Last week, we reported that 3.2 million 12- to 17-year-olds used marijuana in the past year, according to the new 2018-2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Of those, 39 percent live in the 15 recreational legalization states and the District of Columbia, while 61 percent live in the other 35 states.
We got curious about which states had the lowest levels of past-year marijuana use among kids. These states have one-fourth (26 percent) of young past-year marijuana users, while the uncolored states have three-fourths (61 percent) of them.
Curious about how many kids in your state used marijuana in the past year? Here’s how to find out. See Table C.10, which tells you the Population Estimate for the number of 12- to 17-year-olds who live in your state here.
Multiply that number by the percent of 12- to 17-year-olds in your state who used marijuana in the past year. You can find that number in Table 2 here.
Colorado drugged driving data
The DUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs) Victim Voices website has compiled and posted data from Colorado state agencies about the problem of DUID. Here are a few highlights:
- 18.6 percent of past-month adult marijuana users admit to driving after marijuana use. The percent of high school marijuana users who admit this is an astonishing 54.4 percent.
- Toxicology tests of those arrested for DUI show 4,205 positive screens for cannabinoids. Of those, 4,069 were positive for THC. Positive screens for alcohol were 3,956.
- Yet 2018 DUI charges in the state were 75.3 percent for alcohol, 6.4 percent for THC.
For more Colorado DUID data, visit the website here.
More than half of people using cannabis for pain experience multiple withdrawal symptoms
Lara N. Coughlin and colleagues from the University of Michigan Addiction Center find that more than half of medical marijuana patients who take the drug to ease pain experience mild to severe withdrawal symptoms when they are between uses.
Marijuana withdrawal symptoms include craving for the drug, as well as “anxiety, sleep difficulties, decreased appetite, restlessness, depressed mood, aggression, irritability, nausea, sweating, headache, stomach pain, strange dreams, increased anger, and shakiness.”
The researchers surveyed 527 Michigan residents seeking medical marijuana for noncancer pain three times, once to establish a baseline and then one year and two years after patients’ initial survey. While more than half of patients experienced withdrawal symptoms, about 10 percent experienced worsening symptoms over time, making them vulnerable to developing a cannabis use disorder.
Read University of Michigan account of this study here.
Read Addiction abstract here.
Better data for a better understanding of the use and safety profile of cannabidiol (CBD) products
FDA Administrator Stephen M. Hahn, MD, issued an explanatory statement regarding the agency’s pursuit of a better understanding of the potential positive and negative effects of CBD. The statement describes the challenges involved in collecting and evaluating CBD data and points to a “framework for the FDA’s development of research projects that can leverage novel data sources and can form the foundation for additional research on the safety profile of CBD products.”
Read Dr. Hahn’s FDA statement here.
Colorado issues a health and safety warning about contaminated marijuana
The Colorado Department of Revenue and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a warning last Friday about unsafe levels of yeast and mold found in marijuana produced by Carrick-Harvest, LLC. The company does business as Veritas Fine Cannabis. The yeast and mold levels are above acceptable limits established by the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division. The warning lists batch numbers so that those who bought these items can return them to the dispensaries from which they bought them.
Read the state’s Health and Safety Advisory here.
Lack of standards, dubious business practices threaten to upend cannabis testing industry
Unethical business practices are undermining public confidence in marijuana products. Some producers “lab shop” to find a testing facility that will give them results they want to see in terms of THC levels (high) and contaminants (none). Others adulterate their products with spray-on marijuana oil or THC crystals to indicate a higher THC presence than exists.
Washington state regulators suspended the license of Praxis Laboratory for allegedly falsifying testing data on more than 1,200 samples by supplying higher THC levels than tests found.
One lab owner explains that it just takes time for a new industry to develop standards. “Give it another five to 15 years,” she says.
Read Marijuana Business Daily article here.
Kids who vape are four times more likely to become cigarette smokers later in life
Researcher Olusegun Owotomo and colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin analyzed data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study. They find that e-cigarette use is associated with increased odds of cigarette smoking among teenagers who had no previous intention to smoke. A 5-minute video by the lead researcher nicely explains the study and its findings.
Read full text of Pediatrics article and access the video here.
Chemicals in e-cigarettes disrupt the gut barrier and trigger inflammation
Aditi Sharma and colleagues from the University of California, San Diego, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in La Jolla, and Assiut University in Egypt find that chemicals in e-cigarettes disrupt the gut barrier and trigger inflammation.
They say chronic use of e-cigarettes “led to a ‘leaky gut,’ in which microbes and other molecules seep out of the intestines, resulting in chronic inflammation. Such inflammation can contribute to a variety of diseases and conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, dementia, certain cancers, atherosclerosis, liver fibrosis, diabetes, and arthritis.”
Read UCSD’s description of this complex study here.
Read full text of the study published in iScience here.
California governor’s proposed 2021 budget includes funds to consolidate three state marijuana regulatory agencies into one.
Governor Gavin Newsom’s new budget contains funding to collapse the three state agencies that regulate legal recreational marijuana into one agency. Is it the State Department of Public Health? Sadly, no. Proposed is $153.8 million to create a Department of Cannabis Control within the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency. In other words, an agency to serve the needs of the commercial marijuana industry rather than the public’s health and well being.
Read last entry in the California Department of Food and Agriculture bulletin here.
Congress commands CDC, NIDA to study “the potential health impact of safe consumption sites.”
A bill tied to the stimulus package passed by Congress in December includes language that directs the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute on Drug Abuse to provide Congress with “an updated literature review and evaluation of the potential public-health impact of Overdose Prevention Centers in the US” by the end of June 2021.
“Safe consumption sites” provide medically pure addictive drugs and a place where addicts can consume them with medical personnel in-house to prevent or reverse overdose. There are none yet in the US, although harm reduction advocates and the Drug Policy Alliance, which appears to be responsible for getting the language calling for a literature review into the stimulus bill, have been trying to establish one in Philadelphia.
Read Filter article here.
Head of SAMHSA resigns after attack on US Capitol
Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, resigned as the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and director of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
She says she saw the violent takeover of the Capitol building. “I believe that this behavior was totally unacceptable and, in my own heart, I simply am not able to continue.”
She will be missed.
Read her resignation letter here.
EDITORS NOTE: This National Families in Action report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.