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Cannabis Use Up among
Parents with Children in the Home
 
Marijuana use has increased among both parents who smoke cigarettes and non-smoking parents, threatening the overall decline in children’s exposure to second-hand smoke, a new study from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the City University of New York reveals.
 
Researchers analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. They found that marijuana use increased among parents with children living in the home from 5 percent in 2002 to 7 percent in 2015, while cigarette smoking decreased from 28 percent to 20 percent during that time.
 
In contrast, marijuana use among cigarette-smoking parents rose from 11 percent in 2002 to 17 percent in 2015, compared to an increase of 2 percent to 4 percent among non-smoking parents, making cigarette-smokers’ marijuana use nearly four times greater (17 percent vs 4 percent). Their daily marijuana use is five times greater (5 percent vs 1 percent).
 
The researchers say the results of their study support the reduction in overall second-hand tobacco smoke exposure but add new public health concerns about children’s exposure to second-hand marijuana smoke.
 
The study was funded by the National Institutes for Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
 
Read Science Daily account of this study here. Read the Pediatrics study itself, in which the illustration above appears, here.

 
Prenatal Marijuana Use Can Affect Infant Size, Behavior, Study Finds
 
We know that smoking cigarettes during pregnancy has negative effects on birth weights and is linked to health problems in childhood. Now, researchers have found that smoking marijuana can impact birth weights and lead to behavioral problems, and the effects are worsened when combined with tobacco use.
 
Nearly 30 percent of women who smoke during pregnancy report using marijuana as well. Researchers studied nearly 250 mothers and their infants; 173 of the babies had been exposed to tobacco and/or marijuana during their mothers’ pregnancies.
 
Compared to babies exposed to no drugs, those exposed to both drugs, especially in the third trimester, were:
  • smaller in length, weight, and head size,
  • more likely to be born earlier,
  • more irritable,
  • more easily frustrated, and
  • less likely to be able to calm themselves easily.
Women with symptoms of anger, hostility, and aggression reported more stress while pregnant and were more likely to continue tobacco and marijuana use throughout. This co-exposure increased the odds of giving birth to smaller babies who were more irritable and frustrated.
 
Finding ways to help women reduce stress and deal with negative emotions as well as to discourage both tobacco and marijuana use during pregnancy may lead to healthier babies.
 
This study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
 
Read Science Daily account of it here. Read the study itself in the March/April issue of Child Development here.

 
Most Marijuana Dispensaries
Give Inaccurate Advice on Pot in Pregnancy
 
Nearly 70 percent of employees at 400 Colorado marijuana dispensaries say they would recommend marijuana to pregnant mothers experiencing nausea, a new study finds.
 
Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Denver Health and Hospital Authority called dispensaries, pretending to be eight weeks pregnant and saying they felt “really nauseated.”
 
Of the 400 dispensaries contacted, employees at 277 recommended a marijuana product for morning sickness. Most based their recommendations on personal opinion. Some 36 percent said the drug is safe in pregnancy; about half (53 percent) said they weren’t sure of that.
 
One employee said that marijuana edibles wouldn’t be a risk to the baby, because “they would be going through the digestional [digestive] tract.”
 
"As cannabis legalization becomes more common, women should be cautioned that advice from dispensary employees might not necessarily be informed by medical evidence," the researchers note.
 
Read Live Science account of the study here. Read the study itself in the June issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology here.

 
How Do You Move
Mountains of Unwanted Weed?
 
In Oregon these days, a gram of weed is selling for less than a glass of wine. Put another way, a gram of the popular marijuana strain, Girl Scout Cookies, sells for little more than two boxes of real Girl Scout cookies.
 
Two factors seem to be driving a glut of marijuana in the state: great weather conditions and no cap on the number of growing licenses the state issues. As of April 1, Oregon had licensed 963 recreational marijuana growers. Another 910 await approval from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which manages the state’s marijuana industry.
 
The state database has logged in 1.1 million pounds of marijuana flower, but Oregonians consumed only one-third of that (340,000 lbs) last year. Consequently, the price of pot has dropped by more than half.
 
Read The Guardian story here.

 
Many Oncologists Recommend Medical Marijuana Clinically Despite Not Feeling Sufficiently Knowledgeable to Do So
 
Although 80 percent of oncologists discussed medical marijuana with patients and nearly half recommended its use clinically, less than 30 percent consider themselves knowledgeable enough to make such recommendations, a new survey finds.
 
“Medical marijuana” refers to the non-pharmaceutical marijuana products that states have legalized and healthcare providers recommend for therapeutic purposes.
 
“A significant proportion of medical marijuana products are whole-plant marijuana, which contains hundreds of active ingredients with complicated synergistic and inhibitory interactions. By contrast, cannabinoid pharmaceuticals, which are available with a prescription through a pharmacy, contain no more than a couple of active ingredients.”
 
Researchers at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute surveyed oncologists from across the nation for this first-of-its kind assessment.
 
Read Science Daily account here. Read study abstract in the Journal of Clinical Oncology here.

 
Surest Way to Face Marijuana Charges
in New York: Be Black or Hispanic
 
An investigative piece The New York Times published last Sunday finds that across the city black people were arrested on low-level marijuana charges at eight times the rate of white, non-Hispanic people over the past three years. Hispanic people were arrested at five times the rate of white people, and in Manhattan itself, blacks were arrested 15 times the rate of whites.
 
The explanation that more calls are coming from communities with higher arrest rates does not hold up, according to the Time’s investigation.
 
A result of these findings is leading to calls for officials to no longer prosecute people arrested for low-level marijuana offences. Yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio directed the police department to have a plan within 30 days to “end unnecessary [marijuana] arrests.”
 
Read The New York Times story here.
 
Marijuana Users Report High Rates of Dependence in Global Drug Survey
 
A survey of more than 130,000 people in more than 40 countries in the past year finds that 20.2 percent of marijuana users show substantial signs of dependence, as measured by affirmative answers to at least four of the five questions on the Severity of Dependence Scale. The latter is a popular tool used to assess impaired control over drug use and anxieties related to consumption and quitting.
 
Read the Huffington Post article here. Read The Global Drug Survey results 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.

Our mission is to protect children from addictive drugs
by shining light on the science that underlies their effects.

 
Addictive drugs harm children, families, and communities.
Legalizing them creates commercial industries that make drugs more available,
increase use, and expand harms.

Science shows that addiction begins in childhood.
It is a pediatric disease that is preventable.
 
We work to prevent the emergence of commercial
addictive drug industries that will target children.

We support FDA approved medicines.

We support the assessment, treatment, and/or social and educational services
for users and low-level dealers as alternatives to incarceration.

 
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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