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Dear David,

I am sending you below a copy of a letter I have sent to the Premiers of Canada – and other members of the worldwide drug prevention community, plus an email to UN HQ in New York.   Since they get so many letters I thought it would be sensible to send you a copy direct as it might take time for you to receive it through UN internal mail.

Dear Premiers,

As members of the worldwide drug prevention community we have been reading with increasing concern and disbelief the way that Canada seems to be bulldozing through legislation that can only damage the citizens of your country – not the least the children.

The Rights of the Child Treaty, under article 33 of the international drug conventions, would be breached if this legislation is allowed to be ratified.

Under the terms of the convention, governments are required to meet children’s basic needs and help them reach their full potential. Since it was adopted by the United Nations in November 1989, 194 countries have signed up to the UNCRC,

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is an important international legal instrument that obligates States Parties to protect children and youth from involvement with illicit drugs and the drug trade.

Canada is a signatory to the CRC – which is a legally binding document.  Should your country go ahead with the decision to legalise marijuana – against all the evidence from respected scientists and Health authorities worldwide Canada would be an outcast by those 193 nations who have agreed and signed to Article 33.

We find it astonishing that the wealth of evidence and opinion in Canada and  worldwide,  on the harmfulness of marijuana would seem to have been totally ignored by your parliamentarians.   Indeed new evidence relating to the epidemic of gastrochisis was submitted in good time by our Australian colleague Dr. Stuart Reece and was not allowed to be presented.   Instead you have been persuaded by groups that want marijuana to be ‘the new tobacco’ – headed of course by George Soros, that this will not be harmful to your citizens, that it will bring in tax revenues and that it would destroy the black market. 

However, there was a study done a few weeks ago by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction finding that just in Canada alone, a much smaller country than the U.S. in population, marijuana-related car crashes cost a billion dollars. That’s just the car crashes, and those were directly related to marijuana. And the report came from a government think tank, not any kind of anti-drug group.

We heard many of these same promises in 2012 when Colorado legalized recreational marijuana. Yet  in the years since, Colorado has seen an increase in marijuana related traffic deaths, poison control calls, and emergency room visits. The marijuana black market has increased in Colorado, not decreased. And, numerous Colorado marijuana regulators have been indicted for corruption.

New reports out of Colorado indicate that legal marijuana  is posing real risks to the safety of young people. As Colorado rethinks marijuana, the rest of the nation should watch carefully this failing experiment.

Healthcare officials representing three hospitals in Pueblo, Colorado, issued a statement on April 27 in support of a ballot measure that would end Marijuana commercialization in the city and county of Pueblo. “We continue to see first-hand the increased patient harm caused by retail marijuana, and we want the Pueblo community to understand that the commercialization of marijuana is a significant public health and safety issue,” said Mike Baxter, president and CEO of Parkview Medical Center.

Among their concerns are  a 51 percent increase in number of children under 18 being treated in Parkview Medical Center emergency rooms.  Furthermore, of newborn babies at St. Mary-Corwin Hospital, drug tested due to suspected prenatal exposure, nearly half tested positive for marijuana.

Having read the above, how can Canadian legislators possibly believe that legalising marijuana would, in any way, be advantageous for their country ?

Yours faithfully,

Peter Stoker,  Director,  National Drug Prevention Alliance  (UK)

Source: A letter forwarded by Peter Stoker to David Dadge, spokesperson for UN Office ON Drugs and Crime (UNODC), originally sent to the Premiers of Canada  September 2017

A three-month-old baby boy died after being left alone overnight while his mother smoked cannabis, a serious case review has found.

Social services dealt repeatedly with the child’s family before his death but closed the case after the woman said she had stopped using drugs.

A police investigation into potential neglect is currently ongoing. The review found the level of support provided to the family was “a proportionate response”.

The baby, who can be identified only as Child E, suffered a cardiac arrest in September 2017 after being found unresponsive with a blanket over his head at a home in Rochdale.

His mother, who also cannot be named, subsequently told police she had been using cannabis on the night before his death and had left the house between 01:00 and 02:00 BST to go to a local garage. The baby had been left lying in his pram for 12 hours without being checked.

Substance misuse

A serious case review by the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board found the family had interacted with police and health and social care workers repeatedly in the months before his death.

An anonymous referral made to Children’s Social Care also raised concerns about the mother’s substance misuse and the state of the home in which the family were living, the Board found.

The Board’s report said the mother “reported cannabis to be her drug of choice and cocaine less frequently.”

“It is true that many parents’ use of drugs does not present a risk of harm to their children. It is also true that many parents who use drugs have chaotic and unpredictable lifestyles that do impact on their ability to maintain stability and safe parenting of their children,” it said.

Despite this, the case was closed after the mother said she had stopped using drugs.

Risk

“This review therefore begs the question about how well professionals can be reassured that substance misuse that impacts on parenting is ever really resolved or whether some level of risk will always remain,” the report said.

It also found that the mother had been given detailed advice on safe sleeping guidelines for babies on three occasions.

“The learning from this review will be important to all agencies and will result in changes to procedures in line with the recommendations,” said the Board’s independent chair, Jane Booth.

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-45970026 24th October 2018

OCTOBER 25, 2018 BY PARTNERSHIP NEWS SERVICE STAFF

A new study finds traffic accidents are increasing in states that have legalized recreational marijuana, Bloomberg reports.

Crashes have risen by as much as 6 percent in Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, compared with neighboring states that haven’t legalized marijuana for recreational use, according to research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI).

“The new IIHS-HLDI research on marijuana and crashes indicates that legalizing marijuana for all uses is having a negative impact on the safety of our roads,” IIHS-HLDI President David Harkey said in a news release. “States exploring legalizing marijuana should consider this effect on highway safety.”

In a separate study, IIHS examined police-reported crashes before and after retail marijuana sales began in Colorado, Oregon and

Washington. The study found the three states combined saw a 5.2 percent increase in the rate of crashes per million vehicle registrations, compared with neighboring states that did not legalize marijuana.

Source: https://drugfree.org/learn/drug-and-alcohol-news/traffic-accidents-rising-in-states-with-legalized-recreational-marijuana Oct. 2018

Anybody wondering what happens to the 8 per cent of the skunk-smoking population who develop mental illness should visit any psychiatric hospital in Britain or speak to somebody who has done so What is really needed in dealing with cannabis is a “tobacco moment”, as with cigarettes 50 years ago, when a majority of people became convinced that smoking might give them cancer and kill them. Since then the number of cigarette smokers in Britain has fallen by two-thirds.

A depressing aspect of the present debate about cannabis is that so many proponents of legalisation or decriminalisation have clearly not taken on board that the causal link between cannabis and psychosis has been scientifically proven over the past ten years, just as the connection between cancer and cigarettes was proved in the late 1940s and 1950s.

The proofs have emerged in a series of scientific studies that reach the same grim conclusion: taking cannabis significantly increases the risk of schizophrenia. One study in The Lancet Psychiatry concludes that “the risk of individuals having a psychotic disorder showed a roughly three times increase in users of skunk-like cannabis, compared with those who never used cannabis”. As 94 per cent of cannabis seized by the police today is super-strength skunk, compared to 51 per cent in 2005, almost all those who take the drug today will be vulnerable to this three-fold increase in the likelihood that they will develop psychosis.

Mental health professionals have long had no doubts about the danger. Five years ago, I asked Sir Robin Murray, professor of psychiatric research at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, about them. He said that studies showed that “if the risk of schizophrenia for the general population is about one per cent, the evidence is that, if you take ordinary cannabis, it is two per cent; if you smoke regularly you might push it up to four per cent; and if you smoke ‘skunk’ every day you push it up to eight per cent”.

Anybody wondering what happens to this 8 per cent of the skunk-smoking population should visit any mental hospital in Britain or speak to somebody who has done so. Dr Humphrey Needham-Bennett, medical director and consultant psychiatrist of Cygnet Hospital, Godden Green in Sevenoaks, explained to me that among his patients “cannabis use is so common that I assume that people use or used it. It’s quite surprising when people say ‘no, I don’t use drugs’.”

The connection between schizophrenia and cannabis was long suspected by specialists but it retained its reputation as a relatively benign drug, its image softened by the afterglow of its association with cultural and sexual liberation in the 1960s and 1970s.

This ill-deserved reputation was so widespread that even 20 years ago, the possible toxic side effects of cannabis were barely considered. Zerrin Atakan, formerly head of the National Psychosis Unit at the Maudsley Psychiatric Hospital and later a researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry,

said: “I got interested in cannabis because I was working in the 1980s in an intensive care unit where my patients would be fine after we got them well. We would give them leave and they would celebrate their new found freedom with a joint and come back psychotic a few hours later.”

She did not find it easy to pursue her professional interest in the drug. She recalls: “I was astonished to discover that cannabis, which is the most widely used illicit substance, was hardly researched in the 1990s and there was no research on how it affected the brain.” She and fellow researchers made eight different applications for research grants and had them all turned down, so they were reduced to taking the almost unheard of course of pursuing their research without the support of a grant.

Studies by Dr Atakan and other psychiatrists all showed the connection between cannabis and schizophrenia, yet this is only slowly becoming conventional wisdom. Perhaps this should not be too surprising because in 1960, long after the link between cigarettes and lung cancer had been scientifically established, only a third of US doctors were persuaded that this was the case.

A difficulty is that people are frightened of mental illness and ignorant of its causes in a way that is no longer true of physical illnesses, such as cancer or even HIV. I have always found that three quarters of those I speak to at random about mental health know nothing about psychosis and its causes, and the other quarter know all too much about it because they have a relative or friend who has been affected.

Even those who do have experience of schizophrenia do not talk about it very much because they are frightened of a loved one being stigmatised. They may also be wary of mentioning the role of cannabis because they fear that somebody they love will be dismissed as a junkie who has brought their fate upon themselves.

This fear of being stigmatised affects institutions as well as individuals. Schools and universities are often happy to have a policy about everything from sex to climate change, but steer away from informing their students about the dangers of drugs. A social scientist specialising in drugs policy explained to me that the reason for this is because “they’re frightened that, if they do, everybody will think they have a drugs problem which, of course, they all do”.

The current debate about cannabis – sparked by the confiscation of the cannabis oil needed by Billy Caldwell to treat his epilepsy and by William Hague’s call for the legalisation of the drug – is missing the main point. It is all about the merits and failings of different degrees of prohibition of cannabis when it is obvious that legal restrictions alone will not stop the 2.1 million people who take cannabis from going on doing so. But the legalisation of cannabis legitimises it and sends a message that the government views it as relatively harmless. The very fact of illegality is a powerful disincentive for many potential consumers, regardless of the chances of being punished.

The legalisation of cannabis might take its production and sale out of the hands of criminal gangs, but it would put it into the hands of commercial companies who would want to make a profit, advertise their product and increase the number of their customers. Commercialisation of cannabis has as many dangers as criminalisation.

A new legal market in cannabis might be regulated and the toxicity of super-strength skunk reduced. But the argument of those who want to legalise cannabis is that the authorities are unable to enforce regulations when the drug is illegal, so why should they be more successful in regulating it when its production and sale is no longer against the law?

The problem with these rancorous but sterile arguments for and against legalisation and decriminalisation is that they divert attention from what should and can be done: a sustained campaign to persuade people of all ages that cannabis can send them insane. To a degree people are learning this already from bitter experience. As Professor Murray told me five years ago, the average 19- to 23-year-old probably knows more about the dangers of cannabis than the average doctor “because they have a friend who has gone paranoid. People know a lot more about bad trips than they used to.”

Patrick Cockburn is the co-author of Henry’s Demons: Living With Schizophrenia, A Father and Son’s Story

A depressing aspect of the present debate about cannabis is that so many proponents of legalisation or decriminalisation have clearly not taken on board that the causal link between cannabis and psychosis has been scientifically proven over the past ten years, just as the connection between cancer and cigarettes was proved in the late 1940s and 1950s.

The proofs have emerged in a series of scientific studies that reach the same grim conclusion: taking cannabis significantly increases the risk of schizophrenia. One study in The Lancet Psychiatry concludes that “the risk of individuals having a psychotic disorder showed a roughly three times increase in users of skunk-like cannabis, compared with those who never used cannabis”. As 94 per cent of cannabis seized by the police today is super-strength skunk, compared to 51 per cent in 2005, almost all those who take the drug today will be vulnerable to this three-fold increase in the likelihood that they will develop psychosis.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid: The government will carry out a review of the scheduling of cannabis for medicinal use

Mental health professionals have long had no doubts about the danger. Five years ago, I asked Sir Robin Murray, professor of psychiatric research at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, about them. He said that studies showed that “if the risk of schizophrenia for the general population is about one per cent, the evidence is that, if you take ordinary cannabis, it is two per cent; if you smoke regularly you might push it up to four per cent; and if you smoke ‘skunk’ every day you push it up to eight per cent”.

According to a Colorado Springs Gazette editorial about legalization in Colorado there has been a doubling of drivers involved in fatal crashes testing positive for marijuana. [1]

Marijuana significantly impairs driving including time and distance estimation and reaction times and motor coordination. [2] The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists marijuana as the most prevalent drug in fatally injured drivers with 28 % testing positive for marijuana. [3]

It is true that the crash risk for a driver on alcohol is higher than on marijuana. But to suggest it is safe to drive after using marijuana is irresponsible. An even greater danger is the combination of alcohol and marijuana that has severe psychomotor effects that impair driving. [4]

What about our kids? Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among those aged 16-25. [5] Weekend nighttime driving under the influence of marijuana among young drivers has increased by 48%. [6] About 13 % of high school seniors said they drove after using marijuana while only 10 % drove after having five or more drinks.[7] Another study showed about 28,000 seniors each year admitted to being in at least one motor vehicle accident after using marijuana. [8]

The marijuana industry is backing legalization. Do we want more dangerous drivers on our roads and dead kids so the industry can make money from selling marijuana?

