high-life-medical-marijuana-laws-suicide

Study: Medical Marijuana Legalization leads to decrease in suicide rates”   https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2012/2/26/1068413/-Study-Medical-Marijuana-Legalization-leads-to-decrease-in-suicide-rates

“Legal Weed Appears to Cause a Sharp Reduction in Suicides”  https://www.eastbayexpress.com/LegalizationNation/archives/2012/02/07/legal-weed-appears-to-cause-a-sharp-reduction-in-suicides-discuss

“Marijuana Can Help Prevent Suicide, Study Suggests”  http://www.laweekly.com/news/marijuana-can-help-prevent-suicide-study-suggests-2389148

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Identification of a sustainable two-plant diet that effectively prevents age-related metabolic syndrome and extends lifespan in aged mice.

The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry

“The current system of food production is linked to both the increasing prevalence of chronic disease and the deterioration of the environment, and thereby calls for novel ways of producing nutritious foods in a sustainable manner.

In the “longevity village” of Bama, China, we have identified two plant foods, hemp seed and bitter vegetable (Sonchus oleraceus), that are commonly consumed by its residents and grow abundantly in unfarmed land without fertilizers or pesticides.

Here, we show that a diet composed of these two foods (the “HB diet”) provides a sufficient variety of nutrients and confers significant health benefits.

Aged mice allowed ad libitum access to the HB diet not only had longer life spans and improved cognitive function but were also protected against age-related metabolic syndrome, fatty liver, gut dysbiosis and chronic inflammation compared to aged mice fed a control Western diet.

Furthermore, longevity-related genes (including 5’adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, sirtuin 1, nuclear respiratory factor 1 and forkhead box O3) were significantly up-regulated, while aging-related genes (including mammalian target of rapamycin and nuclear factor kappa B) were down-regulated.

These results demonstrate that the HB diet is capable of promoting health and longevity, and present a sustainable source of healthy foods that can help control the prevalence of chronic diseases and reduce agricultural impact on the environment.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29080417

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955286316303461?via%3Dihub

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The Association of Unfavorable Traffic Events and Cannabis Usage: A Meta-Analysis

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“In the last years were published many epidemiological articles aiming to link driving under the influence of cannabis (DUIC) with the risk of various unfavorable traffic events (UTEs), with sometimes contradictory results.

The primary objective of this study was to analyze whether there is a significant association between DUIC and UTEs.

Our analysis suggests that the overall effect size for DUIC on UTEs is not statistically significant, but there are significant differences obtained through subgroup analysis. This result might be caused by either methodological flaws (which are often encountered in articles on this topic), the indiscriminate employment of the term “cannabis use,” or an actual absence of an adverse effect.

A positive test for cannabis (i.e., blood) does not necessarily imply that drivers were impaired, as THC/metabolites might be detected in blood a long time after impairment, especially in chronic cannabis users, which could also induce an important bias in the analysis of the results.

When a driver is found, in traffic, with a positive reaction suggesting cannabis use, the result should be corroborated by either objective data regarding marijuana usage (like blood analyses, with clear cut-off values), or a clinical assessment of the impairment, before establishing his/her fitness to drive.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2018.00099/full

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Cannabis use is associated with lower rates of initiation of injection drug use among street-involved youth: A longitudinal analysis.

Drug and Alcohol Review

“Street-involved youth are known to be at elevated risk of initiating injection drug use. However, the impact of so-called ‘gateway’ drugs, such as cannabis, on injection initiation is unknown.

The objective of this study was to examine the association between cannabis use and initiation of injection drug use among a prospective cohort of street-involved youth in Vancouver, Canada.

In a multivariable analysis, ≥daily cannabis use was associated with slower rates of injection initiation (adjusted relative hazard 0.66, 95% confidence interval 0.45-0.98; P = 0.038). Sub-analyses revealed that cannabis use was negatively associated with initiation of injection stimulants but not initiation of injection opioids.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:

Given the expansion of cannabis legalisation throughout North America, it is encouraging that cannabis use was associated with slower time to initiation of injection drug use in this cohort. This finding challenges the view of cannabis as a gateway substance that precipitates the progression to using harder and more addictive drugs.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29430806

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/dar.12667/abstract

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Efficacy of artisanal preparations of cannabidiol for the treatment of epilepsy: Practical experiences in a tertiary medical center.

“Medically refractory epilepsy continues to be a challenge worldwide, and despite an increasing number of medical therapies, approximately 1 in 3 patients continues to have seizures.

Cannabidiol (CBD), one of many constituents of the Cannabis sativa or marijuana plant, has received renewed interest in the treatment of epilepsy. While highly purified CBD awaits Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, artisanal formulations of CBD are readily available and are seeing increased use in our patient population.

Although randomized controlled trials of CBD are ongoing and promising, data regarding artisanal formulations of CBD are minimal and largely anecdotal. Here, we report a retrospective study to define the efficacy of artisanal CBD preparations in children with epilepsy.

Given the known interaction between CBD and clobazam, we also conducted a subgroup comparison to determine if clobazam use was related to any beneficial effects of CBD. Additionally, we compared response rates with CBD and with clobazam alone within an overlapping patient cohort. A pediatric cohort with epilepsy of 108 patients was identified through a medical record search for patients using CBD oil.

The addition of CBD resulted in 39% of patients having a >50% reduction in seizures, with 10% becoming seizure-free. The responder rate for clobazam was similar. No patients achieved CBD monotherapy, although the weaning of other antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) became possible in 22% of patients. A comparable proportion had AED additions during CBD therapy. With concomitant use of clobazam, 44% of patients had a 50% reduction in seizures upon addition of CBD compared with 33% in the population not taking clobazam; this difference was not statistically significant. The most common reported side effect of CBD was sedation in less than 4% of patients, all of whom were also taking clobazam.

