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Pros and Cons of Using Recreational Marijuana

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We at TestCountry have been discussing about marijuana and its different facets for years, and it has always been a controversial topic. The legalization of marijuana in some U.S. states may have made marijuana users rejoice, but it remains to be an endless debate of whether the substance should be allowed or not due to the unfavorable effects that it may cause upon long-time users. In this article, we will delve into the benefits and disadvantage of recreational marijuana use.

Marijuana is widely used, especially among the teens and young adults. There are now about 20 million users aged 20 and older using marijuana, with some engaged in recreational marijuana use.

Marijuana is sold in the form of dried leaves, which can be smoked. The popularity of using electronic cigarettes or vapes heightened when cannabis liquids became available. Not all states have legalized recreational marijuana, therefore using vapes infused with cannabis has become an alternative way of using marijuana without being noticed by authorities.

Brief History of Marijuana in the US

The hemp plant was used as a legal tender in states like Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia in 1619. The Virginia Assembly passed a legislation requiring every farmer to grow hemp.

There was a proliferation of hemp production after the Civil War. By the end of the 19th Century, marijuana became a popular ingredient in creating medicinal products which were sold in public pharmacies.

In 1906, The Pure Food and Drug Act was passed and became the basis for regulating misbranded foods, drugs, liquors, and medicines.

The Mexican immigrants introduced the recreational use of marijuana to the American culture in 1910. Marijuana has become mostly associated with Mexican immigrants, which has also become synonymous with fear and prejudice. There were anti-drug campaigns to hopefully prevent the spreading of marijuana as terrible crimes have also become associated with its use by the Mexicans.

In 1931, marijuana use had been outlawed by 29 states. By 1930, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) was created. The first commissioner was Harry J. Anslinger who remained in the post until 1962.

The Uniform State Act of 1932 was created to encourage state governments to take responsibility in controlling crimes related to marijuana use.

Importation of hemp during the World War II declined. The US Department of Agriculture launched a program called “Hemp for Victory” which encouraged farmers to plant hemp and granted deferments to those who would stay at home and grow the plant. There were about 375,000 acres of hemp harvested in 1943.

1951 initiated stricter sentencing laws by setting mandatory sentences for drug-related offenses.

The 1960s had become a very significant period as it was the time when there was a widespread use of marijuana among white upper and middle-class citizens. By 1968, the FBN and the Bureau of Dangerous Drugs of the Food and Drug Administration merged.

The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act categorized marijuana as distinct from other narcotics, thus eliminated mandatory federal sentences to those in possession for small amounts.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was established in 1973. A nationwide movement composed of conservative parents insisted for a stricter regulation of marijuana as well as the prevention of drug use among teenagers in 1976. Consequently, this has become instrumental in affecting public attitudes which led to the War on Drugs in the 1980s.

President Ronald Reagan signed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act in 1985 in response to the increasing number of crimes related to drug use. This raised federal penalties for marijuana possession and dealing. Eventually, an amendment was created requiring life sentences for repeat drug offenders and providing the death penalty to “drug kingpins”.

1996 was the start of legalizing medical use of marijuana in California under Proposition 215.

marijuana plant

Statistics on Marijuana Use

Marijuana or cannabis is the most commonly used illicit substance. Recent surveys showed that there are about 94 million people in the United States alone that have admitted to using marijuana at least once in their lifetime.

Marijuana is widely used because of how some individuals use it as their means of escape from the realities of life with the hope of masking pain, anger, fear or regret. It is the most frequently found substance in the bodies of drivers involved in fatal car accidents.

From a survey made by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2007, 2.1 million Americans have used marijuana for the first time. There has also been an increase in marijuana production since 1981. Approximately $10.5 billion has been spent by marijuana users in purchasing this illicit substance.

The trends of prevalence of marijuana use among 8th Graders to 12th Graders:

Grade Level Lifetime Past Year Past Month Daily
8th Grade 12.8% 9.4% 5.4% 0.70%
10th Grade 29.7% 23.9% 14.0% 2.5%
12th Grade 44.5% 35.5% 12.5% 6.0%

According to a report by Arcview Market Research, North American marijuana sales increased by more than 30% in 2016, raising sales to $6.7B. It is also predicted to greatly increase in the coming years.

A very astonishing fact from legal sales of recreational marijuana use in Colorado reached almost $1 billion in 2015. It cannot be denied how the legalization of marijuana created some benefits, namely, jobs and an increase in tax revenues.