References regarding DUI

[1] http://gazette.com/editorial-the-sad-anniversary-of-big-commercial-pot-in-colorado/article/1614900

[2] NHTSA, Use of Controlled Substances and Highway Safety; A Report to Congress (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Washington, D.C., 1988)

[3] http://cesar.umd.edu/cesar/cesarfax/vol19/19-49.pdf

[4] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6448a1.htm?s_cid=mm6448a1_w

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid

[7] https://archives.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/drug-impaired-driving-by-youth-remains-serious-problem

[8] “Unsafe Driving by High School Seniors: National Trends from 1976 to 2001 in Tickets and Accidents After Use of Alcohol, Marijuana and Other Illegal Drugs.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol. May 2003

LEGALIZING POT WILL CAUSE MORE OPIATE USE

Legalizing marijuana will cause more marijuana use. Marijuana use is associated with an increased risk for substance use disorders. [1] The interaction between the opioid and the cannabinoid system in the human body might provide a neurobiological basis for a relationship between marijuana use and opiate abuse.[2] Marijuana use appears to increase rather than decrease the risk of developing nonmedical prescription opioid use and opioid use disorder. [3] In 2017, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) landmark report written by top scientists concluded after a review of over 10,000 peer-reviewed academic articles, that marijuana use is connected to progression to and dependence on other drugs, including studies showing connections to heroin use. [4]

New research suggests that marijuana users may be more likely than nonusers to misuse prescription opioids and develop prescription opioid use disorder. The investigators analyzed data from more than 43,000 American adults. The respondents who reported past-year marijuana use had 2.2 times higher odds than nonusers of meeting diagnostic criteria for prescription opioid use disorder. They also had 2.6 times greater odds of initiating prescription opioid misuse. [5]

Marijuana used as a medicine is being sold as reducing the need for other medicines. However, a new study shows that medical marijuana users were significantly more likely to use prescription drugs in the past 12 months. Individuals who used medical marijuana were also significantly more likely to report nonmedical use in the past 12 months of any prescription drug with elevated risks for pain relievers, stimulants and tranquilizers. [6]

References regarding opiates

[1] JAMA Psychiatry. 2016 Apr;73(4):388-95. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.3229.

Cannabis Use and Risk of Psychiatric Disorders: Prospective Evidence From a US National Longitudinal Study. Blanco C1, Hasin DS2, Wall MM2, Flórez-Salamanca L3, Hoertel N4, Wang S2, Kerridge BT2, Olfson M2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26886046

[2] Cadoni C, Pisanu A, Solinas M, Acquas E, Di Chiara G. Behavioural sensitization after repeated exposure to Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cross-sensitization with morphine. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001;158(3):259-266. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11640927_Behavioral_sensitization_after_repeated_exposure_to_D9-tetrahydrocannabinol_and_cross-sensitization_with_morphine

[3] Cannabis Use and Risk of Prescription Opioid Use Disorder in the United States, Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H., Melanie M. Wall, Ph.D., Shang-Min Liu, M.S., Carlos Blanco, M.D., Ph.D. Published online: September 26, 2017at: https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.17040413

[4] Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research. See: http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Report%20Files/2017/Cannabis-Health-Effects/Cannabis-chapter-highlights.pdf

[5] https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2017/09/marijuana-use-associated-increased-risk-prescription-opioid-misuse-use-disorders

[6] Journal of Addiction Medicine, http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/693004/?sc=dwtn

MARIJUANA USE BEFORE, DURING OR AFTER PREGNANCY CAN CAUSE SERIOUS MEDICAL CONDITIONS, LEARNING PROBLEMS, AND BIRTH DEFECTS

Legalizing marijuana will cause more marijuana use among women of child bearing age. Prenatal marijuana use has been linked with:

1. Developmental and neurological disorders and learning deficits in children.

3. Premature birth, miscarriage, stillbirth.

4. An increased likelihood of a person using marijuana as a young adult.

5. The American Medical Association states that marijuana use may be linked with low birth weight, premature birth, behavioral and other problems in young children.

6. Birth defects and childhood cancer.

7. Reproductive toxicity affecting spermatogenesis which is the process of the formation of male gamete including meiosis and formation of sperm cells.

Moderate concentrations of THC, the main psychoactive substance in marijuana, when ingested by mothers while pregnant or nursing, could have long-lasting effects on the child, including increasing stress responsivity and abnormal patterns of social interactions. THC consumed in breast milk could affect brain development.

References regarding pregnancy

Volkow ND, Compton WM, Wargo EM. The risks of marijuana use during pregnancy. JAMA. 2017;317(2):129-130.

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/letter-director

https://www.acog.org/Clinical-Guidance-and-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Marijuana-Use-During-Pregnancy-and-Lactation

AMA pushes for regulation on pot use during pregnancy

http://omr.bayer.ca/omr/online/sativex-pm-en.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/pdf/marijuana-pregnancy-508.pdf

Risk of Selected Birth Defects with Prenatal Illicit Drug Use, Hawaii, 1986-2002, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A, 70: 7-18, 2007

Maternal use of recreational drugs and neuroblastoma in offspring: a report from the Children’s Ocology Group., Cancer Causes Control, 2006 Jun:17(5):663-9, Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

DO YOU CARE?

Do you care…about our Environment? Marijuana growing creates environmental contamination. [1]

Do you care…about Pedestrian and Motor Vehicle Deaths caused by marijuana impaired drivers?

Increased marijuana impaired driving due to the increased potency of THC creates more risk.[2]

Do you care…about Freedom of Choice? Cannabis Use Disorder destroys freedom of choice. [3]

Do you care…about Violence, Domestic Abuse and Child abuse? Oftentimes marijuana is reported in incidents of violence. Continued marijuana use is associated with a 7-fold greater odds for subsequent commission of violent crimes. [4]

Do you care…about Safety in the Workplace? Numerous professions and trades require alertness that marijuana use can impair. Employers experience challenges to requirements for drug free workplaces, finding difficulty in hiring with many failing marijuana THC drug tests. [5]

Do you care…about Substance Use Disorders and the growing Addiction Epidemic? Recent data suggest that 30% of those who use marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder. That sounds small? 22,000,000 US marijuana users x 30% = over 6,000,000 with a marijuana use disorder. There is a link between adolescent pot smoking and psychosis. [6]

Do you care…about Suicide Prevention? Marijuana use greatly increases risk of suicide especially among young people. [7]

Do you care…about your Pets? Vets report increases in marijuana poisoned pets since normalizing and commercializing of marijuana. [8]

Do you care…about our Students and Schools? Normalization of marijuana use brought increased use to schools. Edibles and vaping have made use harder to detect. Colorado has had an increase in high school drug violations of 71% since legalization and school suspensions for drugs increased 45%. [9]

Do you care…about Racial Inequality? Marijuana growers and sellers typically locate in poorer neighborhoods and degrade the quality of the areas. Arrests of people of color have increased since drug legalization while arrests of Caucasians have decreased. [10].

Do you care…about Our Kids and Grandkids, the Next Generations? Help protect them by advocating for their futures. [11] Please oppose increasing the use of marijuana

References

[1] https://silentpoison.com/

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6448a1.htm?s_cid=mm6448a1_w

[3] https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-addictive

[4] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-new-brain/201603/marijuana-use-increases-violent-behavior

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/297718566_Continuity_of_cannabis_use_and_violent_offending_over_the_life_course

https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/marijuana-violence-and-law-2155-6105-S11-014.pdf https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/teen/substance-abuse/Pages/legalizing-marijuana.aspx http://www.poppot.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/020518-Child-dangers-fact-sheet-FINAL_updated.pdf?x47959

[5] http://www.questdiagnostics.com/home/physicians/health-trends/drug-testing.html

[6] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2464591

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/what-scope-marijuana-use-in-united-states https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/link-between-adolescent-pot-smoking-and-psychosis-strengthens/

[7] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/wps.20170

http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanpsy/PIIS2215-0366(14)70307-4.pdf

[8] http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/marijuana/

[9] http://gazette.com/editorial-the-sad-anniversary-of-big-commercial-pot-in-colorado/article/1614900

https://youtu.be/BApEKGUpcXs Weed Documentary from a high school in Oregon

[10] https://learnaboutsam.org/comprehensive-study-finds-marijuana-legalization-drives-youth-use-crime-rates-black-market-harms-communities-color/

[11] https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/teen/substance-abuse/Pages/legalizing-marijuana.aspx

Legalization

http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Report%20Files/2017/Cannabis-Health-Effects/Cannabis-chapter-highlights.pdf

MARIJUANA EXPOSURES AMONG CHILDREN INCREASE BY UP TO OVER 600%

The rate of marijuana exposures among children under the age of six increased by 610% in the “medical” marijuana states according to a study published in Clinical Pediatrics. The data comes from the National Poison Data System. 75% percent of the children ingested edible marijuana products such as marijuana-infused candy. Clinical effects include drowsiness or lethargy, ataxia [failure of muscle coordination], agitation or irritability, confusion and coma, respiratory depression, and single or multiple seizures.

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0009922815589912

MORE FACTS

Today’s marijuana is very high in potency and can reach 99% THC. It is very destructive and causes addiction, mental illness, violence, crime, DUIs and many health and social problems.

https://herb.co/marijuana/news/thc-a-crystalline

FACTS FROM COLORADO

The people who are pushing marijuana legalization paint Colorado as a pot paradise. This is not true according to Peter Droege who is the Marijuana and Drug Addiction Policy Fellow for the Centennial Institute a policy think tank in Lakewood Colorado. In a April 20, 2018 opinion article he states that:

According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), Colorado is a national leader among 12-17-year-olds in (1) Last year marijuana use; (2) Last month marijuana use; and (3) The percentage of youth who tried marijuana for the first time.

A 2017 analysis by the Denver Post showed Colorado had experienced a 145% increase in the number of fatal crashes involving marijuana-impaired drivers between 2013 and 2016. While the analysis stresses that the increase cannot definitively be attributed to the legalization of marijuana, it reports that the number of marijuana-impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes has more than doubled since 2013, the year before the state legalized recreational marijuana use.

A July 20, 2016 article in Westword magazine reports that increased homelessness, drugs, and crime are causing local residents and convention visitors to shun Denver’s 16th Street Mall, once one of the most vibrant tourist destinations in the region.

A group of concerned scientists from Harvard University and other institutions wrote a letter to Governor Hickenlooper on March 10, 2017, seeking to correct the record after his Feb. 26, 2017, interview on Meet the Press in which he told Chuck Todd that Colorado had not seen a spike in youth drug use after the legalization of recreational marijuana, and that there was “anecdotal” evidence of a decline in drug dealers – claims he repeated in Rolling Stone.

In the letter, the scientists reference numerous studies, including the NSDUH survey, that report a dramatic increase in youth marijuana use, emergency room visits, mental health issues and crime tied to the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. They quote an official from the state’s attorney general’s office saying legalization “has inadvertently helped fuel the business of Mexican drug cartels … cartels are now trading drugs like heroin for marijuana, and the trade has since opened the door to drug and human trafficking.”

Today’s high-potency “crack weed” is marketed to youth through vapes, candies, energy drinks, lip balms and other products easy to conceal in homes and schools. Most dispensaries in Colorado are located in low-income neighborhoods, targeting young people who do not need another obstacle in fulfilling their great potential in life. *

* https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/04/20/colorado-governor-marijuana-hickenlooper-column/53

3731002/

MARIJUANA RELATED SUICIDES OF YOUNG PEOPLE IN COLORADO

Marijuana is the Number 1 substance now found in suicides of young people in Colorado who are 10-19 years old. Go to the below Colorado website and click on the box that lists “methods, circumstances and toxicology” and then click on the two boxes for 10-19 years olds. The marijuana data will appear.

https://cohealthviz.dphe.state.co.us/t/HSEBPublic/views/CoVDRS_12_1_17/Story1?:embed=y&:showAppBanner=false&:showShareOptions=true&:display_count=no&:showVizHome=no#4)

55% OF COLORADO MARIJUANA USERS THINK IT’S SAFE TO DRIVE WHILE HIGH

55% of marijuana users surveyed by the Colorado Department of Transportation last November said they believed it was safe to drive under the influence of marijuana. Within that group, the same percentage said they had driven high in the past 30 days, on average 12 times. A recent analysis of federal traffic fatality data by the Denver Post found that the number of Colorado drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for marijuana has doubled since 2013.

CDOT survey: More than half of Colorado marijuana users think it’s safe to drive while high

TODDLERS WITH LUNG INFLAMMATION

In Colorado one in six infants and toddlers hospitalized for lung inflammation are testing positive for marijuana exposure. This has been a 100% increase since legalization (10% to 21%). Non-white kids are more likely to be exposed than white kids.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160430100247.htm

TEEN ER VISITS

Marijuana related emergency room visits by Colorado teens is substantially on the rise. They see more kids with psychotic symptoms and other mental health problems and chronic vomiting due to marijuana use.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-marijuana-kids/marijuana-related-er-visits-by-colorado-teens-on-the-rise-idUSKBN1HO38A

LOW BIRTH WEIGHTS

The Colorado School of Public Health reports that there is a 50% increase in low birth weights among women who use marijuana during pregnancy. Low birth weight sets the stage for future

health problems including infection and time spent in neonatal intensive care.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180423125052.htm

EMERGENCY CARE

Colorado Cannabis Legalization and Its Effect on Emergency Care

“Not surprisingly, increased marijuana use after legalization has been accompanied by an increase in the number of ED visits and hospitalizations related to acute marijuana intoxication. Retrospective data from the Colorado Hospital Association, a consortium of more than 100 hospitals in the state, has shown that the prevalence of hospitalizations for marijuana exposure in patients aged 9 years and older doubled after the legalization of medical marijuana and that ED visits nearly doubled after the legalization of recreational marijuana, although these findings may be limited because of stigma surrounding disclosure of marijuana use in the prelegalization era. However, this same trend is reflected in the number of civilian calls to the Colorado poison control center. In the years after both medical and recreational marijuana legalization, the call volume for marijuana exposure doubled compared with that during the year before legalization.

Kim HS, Monte AA. Colorado cannabis legalization and its effect on emergency care. Ann Emerg Med. 2016;68:71-75.

https://search.aol.com/aol/search?q=http%3a%2f%2fcolorado%2520cannabis%2520legalization%2520and%2520its%2520effect%2520on%2520emergency%2520care%2e&s_it=loki-dnserror

CONTAMINATION OF MARIJUANA PRODUCTS

There is contamination in marijuana products in Colorado. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment claims that “Cannabis is a novel industry, and currently, no recognized standard methods exist for the testing of cannabis or cannabis products.”

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/marijuana-sciences-reference-library

Unified Police Sgt. Melody Gray described the process as similar to making a pipe bomb.

But some marijuana users — and dealers — are willing to take that risk despite potentially dangerous results.

For the past several years, law enforcement in several states have been combating the increasing popularity of something called “dabs.” Dabs, or hash oil concentrate, are made by extracting THC from marijuana plants. Other similar concentrate products include marijuana wax and “shatter.”

While marijuana typically contains about 15 percent THC, a dab has 80 to 90 percent THC, said Unified police detective Orin Neal.

