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How Marijuana Causes Memory Loss
 
Researchers have found that marijuana can cause memory loss. But a new study has found out how that may be happening.
 
Marijuana contains more than 100 cannabinoids, so-called because they are unique to the cannabis plant. One is THC, the cannabinoid chiefly responsible for producing the “high.”
 
It turns out that we have certain kinds of receptors, called CB1 receptors, on some cells in our brains that cannabinoids bind to. Like all receptors, the binding triggers a signal that causes an effect. Were our brains made with CB1 receptors so we could get high on marijuana?  No.
 
Like endorphins that bind to our opiate receptors, it also turns out that we also have our own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, that bind to our CB1 receptors. Scientists are just beginning to understand the roles endocannabinoids play in the brain.
 
Researchers have recently found that CB1 receptors are in the mitochondria of nerve cells. Mitochondria convert sugar, fat, and proteins we get from food to energy to nurture cells. The new study finds that there are CB1 receptors in the mitochondria of hippocampus nerve cells (called neurons).
 
“In simple terms, the study shows that CB1 cannabinoid receptors in mitochondria control memory processes by adjusting the energy metabolism of mitochondria,” the summary of this study explains.
 
The significance of this finding is that new therapies might be developed that could treat certain brain diseases without the side-effects of memory loss.
 
Read about this study, published in Nature, here.
 
Marijuana Use May Be Linked to Temporarily Weakened Heart Muscle
 
“Stress cardiomyopathy is a sudden, usually temporary, weakening of the heart muscle that reduces the heart's ability to pump, leading to chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and sometimes fainting,” according to this summary of a study presented recently at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016 meeting.
 
Researchers identified 33,343 people from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample who were
hospitalized for this condition between 2003 and 2011. Of those, 210 were marijuana users, according to patients’ histories or urine screens.
 
The marijuana users tended to be male, younger, and with fewer cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Nonetheless, during stress cardiomyopathy, they were more likely to experience cardiac arrest (2.4 percent to 0.8 percent of nonusers) and to require an implanted defibrillator to correct abnormal heart rhythms.
 
“If you are using marijuana and develop symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath, you should be evaluated by a healthcare provider to make sure you aren't having stress cardiomyopathy or another heart problem," said study co-author, Amitoj Singh, MD, chief cardiology fellow at St. Luke’s University health Network in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
 
Read more about the study here.
 
Few Doctors Register to Recommend
Medical Marijuana in Maryland
 
Do doctors know something the rest of us don’t know? Only 172 of Maryland’s 16,000 physicians have registered for the state’s medical marijuana program. Also, two of Maryland’s largest hospital systems have banned their doctors from participating.
 
The state approved medical marijuana in 2014 but has been beset by problems ever since, including three lawsuits from companies who did not win licenses to produce, process, and sell medical pot.
 
"We don't even have basic information on dosing like we do for all other medications generated from clinical trials," said Dr. Deepak Cyril D'Souza, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. “What do we tell people? ‘Take two hits and call me in the morning?’ I would argue that doctors do not yet have the necessary information to provide to patients."
 
Read more about this here.
 
Constellation Brands Considers Adding
Pot to Its Beer, Wine, or Tequila
 
Constellation Brands, which makes Corona beer, Robert Mondavi wine, and Casa Noble Tequila, is thinking about selling alcoholic beverages infused with marijuana.
 
“This is an interesting though not surprising development,” said Chris Walsh, editorial director of Marijuana Business Daily, an industry e-magazine. “We have been preparing for the day when big alcohol, big tobacco, and big pharma, big you-name-it tries to get involved in this industry.”
 
Read more here.
 

Comment: Evidence shows that driving while impaired by marijuana increases the risk of fatal accidents and that driving while impaired by pot and alcohol elevates the risk even more. A commercial product such as that contemplated by Constellation will increase both public health and public safety problems. Of course, that won’t stop industries from seeking profit over health.
 
Breaking: After a count of ballot initiative votes too close to call until today, Denver has become the first city in America to allow marijuana to be used in bars, restaurants, art galleries, and other public places so long as it isn’t smoked. Whether it can be smoked in outdoor restaurant patios is not yet clear.
 
Note: The Marijuana Report will not publish an issue next week. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter published by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). Visit our website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.
 
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About National Families in Action (NFIA)
NFIA consists of families, scientists, business leaders, physicians, addiction specialists, policymakers, and others committed to protecting children from addictive drugs. Our vision is:
  • Healthy, drug-free kids
  • Nurturing, addiction-free families
  • Scientifically accurate information and education
  • A nation free of Big Marijuana
  • Smart, safe, FDA-approved medicines developed from the cannabis plant (and other plants) 
  • Expanded access to medicines in FDA clinical trials for children with epilepsy 
About SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)
SAM is a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens who want to move beyond simplistic discussions of "incarceration versus legalization" when discussing marijuana use and instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonizes users nor legalizes the drug. SAM supports a treatment, health-first marijuana policy.  SAM has four main goals:
  • To inform public policy with the science of today's marijuana.
  • To reduce the unintended consequences of current marijuana policies, such as lifelong stigma due to arrest.
  • To prevent the establishment of "Big Marijuana" - and a 21st-Century tobacco industry that would market marijuana to children.
  • To promote research of marijuana's medical properties and produce, non-smoked, non-psychoactive pharmacy-attainable medications.
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