Accordingly, the public remains divided regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana. And more than seeing the good that it can allegedly provide is knowing that there are possible unfavorable outcomes with both short-term and long-term use of marijuana.

Notwithstanding the risks accompanied with its long-term use, the number of people using marijuana for recreational purposes is believed to have been increasing each year.

Advantages of Using Recreational Marijuana

Undoubtedly, using marijuana can offer some positive effects in the body. Although recreational use was not the main reason for making it legal, a large number of people use marijuana (as a recreational drug) as their outlet. Unfortunately, these users are branded as hippies or stoners.

Here are some benefits of recreational marijuana use:

  • Smoking has become a means of bonding among friends that it makes them less inhibited in letting out their feelings. Therefore, they are able to speak their minds freely from which deep conversations among friends make them allow them to grow closer.
  • Using marijuana heightens the senses. Somehow the taste of food becomes more appetizing.
  • It unlocks one’s creativity. Marijuana somehow makes a user feel more energized to become more artistic and creative. This enables them to become highly-artistic rather than experiencing the erratic behavior that others may see from marijuana users.
  • Creates divergent thinking. The chemicals that interact with the brain helps in thinking outside of the box.
  • The ability to persuade others in perceiving the same thoughts.
  • Marijuana can act on your mind in countless positive ways. Moreover, it can bring out the child in you, as claimed by marijuana users. This can be helpful in trying to cope up with the everyday stress.
  • It can make you feel like a different person. Some people are naturally shy. But being shy sometimes can be a disadvantage. Using marijuana can somehow help one to become more confident about himself thereby allowing him/her to become more vocal and outgoing.
  • It masks out the negativity thereby making one see everything in a different (and more positive) perspective.
  • A feel-good emotion is likely to strike after using marijuana, thus one tends to appreciate the beauty of the world that surrounds him/her.
  • Marijuana can make you feel more energized.
  • It takes you to a different dimension wherein you can feel happy and stress-free; thus you have time to be in harmony with yourself.

medical and recreational marijuana

Disadvantages of Using Recreational Marijuana

The global dilemma on drug abuse is far from over. Knowing how much it can affect both the mind and the body, these are the reasons why using it should be prevented or stopped:

  • It has a direct effect on one’s memory. The active ingredient that affects the hippocampus alters the processing of information. The use of marijuana at a young age has a great impact on the developing brain. Nonetheless, this obstruction in the formation of memory can significantly cause cognitive impairment. It also accelerates age-related brain cell loss. Studies have found that there is a deterioration in the learning and cognitive thinking that can persist into adulthood, even if they have long stopped using marijuana.
  • It can heighten fear, anxiety, panic or distrust. This is the most common side effect of using marijuana. The chemicals in cannabis make an individual have hallucinations and so with this, it affects their relationships with others.
  • THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical responsible for most of the marijuana’s psychological effects. This disrupts with balance, coordination and reaction time of the user, thereby making it harder for the user to walk and talk correctly (normally). This also impairs the individual’s ability to drive.
  • Frequent marijuana use can increase the risk of succumbing to a depressive condition. This is more likely to happen to individuals who have a history of mental illness.
  • Psychosis is also likely to develop in individuals taking large doses of the drug which includes delusions and a loss of sense of identity.
  • Some of the short-term effects of marijuana use include dry mouth, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and increased heart rate.
  • Smoking marijuana can lead to breathing problems such as the development of excess mucous, cough and bronchitis. It can also cause asthma and cystic fibrosis.
  • Long-term use of marijuana can decrease the amount of seminal fluid and reduce sperm count. The abnormalities in the sperm are still undetermined, although it is thought to be caused by the THC.
  • Marijuana use in females can lead to menstrual flow disruption which can result in irreversible damage to the eggs in the ovaries, thus there is likely an increased risk of miscarriages, placenta previa, and premature births.

Clearly, each state has their own laws pertaining to the manufacture, use, and selling of marijuana. Although marijuana has been approved for both recreational and medical use, still, everyone should be able to assess the benefits and its harmful effects with long-term use. The level of potency of THC has increased over the years, which makes it even more dangerous for individuals to take marijuana, especially in large doses.

Medical marijuana may have been proven to be of significant help in treating various illnesses such as arthritis, epilepsy, glaucoma, and multiple sclerosis, just to name a few. However, it is recommended that those who are undergoing treatments with the use of marijuana should take the precautionary measures as the unscrupulous use of marijuana can deter treatment and would lead to more serious conditions.

Moreover, recreational marijuana use stated in this article is simply to inform and not to encourage or discourage anyone to take the drug. It is highly advisable to consult with your physician before engaging in the use of any type of drugs.