“It’s a greater high, it’s a more intense high,” he said, noting that the potency makes it dangerous.

But in order to get that extraction, a solvent is needed, and dab producers typically use butane, which is why dabs are also referred to as butane hash oil. And sometimes, those attempting to extract THC using butane try to speed up the process by adding a heating element such as a hot plate.

Neal said the combination of butane and heat or an open flame often results in explosions.

“It’s a recipe for disaster, really,” Neal said.

Police say that’s what happened June 26, when a 33-year-old woman was critically injured in an explosion in a basement at 3329 S. Scott Ave.

“In this situation and many other situations, I think it happens accidentally. They’re doing this operation in an area that’s not properly ventilated. And because butane is so combustible and highly flammable, any exposure to any open flame — from a pilot light on a water heater or a furnace in a house to an oven to lighting a cigarette in a house or anything like that — could cause a huge explosion, which is what happened the other day,” he said.

Neal said the result was like a bomb going off inside the small, enclosed basement room.

Dabs have become a nationwide trend. In some states, the drug and the dangerous manufacturing of it have been a problem for law enforcers for several years.

“The use of butane has caused multiple explosions all over the country, including one in a university housing complex near the University of Montana in October of 2014. These explosions have killed and severely burned people of all ages nationwide. The explosions are also causing serious structural damage to property and neighboring properties,” officer Jermaine Galloway wrote in Utah State Trooper magazine in 2017.

Some states have made possession of dabs a felony crime while marijuana possession is a misdemeanor. Utah does not distinguish between the two.

The fad has only recently become an issue in Utah. But police fear as it catches on and more people attempt to manufacture their own dabs, it will become like the meth lab problem of 30 years ago.

Neal said he has seen two or three explosions locally due to THC extraction.

The dab trend “is currently sweeping the country and is overwhelming some law enforcement, educators, safety officials and parents,” Galloway wrote a year ago. “This ‘new’ marijuana is completely different than anything we have dealt with in the past.”

Source: Officer Galloway & The Northwest Alcohol Conference jermaine@tallcopsaysstop.comJuly2018

The medical marijuana market is in a downward spiral as businesses, lured by big money, shift to recreational

At the height of the medical marijuana industry there were 420 dispensaries in Oregon. Now there are only eight.

In 2015, Erich Berkovitz opened his medical marijuana processing company, PharmEx, with the intention of getting sick people their medicine. His passion stemmed from his own illness. Berkovitz has Tourette syndrome, which triggers ticks in his shoulder that causes chronic pain. Cannabis takes that away.

Yet in the rapidly changing marijuana landscape, PharmEx is now one of three medical-only processors left in the entire state of Oregon.

On the retail end, it’s also grim. At the height of the medical marijuana industry in 2016, there were 420 dispensaries in Oregon available to medical cardholders. Today, only eight are left standing and only one of these medical dispensaries carries Berkovitz’s products.

Ironically, Oregon’s medical marijuana market has been on a downward spiral since the state legalized cannabis for recreational use in 2014. The option of making big money inspired many medical businesses to go recreational, dramatically shifting the focus away from patients to consumers. In 2015, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) took over the recreational industry. Between 2016 and 2018, nine bills were passed that expanded consumer access to marijuana while changing regulatory procedures on growing, processing and packaging.

In the shuffle, recreational marijuana turned into a million-dollar industry in Oregon, while the personalized patient-grower network of the medical program quietly dried up.

Now, sick people are suffering.

“For those patients that would need their medicine in an area that’s opted out of recreational sales, and they don’t have a grower or they’re not growing on their own, it does present a real access issue for those individuals,” said André Ourso, an administrator for the Center for Health Protection at the Oregon Health Authority. The woes of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) were outlined in a recently published report by the Oregon Health Authority. The analysis found the program suffers from “insufficient and inaccurate reporting and tracking,” “inspections that did not keep pace with applications”, and “insufficient funding and staffing”.

Operating outside of Salem, Oregon, PharmEx primarily makes extracts – a solid or liquid form of concentrated cannabinoids. Through his OMMP-licensed supply chain, he gets his high dose medicine to people who suffer from cancer, Crohn’s, HIV and other autoimmune diseases. Many are end-of-life patients.

These days, most recreational dispensaries sell both consumer and medical products, which are tax-free for cardholders. The problem for Berkovitz is that he’s only medically licensed. This means recreational dispensaries can’t carry his exacts. Legally, they can

only sell products from companies with an OLCC license. Since issuing almost 1,900 licenses, the OLCC has paused on accepting new applications until further notice.

Limits on THC – a powerful active ingredient in cannabis products – are also an issue, according to Berkovitz. With the dawn of recreational dispensaries, the Oregon Health Authority began regulating THC content. A medical edible, typically in the form of a sweet treat, is now capped at 100mg THC, which Berkovitz says is not enough for a really sick person.

“If you need two 3000mg a day orally and you’re capped at a 100mg candy bar, that means you need 20 candy bars, which cost $20 a pop,” he said. “So you’re spending $400 a day to eat 20 candy bars.”

“The dispensaries never worked for high dose patients, even in the medical program,” continued Berkovitz. “What worked was people who grew their own and were able to legally process it themselves, or go to a processor who did it at a reasonable rate.”

But with increased processing and testing costs, and a decrease on the number of plants a medical grower can produce, patients are likely to seek cannabis products in a more shadowy place – the black market.

“All the people that we made these laws for – the ones who are desperately ill – are being screwed right now and are directed to the black market,” said Karla Kay, the chief of operations at PharmEx.

Kay, who also holds a medical marijuana card for her kidney disease, said some patients she knows have resorted to buying high dose medical marijuana products illegally from local farmers markets – in a state that was one of the first to legally establish a medical cannabis industry back in 1998.

Moreover, the networks between medical patients, growers and processors have diminished.

The OMMP maintains a record of processors and the few remaining dispensaries, but no published list of patients or grow sites – a privacy right protected under Oregon law, much to the chagrin of law enforcement.

According to the Oregon Health Authority’s report, just 58 of more than 20,000 medical growers were inspected last year.

In eastern Oregon’s Deschutes county, the sheriff’s office and the district attorney have repeatedly requested the location of each medical marijuana grower in their county. They’ve been consistently denied by the Oregon Health Authority.

Recently, the sheriff has gone as far as hiring a detective to focus solely on enforcing marijuana operations.

“There is an overproduction of marijuana in Oregon and the state doesn’t have adequate resources to enforce the laws when it comes to recreational marijuana, medical marijuana, as well as ensuring the growth of hemp is within the THC guidelines,” said the Deschutes sheriff, Shane Nelson. As of last February, the state database logged 1.1m pounds of cannabis flower, as reported by the Willamette Week in April. That’s three times what residents buy in a year, which means the excess is slipping out of the regulated market. To help curb the trend, senate bill 1544 was passed this year to funnel part of the state’s marijuana tax revenues into the Criminal Justice Commission and provide the funding needed to go after the black market, especially when it comes to illicit Oregon weed being smuggled to other states. The program’s priority is “placed on rural areas with lots of production and diversion, and little law enforcement”, said Rob Bovett, the legal counsel with the Association of Oregon Counties, who crafted the bill.

In a May 2018 memo on his marijuana enforcement priorities, Billy J Williams, a US attorney for the district of Oregon, noted that “since broader legalization took effect in 2015, large quantities of marijuana from Oregon have been seized in 30 states, most of which continue to prohibit marijuana.”

As of 1 July, however, all medical growers that produce plants for three or more patients – about 2,000 growers in Oregon – must track their marijuana from seed-to-sale using the OLCC’s Cannabis Tracking System.

Berkovitz, however, is looking to cut out the middle man (namely dispensaries) to keep PharmEx afloat. “The only way the patients are going to have large, high doses of medicine is if we revive the patient-grower networks. They need to communicate with each other. No one’s going to get rich, but everybody involved will get clean medicine from the people they trust at a more affordable rate.”

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jul/31/oregon-cannabis-medical-marijuana-problems-sick-people

Teens who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to try marijuana in the future, especially if they start vaping at a younger age, a new study shows.

More than 1 in 4 teenagers who reported  use eventually progressed to smoking pot, according to the survey of more than 10,000 teens.

That compared with just 8 percent of non-vapers, said lead researcher Hongying Dai, senior biostatistician with Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.

Further, teens who started vaping early had a greater risk of subsequent  use.

Kids aged 12 to 14 who used e-cigarettes were 2.7 times more likely to try marijuana than their peers, compared with a 1.6 times greater risk for teens who tried vaping between 15 and 17.

“Our findings suggest that the widespread use of e-cigarettes among youth may have implications for uptake of other drugs of abuse beyond nicotine and tobacco products,” Dai said.

For the study, Dai and her colleagues twice surveyed 10,364 kids aged 12 to 17—once in 2013-2014, and again a year later.

The researchers found that teens who’d reported using e-cigarettes in the first wave were more likely to have tried marijuana for the first time during the subsequent year.

Results also showed that 12- to 14-year-olds who had tried e-cigs were 2.5 times more likely to become heavy marijuana users, smoking pot at least once a week.

Worse still, the researchers found that the more often  used e-cigarettes, the more likely they were to either try marijuana or become a heavy pot smoker.

Dai said the nicotine contained in e-cigarette vapor could be altering the brain chemistry of young teens.

“The brain is still developing during the  years; nicotine exposure might lead to changes in the central nervous system that predisposes teens to dependence on other drugs of abuse,” Dai said.

It’s also possible that experimenting with e-cigarettes might increase a teen’s curiosity about marijuana, and reduce any worries about marijuana use, Dai added.

Additionally, kids who use e-cigarettes could be more likely to run with a crowd that tries other substances, said Dai and Dr. Scott Krakower, assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y.

“E-cigarettes are going to be in the same drug culture as other things,” Krakower said.

These findings should be concerning to parents because kids might not stop at trying marijuana, he said.

“If you go to marijuana, is that going to lead to pills? Is that going to lead to something else?” Krakower said. “When we see progression to another substance, it’s like the ‘and then what’ cascade—they went to marijuana, and then what?”

Since this is a survey, it can’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship. And it’s possible that wild, risk-taking teens who try e-cigarettes are predisposed to be adventurous with other drugs, Dai and Krakower said.

“It could be that they have more of that sensation-seeking personality, and if they pick up one they’re going to pick up the other,” Krakower said.

But Dai said her team took that into account, and even after adjusting for sensation seeking, “ever e-cigarette use was still significantly associated with subsequent marijuana use.”

Krakower recommends that parents look for warning signs of e-cigarette use—marked irritability, hiding things, skirting the truth—and put their foot down hard.

“There should be zero tolerance for this kind of behavior,” Krakower said.

Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, agreed.

“E-cigarettes are adult products and are not intended for youth of any age,” Conley said. “We agree with the authors’ conclusion that more education is needed to help young people understand the consequences of using age-restricted products and illicit drugs.”

The new study was published online April 23 in the journal Pediatrics.

Source: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-04-vaping-teens-pot.html April 2018

There are several principal pathways to inheritable genotoxicity, mutagenicity and teratogenes is induced by cannabis which are known and well established at this time including the following.
These three papers discuss different aspects of these effects.

1) Stops Brain Waves and Thinking The brain has both stimulatory and inhibitory pathways.  GABA is the main brain inhibitory pathway. Brain centres talk to each other on gamma (about 40 cycles/sec) and theta frequencies (about 5 cycles/sec), where the theta waves are  used as the carrier waves for the gamma wave which then interacts like harmonics in music.
The degree to which the waves are in and out of phase carries information which can be  monitored externally. GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid) inhibition is key to the generation of the synchronized firing which underpins these various brain oscillations. These GABA transmissions are controlled presynaptically by type 1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1R’s) and CB1R stimulation shuts them down. This is why cannabis users forget and fall asleep.

2) Blocks GABA Pathway and Brain Formation GABA is also a key neurotransmitter in  brain formation in that it guides and direct neural stem cell formation and transmission and development and growth of the cerebral cortex and other major brain areas. Gamma and theta  brain waves also direct neural stem cell formation, sculpting and connectivity.

Derangements then of GABA physiology imply that the brain will not form properly. Thin frontal cortical  plate measurements have been shown in humans prenatally exposed to cannabis by fMRI.
This implies that their brains can never be structurally normal which then explains the long  lasting and persistent defects identified into adulthood.

3) Epigenetic Damage DNA not only carries the genetic hardware of our genetic code but it also carries the software of the code which works like traffic lights along the sequence of DNA bases to direct when to switch the genes on and off. This is known as the “epigenetic code”.

Fetal alcohol syndrome is believed to be due to damage to the software epigenetic code. The long lasting intellectual, mood regulation, attention and concentration defects which have been described after in utero cannabis exposure in the primary, middle and high schools and as college age young adults are likely due to these defects. Epigenetics “sets in stone” the errors of brain structure made in (2) above.

4) Arterial Damage. Cannabis has a well described effect to damage arteries through (CB1R’s) (American Heart Association 2007) which they carry in high concentration (Nature Reviews Cardiology 2018). In adults this causes heart attack (500% elevation in the first hour after smoking), stroke, severe cardiac arrhythmias including sudden cardiac death; but in developing babies CB1R’s acting on the developing heart tissues can lead to at least six major cardiac defects (Atrial- ventricular- and mixed atrio-ventricular and septal defects, Tetralogy of Fallot, Epstein’s deformity amongst others), whilst constriction of various babies’ arteries can lead to serious side effects such as gastroschisis (bowels hanging out) and possibly absent limbs (in at least one series).

5) Disruption of Mitotic Spindle. When cells divide the separating chromosomes actually slide along “train tracks” which are long chains made of tubulin. The tubulin chains are called “microtubules” and the whole football-shaped structure is called a “mitotic spindle”. Cannabis inhibits tubulin formation, disrupting microtubules and the mitotic spindle causing the separating chromosomes to become cut off in tiny micronuclei, where they eventually become smashed up and pulverized into “genetic junk”, which leads to foetal malformations, cancer and cell death. High rates of Down’s syndrome, chromosomal anomalies and cancers in cannabis exposed babies provide clinical evidence of this.

6) Defective Energy Generation & Downstream DNA Damage DNA is the crown jewel of the cell and its most complex molecule. Maintaining it in good repair is a very energy intensive process. Without energy DNA cannot be properly maintained. Cannabis has been known to reduce cellular energy production by the cell’s power plants, mitochondria, for many decades now. This has now been firmly linked with increased DNA damage, cancer formation and aging of the cells and indeed the whole organism. As it is known to occur in eggs and sperm, this will also damage the quality of the germ cells which go into forming the baby and lead directly to damaged babies and babies lost and wasted through spontaneous miscarriage and therapeutic termination for severe deformities.

