Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

E-Joints Marry E-Cigarettes and Marijuana

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Photo courtesy of JuJu Joints

You knew this one had to be coming: e-joints.

A device called a JuJu Joint, marries the vaporizing ability of an e-cigarette, or vaporizer, and cannabis oil, which contains the psychoactive ingredient THC, to create an e-joint. But, JuJu Joints also have their own twist. Rather than being reusable, they are disposable. You just take it out of the package and take a hit from it and that’s it. There is no smell or smoke. They come loaded with 150 hits preinstalled and when they’re used up, you just toss it in the trash.

Since their introduction in April, 75,000 JuJu Joints have been sold in Washington State, where marijuana is recreationally and medically legal. The maker says another 500,000 will be sold in 2015 and there are plans to expand to Colorado and Oregon, where recreational use is legal, and to Nevada, where it is decriminalized.

“I wanted to eliminate every hassle that has to do with smoking marijuana,” inventor and co-founder of JuJu Joints, Rick Stevens, said. Stevens, 62, co-founded the company with Marcus Charles, a Seattle entrepreneur. “I wanted it to be discreet and easy for people to handle. There’s no odor, matches or mess.”

However, many addiction researchers fear that e-cigarettes will pave the way to reliance on actual cigarettes, especially in teenagers. Added to that is how some studies have found that THC adversely affects the developing brain and you can see how e-joints could have some people really worried.

Health & Wellness

Study: Mortality of Type 1 Diabetes Patients Not Heightened By Intensive Treatment

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Contrary to the findings of previous researches, a recent study disproves the idea that intensive treatment for Type 1 Diabetes could adversely affect the life expectancy of patients.

blood sugar testing type 1 diabetesAccording to the research team led by Dr. Trevor Orchard, “adoption of 6.5 years of intensive therapy in type 1 diabetes does not incur increased risk of overall mortality.” The findings were based on long-term investigation of patients under the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), which involved more than 1,400 people. Close to half of the patients were subjected to “intensive therapy”, a comprehensive treatment program with the objective of bringing the blood sugar level of patients down to normal figures. Meanwhile, the rest underwent conventional diabetes treatment methods.

The study involved following up the patients over a span of six and a half years, as reported in a news release. Results showed that 6 percent of the patients under intensive therapy died within the follow-up duration, while 8.8 percent came from those who were treated using conventional methods.

The researchers worked closely with the Joslin Diabetes Center together with Dr. Lori Laffel and Dr. Lori Laffel. The team was quick to share that more studies need to be conducted to confirm this finding. “The search for genetic factors and biomarkers related to risk of diabetes complications generally and risk of diabetic nephropathy specifically needs to accelerate. There continues to be inadequate access to advanced diabetes technologies, education and support from health care professionals, and, at times, even family encouragement, which all need to improve,” the researchers added.


Happy New Year!

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Photo courtesy of lentina_x on Flickr

Photo courtesy of lentina_x on Flickr

From everyone at TestCountry, have a wonderful and prosperous 2015! Be happy, be healthy and make this year your best year ever!

Health & Wellness Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

New Study Finds Most Frequent Reason for Calling Poison Centers are Prescription Drugs

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emergency room visits due to synthetic marijuanaPoisonings from prescription drugs are the leading cause of injury death in the United States, according to National Poison Control Center data from 2012.

Also topping the list was poisonings from “bath salts,” synthetic marijuana and laundry detergent pods. The paper was published online in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

“The poison center system can provide real-time advice and collect data regarding a variety of poisonings, including those that may be new or unfamiliar to emergency physicians,” said lead study author Richard Dart, MD, PhD, of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver, CO. “Emergency physicians are continually challenged by the emergence of new types of poisonings, which lately include illicit street drugs as well as laundry detergent pods. The National Poison Data System (NPDS) plays an integral role in helping EMS and emergency departments respond to these dangerous substances.”

In 2012, poison centers nationwide recorded 2.2 million human poison exposures. Eighty-three percent of poisonings that ended in death in 2012 were linked to a pharmaceutical product, most commonly opioid painkillers. The total number of prescription opioid exposures by children more than doubled between 2002 and 2012 from 2,591 to 5,541.

The family of designer drugs such as “bath salts” (a type of amphetamine), “plant food,” synthetic marijuana and others continue to poison users severely enough that they require emergency medical treatment. Although bath salts exposures peaked in 2011, new illicit drugs sold to consumers continue to be monitored by poison control centers.

“Poisoning continues to be a significant cause of injury and death in the United States,” said Dr. Dart. “The near real-time responsiveness of NPDS helps emergency physicians respond to new poisoning threats, while also assisting patients who call for help to know when they need the ER and when they can manage things safely at home.”

Health & Wellness

Estrogen Could be Behind Females’ More Severe Allergies

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allergy seasonCould estrogen be to blame for women tending to have more severe allergic reactions than their male counterparts? That seems to be the case, at least in mice.

A team of scientists working with the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases concluded that estrogen, which consists of a group of hormones involved with sexual reproduction and developments, particularly in women, was to blame for more frequent and severe allergic reactions in mice. More research is needed to conclude if the same goes for humans.

