Michael King Cannabis Palm Springs

Study: Marijuana Liberalization Policies Not Associated With Significant Upticks In Youth Use

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Boston, MA: State laws liberalizing marijuana’s criminal status are not associated over the long-term with any significant uptick in youth use, according to data published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

A team of researchers from Boston College assessed marijuana use data in a cohort of 860,000 adolescents from 45 states over a period of 16 years (1999 to 2015).

They reported that states which enacted medical cannabis access laws experienced overall reductions in teen use compared to non-legal states, and that this decrease grew stronger over time. “We found that for every group of 100 adolescents, one fewer will be a current user of marijuana following the enactment of medical marijuana laws,” the study’s lead researcher said in a press release.

Investigators also reported that state laws decriminalizing marijuana penalties for recreational use did not experience “significant shifts in use for the sample as a whole,” though they acknowledged a minor uptick in self-reported use among whites and a small decline in consumption among Hispanics and those 14 years of age.

They added, “Neither policy was significantly associated with heavy marijuana use or the frequency of use, suggesting that heavy users may be impervious to such policy signals.”

Authors concluded, “[These] results assuage concerns over potential detrimental effects of more liberal marijuana policies on youth use.”

The findings are consistent with those of dozens of prior studies concluding that neither liberalizing marijuana penalties nor regulating retail cannabis access is typically associated with increases in young people’s use of cannabis or its availability.

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Michael King Cannabis Marijuana Palm Springs

Study: Cannabis Use Associated With Metabolic Benefits

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Santander, Spain: Cannabis use is associated with sustained effects on weight and metabolism, including lower body mass index (BMI) and lower overall cholesterol levels, according to the results of a three-year longitudinal study published in The Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Spanish researchers assessed the relationship between cannabis and weight over a three-year period in a cohort of 510 subjects. Participants in the study were classified as either ‘continuers,’ ‘discontinuers,’ and ‘non-users.’

At the study’s initiation, cannabis users presented “lower weight, body mass index, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol compared to non-users,” investigators reported. Differences in weight, BMI, and LDL levels remained consistent over the three-years among those subjects who continued to consume cannabis. By contrast, those patients who discontinued using cannabis use over the course of the study “presented a higher increase in weight, body mass index, and triglyceride-high-density lipoprotein ratio than the ‘non-users’ and ‘continuers.'”

Authors concluded, “Thus, we may interpret that cannabis consumption has a protective effect on metabolism, which is reflected in clinical terms.”

The study’s results are consistent with a number of prior trials — such as those herehere, and here — finding that a history of marijuana use is associated with a lower prevalence of obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

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Michael King Cannabis Marijuana Palm Springs

Patients Frequently Substitute Cannabis For Anti-Anxiety Drugs

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Halifax, Canada: Patients authorized to legally use medical cannabis frequently substitute it in place of benzodiazepines, according to a pair of new studies. Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs primarily used for treating anxiety. According to data compiled by the US Centers for Disease Control, benzodiazepines were attributed to over 11,500 overdose deaths in 2017.

In the first study, Canadian researchers assessed the relationship between cannabis and benzodiazepines in a cohort of 146 patients enrolled in the nation’s medical marijuana access program. They reported that 30 percent of participants discontinued their use of anti-anxiety medications within two months of initiating cannabis therapy and that 45 percent did so by six months.

“Patients initiated on medical cannabis therapy showed significant benzodiazepine discontinuation rates after their first follow-up visit to their medical cannabis prescriber, and continued to show significant discontinuation rates thereafter,” authors concluded.

In the second study, investigators at the University of Michigan surveyed over 1,300 state-registered medical cannabis patients with regard to their use of opioids and benzodiazepines. They reported that 53 percent of respondents acknowledged substituting marijuana for opioids, and 22 percent did so for benzodiazepines.

The studies’ findings are consistent with numerous other papers — such as those hereherehere, and here— documenting patients’ use of cannabis in place of a variety of prescription drugs, particularly opioids and anti-anxiety medications.

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Michael King Cannabis Palm Springs

Study: Medical Cannabis Access Associated With Decreased Use Of Opioids

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Little Rock, AR: The enactment of medical cannabis access laws is associated with moderately lower levels of prescription opioid use, even after controlling for potentially confounding variables, according to datapublished in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

A team of investigators from the University of Arkansas assessed prescription drug use data in a nationally representative sample of nearly five million Americans for the years 2006 to 2014.

In a finding that is consistent with those of several other studies, authors concluded: “Medical marijuana legalization was associated with lower odds of opioid use, chronic opioid use, and high-risk opioid use when controlling for many state-level and patient-level factors. … These results suggest that MML (medical marijuana laws) could be one policy tool that may modestly decrease opioid use; chronic and high- risk opioid use in a landscape where pain management options are limited and opioid misuse and addiction are rising rapidly.”

Observational studies have similarly reported that medical cannabis access states possess lower rates of opioid-related use, abuse, hospitalizations, and mortality as compared to jurisdictions without operating medical marijuana programs.

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