7) Cancer induction Cannabis causes 12 cancers and has been identified as a carcinogen by the California Environmental Protection agency (2009). This makes it also a mutagen. 4 of these cancers are inheritable to children; i.e. inheritable carcinogenicity and mutagenicity. All four studies in testicular cancer are strongly positive (elevation by three fold). Carcinogen = mutagen = teratogen.

8) Colorado’s Teratology Profile. From the above described teratological profile we would expect exactly the profile of congenital defects which have been identified in Colorado (higher total defects and heart defects, and chromosomal defects) and Ottawa in Canada (long lasting and persistent brain damage seen on both functional testing and fMRI brain scans in children exposed in utero) where cannabis use has become common.

Gastroschisis was shown to be higher in all seven studies looking at this; and including in Canada, carefully controlled studies. Moreover in Australia, Canada, North Carolina, Colorado, Mexico and New Zealand, gastroschisis and sometimes other major congenital defects cluster where cannabis use is highest. Colorado 2000-2013 has experienced an extra 20,152 severely abnormal births above the rates prior to cannabis liberalization which if applied to the whole USA would equate to more than 83,000 abnormal babies live born annually (and probably about that number again therapeutically aborted); actually much more since both the number of users and concentration of cannabis have risen sharply since 2013, and cannabis has been well proven to be much more severely genotoxic at higher doses.

9) Cannabidiol is also Genotoxic and tests positive in many genotoxicity assays, just as tetrahydrocannabinol does.

10) Births defects registry data needs to be open and transparent and public. At present it is not. This looks too much like a cover up.

Source: Email from Dr Stuart Reece to Drug Watch International members May 2018

Source: http://www.protectoursociety.org/

WASHINGTON – The Drug Enforcement Administration today announced the establishment of six new enforcement teams focused on combatting the flow of heroin and illicit fentanyl. 

 “At a time when overdose deaths are at catastrophic levels, the DEA’s top priority is addressing the opioid epidemic and pursuing the criminal organizations that distribute their poison to our neighborhoods,” said DEA Acting Administrator Robert W. Patterson. “These teams will enhance DEA’s ability to combat trafficking in heroin, fentanyl, and fentanyl analogues and the violence associated with drug trafficking.”

The enforcement teams will be based in communities facing significant challenges with heroin and fentanyl, including New Bedford, Mass.; Charleston, W.Va.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Cleveland, Ohio; Raleigh, N.C.; and Long Island, N.Y.

In determining the locations for these teams, DEA considered multiple factors, including rates of opioid mortality, level of heroin and fentanyl seizures, and where additional resources would make the greatest impact in addressing the ongoing threat. While the teams are based in specific cities, their investigations will not be geographically limited. DEA will continue to pursue investigations wherever the evidence leads.

DEA received funding in its FY 2017 enacted appropriations to establish these teams, which will be comprised of DEA special agents and state and local task force officers. 

The abuse of controlled prescription drugs is inextricably linked with the threat the United States faces from the trafficking of heroin, fentanyl and fentanyl analogues. 

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, eclipsing deaths from motor vehicle crashes or firearms. According to initial estimates provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 64,000 overdose deaths in 2016, or approximately 175 per day. More than 34,500, or 54 percent, of these deaths were caused by opioids. 

The DEA continues to aggressively pursue enforcement actions against international and domestic drug trafficking organizations manufacturing and distributing heroin, fentanyl and fentanyl analogues. Just last week, the Department of Justice announced indictments against two Chinese nationals and their North America-based traffickers and distributors for separate conspiracies to distribute large quantities of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues and other opiate substances in the United States.  

Source: Email from U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration <dea@public.govdelivery.com> October 2017

In the following video, GW Pharmaceuticals Chief Executive Justin Gover explains what other medical uses for cannabis the drug maker is researching:

Source: https://news.sky.com/video/breakthrough-in-cannabis-medicine-for-childhood-onset-epilepsy-11412608  June 2018

 

 

Eleonora Patsenker, Ph.D. and Felix Stickel, M.D., Ph.D.

Mounting evidence indicates that the endocannabinoid (EC) system (ECS) plays an important role in various liver diseases including viral hepatitis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), alcoholic liver disease, hepatic encephalopathy, and autoimmune hepatitis. The ECS also impacts on involved processes such as hepatic hemodynamics, nutrient intake and turnover, and ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) after liver transplantation. Although this involvement is undisputed, therapeutic implications regarding the ECS are just beginning to emerge; so far, no approved drug
acting specifically on the ECS is available.

Source: https://aasldpubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/cld.527 2016

 

 

Source:

http://www.pnas.org/content/109/40/E2657

July 2012

Featuring Thomas Kosten, MD,
Professor and the Jay H. Waggoner Endowed Chair in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine
Dr. Mark Gold and Dr. Thomas Kosten discuss anti-drug vaccines to treat substance use and addiction.

Q – Congratulations on your career to date and most recent work. Can you explain the idea behind your anti-drug vaccines? Are there any of your papers you’d suggest the reader look at?
A – Abused drugs are far too small to produce antibody responses. The vaccines work by covalently attaching the abused drug to 20 to 30 exposed amino acids on a carrier protein such as tetanus toxoid and then injecting this vaccine into humans to produce antibodies to both the tetanus toxoid and to the abused drug, because the drug now “looks like” part of this toxoid.

Q – Is the idea to block the drug’s reinforcing effects? What about overdose effects? Are each of the vaccines specific to a single drug or class of drugs?
A – Yes, the antibodies block reinforcing effects, but a slower process like overdose is still possible unless the drug is typically taken in very small quantities when abused – such drugs include PCP and fentanyl. These vaccines are highly specific to a class of drugs and have limited cross-reactivity.

Q – What happens if the drug abused is cocaine? Heroin? How would this be preferable to methadone or buprenorphine? Naltrexone?
A – For opiates, naltrexone is a better choice as a broad-spectrum blocker, but it does not effectively block the super-agonists related to fentanyl. However, these high potency agents are ideal targets for vaccine development, which is underway.

Q – How long would a single antidrug vaccine treatment last?
A – These antibodies persist at high levels for about three months and then require a booster vaccination about every three months.

Q – Are there risks that would prevent vaccination of women? Other risks? Adverse effects?
A – There are no specific risks from these tetanus toxoid based vaccines for women, since tetanus vaccine is even given to pregnant women. The antibodies cross over the placenta so that the fetus would also be protected.

Q – Are any approved for use? Why?
A – None are approved for use by the FDA because they have not met the criteria set for efficacy with either cocaine or nicotine. There have been no safety concerns, and a cocaine vaccine, particularly combined with the enhanced cholinesterase, would be the most likely to meet FDA efficacy standards relatively easily.

Q – Many experts think that the current opioid epidemic will be followed by a cocaine epidemic. What treatments exist for a cocaine-dependent patient or those presenting to an ED with a cocaine overdose? Are you developing for cocaine overdose? Cocaine addictions?
A – As suggested above, yes, we have a new and much more potent cocaine vaccine than we previously tested, but we need funds to move it forward. This vaccine combined with the Teva or other enhanced cholinesterases (Indivior also has one) would prevent overdoses.

Q – What about methamphetamine?
A – We have a methamphetamine vaccine and hope to have it in humans within a year or so, if our funding continues from NIDA.

Q – What kinds of studies are you doing right now? Planning?
A – The studies are all in animals with methamphetamine, cocaine, nicotine and fentanyl vaccines using a highly effective new adjuvant that has been used in humans at 50 times the dose needed for raising our antibody levels up to sevenfold higher than our previous cocaine vaccine.

Q – Anything else to add?
A – You covered it all, just send money. This is a difficult area for getting venture capital as well as NIDA funds to manufacture and get initial FDA approval to use these vaccines in humans.

Source: Email from Mark Gold, MD <donotreply@rivermendhealth.com>  September 2017

Dr. Mark Gold and Dr. Stacy Seikel discuss opioid addiction

Experts have concluded that the opioid crisis started with physicians overprescribing opioid pain medication.

Q – You are one of the few double board certified, pain evaluation and treatment experts, and addiction evaluation and treatment expert. How do you decide who should be given opioids for chronic pain? What are your advantages in patient evaluation and treatment as a clinical expert in having such training?
A – The first thing when you are evaluating a patient who has pain, or pain and addiction, is that all pain is real. The patients who have chronic or intermittent pain have an underlying fear of suffering. They may appear controlling or resistant to treatment, but actually it is this “fear of suffering” that is driving most of their behavior.

Q – If the person in recovery needs opioids for chronic pain or acute pain how do you manage that and prevent abuse and/or addiction?
A – If the person in recovery needs opioids for acute pain, such as due to an injury or surgery, we develop a “Pain Management Relapse Prevention Agreement”. I have the patient, family, surgeon, sponsor, caregivers and anesthesiologist involved in that plan.

Q – You have written about how to get off Suboxone. Why is it so hard to get off Suboxone and how do you get off Suboxone?
A – First of all, the goal of patients on Suboxone is not to get off Suboxone. The goal is to get into recovery. The Suboxone and other buprenorphine formulations is one tool, among many, to help patients have a meaningful self-directed life, and not a drug directed life.

Q – You have run methadone programs, how do you get off methadone?
A – I taper methadone the same way I taper buprenorphine, that is slowly and with the patient able to stop the taper at any time. I would typically start a methadone taper in a motivated patient at about 10% per month if tolerated. Maybe less. As you can see it can take over a year to successfully taper someone.

Q – How do you detox and get on naltrexone or Vivitrol. How do you get off naltrexone?
A – In order to start a patient on Vivitrol, the patient needs to have the opiates out of their system and not have any withdrawal symptoms. Typically a patient must be off short-acting opiates for one week or long-acting opiates for 10 to 14 days. There are rapid induction techniques for Vivitrol, but I do not use those in an outpatient setting.

Q – Do you have any advice on how to use Narcan in a suspected opioid overdose?
A – Georgia has made naloxone for overdose reversal available in pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription. With one person dying of overdose every 15 minutes, I believe every citizen needs to be trained in overdose reversal and carry Narcan.

Q – What makes fentanyl so deadly? How do you reverse the fentanyl overdose? Does the overdose reverse successfully?
A – Fentanyl is a very potent opioid and it is very easy to take too much. Most of my patients do not realize that the heroin that they have been using has fentanyl in it. So as you can see, a person may not even know they are taking fentanyl. They may think they are taking heroin and take too much and overdose.

Q – MAT programs often have too little in the way of behavioral health and psychiatric treatment. You do the opposite, please describe.
A – I provide MAT within a treatment program in an outpatient setting. We provide intensive outpatient (three hours per day) or PHP (six hours per day) of counseling and group therapy. In addition we provide a psychiatric evaluation, weekly physician visits, med management, individual therapy and a very robust family program.

Q – Describe your program. Who benefits from this program?
A – Atlanta Addiction Recovery Center, AARC, our Christian program, combines our scientific evidence-based treatment with Christian principles. Biblical teachings are embedded in all aspects of our programming. Though we welcome patients from all faiths, Christian teachings are utilized.

Q – Do you see an upswing in cannabis addiction?
A – I have seen an increase in cannabis addiction. Typically we see young adults who have not been able to move through “adulting” because their cannabis use got in the way of their school, their relationships, their work and their ability to mature.

Source: Email from Mark Gold, MD <donotreply@rivermendhealth.com>  February 2018

As of yesterday, it’s now legal for adults in California to purchase recreational marijuana. This is being hailed as a breakthrough against marijuana prohibition, but the masses of would-be pot smokers in California seem to carry a popular delusion that rests on the false idea that marijuana is safe to smoke in unlimited quantities because it’s “natural.”

As much as I disdain prohibition against any medicinal plant — and I’m convinced the “War on Drugs” was a miserable failure — I have news for all those who smoke pot: Smoking anything is a health risk because you’re inhaling a toxic stew of carcinogens produced in the smoke itself. Whether you’re smoking pot or tobacco, you’re still poisoning yourself with the very kind of carcinogens that promote lung cancer, heart disease, accelerated aging and cognitive decline.

Just because cannabis is now legal to smoke in California doesn’t mean it’s a wise habit to embrace. (There’s also a much better way to consume cannabis: Liquid form for oral consumption, as explained below…)

California, which increasingly seems to be operating in a delusional fairy tale bubble on every issue from immigration to transgenderism, believes the legalization of recreational marijuana is a breakthrough worth celebrating. “The dispensary staff cheered as hundreds stood in line outside the club, waiting to shop and celebrate,” reports SF Gate. “At some shops, the coming-out party was expected to feature live music, coffee and doughnuts, prizes for those first in line and speeches from supportive local politicians…”

Because, y’know, in a state that’s being overrun by illegal aliens, the junk science of “infinite genders” and university mobs of climate change cultists, what’s really needed is a whole new wave of lung cancer victims to add even more burden to the state’s health care costs. Genius! Gov. Brown should run for President or something…

Inhale some more pesticides and see how “natural” you feel

Sadly, many pro-cannabis consumers in California have convinced themselves that Big Tobacco is evil, but smoking pot is safe and natural… even “green.” Yet the cold hard truth of the matter it that marijuana in California is often produced with a toxic cocktail of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Yep, the very same people who buy “organic” at the grocery store are now smoking and inhaling cancer-causing weed grown with conventional pesticides. These are the same people who are concerned about 1 ppb of glyphosate in their Cheerios while simultaneously smoking 1,000 ppb of Atrazine in their weed. But science be damned, there’s a bong and a gas mask handy. Smoke up!

California pot has already been scientifically proven to be shockingly contaminated. A whopping “…93 percent of samples collected by KNBC-TV from 15 dispensaries in four Southern California counties tested positive for pesticides,” reports the UK Daily Mail, which also reports:

That may come as a surprise for consumers who tend to trust what’s on store shelves because of federal regulations by the US Agriculture Department or the US Food and Drug Administration. ‘Unfortunately, that’s not true of cannabis,’ Land said. ‘They wrongly assume it’s been tested for safety.’

I suppose all the science in the world is irrelevant when you have a mob of people who just want to get high. These are the same people who will March Against Monsanto, but they won’t even buy pesticide-free weed that they’re inhaling.

