Research

New Study Shows Teen Marijuana Use Not Linked to Later Physical or Mental Health Issues

August 4th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

A study just released by the American Psychological Association showsAPA logo_small no direct link between teen marijuana use, even chronic use, and health problems later in life. The study looked at more than 400 individuals as they matured and found no evidence that marijuana use caused or contributed to any mental or physical health issues over time, including cancer and psychosis.

The Daily Caller reports:

Chronic marijuana use as an adolescent has no link to mental or physical health problems later in life, according to a new study conducted over the past 20 years.

Published by the American Physiological Association, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Rutgers University divided participants into four groups from their teenage years onward.

One group almost never smoked marijuana, one used it mostly in their teenage years, another started using in adulthood and the final group of subjects started using marijuana early and continued into their adult years.

The study found that “chronic marijuana users were not more likely than late increasing users, adolescence-limited users, or low/nonusers to experience several physical or mental health problems in their mid-30s.”

In fact, there were no significant differences between marijuana trajectory groups in terms of adult health outcomes, even when models were run without controlling for potential confounds. The researchers found no link between teen marijuana use and lifetime depression, anxiety, allergies, headaches or high blood pressure.

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Prohibition, Research

New Hampshire Poll Shows Increasing Support for Ending Marijuana Prohibition

July 29th, 2015 2 Comments Morgan Fox

A WMUR Granite State Poll found that 60% of New Hampshire adults support making marijuana legal. It also reported 72% support for decriminalizing  simple marijuana possession.

In early June, the Senate blocked a widely supported bill that Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 12.33.57 PMwould have removed criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. HB 618, which the House approved 297-67 in March, would have made possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a fine of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and $500 for a third or subsequent offense. Under current state law, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.

New Hampshire is the only state in New England that treats simple marijuana possession as a criminal offense with the potential for jail time.

 

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Medical Marijuana, Research

MPP Publishes Report Criticizing New Hampshire Medical Marijuana Program

July 23rd, 2015 3 Comments Matt Simon
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Clayton Holton

On this date two years ago, Gov. Maggie Hassan signed HB 573, making New Hampshire the last state in New England to approve a medical marijuana law. Unfortunately, so far this law has failed to benefit patients in any way. Some patients, including well-known patient-advocate Clayton Holton, have passed away while waiting for the law to take effect. Others, such as Ron Mitchell, have had no choice but to leave their families behind and move to another state in search of relief.

To raise awareness about the program’s many shortcomings, MPP has published Confusion, Delays, and Continued Arrests: A Two-Year Retrospective on New Hampshire’s “Therapeutic Use of Cannabis” Law.

This report includes the most recent updates, analyzes why the law is not yet effective for patients, and makes recommendations for improving the law and policy moving forward.

Please read the two-year retrospective today, and then share it with your elected officials and with your friends and family.

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Research

New Study Provides More Evidence Against ‘Gateway’ Theory

July 13th, 2015 5 Comments Morgan Fox

A study published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse adds even more evidence showing that marijuana use itself does not cause people to use harder drugs.

HealthDay reports:

“We found that marijuana use within itself wasn’t a risk factor for use of other drugs,” said lead author Joseph Palamar, an assistant professor in the New York University Langone Medical Center’s department of population health. “People do generally use marijuana before other drugs, but that doesn’t mean marijuana is a cause of [using] those other drugs.”

The researchers based their conclusions on data gathered from Monitoring the Future, an ongoing study of the behaviors, attitudes and values of American high school students. Roughly 15,000 high school seniors are assessed each year.

“Most teens who use marijuana don’t progress to use of other drugs, and we believe this is evidenced in part by the fact that nearly two-thirds of these marijuana-using teens did not report use of any of the other illicit drugs we examined,” he noted.

These results show that educators and counselors would do better to prevent drug use if they focus on the reasons that students give for trying illicit substances, Palamar concluded.

“We need to address the reasons why people use, the drives that lead people to use,” he said. “The majority of adults in the U.S. have at least tried marijuana, and we know the majority has never gone on to use another drug, yet we tend to treat all drug use as pathological.”

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Prohibition, Research

Alabama Lawmakers Considering Unscientific Marijuana DUID Bill

May 15th, 2015 2 Comments Morgan Fox
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Sen. Arthur Orr (Photo: John Godbey/Decatur Daily)

In April, SB 162, introduced by Sen. Arthur Orr, passed the Alabama Senate. It now awaits action in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. This bill would declare anyone with five nanograms of THC per milliliter in their blood guilty of driving under the influence — regardless of whether the person was actually impaired!

Although intoxicated driving should not be tolerated, knee jerk ideas like per se limits for THC are unethical, unscientific, and unnecessary. Alabama already criminalizes impaired driving. This bill would unfairly target medical marijuana patients who could have higher levels of THC in their blood without being impaired.

Recent peer-reviewed studies have concluded that low levels of active THC can remain in a person’s system long after the intoxicating effects of THC have worn off — sometimes for several days. THC levels can even increase in a person’s bloodstream days after consuming marijuana, but without the person being impaired. SB 162 would therefore result in individuals who are not impaired to be found guilty of DUI-D.

If you are an Alabama resident, please email your representative and ask him or her to oppose this bill.

