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Will legalizing marijuana use increase the incidence and prevalence of psychosis?
Two eminent scholars, Robin Murray, MD., at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience, Kings College, Great Britain and Wayne Hall, PhD, at the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, Australia, have written a Viewpoint in JAMA Psychiatry that warns the answer to their question is most likely yes. 

There are some reports that marijuana use increases the risk of depression and suicide, they write, “but by far the strongest evidence concerns psychosis.” 

Marijuana potency is considered high if it contains 10 percent THC, they say. “There is a dose-response relationship in those who use high-potency cannabis moderately (the risk doubles), heavily (it increases 5-fold), and daily (it increases up to 9-fold),” a risk similar to that of lung cancer in those who smoke 30 cigarettes a day.

Individuals with a family history of psychosis and those who begin using the drug in adolescence appear especially vulnerable.

They note other scholars have found the incidence of schizophrenia doubled in London, England between 1965 and 1999 and attributed much of the increase to marijuana use, cannabis-induced psychosis more than doubled in Denmark between 2006 and 2016, and rates of hospitalizations for psychotic disorders in Portugal increased 29-fold in the 15 years after decriminalization, rising from 0.87 percent to 10.6 percent.

Read abstract of JAMA Psychiatry Viewpoint here.

Heavy pot use linked to mental problems, even after quitting
Canadian researchers analyzed data from 20,000 responses to a 2012 health survey. Of those reporting dependence on the drug, 35 percent had major depression while 27 percent experienced anxiety compared to 11 percent and 9 percent, respectively, of those reporting no dependence.

Of respondents reporting a history of dependence, 72 percent were no longer dependent, but 47 percent had major psychiatric disorders or another addiction, and 57 percent were in poor mental health. That compared to 8 percent and 26 percent, respectively, of those reporting no history of dependence.

The number reporting dependence was extremely low – 336, or only 1.6 percent of respondents – but researchers say the findings point to the need for further research. The study is published in Advances in Preventive Medicine and summarized in Health News.

Read Health News summary here.

Effects of THC/CBD oromucosal spray on spasticity-related symptoms in people with multiple sclerosis: results from a retrospective multicenter study
A study of 1,615 Italian multiple sclerosis patients given Sativex, a drug approved in several European countries that combines equal parts of THC and CBD to treat spasticity in MS patients, finds the therapeutic benefit of the drug “may extend beyond spasticity, improving spasticity-related symptoms,” even in patients with only moderate spasticity symptoms.

Read Neurological Sciences abstract here.

Cannabis use during adolescence and the occurrence of depression, suicidality, and anxiety disorder across adulthood: Findings from a longitudinal cohort study over 30 years
Marijuana use during adolescence predicts the occurrence of depression and suicidality in adulthood. The younger the age of first use and more frequent use during adolescence are associated with a higher risk for adult depression.

Read Journal of Affective Disorders abstract here.
Changes in prevalence of vaping among youth in the United States, Canada, and England from 2017 to 2019
Researchers surveyed youth ages 16-19 in the US, Canada, and England. The latter nation restricts e-cigarette marketing and limits nicotine amounts. 

Between 2017 and 2019, the proportion of youth who ever vaped and/or smoked increased in the US and Canada, but not in England. The same pattern applied to more frequent use:

Past month use 
  • US 16.1 percent to 21.3 percent
  • Canada 15.1 percent to 21.6 percent
Past week use 
  • US 11.7 percent to 15.3
  • Canada 10.5 percent to 16.2 percent
Daily use 
  • US 5.5 percent to 8.7 percent
  • Canada 5.6 percent to 8.0 percent

Read JAMA Network abstract here.
Vaping-induced lung disease — A look forward by looking back
This article looks back at the e-cigarette EVALI crisis, which has now waned, and analyzes characteristics of those who died. Most already had chronic lung or heart disease which put them at higher risk of death. Pulmonary toxicity from vaping has been shown in laboratory, animal, and some human studies. 

The authors warn that we may be witnessing two syndromes of vaping-induced lung disease, one acute and one that takes longer to manifest. Without meaningful regulation of the thousands of e-cigarette products on the market and removal of those that fail to comply, we face a potential epidemic of lung disease or another EVALI-like outbreak – or both.

Read New England Journal of Medicine article here.

Youth perceptions of Juul in the United States
This survey texted four questions to 1,215 young people ages 14 to 24 about the popular e-cigarette Juul, which youth often use to inhale marijuana as well as nicotine. A 93 percent response rate validates the findings.

Social reasons (“Because it’s trendy and cool.”) were the most common reason youth gave for using Juul while only five percent mentioned flavors as a reason for use. Four-fifths (79 percent) believe juuling is dangerous and leads to the use of other substances, citing cigarettes most often.

The researchers say that flavor bans and education about the dangers of e-cigarette use alone may not be enough to stop the continued rise of vaping in this population. We would add that educating parents of adolescents about the dangers may lower use because parents are motivated to keep their kids healthy.

Read JAMA Network Research Letter here.
CBD Co. settles FTC suit over COVID-19, cancer cure claims
Whole Leaf Organics, a California CBD and wellness company, has agreed to stop claiming that one of its products prevents or cures COVID-19 and that its CBD products cure cancer. The lawsuit was brought by the Federal Trade Commission April 24. The agreement was reached within days. A federal court in California must approve the deal.

The US Food and Drug Administration had sent a warning letter to the company in November 2019 warning it to stop making its claims about CBD, but the company did not comply.

Read Law360 article here.

Constellation Brands buys more of Canopy Growth
Constellation Brands, a leading beverage alcohol company, and Canopy Growth Corporation, a leading marijuana company, announce the that a wholly owned subsidiary of Constellation has exercised nearly 19 million warrants to purchase common shares of Canopy Growth. The acquisition brings Constellation’s ownership of Canopy Growth to 38.6 percent. Should Constellation exercise all its warrants, the company will own Canopy Growth outright, holding 55.8 percent of its shares.

Read Constellations Brands' announcement here.

Addiction at any cost: Philip Morris International uncovered
The British nonprofit organization STOP has issued a new report challenging PMI’s claims that it’s IQOS e-cigarette-like product is all about protecting health. Access the report here.

Parenting just got a lot harder with legal marijuana
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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 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. 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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