In the study, researchers analyzed the anaphylaxis, or allergic reactions, of female and male mice to foreign allergens. When foreign allergens are released into the body, it responds by releasing immune cells, which in turn release enzymes that cause tissues to swell and cause blood vessels to widen. These reactions can be observed as skin reddening or rash, difficulty breathing, and in the most severe cases, shock or heart attack.

The team found that estrogen increased the levels and activity of endothelial nitric oxide syntheses (eNOS),  a type of enzyme responsible for some of the symptoms of anaphylaxis. To test whether or not estrogen’s influence on eNOS was the cause of female allergic reactions, the team blocked the eNOS activity completely in a group of mice. When this was done, the gender disparity disappeared completely. The researchers also blocked estrogen in female mice and saw this also closed the gender gap and caused a significant reduction in allergic responses.

The scientists plan to extend their testing to humans in the future.

Real Drug Stories

Top 10 Drug Stories of 2014 in TestCountry Blog

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The year 2014 has provided a huge opportunity to discuss a wide range of drug-related topics ranging from prescription drugs to medical marijuana. As we prepare for the turn of the year, join us as we look back at the top drug stories in the TestCountry blog for the past year:

  1. New Mexico Man Allegedely Rapes Baby to Death While High on Synthetic Marijuana
  2. Ambien Replaces Roofies As New Date Rape Drug
  3. Multiple Sclerosis Treatment: Another Breakthrough For Medical Marijuana?
  4. Indiana Considering Decriminalizing Small Amounts of Marijuana, Tennessee Thinks About Legalizing Medical Marijuana
  5. Middle Age Drinking Leads To Faster Mental Degradation In Men
  6. Colorado Employers Allegedly Discriminating Against Marijuana Users
  7. Vape Pens Help Hide Marijuana Usage
  8. Teens with Mental Illness More Likely to Become Pregnant
  9. Doctors Aim to Study Marijuana More, Ask Feds to Make it Easier
  10. Drug Tests that Avoid Testing for Marijuana Gaining Popularity

2014 was a big year for discussing marijuana and its different angles. With more states starting to embrace marijuana in their systems, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that topics on marijuana will continue to heat up in 2015.

Health & Wellness

Want To Lower Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes? Try Eating More Yogurt!

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Yogurt has been pegged by many people as a healthy food alternative and a rich source of live microorganisms for better body functioning. A new study, meanwhile, is looking at the wonder food as a potential solution for diabetes.

yogurt diabetesBoston-based Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) recently amassed several data from three previous studies to look into a possible link between yogurt intake and lowering the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. The study pooled together decades worth of data from close to 200,000 health experts and professionals.

According to the results of the study, higher yogurt ingestion is linked to a lower likelihood of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Because of the result, the research team is strongly highlighting the significance of yogurt to improve diet. The study was conducted by a team of researchers led by Fran Hu, who works as professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the school.

The study looked into a list of dairy products and their possible link to diabetes risk. “We found that higher intake of yogurt is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas other dairy foods and consumption of total dairy did not show this association. The consistent findings for yogurt suggest that it can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern,” said Hu in a news release.

The team, however, was quick to explain that the results do not show a cause-and-effect relationship between eating yogurt and decreasing the risk of diabetes. They are recommending more clinical studies to support their results and arrive at a more sound causality relationship.

Medical Marijuana

Late Christmas Present? Illinois Kids Get Access To Medical Marijuana

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marijuana children riskMany parents in Illinois looking to marijuana as the ultimate treatment for their children’s health conditions are poised to receive a late Christmas gift.

According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, a new state rule allows kids who reside in Illinois access to medical marijuana by the turn of the year. Young users may only take the drug through marijuana-induced goods ranging from liquid drops to food products. The new regulations under the Illinois Department of Public Health will not allow them to take pot in its raw form to be lit for smoking.

This action stems from public clamor for marijuana treatment in children’s diseases such as seizures, muscular dystrophy and cancer.

Kids who will be treated using marijuana products may only obtain the drug under adult supervision, and with the approval of two doctors including their own physician.


Happy Holidays from TestCountry!

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Photo courtesy of Leandro Bermudes on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Leandro Bermudes on Flickr

We here at TestCountry have had a wonderful 2014 and we owe that all to our wonderful customers and business partners. We wish them, along with all of their friends and family — and all of our own friends and family — a wonderful, joyous and safe holiday season.

Please celebrate responsibly, think of the less fortunate and have fun with whoever you are with.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Have a purrfect Christmas!

Health & Wellness

Scientists Invent Chemical to Help People Feel Full

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obesityScientists have created a chemical that can be added to food to make people feel full and initial tests have shown it’s helped people to eat less and slow weight gain.

The chemical has harnessed the power of a proprionate, which naturally makes us feel full when it is produced by breaking down fibre in the gut.

Writing in the journal Gut, the UK researchers said the chemical — a foul-tasting soluble powder — would have to be eaten regularly to have an effect. The scientists,  from Imperial College London and the University of Glasgow, are trying to incorporate it into bread and fruit smoothies.

The tricky part of the research was finding a way to deliver the proprionate into the colon, where it triggers the release of hormones that control appetite. Adding it on its own to food would not work because it would be absorbed by the intestine too early, so the team found a way to bind it to a natural carbohydrate found in plants, called inulin.

Once bound, the proprionate can safely make its way through the digestive system before being freed from the inulin by bacteria in the colon.