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NFIA releases 7th podcast: 
Marilyn Huestis - More on Executive Function
 
Marilyn Huestis, PhD, explains more about how marijuana impairs executive function in the brain. She tells a true story about a young man who, using marijuana with his friends while driving, was unable to avoid hitting an old man who dropped his keys while crossing the street. Marijuana impaired the driver’s executive function such that he could not react to this unexpected event fast enough to avoid running into the old man and killing him.
 
Dr. Huestis also describes how marijuana can affect the actual structure of the brain as it develops. As the nerves start to branch out to connect to other nerves in the brain, chronic frequent marijuana use can disrupt that process and cause the nerves to connect to the wrong nerves, a phenomenon that cannot be reversed later in life.
 
Finally, she elucidates why marijuana products not approved by FDA often contain contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals despite what their labels say and explains the consequences of consuming them.
 
Listen to “More on Executive Function” as well as previously released podcasts from NFIA’s Science Advisory Board members here.   

 
Study: 24 percent of Arizona teens
have used cannabis concentrate
 
The first study to assess the use of marijuana concentrates among adolescents finds that 24 percent of Arizona’s 8th, 10th, and 12th graders have tried concentrates in their lifetime. Moreover, among the 33 percent who had ever used any kind of marijuana, 72 percent used concentrates.
 
“Overall, the high rates of concentrate use in adolescents are concerning, because some evidence in adults suggests that exposure to cannabis with higher THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content could increase a person’s risk for cannabis use disorder, cognitive impairment, and psychosis,” Arizona State University researchers, led by Madeline Meier, PhD, said.
 
Average THC levels in marijuana range from 12% to 20%, while concentrates can contain 39% to 69% THC with some topping out at 80%, according to the study.
 
Researchers analyzed data from 47,000 students in Arizona, where medical marijuana is legal. Students who consumed concentrates were more likely to use other drugs, including 82 percent who used e-cigarettes, in which some may be vaping marijuana concentrates, the researchers note. They suggest that given the consequences, states may want to limit the amount of THC that concentrates can contain.
 
Read AAP News & Journals Gateway summary here
Read JAMA Pediatrics abstract of “Cannabis Concentrate Use in Adolescents” here.
Read JAMA Pediatrics commentary abstract of “Use of Cannabis Concentrates by Adolescents” here.

 
The adolescent vaping epidemic in the United States – and where we go from here
 
An editorial in JAMA Otolaryngology reviews how e-cigarette use among adolescents became a national epidemic, rising 900 percent between 2011 and 2015. It calls upon head and neck surgeons to take the lead in educating the public about the harms -- as we come to understand them -- of such behavior.
 
“We should mobilize promptly to prevent further exacerbation of the vaping epidemic with a focus on advocacy, research, and grassroots prevention efforts,” conclude the authors.
 
Read this brief summary of how the epidemic unfolded here.

 
Spores of a psychedelic mushroom industry are sprouting in Denver after decriminalization
 
When advocates of psychedelic mushrooms repeat the first steps of the marijuana legalization playbook, can a commercial magic mushroom industry be far behind?
 
Here’s the playbook:
  1. Decriminalize the drug.
  2. Make medical claims for it with no scientific evidence of safety or efficacy and no FDA approval.
  3. Drive grassroots demand for it among specific kinds of patients.
  4. Float ballot initiatives and/or lobby legislators to legalize it for medical use.
  5. Establish a commercial industry to supply and market the “medicine” in an endless array of products.
  6. Float ballot initiatives and/or lobby legislators to legalize it for recreational use. 
Psychedelic drug advocates sponsored a ballot initiative in Denver three months ago providing legal protections for psychedelic mushroom users, and Denver voters passed it. Oakland, California followed suit, and there is interest in Boulder, Fort Collins, and the states of California and Oregon.
 
Preliminary studies indicate magic mushrooms may have some limited use in treating depression and PTSD, but these are preliminary. Few studies about long-term effects, proper dosage, or producing contaminant-free products exist. That hasn’t stopped lawyers and lobbyists from getting on board.
 
And investors, if Rooster is to be believed, which ran an article last October titled, “Like cannabis, wealthy investors are shoving millions of dollars into psychedelics.”
 
Steps 1 – Done.
Steps 2 -- Done.
Watch out for Step 3.
 
Read Denver Post article here. Read Rooster article here.

 
Gene linked to autism undergoes changes
in men's sperm after pot use.

Further study is needed to determine if the altered gene
contributes to autism in children

 
Duke University researchers have found that a gene associated with autism undergoes changes in the sperm of men who use marijuana and could be passed along to offspring. The researchers caution that the findings do not establish a definitive link between marijuana use and autism, but their findings require further study given efforts throughout the nation to legalize the drug.
 
The gene, DLCHP2, “helps transmit neuron signals in the brain and has been strongly implicated in autism, as well as schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder," explains Duke Health.
 
“Given marijuana’s increasing prevalence of use in the U.S. and the increasing numbers of states that have legalized its use, we need more studies to understand how this drug is affecting not only those who smoke it, but their unborn children,” says lead researcher Susan Murphy, PhD, associate professor in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Duke University School of Medicine.
 
Read Duke Health summary here. Read Epigenetics article here.
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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 Coordinator
Margarita Eberline
 
We are grateful to our Board of Directors and Senior Adviser for their support of National Families in Action, which produces The Marijuana Report website and e-newsletter.
 
National Families in Action
Board of Directors

William F. Carter, Chairman of the Board
Realtor Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Georgia Properties, Atlanta.
Sue Rusche, President and CEO, Atlanta.
Richard L. Brown, Secretary
Attorney (Ret.), Lakewood Ranch, Florida
Founder & Chairman, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association 
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.
Margarita Eberline, Director
Strategy Director, 360 Marketing Plus, 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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