Increased alertness and improved verbal interactions were reported in 14% of patients in the CBD group and 8% of patients in the CBD and clobazam group. Benefits were more marked in the CBD alone group, in contrast to the CBD and clobazam group, but this difference was not statistically significant.

In summary, these findings support efficacy of artisanal CBD preparations in seizure reduction with few significant side effects. The response to CBD was independent of concurrent clobazam use, although clobazam may contribute to the sedation seen with concurrent CBD use.”

“In this retrospective study, we report that artisanal CBD is helpful in the treatment of medically refractory seizures.”
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Analysis of cannabinoids in commercial hemp seed oil and decarboxylation kinetics studies of cannabidiolic acid (CBDA).

Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis

“Hemp seed oil from Cannabis sativa L. is a very rich natural source of important nutrients, not only polyunsaturated fatty acids and proteins, but also terpenes and cannabinoids, which contribute to the overall beneficial effects of the oil.

Hence, it is important to have an analytical method for the determination of these components in commercial samples. At the same time, it is also important to assess the safety of the product in terms of amount of any psychoactive cannabinoid present therein.

This work presents the development and validation of a highly sensitive, selective and rapid HPLC-UV method for the qualitative and quantitative determination of the main cannabinoids, namely cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabidivarin (CBDV), present in 13 commercial hemp seed oils.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29182999

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0731708517322367?via%3Dihub

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The Grass Might Be Greener: Medical Marijuana Patients Exhibit Altered Brain Activity and Improved Executive Function after 3 Months of Treatment.

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“The vast majority of states have enacted full or partial medical marijuana (MMJ) programs, causing the number of patients seeking certification for MMJ use to increase dramatically in recent years.

In the present study, MMJ patients seeking treatment for a variety of documented medical conditions were assessed prior to initiating MMJ treatment and after 3 months of treatment as part of a larger longitudinal study.

Following 3 months of treatment, MMJ patients demonstrated improved task performance accompanied by changes in brain activation patterns within the cingulate cortex and frontal regions.

Interestingly, after MMJ treatment, brain activation patterns appeared more similar to those exhibited by healthy controls from previous studies than at pre-treatment, suggestive of a potential normalization of brain function relative to baseline.

Moreover, patients in the current study also reported improvements in clinical state and health-related measures as well as notable decreases in prescription medication use, particularly opioids and benzodiapezines after 3 months of treatment.

Further research is needed to clarify the specific neurobiologic impact, clinical efficacy, and unique effects of MMJ for a range of indications and how it compares to recreational MJ use.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29387010

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2017.00983/full

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Adolescent cannabis use and brain systems supporting adult working memory encoding, maintenance, and retrieval

NeuroImage

“Given prior reports of adverse effects of cannabis use on working memory, an executive function with a protracted developmental course during adolescence, we examined associations between developmental patterns of cannabis use and adult working memory (WM) processes.

Within repeated cannabis users, greater levels of total cannabis use were associated with performance-related increases in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) activation during maintenance.

Surprisingly, however, at the group level, cannabis users generally performed better than participants who reported never using cannabis (faster RT, higher accuracy).”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29253654

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811917310637

“Why Pot Smokers Scored Higher Than Nonsmokers on This Memory Test. Among a sample of 28-year-olds who took a working-memory test while undergoing an MRI brain scan, individuals who started smoking marijuana in adolescence performed just as well or even better than individuals who never smoked cannabis, the study found.” https://www.livescience.com/61574-adolescent-cannabis-use-memory-study.html

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Cannabis Use, Lung Cancer, and Related Issues.

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“The cannabis plant and its derivatives have been exploited for centuries for recreational and medicinal purposes with millions of regular users around the world.

The recreational use of cannabis is reflective of its neuropsychiatric effects such as anxiolysis and euphoria. However, cannabis appears to have an emerging therapeutic role, especially in chronic disease and as an adjunct to cancer treatment.

Increasing evidence supports cannabis in the management of chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting and for pain management, but studies are limited particularly by difficulties associated with standardized dosing estimates and inability to accurately assess biologic activities of compounds in cannabis and derivative products.

Smoking cannabis has not been proven to be a risk factor in the development of lung cancer but the data are limited by small studies, misclassification due to self-reporting of usage, small numbers of heavy cannabis smoking and confounding of risk associated with known causative agents for lung cancer such as parallel chronic tobacco use.

Cannabis and its biologically effective derivatives warrant additional research, ideally controlled trials where the CBD and the THC strength and usage are controlled and documented.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29374567

“Good News: There’s No Definitive Link Between Marijuana Use and Lung Cancer” http://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/health/news/a52634/marijuana-lung-cancer/ 

“Study Shows No Proven Link Between Weed-Smoking and Lung Cancer”  http://www.complex.com/life/2017/01/weed-study-lung-cancer

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Medical Cannabis: The Oncology Nurse’s Role in Patient Education About the Effects of Marijuana on Cancer Palliation

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“Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is legal either medicinally or recreationally in 29 states and the District of Columbia, with a majority of the U.S. adult population now living in states where cannabis is legal for medicinal use. As an advocate for patient autonomy and informed choice, the oncology nurse has an ethical responsibility to educate patients about and support their use of cannabis for palliation.

OBJECTIVES:

This article aims to discuss the human endocannabinoid system as a basis for better understanding the palliative and curative nature of cannabis as a medicine, as well as review cannabis delivery methods and the emerging role of the oncology nurse in this realm.

FINDINGS:

The oncology nurse can play a pivotal role in supporting patients’ use of cannabis for palliation”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29350699

https://cjon.ons.org/cjon/22/1/medical-cannabis-oncology-nurse-s-role-patient-education-about-effects-marijuana-cancer

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