Endless confirmations about harms of pot

Pot can trigger psychosis in those prone to it: Study
By Shane Gibson, Metronews, Sept. 11, 2013
A national study on pot use and psychosis released by the Schizophrenia Society of Canada (SSC) Tuesday shows the drug can trigger and worsen psychosis in young people already prone to the psychiatric disorder.

The research is part of a SSC project funded by Health Canada aiming to give young people pause to think before lighting their first joint.

“Hopefully it’ll inform kids as to whether or not to use cannabis based on a knowledge of their family’s (mental health) history,” explained SSC’s CEO Chris Summerville. “Does marijuana specifically in and by itself cause a mental illness? No. But does it make your risk greater? Yes.”

Summerville said past research has shown young people who are already vulnerable to psychosis are four to seven times more likely to become ill with a psychotic illness.

The recently completed four-year participatory study, led by Dr. Katherine Boydell at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, saw 28 young people who had both used pot and experienced psychosis chosen as research assistants to lead interviews, focus groups and workshops with 50 other young people with similar experiences with pot and psychosis.

Participants used their experiences to create educational videos that are now on YouTube, and the research was used to create an interactive e-learning component that can be found at cannabisandpsychosis.ca.


Politician seduced by potheads, ignores harms of pot

Naomi Lakritz: Pot is a dangerous drug and legalization is a dumb idea, Mr. Trudeau
by Naomi Lakritz, The Province, July 26, 2013
I have lost all respect for Justin Trudeau. Until Thursday, I’d been rooting for him all the way. No more, though. Not since he announced that he thinks marijuana should be legalized.

In advocating for legalization, Trudeau cited the futility of the war on drugs. But this is not about the war on drugs. This is about the impact on everyday life if marijuana were legal. One commenter on the Calagry Herald’s website wondered whether Trudeau is aware of all the social ills that legalization would bring. Indeed. For one thing, if this ever comes to pass, we will add to the carnage caused by drunk drivers more carnage caused by drivers who are stoned.

Nor is it valid to argue that since alcohol is legal, marijuana should be legal, too. Alcohol is out of one’s system in a matter of hours for moderate drinkers. THC, the main ingredient in cannabis, stays in the body for up to 30 days, which means it continues to impair the user that much longer after the first high has worn off. Harvard psychiatry professor Harrison Pope studied marijuana’s long-term effects on cognition. He postulates that one reason for the lengthy period of impairment, is that THC “dissolves in body fat, then slowly percolates into the blood and brain over days and weeks after a joint is smoked,” according to the Harvard Gazette. ...click "Read More" below to continue....


Youths who drink or use pot more prone to head injury

Youths who drink or use pot more prone to head injury
School survey reveals effects of drug, alcohol use
By Sharon Kirkey, Postmedia News,  June 26, 2013
Alcohol and drugs can damage a teen’s brain in more ways than people think.

A new study has found that youths who said they frequently consume booze or pot were up to five times more likely than abstinent youths to report having suffered at least one traumatic brain injury that left them unconscious for at least five minutes or hospitalized overnight.

Overall, the survey of nearly 9,000 Ontario high school students found that, in general, one in five teens said that they had had a brain injury at some time in their lives. ....click "Read More" below to continue....


Smoking Pot In Teen Years Lowers IQ Later

Tia Ghose, LiveScience Contributor. Date: 27 August 2012 
Teens who smoke marijuana see their IQs drop as adults, and deficits persist even after quitting, according to a new study.

"The findings are consistent with speculation that cannabis use in adolescence, when the brain is undergoing critical development, may have neurotoxic effects," study researcher Madeline Meier of Duke University said in a statement.

The study followed 1,037 New Zealand children for 25 years. Subjects took IQ tests at age 13, before any of them had smoked marijuana, and again at age 38. Throughout the study, participants also answered several surveys about their drug use....click "Read More" below to continue....

Chronic Cannabis Use May Cause Brain Inflammation

By Rachael Rettner, LiveScience Senior Writer, LiveScience.com – June 23, 2013
Chronic marijuana use may cause inflammation in the brain that leads to problems with coordination and learning, a new study in animals suggests.

The study also teased out why this brain inflammation leads to motor and learning problems, and found a surprising answer — cannabis activates immune cells that appear to play a critical role in how a brain region called the cerebellum works....click "Read More" below to continue....