Edible cannabis products often contain toxic solvents, too

It’s not just the pesticides in weed that are a major concern: Edible pot products also frequently contain traces of toxic solvents such as hexane. Because of the shocking lack of regulation of cannabis product production in places like Colorado, many small-scale producers are using insanely dangerous solvents to extract CBD, THC and other molecules from raw cannabis plants. Those solvents include:

  • Hexane (a highly explosive solvent also used by the soy industry to extract soy protein)
  • IPA (isopropyl alcohol, which causes permanent nerve damage if you drink it)
  • Gasoline (also used to extract heroin in Third World countries)

Anyone who thinks consuming these solvents is somehow “healthy” may have already suffered extensive brain damage from consuming those solvents. Yet edible cannabis products are almost universally looked upon as health-enhancing products, often with no thought given whatsoever to the pesticides, solvents or other toxins they may contain. (Some shops do conduct lab testing of their products, so if you’re going to consume these products, make sure you get lab-tested cannabis products.)

In essence, the very same state where “progressives” have now come to believe there are an infinite number of genders — and that global warming causes extremely cold weather — have now embraced a delusional fairy tale about the imagined safety of consuming cannabis. All the news about the health benefits of cannabis only seems to have made the delusion worse: Some people now perceive smoking weed as a form of nutritional supplementation. They’ve even made it part of their holistic lifestyles, in a twisted kind of way.

But what California has actually unleashed with all this is a whole new wave of:

  • Heart disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Cognitive decline
  • Accelerated aging
  • Increased health care costs state-wide

Check with your friends in California and you’ll find that they have little to no awareness of the devastating health consequences of long-term pot smoking. It’s not going to turn you into a raging lunatic as depicted in Refer Madness, but it is going to expose your lungs, bloodstream and brain to a shockingly toxic stew of cell-damaging carcinogens. That gives pot smoke many of the same health risks as cigarette smoke.

So what’s the right answer on all this? If you want to stay healthy, stop smoking cannabis. Take it in liquid form instead.

The safer option: Liquid cannabis extracts

Liquid cannabis extracts are not only far safer to consume (because they don’t contain toxic carcinogens found in smoke); they also contain a far more diverse composition of cannabinoids.

CBD-A, for example, the carboxylic acid form of cannabidiol, is destroyed by heat. This means that when you smoke cannabis, you’re not getting any CBD-A, even if it’s naturally present in the plant. The heat of the incineration destroys it before you inhale.

The same is true with THC-A and other carboxylic acid forms of cannabinoids. In fact, cannabis extracts that are heated to destroy those components are called “decarboxylated” or just “de-carbed” for short. Lighting up a joint and burning the cannabis as you inhale actually destroys many of the more medicinal components of cannabis.

Taking cannabis extracts orally, on the other hand, gives you the full complement of all the cannabinoids, terpenes and other constituents… without the health risks associated with inhaling smoke.

The cannabis extract brand that we test and certify in our lab to meet or exceed label claims is called Native Hemp Solutions. It’s a whole-plant extract that maintains the natural cannabinoids and other constituents found in the living plant. Because it’s not an isolate, its molecules work synergistically to provide a more profound effect.

Liquid forms of cannabis are vastly superior to cannabis smoke in terms of their synergistic phytonutrients (chemical constituents). While smoking marijuana provides a more rapid assimilation of THC into your bloodstream, the oral form of cannabis extracts actually provide a vastly more diverse array of nutrients, many of which are being studied for therapeutic use.

That’s why I don’t smoke cannabis. In fact, the only cannabis I consume is high-CBD, near-zero-THC liquid forms. That’s because I don’t want to give myself lung cancer or heart disease as a side effect of consuming a cannabis product.

Smoking pot isn’t harmless: Think rationally about the way to ingest cannabis molecules

The bottom line here is that I want to encourage you to think carefully about the vectors through which you introduce cannabis molecules into your body. Smoking pot is rapid but carries long-term health risks due to carcinogenic smoke that you’re inhaling. I’m thrilled that California finally decriminalized this healing plant, but the fanfare surrounding the change in the law almost seems to be a celebration of smoking, which is a truly hazardous habit no matter what you’re smoking.

Oral forms are vastly superior in terms of ingesting the full array of nutrients, and some people on the extreme end of the spectrum actually use cannabis suppositories for a rapid effect that doesn’t involve damaging the lungs. Personally, I’m happy with taking CBD oils as a dietary supplement for the simple reason that I don’t ingest cannabis to get high; I ingest it for its health supporting effects.

Now, let us hope Jeff Sessions and the feds can finally get around to ending marijuana prohibition, too. It’s time to end the senseless war on this promising natural herb, but we must also think carefully about the ways we ingest it.

Source: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-01-01-california-legalize-pot-smokers-cannabis-contaminated-pesticides-mold-heavy-metals.html

A warning about life-threatening bleeding linked to use of synthetic cannabinoids — commonly known as fake weed or spice — was issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday after two deaths and dozens of patients appearing in ERs with serious unexplained bleeding.

A total of 94 people — 89 in Illinois, two in Indiana and one each in Maryland, Missouri and Wisconsin — were seen in emergency departments with heavy bleeding between March 10 and April 5, according to the CDC outbreak alert.
Both of the fatalities occurred in Illinois. Interviews with 63 of the Illinois patients revealed that all had used synthetic cannabinoids.
Synthetic cannabinoids are mind-altering chemicals that are made in a lab and sold either sprayed on shredded plant material so it can be smoked like marijuana or as liquid that can be vaporized in e-cigarettes. “Fake weed” products are marketed in shiny packages with hundreds of brand names, including Spice, K2, Joker, Black Mamba, Kush and Kronic.
At least three product samples in the latest outbreak tested positive for brodifacoum — rat poison — and further laboratory tests confirmed this exposure in at least 18 of the Illinois patients.
“A working hypothesis is the synthetic cannabinoids were contaminated with brodifacoum,” according to the CDC.

‘Huge number of toxic effects’

“This is the first time bleeding has ever been associated with synthetic cannabinioids,” said Professor Paul L. Prather of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Arkansas’ College of Medicine, who was not involved in the CDC report. “It is certainly possible that the bleeding issues … might be due to products laced with the rat poison brodifacoum.”
However, he suggests that these adverse effects might be caused by an as-yet-unidentified synthetic cannabinoid chemical.
Specifically, this newest synthetic cannabinoid chemical could be derived from coumarin, a special class of chemical compounds, he believes.
A latecomer among synthetic cannabinoids, coumarin derivatives were first identified in a 2012 Journal of Medicinal Chemistry paper. This class of chemicals activates the cannabinoid receptors inthe brain while acting as anticoagulants or blood thinners. Warfarin and phenprocoumon, blood clot-preventing drugs prescribed to heart patients to protect them from getting heart attacks, are coumarin derivatives.
Although bleeding, seen for the first time in Illinois, is a “whole other can of worms,” Prather said, “there’s a huge number of toxic effects of synthetic cannabinoids.”
“They produce a lot of neurological side effects. Seizures actually bring people into emergency departments a lot of the time,” he said. Other important neurological side effects include psychosis, panic attacks, agitation, confusion and catatonia.
“Young patients will come in with acute renal or kidney failure,” he said. There are also troubling effects on the heart (chest pain and hypertension) and, recently, gastrointestinal problems and hyperemesis syndrome: an extreme amount of vomiting.
So why all the side effects?

‘Guinea pigs’

“What happens with the synthetic cannabinoid clandestine laboratories is, they’re very smart people, and they look at these papers and they go, ‘Oh, this compound has been developed, and it binds to these [cannabinoid] receptors, so if I produce this in my lab, I can probably sell this, because when people take it, it will probably produce euphoria like marijuana does,’ ” Prather explained.
Yet, he said, the compounds the clandestine scientists create — even when the formulas come from a published scientific paper — are “totally unknown chemicals.” Plus, there’s a lack of quality control.
“These drugs are made in a clandestine lab. Who knows what kind of contaminants are in this laboratory, and who knows from batch to batch how much of the chemical is actually made” — or the concentration of each chemical made, Prather added. One synthetic weed product might be four specific chemicals of a weak concentration, but the next time you buy the same product, it might be five chemicals of high concentration.
“If you’ve ever been to a drug company, they have the most rigid quality control you can imagine,” Prather said. Plus, there’s a lot of testing to ensure safety. “Believe me, in the drug industry, you kill a lot of rats and you kill a lot of mice before you get to the point of that final drug.”
Drug users are “the guinea pigs and the rats and the mice for the development of these compounds,” Prather said. “It’s really kind of crazy.”
At the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Ruben Baler, a health scientist administrator, is getting the word out about the dangers of synthetic cannabinoids by speaking at conferences, giving lectures across the nation and talking with reporters.
He believes that “the perception of harm is going up and usage is going down, at least among teenagers.”
In fact, American Association of Poison Control Centers data indicates a decreasing number of exposures to synthetic cannabinoids reported between 2011 and 2017. Poison control centers across the country received 6,968 calls about these drugs in 2011, compared with 1,952 in 2017. As of March 31, there have been 462 reports this year.
“I don’t see an explosion of use among young people,” Baler said. Mostly, those who gravitate toward synthetic cannabinoids are “marginalized people,” including the homeless and those affected by mental illness, he said. “That’s where you see the deaths so far.”
Enforcement of the law is not the role played by the National Institute on Drug Abuse; that role is played by the Drug Enforcement Administration, whose spokesman, Rusty Payne, says synthetic cannabinoids are designed for one reason only: “to get your credit card, get you high and addicted, and keep you coming back for more.”

Links to terrorism

The DEA first encountered synthetic cannabinoids about 2006, Payne said.
In 2012, the US government passed the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act, which classified a number of “designer drugs,” including synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic hallucinogens, under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act — meaning they have no accepted medical use and high potential for abuse.
Synthetic cannabinoids are made mainly in labs in China and mostly distributed online or at gas station convenience stores. “It used to be open shelf, but now this stuff is in the back,” Payne said.
“Ten-plus years of these problems,” he said. Despite the constantly changing chemical formulas, synthetic cannabinoids are considered illegal. Still, “that doesn’t mean it’s easy to prosecute,” he said.
“Terrorists are increasingly turning to drug trafficking to finance their operations,” Payne, said, adding that the DEA has seen “significant amount of money transfers” into the Middle East of late, including Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and areas of unrest that are “financial system black holes.” Cash from synthetic cannabinoids, in particular, is flowing to these nations.
Drug users who turn to synthetic cannabinoids are playing Russian roulette, Payne said. They are dangerous and even life-threatening, as the CDC reports. His thoughts are echoed by Baler and Prather, who added, “You hope you’re getting euphoria, but who knows what else you’re going to get?”
  • Cannabis is responsible for 91% of drug addiction cases involving teenagers
  • Skunk – high-potency herbal cannabis – causing more people to seek treatment 
  • Backs up research that skunk is having detrimental impact on mental health

Supporters of the drug claim it is harmless, but an official report now warns the ‘increased dominance of high-potency herbal cannabis’ – known as skunk – is causing more young people to seek treatment.

The revelation comes amid growing concerns that universities – and even some public schools – are awash with high-strength cannabis and other drugs.

The findings also back up academic research, revealed in The Mail on Sunday over the past three years, that skunk is having a serious detrimental impact on the mental health of the young. At least two studies have shown repeated use triples the risk of psychosis, with sufferers repeatedly experiencing delusional thoughts. Some victims end up taking their own lives.

The latest UK Focal Point on Drugs report, drawn up by bodies including Public Health England, the Scottish Government and the Home Office, found that:

Cannabis is responsible for 91 per cent of cases where teenagers end up being treated for drug addiction, shocking new figures reveal (file photo)
Cannabis is responsible for 91 per cent of cases where teenagers end up being treated for drug addiction, shocking new figures reveal 
  • Over the past decade, the number of under-18s treated for cannabis abuse in England has jumped 40 per cent – from 9,043 in 2006 to 12,712 in 2017;
  • Treatment for all narcotics has increased by 20 per cent – up from 11,618 to 13,961;
  • The proportion of juvenile drug treatment for cannabis use is up from four in five cases (78 per cent) to nine in ten (91 per cent);
  • There has been a ‘sharp increase’ in cocaine use among 15-year-olds, up 56 per cent from 16,700 in 2014 to 26,200 in 2016.

Last night, Lord Nicholas Monson, whose 21-year-old son Rupert Green killed himself last year after becoming hooked on high-strength cannabis, said: ‘These figures show the extent of the damage that high-potency cannabis wreaks on the young.

‘The big danger for young people – particularly teens – is that their brains can be really messed up by this stuff because they are still developing biologically. If they develop drug-induced psychosis – as Rupert did – the illness can stick for life.’

The large rise in the number of youngsters treated for cannabis abuse comes despite the fact that total usage is falling slightly.

The report concludes: ‘While fewer people are using cannabis, those who are using it are experiencing greater harm.’

Almost all cannabis on Britain’s streets is skunk, which is four times more powerful than types that dominated the market until the early 2000s. It can even trigger hallucinations.

Lord Monson said: ‘We really need Ministers to get a grip and launch a major publicity campaign about the dangers.’ 

Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5642917/Nine-ten-teens-drug-clinics-treated-marijuana-use.html  April 2018

By William Ross Perlman, Ph.D., CMPP, NIDA Notes Contributing Writer

This research:

  • Identified a gene variant that promotes impulsive behavior and enhanced responses to heroin in rats.
  • Linked the corresponding human gene variant to increased risk for impulsivity and drug use.

People who are highly impulsive and those diagnosed with ADHD are at increased risk for substance use disorders (SUD). Recent research implicates a variant of the gene for a protein called cAMP-response element modulator (CREM) in these associations. Drs. Michael L. Miller and Yasmin L. Hurd from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, with colleagues from several other institutions, showed that the gene variant promotes impulsive and hyperactive behavior in both animals and humans, and can contribute to a person’s risk for developing SUD.

Of Rats…

The Icahn researchers began their investigations with a strain of rats that exhibit impulsive behaviors resembling human attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Initial experiments confirmed that, compared with a strain (Western Kyoto) of rats that are not known for impulsivity, these “spontaneously hypertensive” (SH) rats:

  • Were more impatient to receive rewards, fidgeted more while waiting to receive rewards, ran around more, and were more attracted to novel experiences.
  • Self-administered more heroin and, when it was made unavailable, gave up seeking it less readily.  
  • Had enhanced elevation of dopamine levels in response to heroin.

The researchers screened the rats’ DNA for genetic differences that might contribute to these behavioral differences. The results revealed that the two strains carried different variants of the gene for CREM. As a result, the SH rats had lower concentrations of CREM in the core of the nucleus accumbens—a key brain region governing reward and movement.