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Benefits and Dangers of Taking Kava

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kava plant leaf alternative medicine

One of the folk medicines commonly used by South Pacific Islanders is a root called Kava or kava kava. In this article, we will discuss some of the important information about this emerging plant-based substance, its effects to human health, and the buzz surrounding it.

What is Kava?

Kava is also known as piper methysticum. Its roots and stems are made into non-alcoholic beverages commonly enjoyed socially and in ceremonies for many centuries in Fiji, Hawaii and Tonga.

Due to its calming effect, its action is very much similar to anti-anxiety drug like diazepam. It also has the ability to prevent convulsions and aid in muscle relaxation. Kava is prepared as a tea, and is also available in powder or tincture forms.

Kava is also known in the following names:

  • Lewena
  • Yaqona
  • Grog
  • Sakau
  • ‘awa
  • ‘ava
  • Wati

Kava comes in different forms such as:

  • Drops
  • Extracts
  • Capsules
  • Brownish-colored drinks
  • Brown powder

Uses of Kava

The calming effect from taking kava may relieve the following conditions:

  • Stress-related symptoms such as muscle tension and spasm
  • Restlessness
  • Sleeplessness
  • Anxiety
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Migraine
  • Epilepsy
  • Leprosy (skin application)
  • Muscle pain
  • Venereal disease

What is good about kava is that when it is used to treat anxiety or stress, it does not interfere with mental sharpness. Kava contains compounds that are responsible for the psychoactive qualities in the brain that offers a non-narcotic action against anxiety. This means that it is safe to use compared to the usual prescribed antidepressants.

Duke University Medical Center discovered in a study that apart from it being effective is that it doesn’t produce dependence or adverse effects in blood pressure, heart rate or sexual function. It is a good candidate for future research as treatment in improving attention disorders in children.

Another study showed that kava may be helpful for women who are going through menopause. One of the significant symptoms of menopausal women is having mood swings. Using kava may somehow help them to have a more pleasant mood without affecting the therapeutic actions of estrogen. It was also found out that it has helped increased libido among menopausal women.

The government spends a huge budget in treating addiction. Some studies have shown that using kava as a treatment for addiction may be an effective and inexpensive solution. Kava can help in reducing drug cravings with the help of a compound called kavapyrones.

When it is taken as a sleep aid, it generally promotes deep sleep without affecting restful REM sleep.

The only thing that should be strictly avoided is taking kava with alcohol, which may produce unfavorable effects like impaired reflexes, increased drowsiness and risk of liver damage. Meanwhile, taking kava with antidepressant induces sedation.

How is Kava prepared?

Kava is prepared by placing both roots and stem into a sack, submerging them in water, and squeezing out its juice into a bowl. The liquid extract may be placed in individual cups for drinking.

Its effect is experienced shortly after taking one to two cups. It has an earthy flavor which may take time to get used to.

How safe is Kava?

Experts in studying kava recommend using it not more than three months; otherwise, it may lead to liver failure. Prior to taking kava, you should be aware of the following facts:

  • It is strictly not allowed to take kava along with alcohol or any kind of psychotropic medications because they can exaggerate the sedative effects of the plant-based substance.
  • The effect of kava may differ in every individual. Therefore, it may be unsafe to drive or operate heavy machinery when kava has been taken.
  • The effect of kava may decrease with prolonged use.
  • Although kava may provide some relief on certain conditions, one of its common side effects is the yellowing of the hair, skin and nails.
  • It may also cause some allergic skin reactions.

Long-term use of kava may lead to:

  • Liver problems
  • Scaly rash (but can be treated using topical ointments)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Facial swelling
  • Alteration of blood cells
  • Reduced immunity to infection
  • Visual changes
  • Kidney damage
  • Loss of appetite
  • May worsen symptoms of pre-existing mental disorder
  • Loss of drive and motivation

The Food and Drug Authority (FDA) warns individuals who may already have liver problems to consult with their doctors prior to taking kava supplements. Liver disease may cause dark-colored urine and at the same time may have yellowing of both skin and the sclera of the eyes.