Parents can help kids stay away from drugs

Published: June 24, 2013
Drs. Oz & Roizen's Tip of the Day:

The list of movies aimed at kids that show (supposedly) loveable stars who use drugs is long and well-known: There's "Cheech and Chong," "Harold & Kumar" and the entire "Hangover" series.

Helping teens stay away from recreational drugs is a big job and one that, unfortunately, some parents don't feel they're up to or don't feel they have the clout to make a difference.

That's info from a new survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration after talking with more than 67,000 Americans over the age of 12.

The upshot: 22 percent of parents don't think what they say about drug use will change how their children act.

But research shows that nothing could be further from the truth. Among kids who feel their parents strongly disapprove of marijuana use, only 5 percent are willing to risk it; but more than 30 percent of kids whose parents don't make their anti-drug message clear are willing to experiment with pot.

Mom and Dad, you are the health guides in all areas - from drugs to doughnuts to sleep.

When you don't just talk the talk, but walk the walk (we love families who get walking together, aiming for 10,000 steps a day), you are amazingly influential.

So gather your kids around (even those teenagers), plan a family meal, schedule regular family walks and set aside time for conversations about the importance of a healthful lifestyle for better grades, higher self-esteem and a brighter future. 
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate.


"Medical marijuana" bypasses evidence requirements for drugs

Ottawa tables final rules for medical marijuana
"Physicians and pharmacists alike questioned the regulatory changes, saying there is little evidence that medical marijuana is either effective or safe."
By Staff, The Canadian Press,  June 10, 2013, 12:39 pm
OTTAWA – After two years of study and discussion, the federal government has finalized new rules for medical marijuana and granted a reprieve to pharmacists who opposed the rules in their draft form.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq rolled out the regulations today for formal publication in the Canada Gazette on Wednesday.

Under the new regime, the government will no longer produce or distribute medical pot and medical marijuana users will no longer be allowed to grow the product at home.

Health Canada said since the medical marijuana program was introduced in 2001, it has expanded to 30,000 people from the original 500 authorized to use the product.

“This rapid increase has had unintended consequences for public health, safety and security as a result of allowing individuals to produce marijuana in their homes,” the department said in a news release ....click "Read More" below to continue....


Stoned equipment operator killed six

Equipment operator accused of being high on pot before deadly Philly building collapse turns self in
By Maryclaire Dale, Michael Rubinkam and Kathy Matheson, The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA — A heavy equipment operator accused of being high on marijuana when a downtown building collapsed onto a thrift store, killing six people, turned himself in on Saturday to face charges in the deaths, police said.

A warrant had been issued for the arrest of Sean Benschop on six counts of involuntary manslaughter, 13 counts of recklessly endangering another person and one count of risking a catastrophe.

Authorities believe the 42-year-old Benschop had been using an excavator Wednesday when the remains of the four-storey building gave way and toppled onto an attached Salvation Army thrift store, killing two employees and four customers and injuring 13 others.

Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison told The Associated Press on Friday evening that a toxicology report showed evidence that Benschop was high on marijuana. That finding, combined with witness statements and evidence from the scene, led to the decision Friday to raid his North Philadelphia home and later seek an arrest warrant, he said.....click "Read More" below to continue....


Even smokeless pot is harmful

Beware the brownies: Study blames lax drug laws as marijuana-laced snacks sending children to hospital
Tom Spears, Postmedia News, May 30, 2013
OTTAWA — Relaxed marijuana laws in Colorado have had a side-effect no one saw coming: Children are getting into the wrong kind of brownies.

Also the wrong kind of cookies, candies and soft drinks. And they’re ending up in hospital.

A pediatrician has compared the number of young children treated at the Children’s Hospital Colorado emergency department for ingesting marijuana before and after the loosening of Colorado’s drug laws in 2009. Before 2009 there were none. Since then the hospital has seen 14.

Worse, doctors often don’t think of checking young children for drug consumption, so they order all kinds of tests and miss the real cause....click "Read More" below to continue....


Amanda Bynes whacked on pot

Amanda Bynes taken away in handcuffs wearing bizarre wig after 'throwing bong out window of high rise apartment during marijuana arrest'
By Daily Mail Reporter, 24 May 2013
Amanda Bynes was taken away by police in handcuffs after being arrested for reckless endangerment after allegedly throwing a foot-long bong out of the window of her 36th floor New York apartment.

