Blood Pressure Medication Might Be Useful in Addiction Treatment, Rat Study Suggests

July 6, 2015 Posted by

A medication used to treat high blood pressure might be useful in addiction treatment, a study of rats suggests. The drug, called isradipine, erased memories that led the rats to associate a certain room with cocaine or alcohol.

The University of Texas researchers trained rats to associate either a white or black room with a dose of cocaine or alcohol, Popular Science reports. Once they were trained, the rats always chose the color room that was associated with their addicted substance.

The researchers then gave the rats isradipine. Right after they took the drug, the rats returned to the same room. But in the following days, they did not show a strong preference for either room.

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Commentary: Naloxone Access and Good Samaritan Overdose Protection Laws Abound in State Legislatures

July 3, 2015 Posted by

It is no secret that America is in the midst of an opioid epidemic resulting from the use of both pharmaceutical opioids and heroin. The scope of the epidemic is not clear, but the Centers for Disease Control estimates that opioid overdose deaths have surpassed motor vehicle accidents in annual fatalities, with approximately 44,000 drug overdose deaths each year.[1]

Increasingly, state lawmakers are recognizing the important role that naloxone, an opioid antagonist that blocks the effects of opioids in one’s body, can play in quelling the opioid crisis in the United States, and legislatures are enacting naloxone access laws at breakneck speed. Moreover, while there exist fewer Good Samaritan overdose protection laws which provide criminal immunity from arrest and prosecution on drug use or possession to those who call for medical assistance for someone who is overdosing, legislators are realizing that Good Samaritan laws are important if they want to encourage bystanders to call for emergency assistance in the event of an overdose.

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Study Questions Effectiveness of Medical Marijuana for Many Conditions

July 2, 2015 Posted by

A review of 80 studies of medical marijuana concludes it may be useful for treating certain conditions, but the evidence is weak in supporting the drug’s use for many others. The researchers said any benefits of medical marijuana must be weighed against side effects including nausea, dizziness, dry mouth, sleepiness and euphoria.

The study found moderate-quality evidence to support medical marijuana’s use for chronic pain and muscle spasms, Reuters reports. The researchers said there was only low-quality evidence supporting medical marijuana’s use in treating nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, sleep disorders, HIV-related weight loss and Tourette’s syndrome.

“Individuals considering cannabinoids as a possible treatment for their symptoms should discuss the potential benefits and harms with their doctor,” lead researcher Penny Whiting of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom told Reuters.

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Levels of THC Incorrectly Labeled on Most Edible Marijuana Products: Study

July 1, 2015 Posted by

Most edible marijuana products incorrectly list their levels of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient, a new study finds.

The study analyzed 75 edible marijuana products sold in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, according to The New York Times. Only 17 percent of the products correctly described their levels of THC. Researchers found 60 percent of the products had less THC than the packages stated, and 23 percent had more THC than advertised.

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Global Sales of E-Cigarettes and E-Liquids Nearly Doubled Last Year

June 30, 2015 Posted by

The global market for e-cigarettes and e-liquids almost doubled, to $6 billion, from 2013 to 2014, a new report finds. During that same period, cigarette sales decreased 0.4 percent, according to CBS News.

The report on e-cigarettes and e-liquids was issued by the market research firm Euromonitor International. The United States, with $2.8 billion in sales last year, accounts for about half of all global sales. Demand for e-cigarettes is also strong in Europe, especially the United Kingdom, Italy, Poland and France.

Shane MacGuill, a tobacco analyst at Euromonitor, says the growth in e-cigarettes is partly fueled by the perception that they are healthier than traditional cigarettes. Because they are not yet taxed at the same high rate as cigarettes, they are significantly less expensive, he added.

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