Being a depressant, kava is not advised to be taken by the following:

  • Children
  • Pregnant women
  • Breastfeeding mother
  • People with pre-existing heart, liver or lung problems
  • People who are driving or operating heavy machineries

The effect of kava depends on the following factors:

  • The age, weight and overall health
  • If taken with other medications
  • The amount of kava taken
  • The strength of kava

Benefits of Kava

Kava is seen to be a great alternative to traditional medication to treat the following:

  • Reduction of tumor size found in the prostate due to certain elements found in kava that inhibits the growth of some deficient cell lines.
  • Improvement of the immune system because of the presence of flavokawains extract with anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Kava has been reported to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties by enhancing antitumor immunity.
  • It is a non-hypnotic anxiolytic that can treat anxiety.
  • It aids in enjoying better sleep.

Disadvantages of Kava

Kava may provide relief on certain conditions however if it is inadvertently used, such negative effects ensue.

  • There is a possibility for kava to be abused, with reports saying that some people are using kava for recreational purposes.
  • Using herbal medicine along with retroviral drugs may cause viral resistance.
  • There have been reports of liver problems in individuals taking kava even for a short period of time. It is recommended to undergo frequent liver tests to ensure that the liver is healthy.
  • It may be unsafe to drive or operate heavy machinery when you have taken kava with alcohol as it aggravates the effect of sedation, which may cause vehicular accidents.

Conclusion

Kava is a relatively new substance that is gaining traction as alternative medication. While the substance is legal in the U.S., users should be aware of the pros and cons of using kava for their health concerns.

Helpful Links and Sources

http://www.howsleepworks.com/types_rem.html

http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-diseases-liver-failure

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26789234

https://draxe.com/kava-root

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-872-kava.aspx?activeingredientid=872&activeingredientname=kava

http://www.drvikram.com/kava-kava.php

http://www.herbmuseum.ca/content/kava-kava-aphrodisiac

[Image from Forest & Kim Starr]

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Graphic Labels in Cigarette Packs May Lower Death Rates in U.S., Says Study

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The printing of graphic images on warning labels and cigarette packages that visually depict the health consequences of smoking is now being implemented in the U.S. market. Tobacco packaging with warning messages and graphic images are implemented in an effort to reach the public’s awareness of the health consequences and harmful effects of smoking.

Earlier studies confirmed that cigarette packages that contain graphic photographs of smokers work as an effective smoking deterrent.

According to a news report, the new cigarette packages could potentially save more than 650,000 lives and can also prevent preterm births and low birth weight by the year 2065. The new study authored by David Levy showcases the effectiveness of graphic images on cigarette packages. David Levy is a professor of oncology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC.

According to the study, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has incurred the cost to effectively study and develop the cost of the warning labels. The tobacco control policy model depicts an estimate that photographic warning labels in cigarette packs can reduce the smoking prevalence in the United States by 5 percent in the short-term perspective and around 10 to 12 percent in the long run.

There are various and differing opinions on the tobacco labels and packages. Some find it odd while find it extremely disturbing. The impact and effectiveness of the graphic warning labels highly depends on the perspective of the smokers and if they want to lessen the cigarette sticks they consume.

[Photo by Skirtick via Wikimedia Creative Commons]

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Study: Dogs Like To Receive Praise More Than Food

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Evidence from a recent study showed that dogs prefer to be praised by their owners rather than being offered food.

In the study, fifteen dogs were tested by brain imaging to assess their reaction to different treats. The study focused on behavioral experiments on dogs to gauge what they value more: food or words of praise.

Gregory Bern, a neuroscientist at Emory University in Atlanta, said in a news release that the study aimed to understand the bond between dogs and humans. The study concluded that out of the 13 dogs that completed the test, most of them prefer praise from their owners over food.

Emory University’s “The Dog Project” focused on investigating the evolution of dogs. The previous research project was designed to show that dogs respond more to scents of familiar people than to other people’s odors. Meanwhile, the latest research study of the team is now focusing more on identifying the dog’s ability to understand human language.

The research is indicative that dogs are hypersocial with humans, thereby creating a unique cross-species social bonding. So the next time that you and your dogs are spending quality time together, you might want to consider giving them some praise rather than giving them snacks.

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All You Need to Know About Urine Drug Testing Cheating: Tips, Tricks, Facts, Myths

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urine same day drug testing

Drug testing has become a standard procedure to ensure safety in the workplace and the assurance of healthy living. More than merely identifying the use of drugs by a person, drug tests are now used to check for drug use of job applicants, students who engage in extra-curricular activities, workers in highly sensitive jobs, and family members living in one household.

To understand the importance and value of drug testing in society, we need to discuss some of the important facts about drug abuse and drug testing.

  • According to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), close to 68 percent of identified illicit drug users are under employment.
  • The annual report entitled Monitoring The Future revealed in 2015 that 34.9 percent of 12th graders were engaged in marijuana use within the past year.
  • Here’s a very convincing figure: Roughly 95 percent of companies that conduct drug testing use urine as the test sample, based on the results of this survey.

