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Duke: Study shows impact of paternal marijuana exposure on brains of offspring
 
Marijuana use by men long before they conceive children appears to alter their sperm in ways that change the brains of their future offspring. The changes occur in brain areas that govern learning, memory, reward, and mood, according to a new study by researchers at Duke University.
 
The study was done in rats, says the senior author, and the findings are translatable to humans because the same brain circuits are involved in both rats and humans.
 
“Our studies provide evidence for adverse effects of paternal THC administration on neurodevelopment in the offspring and further demonstrate that adverse impacts of drug exposure on brain development are not limited to effects mediated by the embryonic or fetal chemical environment, but rather that vulnerability is engendered by exposures occurring prior to conception, involving the father as well as the mother,” the researchers conclude.
 
Read TechWire account of this study here
Read Toxicological Sciences study abstract here.

Brought to our attention by Jody Hensley, Massachusetts Prevention Alliance (MAPA).
 
Artisanal CBD not as effective as pharmaceutical CBD for reducing seizures
 
Pharmaceutical CBD refers to Epidiolex®, the cannabidiol extract from hemp that contains no THC, was tested in clinical trials, and approved by FDA as safe and effective to treat Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes.
 
Artisanal CBD, which contains various levels of THC, refers to all the other CBD products being sold almost everywhere to treat almost everything. None of these has been tested in clinical trials. None has established appropriate dosage levels for specific conditions. None has been approved by FDA.
 
A study to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 72nd Annual Meeting in Toronto later this spring reviewed the medical charts of 31 children and teens being treated for a year. Twenty-two took pharmaceutical CBD. Nine took artisanal CBD.
 
Children taking artisanal CBD had a 70 percent increase in seizures. Those taking pharmaceutical CBD had a 39 percent reduction in seizures.
 
Read Science Daily account of this study here.
 

Three views on the need for a standard dose of THC in marijuana products from:
  1. A Florida senator
  2. A physician/researcher who directs the National Institute on Drug Abuse and her colleague
  3. An international marijuana company
1. Florida senate moves to cap THC potency for medical marijuana 

Last week we reported that Arizona legislators are considering a bill to cap THC in marijuana products at two percent. Several states are looking at this issue and making efforts to cap the amount of THC allowed in some or all pot products.
 
Florida Senator Gayle Harrell introduced an amendment to a health bill that would cap THC at 10 percent for medical marijuana patients under age 21. Currently, marijuana edibles are capped at 10 mg of THC per serving and 200 mg in total. These levels are much higher than what most patients would consume, medical experts say.  
 
A ballot initiative in Colorado in 2016 would have limited THC in all medical and recreational pot products to 16 percent, but the measure was withdrawn.
 
A bill in Washington state caps THC at 10 percent, but the bill is stuck in committee.
 
An Alaska proposal to cap THC at 76 percent for all marijuana products was voted down.
 
Marijuana industry spokesmen oppose any cap on THC in any marijuana products.
 
Read Miami Herald story here.

 
2. Importance of a standard unit dose
for cannabis research 

Nora D. Volkow, MD, director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Susan R. B. Weiss, PhD, director of NIDA's division of extramural research, note that researchers have called for a standardized THC dose of 5 percent.
 
The authors agree with the recommendation, saying, “A standardized measure for 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content in cannabis products is necessary to advance research on both the adverse effects of cannabis (e.g. risks for brain development, mental illness, and addiction) and on the drug’s potential medical uses.”
 
Although marijuana is illicit in the US, they say that legalization in the states requires the development of a knowledge base to help states develop policies that minimize risks.
 
They note that there already is evidence of an association between higher THC levels and a higher risk for cannabis use disorder and psychoses, but that these associations are based on THC levels of cannabis in the regions studied rather than what people actually consume.
 
“Despite the multiple caveats and complexities, the use of a standard unit dose of THC in research is an important step for improving our ability to understand the effects of cannabis in the population,” they conclude.
 
Read Addiction article here.

 
3. Surterra Wellness calls customers to action

Surterra Wellness, an international marijuana company headquartered in Atlanta with licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Florida and other states, sent an email to its customers yesterday warning that a Florida senate bill would cap THC at 10 percent for patients ages 18-21.
 
“We believe that decisions about medical treatment should be left to patients and their doctors – not politicians.” This from the company that lobbied Georgia politicians two years ago to get its former president on a year-long legislative committee. She wrote the first draft of a successful bill to cultivate, process, and sell cannabis oil in Georgia last year.
 
The Surterra email continues: “Importantly, medical experts, scholars, and clinicians have refuted flawed claims linking THC to the prevalence of violence and various mental illnesses.”  
 
Surterra concludes, “We encourage you to visit Cannabis Information Project to learn more about this misguided proposal and urge that your local lawmaker to (sic) reject any proposal that would place a limit on THC levels in Florida’s medical cannabis products.”  
 
Read Surterra Wellness email here.

Remember, the proposed THC cap applies only to those ages 18-21. If you wonder why the public is so confused about marijuana, we encourage you to visit the Cannabis Information Project to see how industry spins science to turn it on its head.
 

Association of cannabis use in adolescence
and risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidality
in young adulthood
 
A meta-analysis of 11 studies and 23,317 individuals finds that marijuana use during preadolescence and adolescence is associated with a significant increased risk of developing major depression or suicidality, but not anxiety, in young adulthood.
 
Read full text of JAMA Network study here.
 

The sequel – Marijuana or hemp:
From farm bill to forensic analysis
 
If you want to understand the difference between marijuana and hemp, tune in to this webinar on Wednesday, March 25th at 1:00 pm ET, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice.
 
Register here.

Brought to our attention by Dave Evans, Americans Against Legalizing Marijuana

Note: We search numerous sources to post summaries of marijuana news to The Marijuana Report website. We pick four to six of those articles to expand on in The Marijuana Report e-newsletter. Once in a while, colleagues contribute stories we have missed. But it happened twice this week. We wish to acknowledge and thank colleagues for the contributions they bring to our attention.
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Did you know that in addition to The Marijuana Report e-newsletter, National Families in Action also publishes The Marijuana Report website? There you can find summaries of (and access to) scientific marijuana studies, the growth of the commercial marijuana industry, and what families and communities are doing to restrain it. Begin at our Welcome Page to access all the resources The Marijuana Report website offers.
 
The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter published by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana).

Visit National Families in Action's website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.

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The Marijuana Report Staff
Executive Editor, Sue Rusche. Editor, Nicole Carter. Proofreading, Harry Rusche, Professor Emeritus. IT Consultant, Lee Clontz. Social Media Coordinators, Margarita Eberline, Shannon Murphy, MD, FAAP, and Nicole Carter.
National Families in Action Board of Directors
William F. Carter, Chairman of the Board, Coldwell Banker Atlanta. Sue Rusche, President and CEO, Atlanta. Richard L. Brown, Secretary, Attorney (Ret.), Founder & Chairman, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association, Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Jeannine F. Adams, Director, President and CEO, J. Addams & Partners, Atlanta. Jack L. Arbiser, MD, PhD, Director, Thomas J. Lawley Professor of Dermatology, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University, Atlanta. LLP, Atlanta. Debbie Berndt, Director, Parent Movement 2.0, Walnut Creek, California. Margarita Eberline, Director, Strategy Director, Ultim Marketing, Atlanta. Robert Margolis, PhD, Director, Founder, Caron Solutions Intensive Outpatient Program, Roswell, Georgia. Shannon Murphy, MD, FAAP, Director, Birmingham, Alabama.
Senior Adviser
Kent “Oz” Nelson, Chairman and CEO (Ret.), United Parcel Service, Atlanta.
 

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