…And People

 

Figure 1. A CREM Gene Variant Increases HyperactivityHyperactivity scores were higher in ADHD subjects than in control subjects. In addition, ADHD subjects who carried at least one copy of the less highly expressed A variant (i.e., with the G/A or A/A CREM genotype) reported significantly higher hyperactivity than did those carrying only the more highly expressed G variant (i.e., with the G/G genotype). Genotype had no effect on hyperactivity in non-ADHD control subjects

The researchers used genetic and behavioral evidence from previous studies conducted by other researchers to demonstrate that the corresponding variant in the human CREM gene similarly predisposes people to impulsivity. This variant occupies approximately the same position on the human gene that the rodent variant occupies on the rodent gene. At this site, known as rs12765063, the CREM gene exists in two versions—called A and G—and the A variant dials down CREM production. In one study, preschool children with the A variant were found to be more distractible and to engage in more dangerous activities than peers with only the G variant (Figure 1). In another, among adolescents with ADHD, those who carried the A variant reported more symptomatic hyperactivity than those who did not.

The researchers further found that by promoting impulsivity, the variant raises the risk of drug use. Thus, in two studies of adolescents, neither the A variant alone nor ADHD alone increased the risk for drug use, but the two together did. The first analysis looked at adolescents with ADHD, and found higher rates of drug use among those with the A variant than among those with only the G variant. The second analysis looked at adolescents who had the A variant of rs12765063 and histories of childhood ADHD. It found that those whose childhood ADHD still persisted reported more use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and prescription stimulants than those who had outgrown their ADHD (Figure 2). Moreover, those who no longer had ADHD reported no more drug use than a comparison group who did not carry the A variant.

 

Figure 2. The A Variant of the CREM Gene Is Associated With Increased Drug Use in People With Persistent ADHD Among a cohort whose childhood ADHD persisted through adolescence, those with the CREM A variant reported more drug use than those with only the G variant. Genotype was not linked to risk for drug use in people without ADHD (i.e., those who never had ADHD or those with remitted ADHD).

A Key to Prevention and Treatment?

Dr. Hurd suggests that CREM may be a key link between impulsivity and vulnerability to addiction. Understanding these relationships may help identify new ways of treating or preventing SUD. The protein is known to regulate multiple gene networks and their biological functions, and to influence the growth of structures that neurons use to communicate with each other.

Dr. Hurd says, “These results highlight that CREM is a mediating factor between impulsivity and substance abuse vulnerability. It brings attention to CREM in the nucleus accumbens as a regulator of impulsive action and structural plasticity.”

The study was supported by NIH grants DA015446, DA030359, DA006470, DA038954, DA031559, and DA007135.

Source: https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2018/06/gene-links-impulsivity-drug-use-vulnerability June 2018

Source: http://poppot.org/child-endangerment  August 2018

Source http://www.learnaboutsam.org

Introduction by Theodore M. Pinkert, M.D., J.D.

The study of the consequences of maternal drug abuse represents one of the most compelling areas of research in the drug abuse field. The potential victims of this problem have no say in the maternal behaviors, which may place them at risk. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the research community to attempt to delineate the potential hazards to the fetus, the newborn, the infant, and the child, so that deficits may be identified in sufficient time to compensate, where possible, with specific treatment interventions.

The purpose of this volume is to focus attention on recent studies of the effects of maternal substance abuse on offspring. The material presented includes reviews of animal data, as well as the results of large interdisciplinary clinical studies, which were originally presented on September 24th and 25th, 1984, at a National Institute on Drug Abuse Technical Review sponsored by the Divisions of Preclinical and Clinical Research. (The papers presented in the preclinical portion of this meeting will be published in a separate volume, entitled Prenatal Drug Exposure: Kinetics and Dynamics.)

     In the opening chapter of this monograph, Dr. Donald Hutchings defines the field of study known as behavioral teratology and provides a conceptual and historical framework that facilitates an understanding of what inferences may reasonably be drawn from both the animal and clinical literature. His studies in behavioral teratology integrate developmental toxicology and teratology with developmental psychology and focus on a variety of neurobehavioral changes that are crucial to the development and maturation of the individual.

The next chapter, by Dr. Ernest Abel, elaborates on the difficulties inherent in attempting to understand the interactive nature of the maternal and fetoplacental units. Through a careful review of his own work, and that of others, he provides important insights into the limitations and strengths of both epidemiological and clinical studies. He also points out the value of animal studies in providing the methodological rigor necessary (in combination with the human studies) to establish the most convincing demonstration of causality when adverse pregnancy outcomes are suspected from one or more chemical agents. Then he reviews the effects of marijuana (A5—THC) on pregnant animals and their offspring and discusses both the results and the methodological pitfalls to be avoided in these studies.

     In the following chapter, Dr. Nancy Day and her colleagues analyze the problems faced by clinical researchers in obtaining reliable and valid results using the instruments and techniques currently employed in prenatal research. The two major challenges identified are: (1) When questionnaire formats are used, do subjects understand the questions and report accurately? and (2) How does one obtain accurate measures of complex and changing events (substance abuse patterns) for specific time periods which coincide with different stages of fetal vulnerability, so that the prediction of biological effects can be made with a high degree of probability?

In the same chapter, the authors suggest techniques for eliciting accurate patterns of maternal drug intake and describe how these techniques are implemented in their current research on the effects of maternal marijuana and alcohol use during pregnancy. The value of the assessment instruments they have developed is that they measure both the quantity and frequency of drug intake in a manner that more closely resembles the way subjects naturally organize their own memory of substance use——in terms of both language and sequence. The authors also elaborate other techniques which are designed to overcome accuracy problems created either by the patient’s deliberate misrepresentation of past drug intake or by their flawed recall of remote events. These techniques include the bogus pipeline, which attempts to overcome misrepresentation of drug use, and the breakdown of prepregnancy and first trimester events into specific time intervals to aid in more accurate recall of the quantity and frequency of drug use.

     The next chapter, by Katherine Tennes and colleagues, describes the results of a large clinical study on the effects of prenatal marijuana exposure. Participating women responded to structured questionnaires about themselves, their habits (substance abuse, nutritional, etc.), and the habits of the father, if known. After delivery, infants were examined for birth measurements, physical anomalies, and muscle tone, and the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale was administered. At 1 year of age, the infant’s physical parameters were reexamined and they were evaluated on the Bayley Infant Scale of Mental and Motor Development and Behavior Checklist. One finding of this study is that maternal marijuana use decreased from previous levels of consumption as the pregnancy advanced. At delivery, no significant differences in 12 indices of obstetrical complications were detected that could not be attributed to parity, or to the amount of pain—relieving medication administered (although users of marijuana required more pain—relieving medication than nonusers). Heavy marijuana use was found to be associated with an increase in male over female offspring, but with a decrease in infant length at birth. No increase in teratogenicity, or decrease in APGAR or Brazelton scores, was associated with prenatal marijuana use. No significant differences were detected in physical measurements or Bayley scores at 1 year. The authors point out that some of their outcome data are in disagreement with previous clinical studies, and they explore possible reasons for the difference in results. In addition, the authors caution that studies examining the effects of maternal marijuana use on more complex cognitive functioning in offspring have yet to be performed.

     In the next chapter, Dr. Peter Fried reports on another major clinical study of maternal marijuana use, but in a population with significantly different demographics than the previous study. Among his findings were that gestation was shortened by maternal marijuana use and that there were neurobehavioral effects, as measured by altered visual responses and changes in state regulation (heightened tremors and startles), in the newborn. Although not yet completed, studies employing neuro- opthalmological and electrophysiological testing suggested that prenatal exposure to marijuana might delay maturation of the visual system. In agreement with the Tennes study, there were no differences in rates of miscarriage, obstetrical complications. APGAR scores, or teratological effects between the marijuana—using population and the comparison group. (Studies of both animal and human populations which suggest different results are presented and discussed.)

In addition, data collected from developmental tests administered to the infants at 6—month intervals after birth failed to discriminate infants of marijuana—using mothers from either matched controls or the general population. Dr. Fried cautions that it is not at all clear whether neurological findings present at birth are transient, or compensated for by maturation. He suggests the possibility that the tests currently used to measure developmental neurological disturbances in the newborn and neonate may not have
sufficient discriminatory sensitivity to detect subtle differences that may remain in the older, marijuana—exposed infant or child.

     In the next chapter, Drs. Rosen and Johnson review their findings on the prenatal effects and postnatal consequences to the offspring of methadone—maintained mothers. Their results include analyses of methadone’s effects upon the neonatal and infant periods of development, and they present recent data from their oldest cohorts of children, who are now in the 4— to 7—year—old age range. Among the effects on offspring of methadone—maintained mothers was a higher incidence of small—for—gestational—age infants, and infants below the third percentile in head circumference.

In addition, the maternal methadone dose and the length of time on methadone had a positive correlation with a higher incidence of obstetrical complications, decreased birth weight, and decreased infant performance on certain Brazelton measures. Neurological and developmental testing continued to reveal significant differences between methadone—exposed children and a comparison group through the 36—month evaluations. These differences included an increased incidence of abnormal reflexes, nystagmus, infections, abnormal muscle tone, and delayed developmental milestones among the methadone—exposed infants. As the children reached school age, those who did poorly neuro— developmentally at earlier evaluations continued to do poorly. A trend toward lower scores in receptive language evaluations was evident among the methadone—exposed children.

Their neurological evaluations demonstrated a higher prevalence of abnormalities of fine and gross motor coordination, poor balance, decreased attention span, hyperactivity, and speech and language delays. There was also a higher incidence of referrals for behavioral and academic problems. However, as the comparison group of children (a population selected from women in a low socioeconomic status similar to that of the methadone—maintained mothers) approached school age, they too began to show poor performance in testing. This raises important questions about the interaction between prenatal environments and the socioeconomic status of the child in the postnatal environment.

     In the following chapter, Dr. Ira Chasnoff compares the effects on offspring of the maternal use of narcotic versus nonnarcotic substances. Unique in this group of reports, his study is an attempt to distinguish the in utero effects of narcotic use (methadone and pentazocine/tripelennamine groups), from non— narcotic drug use (including a small group of women whose primary drug of abuse was phencyclidine EPCPJ, and another group with mixed sedative/hypnotic exposure, including marijuana). Although the number of subjects in each group was small, infants exposed in utero to narcotic substances showed fairly consistent decreases in birth weight, length, and head circumference from both the sedative/hypnotic group and the comparison group.

The methadone—exposed group of neonates also demonstrated deficits in auditory orientation and motor maturity. Infants exposed to both narcotic and nonnarcotic drugs showed decrements in state regulation, and infants exposed to PCP showed increased state liability and poor consolability when compared to all other drug—exposed groups. As was manifested in the preceding Rosen and Johnson material, the scores of the comparison group of infants began to fall away from the normal range toward that of the drug—exposed infants by 24 months of age.

     In the last chapter, Dr. Barry Zuckerman reviews the developmental consequences of maternal drug use. He describes the features compatible with the fetal alcohol syndrome and discusses research which suggests that these features may reflect a final common pathway of numerous agents (Including drugs of abuse), rather than a specific teratogenic effect of alcohol.

In addition, the author stresses the importance to developmental outcome studies of repeated assessments over time, and he suggests the application of newer physiologic techniques such as evoked responses, Brain Electrical Activity Mapping (BEAM),
Positron Emission Tomography (PET Scan), and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), to enhance our understanding of the effects of prenatal drug exposure.

     In summary, much remains to be learned about the specific developmental effects of a variety of commonly used and abused drugs. The research community has not yet exhausted the potential for the development and application of new testing techniques and Instruments that will help us to identify the scope of subtle cognitive and motor effects caused by prenatal drug exposure.

Beyond these refinements lies the possibility of understanding the particular mechanisms through which these drugs exert their effects. It is the hope of those who participated in the conference that what lies herein will stimulate research into the many unanswered questions In this area.

Source and link to full articles:

https://archives.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/monograph59_0.pdf

Introduction by Cora Lee Wetherington, Vincent L. Smeriglio, and Loretta P. Finnegan

For several years the use of drugs during pregnancy, particularly cocaine, has been a major public health issue because of the concern about possible adverse behavioral effects on the neonate and the developing child. While many popular press publications have warned of the severe adverse effects of prenatal drug exposure, the scientific literature has been less clear on this issue, in part because of complex methodological issues that confront research in this field.
    On July 12 and 13, 1993, the National Institute on Drug Abuse conducted a technical review at which researchers reviewed the state of the art regarding behavioral assessments of offspring prenatally exposed to abused drugs. Presenters identified and addressed the complex methodological issues that abound in both human and animal studies designed to assess behavioral effects of prenatal drug exposure, and they stressed the caveats involved in drawing causal conclusions from associations between maternal drug abuse and adverse behavioral outcomes in the offspring. This research monograph is based upon revisions of presentations made at that technical review. The fundamental aim of this research monograph is to clarify the methodological issues for future research in this field, to provide caution in the interpretation of research findings, and to suggest future research directions.

Link to source and full articles:

https://archives.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/monograph164_0.pdf  1996

When I was a kid, smoking was very common among adults but not kids. If you look at many of the television programs and movies from before 1970, you will see just how popular smoking was. In the evenings during prime-time television, there seemed to be as many cigarette commercials as there were for any other product. Magazines were filled with cigarette ads and billboards along the roads helped to glamorized having a lit cigarette protruding from your lips. The rugged and handsome looking cowboy known at the Marlboro Man helped to attract men and women to the nicotine habit.

However, at the time, most junior and senior high schools forbid smoking on campus and anyone even caught with cigarettes was disciplined. Many high school kids did smoke and thought they were hiding it but little did they know just how much the smell of cigarettes stayed on their breath and on their clothes.

Then came all of the health warnings that smoking causes cancer. Anti-smoking groups sprang up all over America and pushed to ban most cigarette and tobacco advertising from television and magazines. Many states began to pass legislation to add an extra sales tax on all tobacco products. The push behind those taxes is that it helped raise money to fight cancer and the other health problems associated with smoking and chewing.

Yet, the sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products didn’t seem to be hurt that much if at all by the anti-tobacco push. Millions of American adults and teens still lit up and puffed away.

Then someone thought they were really smart and developed the e-cigarette. It’s a battery-operated devise that heats up a special liquid to point of creating a vapor, much like smoking. It didn’t take long for the concept to catch on and become a billion-dollar industry.

What attracted so many at first was that e-cigarettes didn’t contain the tar products found in burning real tobacco, so many believed it to be a safer alternative. Then it became stylish and millions of teens wanted to look like one of the gang, so they bought their e-cigarettes and began puffing away.