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Research

Guide to American Academy of Pediatrics Decriminalization Study

April 3rd, 2015 1 Comment Morgan Fox

Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatricsaap_logo-1 published an article called The Impact of Marijuana Policies on Youth: Clinical, Research, and Legal Update. While the report failed to recognize the benefits of regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol, it did  support decriminalizing marijuana because of the harms caused by arrests and their aftermath.

We put together this handy guide to highlight the most important points. Please share it with anyone who still thinks arresting and prosecuting marijuana consumers is good for young people.

The AAP also recently published a study suggesting that random drug testing and zero tolerance policies in schools can actually harm teens.

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Research

Vermont Poll Shows Majority Support Making Marijuana Legal

March 18th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

A new poll released by the Castleton Polling InstituteScreen Shot 2015-03-18 at 4.46.33 PM shows that a majority of Vermont residents want to make marijuana legal and regulated for adults.

VTDigger.org reports:

Respondents in the recent poll were asked: “Two states — Washington and Colorado — have legalized and regulated marijuana for recreational use. Do you support or oppose passing a similar law in Vermont to legalize and regulate marijuana for recreational use?”

Of those surveyed, 54 percent supported the idea with 40 percent opposed. Six percent had no opinion.

Support was particularly strong among young people with 70 percent of respondents age 18-44 (or 161 people) in favor. The results were about opposite for those 65 and older, who opposed legalization 61 percent to 30 percent.

“Clearly, the opposition remains most substantial among voters who are 65-plus and Republicans,” said Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project. “I guess some people remain nostalgic for a simpler time when you could ‘Just Say No’ and be done with the issue, but any realistic person realizes that those days are long gone — that marijuana is here to stay whether we like it or not, and we have to figure out how best to deal with it.”

Vermont lawmakers are currently considering a bill which would tax and regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol.

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Research

National Poll Shows Majority Support for Making Marijuana Legal

March 4th, 2015 5 Comments Morgan Fox

More than half of Americans want to make marijuana legal, according to the highly regarded General Social Survey.

The Washington Post reports:

In interviews conducted between March and October of last year — when the legal marijuana markets in Colorado and Washington were ramping up — researchers asked 1,687 respondents the following question: “Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal or not?”imrs.php

Fifty-two percent said pot should be legalized, 42 percent opposed it, and another 7 percent were undecided. Support is up 9 percentage points from 2012, the last time the survey was conducted.

The survey reiterates similar results in other major national polls, including Pew and Gallup.

The strong numbers in the latest General Social Survey indicate that the issue isn’t losing salience with the public. At the national level, support for legal marijuana remains robust — and doesn’t show signs of wavering any time soon.

 

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Research, Tax and Regulate

Majority of Coloradans Want to Keep Marijuana Legal

February 25th, 2015 2 Comments Morgan Fox

Echoing results from last September, a new poll shows that an even greater percentage of Coloradans are happy with their marijuana laws.

From Denver Post:

More than 13 months after recreational pot sales first started in Colorado, residents of the state still support marijuana legalization by a definitive margin, according to a new Quinnipiac University Poll released Tuesday.

When asked, “Do you still support or oppose this law?” 58 percent of respondents said they support the pot-legalizing Amendment 64 while 38 percent said they oppose it. Men support legalization (63 percent) more than women (53 percent). And among the 18-34 age demographic, of course, there was more support of legal pot (82 percent) than among voters 55 and older (50 percent against).

The new numbers show a certain kind of progress for legal marijuana in Colorado. In the 2012 election, Amendment 64 passed 54.8 percent to 45.1 percent, and a December 2014 poll by The Denver Post found that more than 90 percent of the respondents who voted in the 2012 election said they would vote the same way today.

 

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Research

Study Shows Marijuana 114 Times Less Deadly Than Alcohol

February 25th, 2015 19 Comments Morgan Fox

A study recently published in Scientific ReportsSCReports compared the risk of death associated with a number of drugs, including marijuana. The results added even more evidence proving that marijuana is far safer than legal alcohol.

The Washington Post reports:

Researchers sought to quantify the risk of death associated with the use of a variety of commonly-used substances. They found that at the level of individual use, alcohol was the deadliest substance, followed by heroin and cocaine.

And all the way at the bottom of the list? Weed — roughly 114 times less deadly than booze, according to the authors, who ran calculations that compared lethal doses of a given substance with the amount that a typical person uses. Marijuana is also the only drug studied that posed low mortality risk to its users.

These findings reinforce drug safety rankings developed 10 years ago under a slightly different methodology. So in that respect, the study is more of a reaffirmation of previous findings than anything else. But given the current national and international debates over the legal status of marijuana and the risks associated with its use, the study arrives at a good time.

Given the relative risks associated with marijuana and alcohol, the authors recommend “risk management prioritization towards alcohol and tobacco rather than illicit drugs.” And they say that when it comes to marijuana, the low amounts of risk associated with the drug “suggest a strict legal regulatory approach rather than the current prohibition approach.”

In other words, individuals and organizations up in arms over marijuana legalization could have a greater impact on the health and well-being of this country by shifting their attention to alcohol and cigarettes. It takes extraordinary chutzpah to rail against the dangers of marijuana use by day and then go home to unwind with a glass of far more lethal stuff in the evening.

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