STUDY: Using marijuana just once or twice may change teen’s brain structure


Grey matter volume differences associated with extremely low levels of cannabis use in adolescence

A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience today “presents evidence suggesting structural brain and cognitive effects of just one or two instances of cannabis use in adolescence.” The researchers note that nearly 35 percent of 10th graders report using marijuana.

Read study abstract here.

Teens and vaping marijuana: Understanding the dangers of “dabbing”

Dabbing among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders is on the rise, according to the Monitoring the Future Survey. Dr. Ruben Baler, a health scientist at the National Institute on Drug abuse, which funds the survey, estimates that of the 3 million teens now vaping e-cigarettes, 30 to 40 percent are vaping marijuana.

The term vaping generally applies to heating capsules of nicotine in an e-cigarette and inhaling the fumes, while dabbing refers to inhaling fumes from a heated capsule of THC in a vape pen. And those THC capsules contain concentrates with 60 to 90 percent THC compared to about 12 percent THC in today’s marijuana that is smoked. Americans were getting high less than 5 percent THC in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.

“This is a very dangerous trend,” Dr. Baler says. E-cigarettes and vape pens “are very easy to hide. They’re odorless, and they’re marketed very aggressively for kids, whether they have flavorings or high concentrations of nicotine or marijuana.”

He warns that an adolescent brain is still in development and “should be completely clean” of any “drug that can derail that trajectory of development.”

Read Chicago Sun Times story here.

Police: Vape shop owner, employees charged with selling marijuana to minors

Police arrested the owner and four employees at a vape shop called Kloudy Visionz in Taunton, Massachusetts after finding a stash of marijuana behind the counter, which allegedly was sold to teenagers.

Even though marijuana is legal in Massachusetts for adults, Kloudy Visionz does not have a license to sell it to anyone, let alone someone under age 21. An investigation had revealed teenagers leaving through a side entrance with marijuana.

The store had been opened for only about a year, but its license to sell tobacco had expired.

Read WFXT Boston story here.

Thousands of people in DC area seek treatment for marijuana dependency each year

Several thousand people in the area surrounding Washington DC have sought treatment for the drug that “isn’t addictive” (marijuana) as many legalization proponents claim.

An investigation by the NBC Washington News4 I-Team found that Virginia health agencies admitted approximately 4,000 residents each year for the past four years to treat marijuana dependency. While the majority were men, more recent records show an uptick in women ages 31 to 40 seeking treatment.

In 2016, experts testifying before the US Senate Judiciary Committee told members that 8 percent to 9 percent of adults and 17 percent of adolescents who try marijuana become addicted. The experts estimated that some 2.7 million Americans were dependent on the drug.

Those seeking treatment are encouraged to call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s free, confidential hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Read NBC Washington story and see video here.

Marijuana use and driving in Washington State: Risk perceptions and behaviors before and after implementation of retail sales

This roadside study surveyed drivers in Washington State the month before marijuana retail sales began, 5 to 6 months later, and 1 year later. Some 2,355 drivers completed the survey.

They were asked about their past and current marijuana use and whether they believed driving after use increased their risk for having an accident. They also were drug tested for the presence of THC in oral fluids or blood.

The proportion of daytime THC-positive drivers increased from 8 percent before retail sales to 23 percent 6 months after sales began. No such change occurred among nighttime drivers. The odds of being THC positive were 40 percent lower among drivers who believe marijuana can impair driving.

Further research should continue to monitor marijuana and driving and to develop a way to determine impairment.

Read Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study here.

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