In fact, e-cigarettes became so popular with teens that the use of them by high school students rose by 900% from 2011 to 2015.

New research has found a two-fold danger, especially with teens smoking e-cigarettes.

First, that liquid that is heated up and inhaled as a vapor not only contains nicotine but some of the other toxic chemicals found in smoking real cigarettes. In other words, there is still a significant increased risk of developing cancer, emphysema and/or heart disease from smoking e-cigarettes.

Secondly, the use of e-cigarettes has been found to increase the chance of a teen and young adult turning to real cigarettes within 18 months of starting. They can still get addicted to the nicotine and that addiction often drives them to smoking the real thing. Instead of e-cigarettes helping people to stop smoking, studies have been found to indicate that they may actually increase the chance of smoking real tobacco products.

The bottom line is that e-cigarettes really aren’t that much better than smoking real cigarettes and in some cases are even worse because they give a false sense of safety.

Source: http://www.healthylifestylearena.com/2-fold-danger-of-teens-using-e-cigarettes/ May 2018

Filed under: Latest News,Nicotine,Youth :

Another day, another troubling headline.

If you believe that the access to “safer” drugs is the problem, maybe vending machines will “fix Vancouver’s drug crisis.”

For more than a decade, we’ve been told that Vancouver is the model the US should emulate. No North American city has been more aggressive in implementing harm reduction practices—safe injection rooms, heroin maintenance, hydromorphone (dilaudid) maintenance, crack pipe vending machines and, of course, all the less sensational forms of harm reduction.

So . . . all these years later, where are they at?

“Last year, overdoses killed 1,422 people in British Columbia, the highest number ever, a 43 per cent increase over 2016.”

Pretty discouraging.

The provincial CDC’s conclusion is that they have not gone far enough.

“. . . sometime in the next several weeks, in March or April, Tyndall will launch a pilot program to distribute hydromorphone pills (a pharmaceutical narcotic derived from morphine) to registered users . . .”

What’s it like there?

“Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, defined as a de facto colony for people who inject or smoke hard drugs, is smaller than it used to be—maybe half the 20 blocks it used to cover, with condo developments looming on all sides. On the warm January day when I visited, a lot of people are out, lining the sidewalks of East Hastings Street, a few side streets and many wide alleys off the main artery. Many are openly smoking or injecting drugs. It’s a shocking sight the first time you visit. You get used to it pretty quickly.”

How many times does recovery come up in this article? 1 time, as a glib rebuttal that equates questioning the approach to malignant neglect.

“You can’t ask people to recover if they’re dead. But the stigma goes so deep that I think a lot of people go, ‘Well, who gives a shit? They die. Better for us. We don’t have to pay their medical bills.’ ”

What’s the animating belief? (emphasis mine)

“Addiction, he says, is a chronic relapsing disease. Most addicts don’t stop.”

If you believe that addicts don’t want to and are unable to stop, then this seems like a pragmatic and compassionate approach.

If you know that addicts hate their lives and that there is hope for recovery, this is very, very sad. If you know that the hopelessness of most addicts requires that professional helpers acts as hope carriers, this will make you angry.

This does not have to be an either/or matter. There is room for a both/and approach. However, as a casual observer, I have not seen BC public health officials, politicians, researchers, or policy advocates address the need and hope for recovery.

 

 

Source: https://addictionandrecoverynews.wordpress.com/2018/02/14/another-day-another-disappointing-headline/
Februrary 2018

“Permission empowered models of drug policy interpretation are driving demand for drug use – NOT prohibition models. The ‘law’ is not what ruins lives, it’s those who tear down that protective fence to simply ‘get wasted’, that do that!”

“Acceptability – Accessibility – Availability, all increase consumption!”  D.I
__________________________________________________________________

It is certainly no surprise that the pro-drug, cannabis promoting lobby, manifesting itself through The Greens, continue to employ tired mantras that:

  • deny science,
  • ignore best health-care practice and
  • propagandize harms away, with promises of tax revenues!

Here’s the first anomaly: the same lobbyists rail against alcohol harms and seek to limit the pervasive nature of this ‘legal’ drug – to the point of even stating; ‘If alcohol was bought to market for the first time today, it would be prohibited/banned!” Yet in breathtaking cognitive dissonance they want to unleash cannabis into the same promotable arena that alcohol and tobacco occupy – legal entitlement!

The second anomaly is: the tobacco fiasco – millions of dollars where spent on keeping/promoting cigarettes as not only legal and socially acceptable, but even healthy for you. Billions has been spent over the last 50 years dealing with the health outcomes of this drug – and then Billions more spent on driving this legal drug into the pariah space that is pseudo-prohibition!

Make no mistake, the cannabis industry and those promoting its regulation is just Big Tobacco all over again, but with new and greater levels of pernicious harms.

The active push to normalise and legitimise Cannabis for ‘recreational’ use has been in play since late 70’s with Richard Cowen, a former Director of NORML (National Organisation for Reform of Marijuana Laws), going on public record (speaking at 1993 conference celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the discovery of LSD) stating “The key to it [legalizing marijuana for recreational use] is to have 100’s of thousands of people using it ‘medically’ under medical supervision, the whole scam is going to be blown. Once there is medical access and we do what we continually have to do, and we will, then we will get full legalisation!”

The National Drug Strategy

The latest National Drug Strategy 2017-26, now puts Demand Reduction as the priority!
The strategy states that “Harm Minimisation includes a range of approaches to help prevent and reduce drug related problems…including a focus on abstinence-oriented strategies [Harm minimisation] policy approach does not condone drug use.” (page 6)

Prevention of uptake reduces personal, family and community harms, allow better use of health and law enforcement resources, generates substantial social and economic benefits and produces a healthier workforce. Demand Reduction strategies that prevent drug use are more cost effective than treating established drug-related problems…Strategies that delay the onset of use prevent longer term harms and costs to the community.” (page 8)

We need to be reducing demand for cannabis, not increasing it through the undermining of both demand and supply reduction pillars in our National Drug Strategy!

Is the de-facto legalisation and ‘regulation’ of cannabis going to reduce demand, supply and harm, or will it promote/permit the same and to an even wider cohort?

If we have a regulated market for recreational Cannabis, will the already law-breaking and recalcitrant users suddenly line up to pay for, a now taxed product? We have seen the ‘black’ or ‘grey’ market on decriminalised prostitution continue alongside the now regulated industry for the simple reason that people do not want to pay more or be regulated as we are now seeing in the US State of Colorado!

Let us cut through the propagandised mantras about the so called ‘benign nature’ of this plant that buries evidence-based data with emotionalism and ‘big dollar’ revenue rhetoric.
 
“If one was to read at least three academically sourced evidence-based articles/resources on the inherent physical, psychological, environmental, genetic, social, productivity, familial & community Harms of this drug, every single day of the year for 10 years, you will still not have read half the current data on the dangers/risks of Cannabis.” D.I
Submission to the Canadian Senate Standing Committee on Health – for their consideration and review of Bill C.45.2017

The following is but a snapshot of those harms:

  • Both cannabis intoxication and withdrawal have been linked with violence and homicide including mass shootings.
  • Effect on developing brains 1-15
  • Effect on driving 16-26
  • Effect on developmental trajectory and failure to attain normal adult goals (stable relationship, work, education) 17,31-43
  • Effect on IQ and IQ regression 13,44-48
  • Effect to increase numerous psychiatric and psychological disorders 49-62
  • Effect on respiratory system 63-85
  • Effect on reproductive system 7,86-91
  • Effect in relation to immunity and immunosuppression 92-108
  • Effect of now very concentrated forms of cannabis, THC and CBD which are widely available 109,110
  • Outdated epidemiological studies which apply only to the era before cannabis became so potent and so concentrated 110.
  • At the cellular level cannabis and cannabinoids have been linked with decreased energy production from mitochondria 13-18,
  • Increased production of inflammation and reduced anti-oxidant defence 16,18,19;
  • Reduced enzymes involved in DNA repair 16; and increased errors of mitosis which occur due to disruption of the tubulin “rails” of the mitotic spindle 16,19-21 in such a way that chromosomes become left behind and eventually shatter under cellular stress 21,22;
  • Cannabis also stimulates the carcinogenic oncoproteins tumour protein isoform 2 and tumour protein D54 23,24;
  • Stimulation of lipoxygenase and thromboxane synthase can lead to clotting and coagulation 18.

Effect as a Gateway drug to other drug use including the opioid epidemic 27-30

The Colorado Chaos!

  • The legalisation of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact 2017
    • Colorado Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area released its latest report 2017
    • The 176-page report details the worsening impact of marijuana on Colorado, including:
    • A 66% increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths
    • A 12% increase in youth marijuana use in the past month
    • A 71% increase in adult marijuana use in the past month
    • A 72% increase in marijuana-related hospitalizations
    • A 139% increase in marijuana-related exposures
    • An 844% increase in parcels of marijuana seized in U.S. mail
    • An 11% increase in crime state-wide
    • Colorado now has more marijuana retail outlets (491) than McDonald’s (208) or Starbucks (392)
  • Colorado Governor: Cannabis legalisation was ‘reckless’ (Business Insider, 2014)
  • Crime rates have gone up, not down in Colorado – arrests of minorities in particular, are increasing.*
  • Black-market is flourishing – (people don’t want to pay tax under the ‘regulated’ system, so they chose the non-taxed black market product over the government endorsed product – now giving us at least two markets for supply.)*
  • Cartels now use shop fronts to peddle their product and their presence is growing.*
  • Youth use is increasing – even though poor data collection in attempting to hide such. * https://youtu.be/5mFglI7KEpI 
  • Colorado District Attorney: ‘Marijuana is gateway drug to homicide’:         

A Colorado district attorney drew attention this week after he pronounced marijuana to be a “gateway drug to homicide.” District Attorney Dan May came at a news conference Tuesday about a large black-market marijuana bust in the state. Thirteen people have been indicted

  • Marijuana X – The Documentary the ‘Industry’ doesn’t want you to see!
  • Cannabis Conundrum 100’s of articles on the inherent harms of Cannabis.

“It is estimated that there are at least 200,000 people dependent on cannabis in Australia, with one in ten people who try the drug at least once in their lifetime having problems ceasing use!  (2012) https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/news/world-first-study-cannabis-withdrawal-management-drug      

  • This number has only increased, and this is all while the drug is still in its prohibition category. Permission models only increase access and use.

Call for greater accountability from proponents of Cannabis Legalisation – Time to put up or shut up!
How easy has it been in the past for legislators to present such incredibly irresponsible policy measures to unleash (via government approval) the use of Cannabis as a ‘recreational’ substance. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is.
We propose that those sponsoring/voting for such a change to our laws need to be held fiscally accountable for the costs of the harms done by their policies. As architects of a dangerous harm creating social experiment, who believe it to be in best interest of the entire community to, legalize, decriminalise, regulate or otherwise promote access/ entitlement to this drug, will then be fiscally accountable for the significant and broad ranging harms that will be incurred by our society as a result.

Any legislation passing that enables further entitlement to cannabis/marijuana should include the names and political parties who sponsor these drug use liberalisation groups. The legislation must include that all costs of harms for said legislation must pay for the negative outcomes – all health, social and welfare costs incurred.  The monitoring and measuring of all aforementioned harms due to the liberalization of cannabis will be tallied and annual invoices to levied to Political Parties and individuals promoting such measures, for their remittance. If such accountabilities were in place, proponents would definitely think twice before being so outrageous in their claim.
It’s time to get serious about the drug issue as we did with the Tobacco scourge. The War on Tobacco was long, but effective. It’s time we had a serious campaign (for the first time in 30 years) on illicit drugs.

We need, as with the QUIT Tobacco Campaign, One Focus – Once Message – One Voice in every key sector in the culture; Government – Education – Media – Policing – Community!
So, who is driving drug policy now – Drug users, or law abiding, best health practice and responsible citizens?
It’s time our legislators and policy makers cared more for the clear majority of families, children and the community who do not use, or want drug use in their community. Legislators risk looking as though they have succumbed to the highly manipulative, drug-affected minority to further harm the community. These manipulators attempt to assail the law, assault families and damage public health all with the cleverly crafted, weaponised activities of the local ‘pot-head’ or desperado, currently being given too much ‘oxygen’ in the public domain.

Communications Liaison

                        E: admin@drugfree.org.au E: drug-advice@daca.org.au 
P: 1300 975 002 M:0403 334 002
https://learnaboutsam.org/

Source: Email from The Dalgarno Institute <operations@dalgarnoinstitute.org.au> 

April 2018

(Alexandria, VA) – Marijuana legalization has led to massive increases in youth exposure to the substance, according the 2017 Annual Toxic Trend Report compiled by the Washington Poison Center.

In 2017, there were 378 total marijuana exposures reported to the Washington State Poison Center. This number is an all-time high for reported marijuana exposures and is an increase of 87 incidents from the previous year.

Almost a third of the reported instances of marijuana exposure in the last year occur within the age group of children up to 5 years old. The rate of exposure among this age group has seen an explosive increase of almost 58% compared to the previous year.

Of the reported 378 instances of marijuana exposure in 2017, nearly half occurred as a result of eating marijuana edibles. Following legalization and commercialization, the marijuana industry has flooded the market with high-potency THC infused cookies, gummies, sodas, and other edibles that are highly appealing children.


Of note: the reporting of exposures to the Poison Center is completely voluntary and is most likely an underrepresentation to the true amounts of marijuana exposure occurring in the state of Washington.

“This report is extremely troubling,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president and founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). “As Big Marijuana continues to churn out kid-friendly edibles, more and more young children are ending up in emergency rooms. The preponderance of data show that marijuana has a damaging effect on developing brains but reports such as this get swept under the rug as lawmakers rush to liberalize drug laws.”

###

About SAM Action 

SAM Action is a non-profit, 501(c)(4) social welfare organization dedicated to promoting healthy marijuana policies that do not involve legalizing drugs. Learn more about SAM Action and its work visit www.samaction.net.

Source: Email from SAM Action <reply@learnaboutsam.org>, July 2018

Health visitors and other professionals should do more to deliver safe sleep messages to high-risk families to reduce sudden unexpected deaths in infancy (SUDI).

Researchers have recommended that children’s professionals help parents who use drugs and alcohol to develop safe sleep practices. University of Warwick study of 27 serious case reviews involving SUDI found that if parents followed UK safe sleep guidance many of those infant deaths could have been avoided.