The incident came after police arrived to speak to the troubled actress about her alleged marijuana use on Thursday night.

She was then taken to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation before being booked at the police station for criminal of possession of marijuana, reckless endangerment and tampering with evidence.... click "Read More" below to continue....


Cigarettes and pot feed each other

Cigarettes Are a Gateway Drug, Say Scientists
By Elise SolĂ©, Shine Staff | Healthy Living – May 8, 2013
Most teens roll their eyes at the idea that any drug can be a "gateway" to more serious stimulants, but new data presented Sunday at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meeting found that teens who smoke cigarettes are 23 times more likely to smoke marijuana compared to those who don't use tobacco.

Researchers from Seattle Children's Research Institute and the University of Washington randomly chose 315 incoming college freshmen from two universities (one in the Midwest and another in the Northwest) and asked if they smoked cigarettes or marijuana, then asked them the same question after the school year ended.

"We were surprised by the two outcomes," says study author Megan Moreno, MD,  associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington. "First, teens who smoked cigarettes coming into their freshman year were 23 times more likely to smoke marijuana later that year. And second, kids who smoke both cigarettes and marijuana smoke cigarettes more frequently than those who only use tobacco.".....click "Read More" below to continue.....


Pot is not a "recreational" drug

“There are toxins in cannabis smoke that are carcinogens and that accelerate heart disease. Smoked cannabis is addicting, unsafe during pregnancy and especially dangerous for young people, in terms of triggering psychosis, depression and mood disorders.” 
 - Dr. Meldon Kahan, medical director of the Substance Use Service at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto


Bad weather, pilot's weed use cause of fatal northern crash: board

By Bob Weber, The Canadian Press, March 20, 2013
EDMONTON - The investigation into a deadly northern plane crash has found it was caused by a combination of marginal weather and the pilot's marijuana use.

The pilot and one passenger were killed when the Air Tindi plane went down near a community on the east arm of Great Slave Lake in October 2011.

A Transportation Safety Board investigation found the weather that day was rainy and overcast with poor visibility.

"The aircraft was flown at low altitude into an area of low forward visibility, which prevented the pilot from seeing and avoiding terrain," the investigation concludes. "Weather during the accident flight was marginal for (visual flight rules) flight."

The Cessna 208B Caravan did not have electronic aids such as a terrain awareness and warning system or terrain-warning GPS. But it was fully equipped for instrument flying and the pilot and the company were qualified in such navigation.

"Flying under (instrument flight rules) would have provided a margin of safety given the weather conditions," the board wrote. "It could not be determined why the pilot chose to fly under (visual flight rules)."

The report also found the pilot was flying over Great Slave Lake beyond the gliding distance of his airplane.

There was another issue as well.

"Toxicology testing revealed that concentrations of cannabinoids found in the pilot's bloodstream were sufficient to have impaired pilot performance and decision-making during the flight."

Those concentrations were "considerably greater" than levels that impaired pilot performance in flight simulator tests, the report says.....click "Read More" below...


Addictive pot damages the young's mental health

PARENT TRAPS: Offer stress management alternatives to pot
 A teenager's accelerating marijuana use has become an issue for a concerned parent 
By Michele Kambolis, family therapist, February 4, 2013

I have a 17-year-old daughter who attends a university prep school and she’s feeling stressed out by applying to university, keeping her grades up and maintaining her current level of involvement in her competitive sport. I know she has experimented with marijuana (which is something that I would expect) but I’m concerned that she now “blazes” on a regular basis, occasionally even before school. I’m now becoming concerned that she may be damaging her health, not to mention the possibility of her being arrested and how that would impact her future as well. What should I do?
-- Anxious in Abbotsford


Pot, weed, B.C. bud — whatever teens are calling it, the effects are harmful and your concerns are justified.

In this case, your daughter looks to have acquired the habit as a means to contend with stress and anxiety.

Start by front-loading her with other ways to tackle her stress — a yoga class, relaxation exercises and CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) workbooks can go a long way to teaching coping skills to replace self medicating with pot.

Then, outline the effects. It’ll be of no surprise to her that her “blazing” will cause short-term difficulty in thinking and problem solving, impaired memory and learning, loss of coordination and distorted perception. The longer users toke up, the worse their memories and attention spans; it affects immune and respiratory systems and is associated with anxiety and/or panic attacks in 20-30 per cent of recreational users.

