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DEA releases its
2019 National Drug Threat Assessment
The US Drug Enforcement Administration released its annual National Drug Threat Assessment last week. The publication analyzes all illicit drugs and is a rich resource for anyone interested in this field.
The marijuana section shows marijuana potency – in both traditional marijuana and concentrated marijuana -- continues to increase. As these charts show, average THC levels in both traditional and concentrated marijuana quadrupled between 1995 and 2018.
Download the DEA report here.

Teens find a big loophole
in the new flavored vaping ban
Tomorrow (February 6), the FDA’s flavor ban on e-cigarettes will go into effect. But a little-noticed footnote in the new policy allows mint, dessert, and fruit flavors to be sold in disposable e-cigarettes. The flavor ban applies only to devices like Juul that come with refillable pods.
It didn’t take long for teenagers to find the loophole. They’re switching from refillable Juuls to disposable Puff Bars with flavors like banana ice, sour gummy, or cool mint. Other disposable brands include Posh, Stig, and blu. All are distributed by American companies but are imported from China. Some contain even more nicotine than Juul.
A Seattle high school principal says, “Teens are very savvy and if they are addicted, they are going to do what it takes to continue a habit that is now plaguing their lives.”
Because Juul is thought to be responsible for having nearly tripled adolescent vaping in just two years, the company voluntarily stopped making all flavor pods except menthol and tobacco. Allowing disposable e-cigarettes to still have flavors means teenagers simply switch brands.
“Juul’s so yesterday,” the principal says students tell her. “We’ve moved on.”
Read New York Times article here.

The Human Brain
This 5-minute video, produced by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, shows us key parts of the brain and describes the functions of each part. It briefly describes neurotransmission and how drugs can speed up the release of dopamine, which can lead to addiction. This is a wonderful tool for teachers and parents to introduce to young people the wonders of their brains.
Watch The Human Brain here.

Leading the next CBD wave – safety and efficacy
In this JAMA Psychiatry Viewpoint, Dr. Yasmin Hurd, departments of psychiatry and neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, points out that the CBD phenomenon “has recently hit all levels of society with tidal wave force that very few saw coming.” Thus far, there have been only about 21 published clinical studies investigating CBD alone (as opposed to CBD in combination with THC, such as Sativex).
People are finally beginning to ask “whether CBD is hype or if there is true medicinal potential.”
Some research indicates CBD may reduce anxiety, and several studies revolve around mental health issues. Because for decades, few new medicines have been developed to treat mental illness, desperate patients and their families have been caught up in the CBD frenzy.
Limited research to date shows pharmaceutical-grade CBD to be “safe, generally well-tolerated, lacks toxicity, and is nonintoxicating with no reinforcing properties.” However, in trials that led to FDA approving Epidiolex, increased liver enzymes were reported. Whether safety applies to non-oral routes of administration and whether CBD interferes with other medications being taken by patients are questions that need to be answered. On the other hand, “an unregulated CBD market poses a significant threat to public health,” given the presence of contaminants in many products being sold in commercial markets.
Dr. Hurd calls for large-scale efficacy trials: “The development of CBD as medicine requires that it follows the established pipeline by which medications are normally developed with placebo-controlled double-blinded clinical trials. Two pathways exist to accelerate this research: new fast-track FDA models and collaboration between legitimate companies and researchers.
She hopes that partnerships between scientists, clinicians, government, industry, and patients will lead to large evidence-based clinical trials.
Read Viewpoint abstract here.

White House releases the
2020 National Drug Control Strategy
This year’s strategy has three main goals:
  • preventing initiates to drug use,
  • providing treatment services leading to long-term recovery for those suffering from addiction, and
  • aggressively reducing the availability of illicit drugs in America’s communities.
Download the Strategy here.
Released with the Strategy is the 2019 Data Supplement (pictured below), a virtual treasure trove of information about all aspects of the multi-faceted problems of drug use, abuse, and addiction.
Download the Data Supplement here.
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Visit The Marijuana Report’s Facebook page. In addition to current issues of The Marijuana Report, we post several more marijuana messages each month on our Facebook page. Search Facebook for nationalfamilies to access it.
Looking for a past issue of The Marijuana ReportFind it here.
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.

Subscribe to The Marijuana Report e-newsletter.

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. William H. Avery, Director. Partner (Ret.), Alston & Bird, 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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