In 19 of the 27 cases, parental drug or alcohol use was directly involved in the lead up to the infant’s death. In 12 of the 16 cases where parents were sleeping with their infants at the time of death, substance use was a factor.

In light of this, the researchers recommended that children’s professionals help parents who use drugs and alcohol to develop safe sleep practices.

“Health visitors and midwives should be encouraged to ask both parents about their use of alcohol and other substances, and help them develop safe sleep practices, including the avoidance of co-sleeping, which can then be used when parents are affected by substances,” the review concluded.

In three of the cases involving intoxicated parents, the mothers said they ignored the safe sleep advice they had been given because they thought “it couldn’t happen to me”. Long-standing neglect was another key feature in 15 of the cases examined. This finding echoes international research that suggests SUDI now predominately occurs among deprived families.

Dr Joanna Garstang, who led the review, said: “Eleven families’ siblings were reported as dirty, hungry, inadequately dressed or had severe dental caries, and seven families lived in homes described as squalid. “Four mothers lacked basic parenting skills, and one father was convicted for child neglect after leaving his young children home alone.”

Other risk factors identified by the review included parents’ unwillingness to engage with services, which occurred in 18 of the 27 serious case reviews.

“If parents are enabled to develop and understand safe sleep practices, they may be able to keep to these if there are unforeseen circumstances,” said the review paper. “Some families, however, are not willing to engage with services; and if there are concerns about parenting this has to be considered and managed as a safeguarding issue to ensure that vulnerable infants are protected.”

The researchers recommended that additional research into how best to deliver safe sleep messages to high-risk families is needed.

Jenny Ward, director of services at the Lullaby Trust, which promotes advice on preventing SUDI, said: “We welcome this study, which demonstrates the urgent need to ensure safer sleep advice reaches all parents and carers, particularly vulnerable families where extra support is often most needed. While reaching vulnerable parents can be challenging, the study shows that it could ultimately save babies’ lives.”

In 13 of the 27 cases parents had been given safe sleep advice prior to the death of their babies.

Every year there are around 300 to 400 deaths in England and Wales due to SUDI. SUDI is defined as the unexplained death of an infant when that had not been considered a reasonable possibility in the previous 48 hours. SUDI cases are often categorised as sudden infant death syndrome.

The University of Warwick’s review examined serious case reviews into deaths that occurred between 2011 and 2014. The full paper, Qualitative Analysis of Serious Case Reviews into Unexpected Infant Deaths, has been published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood journal.

In 2015 Public Health England recommended that all professionals who work with families are trained in how to prevent SUDI.

Source: https://www.cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/2005572/health-visitors-must-ask-parents-about-alcohol-to-combat-sudden-infant-deaths 26th July 2018

Sydney Parliament House, 09.07.2018

Cannabis has been greatly oversold by a left leaning press controlled by globalist and centralist forces while its real and known dangers have not been given appropriate weight in the popular press. In particular its genotoxic and teratogenic potential on an unborn generation for the next hundred years has not been aired or properly weighed in popular forums.

These weighty considerations clearly take cannabis out of the realm of personal choice or individual freedoms and place it squarely in the realm of the public good and a matter with which the whole community is rightly concerned and properly involved.

Cannabinoids are a group of 400 substances which occur only in the leaves of the Cannabis sativa plant where they are used by the plants as toxins and poisons in natural defence against other plants and against herbivores.

Major leading world experts such as Dr Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse at NIH 1, Professor Wayne Hall, Previous Director of the Sydney Based National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at UNSW 2, and Health Canada 3 – amongst many others – are agreed that cannabis is linked with the following impressive lists of toxicities:

1) Cannabis is addictive, particularly when used by teenagers

2) Cannabis affects brain development

3) Cannabis is a gateway to other harder drug use

4) Cannabis is linked with many mental health disorders including anxiety, depression,

psychosis, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

5) Cannabis alters and greatly impairs the normal developmental trajectory – getting a

job, finishing a course and forming a long term stable relationship 4-11

6) Cannabis impairs driving ability 12

7) Cannabis damages the lungs

8) Cannabis is immunosuppressive

9) Cannabis is linked with heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular disease

10) Cannabis is commonly more potent in recent years, with forms up to 30% being widely available in many parts of USA, and oils up to 100% THC also widely available.

Serious questions have also been raised about its involvement in 12 different cancers, increased Emergency Room presentations and exposures of developing babies during pregnancy. It is with this latter group that the present address is mainly concerned.

Basic Physiology and Embryology Cells make energy in dedicated organelles called mitochondria. Mitochondrial energy, in the form of ATP, is known to be involved in both DNA protection and control of the immune system. This means that when the cell’s ATP is high DNA maintenance is good and the genome is intact. When cellular ATP drops DNA maintenance is impaired, DNA breaks remain unsealed, and cancers can form. Also immunity is triggered by low ATP.

As organisms age ATP falls by half each 20 years after the age of 20. Mitochondria signal and shuttle to the cell nucleus via several pathways. Not only do cells carry cannabinoid receptors on their surface, but they also exist, along with their signalling machinery, at high density on mitochondria themselves 13-19. Cannabis, and indeed all addictive drugs, are known to impair this cellular energy generation and thus promote the biochemical aging process 14-16,19,20. Most addictions are associated with increased cancers, increased infections and increased clinical signs of ageing 21-34.

The foetal heart forms very early inside the mother with a heartbeat present from day 21 of human gestation. The heart forms by complicated pathways, and arises from more than six groups of cells inside the embryo 35,36. First two arteries come together, they fold, then flex and twist to give the final shape of the adult heart. Structures in the centre of the heart mass called endocardial cushions grow out to form the heart valves between the atria and ventricles and parts of the septum which grows between the two atria and ventricles. These cardiac cushions, and their associated conoventricular ridges which grow into and divide the cardiac outflow tract into left and right halves, all carry high density cannabinoid type 1 receptors (CB1R’s) and cannabis is known to be able to interfere with their growth and development.CB1R’s appear on foetal arteries from week nine of human gestation 37.

The developing brain grows out in a complex way in the head section 35,36. Newborn brain cells are born centrally in the area adjacent to the central ventricles of the brain and then migrate along pathways into the remainder of the brain, and grow to populate the cortex, parietal lobes, olfactory lobes, limbic system, hypothalamus and hippocampus which is an important area deep in the centre of the temporal lobes where memories first form.

Developing bipolar neuroblasts migrate along pathways and then climb out along 200 million guide cells, called radial glia cells, to the cortex of the brain where they sprout dendrites and a major central axon which are then wired in to the electrical network in a “use it or lose it”, “cells that fire together wire together” manner.

The brain continues to grow and mature into the 20’s as new neurons are born and surplus dendrites are pruned by the immune system. Cannabinoids interfere with cellular migration, cellular division, the generation of newborn neurons and all the classes of glia, axonal pathfinding, dendrite sprouting, myelin formation around axons and axon tracts and the firing of both inhibitory and stimulatory synapses 14-16,19,20,38-40. Cannabinoids interfere with gene expression directly, via numerous epigenetic means, and via immune perturbation.

Cannabinoids also disrupt the mechanics of cell division by disrupting the mitotic spindle on which chromosomal separation occurs, causing severe genetic damage and frank chromosomal mis-segregation, disruption, rupture and pulverization 41-43.

Cannabis was found to be a human carcinogen by the California Environmental Protection agency in 2009 44. This makes it a likely human teratogen (deforms babies). Importantly, while discussion continues over some cancers, it bears repeating that a positive association between cannabis and testicular cancer was found in all four studies which investigated this question 45-49.

Cannabis Teratogenesis

The best animal models for human malformations are hamsters and rabbits. In rabbits cannabis exhibits a severe spectrum of foetal abnormalities when applied at high dose including shortened limbs, bowels hanging out, spina bifida and exencephaly (brain hanging out). There is also impaired foetal growth and increased foetal loss and resorption 50,51.

Many of these features have been noted in human studies 52. In 2014 Centres for Disease Control Atlanta Georgia reported increased rates of anencephaly (no brain, usually rapid death) gastroschisis (bowels hanging out), diaphragmatic hernia, and oesophageal narrowing 53,54. The American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics reported in 2007 an increased rate of ventricular septal defect and an abnormality of the tricuspid valve (Ebstein’s anomaly) 55. Strikingly, a number of studies have shown that cannabis exposure of the father is worse than that of the mother 56. In Colorado atrial septal defect is noted to have risen by over 260% from 2000-2013 (see Figure 1; note close correlation (correlation coefficient R = 0.95, P value = 0.000066) between teenage cannabis use and rising rate of major congenital anomalies in Colorado to 12.7%, or 1 in 8 live births, a rate four times higher than the USA national average !) 57.

And three longitudinal studies following children exposed to cannabis in utero have consistently noted abnormalities of brain growth with smaller brains and heads – persisting into adult life – and deficits of cortical and executive functioning persistent throughout primary, middle and high schools and into young adult life in the early 20’s 58-63. An Australian MRI neuroimaging study noted 88% disconnection of cortical wiring from the splenium to precuneus which are key integrating and computing centres in the cerebral cortex 38,39,64. Chromosomal defects were also found to be elevated in Colorado (rose 30%) 57, in Hawaii 52 in our recent analysis of cannabis use and congenital anomalies across USA, and in infants presenting from Northern New South Wales to Queensland hospitals 65. And gastroschisis shows a uniform pattern of elevation in all recent studies which have examined it (our univariate meta-analysis) 52,54,66-71.

Interestingly the gastroschisis rate doubled in North Carolina in just three years 1997-2001 72, but rose 24 times in Mexico 73 which for a long time formed a principal supply source for Southern USA 74. Within North Carolina gastroschisis and congenital heart defects closely followed cannabis distribution routes 74-76. In Canada a remarkable geographical analysis by the Canadian Government has shown repeatedly that the highest incidence of all anomalies – including chromosomal anomalies – occurs in those northern parts where most cannabis is smoked 77,78.

Congenital anomalies forms the largest cause of death of babies in the first year of life. The biggest group of them is cardiovascular defects. Since cannabis affects several major classes
of congenital defects it is obviously a major human teratogen. Its heavy epigenetic footprint,
by which it controls gene expression by controlling DNA methylation and histone modifications 79-81, imply that its effects will be felt for the next three to four generations – that is the next 100 years 82,83. Equally obviously it is presently being marketed globally as a major commodity apparently for commercial – or ideological – reasons. Since cannabis is clearly contraindicated in several groups of people including:

1) Babies

2) Children

3) Adolescents

4) Car drivers

5) Commercial Drivers – Taxis, Buses, Trains,

6) Pilots of Aeroplanes

7) Workers – Manual Tools, Construction, Concentration Jobs

8) Children

9) Adolescents

10) Males of Reproductive age

11) Females of Reproductive age

12) Pregnancy

13) Lactation

14) Workers

15) Older People – Mental Illness

16) Immunosuppressed

17) Asthmatics – 80% Population after severe chest infection

18) People with Personal History of Cancer

19) People with Family History of Cancer

20) People with Personal History of Mental Illness

21) People with Family History of Mental Illness

22) Anyone or any population concerned about ageing effects 34

… cannabis legalization is not likely to be in the best interests of public health.

Concluding Remarks

In 1854 Dr John Snow achieved lasting public health fame by taking the handle off the Broad Street pump and saving east London from its cholera epidemic, based upon the maps he drew of where the cholera cases were occurring – in the local vicinity of the Broad Street pump.

Looking across the broad spectrum of the above evidence one notices a trulyremarkable concordance of the evidence between:

1) Preclinical studies in

i) Rabbits and

ii) Hamsters

2) Cellular and biological mechanisms, particularly relating to:

i) Brain development

ii) Heart development

iii) Blood vessel development

iv) Genetic development

v) Abnormalities of chromosomal segregation

i. Downs syndrome

ii. Turners syndrome

iii. Trisomy 18

iv. Trisomy 13

vi) Cell division / mitotic poison / micronucleus formation

vii) Epigenetic change

viii) Growth inhibition

3) 84Cross-sectional Epidemiological studies, especially from:

i) Canada 77,85

ii) USA 86,87

iii) Northern New South Wales 65,88 4) Longitudinal studies from 58:

i) Ottawa 59-63

ii) Pittsburgh

iii) Netherlands

Our studies of congenital defects in USA have also shown a close concordance of congenital anomaly rates for 23 defects with the cannabis use rate indexed for the rising cannabis concentration in USA, and mostly in the three major classes of brain defects, cardiovascular defects and chromosomal defects, just as found by previous investigators in Hawaii 52.

Of no other toxin to our knowledge can it be said that it interferes with brain growth and development to the point where the brain is permanently shrunken in size or does not form at all. The demonstration by CDC twice that the incidence of anencephaly (no brain) is doubled by cannabis 53,54 implies that anencephaly is the most severe end of the neurobehavioural teratogenicity of cannabis and forms one end of a continuum with all the other impairments which are implied by the above commentary.

(Actually when blighted ova, foetal resorptions and spontaneous abortion are included in the teratological profile anencephaly is not the most severe end of the teratological spectrum – that is foetal death). It is our view that with the recent advent of high dose potent forms of cannabis reaching the foetus through both maternal and paternal lines major and clinically significant neurobehavioural teratological presentations will become commonplace, and might well become all but universal in infants experiencing significant gestational exposure.

One can only wonder if the community has been prepared for such a holocaust and tsunami amongst its children?

It is the view of myself and my collaborators that these matters are significant and salient and should be achieving greater airplay in the public discussion proceeding around the world at this time on this subject.

Whilst cannabis legalization may line the pockets of the few it will clearly not be in the public interest in any sense; and indeed the public will be picking up the bill for this unpremeditated move for generations to come. Oddly – financial gain seems to be one of the primary drivers of the present transnational push. When the above described public health message gets out amongst ambitious legal fraternities, financial gain and the threat of major medico-legal settlements for congenital defects – will quickly become be the worst reason for cannabis legalization.

Indeed it can be argued that the legalization lobby is well aware of all of the above concerns – and their controlled media pretend debate does not allow such issues to air in the public forum. The awareness of these concerns is then the likely direct reason that cannabis requires its own legislation. As noted in the patient information leaflet for the recently approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol oil for paediatric fits) the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is well aware of the genotoxicity of cannabinoids.

The only possible conclusion therefore is that the public is deliberately being duped. To which our only defence will be to publicize the truth.

Source: Summary of Address to Sydney Parliament House, 09.07.2018 by Professor Dr. Stuart Reece, Clinical Associate Professor, UWA Medical School. University of Western Australia

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