While the risk of becoming dependent on pot is relatively low compared to other drugs, withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, stomach pains and sleeping difficulty go hand in hand with kicking the habit. So, when and if your daughter decides to quit, watch for these symptoms and reassure her that they’ll go away in time. In the meantime, encourage and focus on long-term anxiety reduction tools to help her butt out.


Well-said letters about harms of pot

Below are three letters printed in the opinion section of a newspaper:
Three votes against legal pot
Re: Follow In America’s Footsteps, Jan. 21.
    The article fails to disclose the truth about the dangers of marijuana and the consequences of legalizing it. To merely “tax and regulate cannabis” does not stop the violence associated with the drug trade, but opens the door to even higher levels of crime and violence as it does not stop the profit motivation of drug traffickers.
In 2010, the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 51.8% of Americans used alcohol, 27.4% used tobacco and 8.9% used illicit drugs. The same high figures for alcohol and tobacco use will also apply to marijuana, if legalized.
    There is a wide disparity between tax revenue received from alcohol and tobacco sales and the health costs caused by their use. It results in greater economic and social costs to society because of the increased health care and enforcement, as well as loss of productivity in the workplace. The article also overlooks the dark side of marijuana use. It is a mood-altering drug capable of producing dependency. Adverse effects have been documented in terms of memory, learning, behaviour and functioning.
C. Gwendolyn Landolt, national vice-president, REAL Women of Canada, Ottawa.
    Pursuing a “progressive drug policy” (i.e., legalizing marijuana) is all well and good, but there is a downside.
    Last Sunday, I was out for my weekly hockey game when someone in the neighbourhood decided to light up. Those of us on the ball hockey court paid the price, as I was coughing and choking, and felt a bit headachy. And this is while pot is still technically illegal. What happens after legalization? I’m all for freedom, but other people’s freedom to smoke should, I think, stop at the tip of my nose. Secondhand tobacco smoke is bad enough, but pot smoke? Who will protect us from this?
Sheldon Goldfarb, Vancouver.
    Those who support the decriminalization/legalization of marijuana claim that the “war on drugs” has been an abject failure, but has it been? Are there more or less people smoking up today as a result of said war? We can’t know. The real question is: Will I be inhaling more or less second hand pot at the bus shelter after prohibition is lifted? The answer seems rather obvious. And after pot, then what? The one thing that is certain, in both politics and a society’s slide into moral decadence, is that one thing invariably leads to another.
Jeff Willerton, Airdrie, Alta.


Marijuana's effect on brain doubled

Marijuana's effect on brain doubled, study indicates  Second type of cells affected, too, Ottawa researcher says
By Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen
Marijuana impairs the brain by acting on two types of brain cell at once, a new Ottawa study shows.

And the implication, the lead researcher says, is that there's another side to the brain that neuroscientists hadn't realized.

For the past century, the accepted theory was that marijuana acted on neurons to impair working memory. Working memory is the system of holding on to information so that the brain can think about it and make decisions without being distracted. For instance, it allows a person to drive a car, listen to the radio, think about what will happen at the end of the car ride and watch for pedestrians all at once.

Marijuana impairs working memory, an effect that can last for a day or more after heavy pot-smoking.....click "Read More" below....


Pot opponents regroup following Wash., Colo. votes

By GENE JOHNSON, Associated Press, 01/09/2013
SEATTLE—Kevin Sabet, a former White House drug policy adviser and an outspoken opponent of legalizing marijuana, watched with dismay last fall as voters in Washington and Colorado did just that.

But the next day he got a call from former Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who has struggled with alcohol and drug addiction. The son of late Sen. Ted Kennedy was worried that the votes sent the wrong message about marijuana.

"The level of his concern impressed me," Sabet recalled. "He said, 'We have to do something that is not falling into this false dichotomy of prohibition versus legalization.'"

So began the regrouping of the anti-pot lobby, an effort which on Thursday launches a new organization, Project SAM, for "smart approaches to marijuana." Kennedy is the chairman, and other board members include Sabet and David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush.

"Our country is about to go down the wrong road, in the opposite direction of sound mental health policy," Kennedy said. "It's just shocking as a public health issue that we seem to be looking the other way as this legalization of marijuana becomes really glamorous." .....click "Read More" below...