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Cannabis and cannabinoids for the treatment of people with chronic non-cancer pain conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled and observational studies

In a unique review, researchers conclude, “It seems highly unlikely that cannabinoids are highly effective medicines for chronic non-cancer pain.”

The researchers reviewed 104 studies from 91 publications involving a total of 9,958 participants. About half (47) were randomized controlled trials; the rest (57) were observational studies. 

The studies examined neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis-related pain, visceral pain, and a mix of different kinds or undefined kinds of chronic non-cancer pain.

Cannabinoids used in the studies included tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), combinations of THC and CBD, plant-based cannabis (eg, Cannabis sativa), THCA, cannabidiolic acid, cannabidivarin, and the synthetic delta-9-THC formulations nabilone and dronabinol.

Watch lead researcher Emily Stockings explain the study here. Read Pain study here.

Marijuana caused more damage to teens' brains than alcohol, study finds

Marijuana may cause more harm to adolescents’ developing brains than alcohol, a new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry finds.

Canadian researchers studied some 4,000 teens over four years beginning when they were in 7th grade. They examined four key parts of teens’ cognitive functions:
  • Problem Solving
  • Long-term memory
  • Short-term memory manipulation
  • Ability to change behavior to pursue a goal
Marijuana had negative effects on all four areas while alcohol did not, although alcohol’s effects may be greater in teens who drink more later in life.

The researchers say the brain damage that thwarts teens’ ability to change their behavior may explain why young marijuana users are more at risk for addiction later in life.

Read USA Today story here. Read American Journal of Psychiatry study here.

Is there a link between marijuana and COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive disease (meaning it gets worse as patients age) that makes it hard to breathe.

The jury is not in yet as to whether marijuana can cause COPD. Some studies show infrequent use does not damage the lining of the lungs, but heavy use can.

Whether some components of marijuana may benefit patients by opening airways is also not yet clear.

However, doctors advise people who have COPD not to smoke anything, including marijuana, because smoking will likely exacerbate respiratory symptoms.

Those considering the use of a non-smoking form of a marijuana cannabinoid are advised to check with their doctor first.

Read Medical News Today article here

Tell your children the truth about marijuana, mental Illness, and violence

A new book by former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson unmasks the marijuana industry’s spin. The book is due out January 8, 2019. According to its publisher, Simon and Schuster, Berenson explodes the following myths:
  • “Marijuana arrests fill prisons,
  • Most doctors want to use cannabis as medicine,
  • It can somehow stem the opiate epidemic, and
  • It is not just harmless but beneficial for mental health.
When in fact this is true:
  • “Almost no one is in prison for marijuana.
  • A tiny fraction of doctors write most authorizations for medical marijuana, mostly for people who have already used.
  • Marijuana use is linked to opiate and cocaine use. Since 2008, the US and Canada have seen soaring marijuana use and an opiate epidemic. 
  • Britain has falling marijuana use and no epidemic.
  • Most of all, THC—the chemical in marijuana responsible for the drug’s high—can cause psychotic episodes. After decades of studies, scientists no longer seriously debate if marijuana causes psychosis.”
“Psychosis brings violence, and cannabis-linked violence is spreading,” he reports. “In the four states that first legalized, murders have risen 25 percent since legalization, even more than the recent national increase. In Uruguay, which allowed retail sales in July 2017, murders have soared this year.” 

Read more about Tell Your Children here.

Marijuana legalization in New York: Here's the money behind politically charged pot war

Marijuana companies and promoters have spent some $3 million over the past five years lobbying New York officials to legalize marijuana, first for medical and now recreational use. Governor Cuomo, who long opposed legalization of any sort, changed his mind and supported medical legalization in 2014. 

Once established, New York-based medical pot dispensaries began greasing the skids with political donations for recreational legalization. Huge marijuana companies, like California’s MedMen and iAnthus Capital with medical and recreational operations in several states, also are contributing to New York policy makers.  

The governor tasked his state health department with preparing a report on the issue. Industry donations directed to it may explain why the New York State Department of Health became the only department in the nation to recommend full legalization. 

“It’s striking to me that the department of health wrote this report … I thought I was reading the website of a pro-marijuana industry group,” said Kevin Sabet, PhD, founder, president, and CEO of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). 

“The process should be fair,” he adds, not driven by who had the most money.” SAM has opened an office in New York to organize mounting opposition to full legalization.

Read Lohud article here.

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
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 &
 Executive Director, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association, Lakewood Ranch, Florida.
Marcie Beskind, Treasurer & Chief Financial Officer/Chief Administrative Officer,
Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.
Jeannine F. Adams, Director & President and CEO
J. Addams & Partners, 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.
Senior Adviser
Kent “Oz” Nelson, Chairman and CEO (Ret.)
United Parcel Service, Atlanta.
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