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Marijuana-Related Hospitalizations
Increase 82% Between 2007 and 2011
 
The fact that US marijuana use more than doubled between 2001 and 2013 (JAMA Psychiatry, October 15) motivated researchers to examine marijuana-related emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations.
 
They found that hospitalizations for marijuana use alone (compared to marijuana in combination with alcohol or marijuana in combination with other illicit drugs) decreased between 2004 and 2007 but ballooned from 11,267 in 2007 to 20,471 in 2011, an increase of 82 percent.
 
Further, marijuana-related ED visits increased during the same time from 280,671 to 478,989, an increase of 71 percent.
 
The researchers note that marijuana use is associated with both short-term and long-term adverse physical and mental-health outcomes, including “drug-use disorder, anxiety, psychotic symptoms, breathing problems, increased heart rate, impaired driving, and increased risk of other substance abuse.”
 
Researcher Dr. He Zhu, PhD, notes that legalization is likely to increase marijuana use and place more burden on health-care systems. She adds that elevated levels of THC may also be contributing to the rise in utilization of health-care services.
 
Her study is described in the American College of Physicians publication, ACP Hospitalist, and can be read here.
 
Denver Recalls Contaminated
OpenVape Hash Oil
 
Denver’s Organa Labs has voluntarily issued two recalls of more than 1,000 OpenVape hash-oil loaded vape pen cartridges and other marijuana-infused products due to the presence of illegal pesticides. At the same time, Organa Labs lashed out at Denver’s Department of Environmental Health for what it termed “a campaign against legal marijuana.”
 
All five of the pesticides banned by the department were found in Organa’s products, which marked the 17th and 18th recall in Denver in 19 weeks. Organa’s products are currently available in eight medical- and recreational-marijuana states. However, the recall pertains only to products sold in Colorado. 
 
The first recall involves 1,071 OpenVape-branded vape pen cartridges containing strain-specific hash oils such as Grandaddy Purps, Hindu Kush, and others. One is OpenVape’s Reserve Hybrid advertised on its website as “ultra-refined cannabis oil.”
 
Read Denver Post/The Cannabist story here.
 
Six Vermont Physician Organizations
Warn Against Legalizing Weed
 
Six of Vermont’s largest medical societies appeared before the state legislature last month to urge legislators not to legalize marijuana. They told lawmakers that marijuana has many harmful effects, particularly to young people, and that much more research is needed before making such a drastic change.
 
The groups included the Vermont Medical Society, the Vermont Academy of Family Physicians, and the Vermont Psychiatric Association. They said that studies indicate young people who use marijauna regularly are at higher risk of developing mental-health problems and anxiety disorders.
 
Legalization “is the ultimate stamp in normalization, . . a message from the elders of our society in the form of our legislators that the behavior must be safe and acceptable. And we’re here today because our concerns tell us just the opposite,” said Dr. John Porter of the medical society.
 
A spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, the Washington DC-based group lobbying Vermont legislators to legalize pot, disagreed with the doctors.
 
Read Vermont Public Radio story here.
 
Comprehensive Report on Alcopops Available
 
The marijuana industry’s development of marijuana edibles such as fruit-flavored, marijuana-infused “soft” drinks and candies parallels the alcohol industry’s development of alcopops that target children and adolescents.
 
Those concerned about such business practices may want to read “Alcopops: Sweet, Cheap, and Dangerous to Youth,” a comprehensive report issued by Alcohol Justice and the San Rafael Alcohol and Drug Coalition.
 
The report provides a thorough background of the alcopops phenomenon and traces the alcohol industry’s alcopops marketing efforts to reach youth through social media and event sponsorships.
 
Read report here.
 
Marijuana-Themed Phone Cases for Stoners
 
Someone has developed “420-friendly phone cases for stoners” to protect their cell phones while “showing off their passion for weed.” (420 is the symbol for large crowds of pot-smokers to gather in public places on April 20 at 4:20 p.m. to smoke marijuana in defiance of federal and state laws. Even legal states prohibit smoking pot in public.)  
 
See the selection, including this phone case featuring the much-loved “Star Wars” hero, Yoda, smoking pot from a bong, here.
The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter produced by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). Subscribe to The Marijuana Report and visit our website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.

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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