Is there a link between marijuana and COPD?

Marijuana is legal for medical or recreational use in several parts of the United States. Researchers continue to investigate whether marijuana can cause or even help treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Some people use marijuana to relieve chronic pain, and there is growing interest in using marijuana to treat a range of other health issues, including epilepsy and the side effects of cancer treatment.

However, there is also concern that recreational use of marijuana increases a person’s risk of developing conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Full story at Medical News Today

Daily use of marijuana among non-college young adults at all time high

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) announced that the latest Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey results on substance use trends as teens transition to adulthood are now available online, comparing substance use patterns of full-time college students to their non-college peers. Most notably, more than 13 percent of young adults not in college report daily, or near daily, marijuana use; alcohol use is more common among college students; some opioid use is declining in both groups, and the most sizeable difference is the higher rate of cigarette smoking in the non-college group.

Below are the highlights from the 2017 MTF survey results on drug use among college students compared to their peers not attending college (ages 19-22).

  • Daily, or near daily,marijuana use among non-college young adults has continued to rise, reaching its highest level (13.2 percent).  As a result, daily, or near daily, marijuana use is now nearly three times as high among non-college young adults as among college students.

Full story at drugabuse.org

Is it safe to use marijuana while breastfeeding?

Some women use marijuana to manage the side effects of pregnancy, to cope with anxiety, or to sleep better. Many also hope they can safely do so while breastfeeding.

According to 2017 research carried out on a group of pregnant women in California, about 7 percent of the women surveyed used marijuana. Research suggests that marijuana can get into breast milk, which means that it may not be safe to use while breastfeeding.

However, little research is available, and much of the research that does exist is incomplete, poorly designed, or very outdated. In this article, learn about whether it is safe to use marijuana while breastfeeding, as well as about the possible risks for the baby.

Full story at Medical News Today

Study questions link between medical marijuana and fewer opioid deaths

The association between medical marijuana and lower levels of opioid overdose deaths — identified previously in several studies — is more complex than previously described and appears to be changing as both medical marijuana laws and the opioid crisis evolve, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

The report — the most-detailed examination of medical marijuana and opioid deaths conducted to date — found that legalizing medical marijuana was associated with lower levels of opioid deaths only in states that had provisions for dispensaries that made medical marijuana easily available to patients. Opioid death rates were not lower in states that just provided legal protections to patients and caregivers, allowing them to grow their own marijuana.

In addition, the association between medical marijuana dispensaries and fewer opioid deaths appears to have declined sharply after 2010, when states began to tighten requirements on sales by dispensaries.

Full story at Science Daily

A new target for marijuana

Cellular-level changes to a part of the brain’s reward system induced by chronic exposure to the psychoactive component of marijuana may contribute to the drug’s pleasurable and potentially addictive qualities, suggests a study in young mice published in JNeurosci. The results could advance our understanding of marijuana’s effects on the developing brain as the drug’s rapidly changing legal status increases its recreational and medical use in the United States.

Drugs of abuse impact the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the brain, which is rich in dopamine neurons. Using juvenile and adolescent mice, Jeffrey Edwards and colleagues investigated the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical in marijuana responsible for its effects on cognition and behavior, on VTA GABA cells, an understudied inhibitory cell type in the reward system that regulates dopamine levels.

Full story at Science Daily