In this age of widespread drug abuse, the need for fast and accurate drug testing has become significant, and this has led to the development of a wide variety of drug testing methods:

  • Urine drug test
  • Hair drug test
  • Blood drug test
  • Saliva drug test
  • Sweat / perspiration drug test

Urine Drug Testing: Most Common Drug Identification Method

To date, urine drug testing has emerged as the most popular drug testing method. Many individuals, companies and schools have turned to this kind of drug testing because of its various advantages:

  • Non-intrusive: Other drug testing methods require human body samples that are extracted through painful or intrusive methods. Taking a urine sample is absolutely painless.
  • Wide scope: Urine is a bodily fluid that contains a cornucopia of compounds, including drug metabolites such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine, opioids, and alcohol.
  • Reliable: Most drug compounds stay in your urine for a fairly long time. This guarantees the drug test laboratory that the contents of the urine sample won’t change over time. Of course, this happens under the assumption that the sample is properly stored and free from tampering.

Process of Urine Drug Testing

Using urine as a basis to identify drug metabolites follows a fairly easy procedure. If you’re the sample donor, here’s the basic process of how urine drug testing is conducted:

  1. You will be asked to visit a pre-assigned collection facility or sample collection area. You will receive a specimen cup, into which you will put your sample of fresh urine.
  2. For precautionary measures, the people in-charge of administering the drug test will check your bags and pockets. They may require you to leave your things in a separate room, and ask you to change into a hospital gown. Don’t be surprised if someone will be present in the bathroom with you as you take the urine sample – they will simply ensure that you’re not going to cheat the test.
  3. The collection agency will probably advise you to take the middle part of the urine stream and discard the initial and final streams. The urine is to be placed into the cup provided, which you will seal with the accompanying cover.
  4. The urine sample is labeled for proper identification and taken by the collection agency, which will then turn it over to the drug testing laboratory.
  5. The drug testing lab prepares the urine sample and determines the presence of drug metabolites using chemical analysis.
  6. After the tests are completed, the drug test results are sent to the entity who requested the testing (i.e. individual, school, or company). Depending on the situation, you might just need to wait a few moments for the results to come out.
  7. Results are usually expressed in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), and will be compared with a cutoff point. Any value above this cutoff point is a positive result, while a value lower than the cutoff is considered negative.

Cheating in Drug Tests

Nearly all companies require drug tests before hiring job applicants. Pre-employment drug testing has become one of the most controversial requirements in job hiring, because it has led many applicants to get rejected from work. As a result, some applicants – especially those who know that they just took drugs – resort to cheating their way out of drug tests.

Below are three of the most popular ways to cheat a drug test:

1. Sample dilution

Diluting a urine sample – by directly adding water to the specimen – is done to increase the proportion of water in the urine to minimize or dilute the presence of any drug metabolite. Most sample collection stations put dye in toilet bowls and shut off faucets to prevent any attempt to dilute the urine sample.

2. Ingestion of detox drinks

Flushing the body of toxins to get a negative result in drug tests is another popular trick. Manufacturers of special drinks – commonly known as detox drinks – claim to help in the process of getting rid of drug compounds by making a person urinate frequently. Some products of this kind take effect after an hour or two, and the effects usually don’t last long.

There’s reason to doubt that these detox products work, but some people vouch for its effectiveness. Of course, the secret behind these products is that you’re supposed to drink lots and lots of water for the detoxification to work. In truth, it’s the water that’s flushing out the drug compounds from your system, and not the so-called detox drink.

3. Use of synthetic urine

Synthetic urine was originally designed to calibrate drug testing equipment in preparation for testing real human urine. Unfortunately, this substance is now widely used to replace real urine in order to “hide” the drugs in a person’s body. According to synthetic urine manufacturers, the strategy works because most testing centers hardly conduct genetic analysis on the specimen.

However, what potential cheaters don’t know is that synthetic urine is not easy to sneak in. Some of the reasons include the following:

  • Strict surveillance: Collection agencies are stringent in terms of checking up on sample donors. Some centers require you to open the door while you’re dispensing the sample into the collection cup, while others inspect pockets and bags to check for fake urine.
  • Urine temperature: Freshly dispensed urine is normally between 90 and 98 degrees Fahrenheit, close to human body temperature. Unless you bring a heating device and achieve the perfect urine temperature, you really cannot get away with synthetic urine.

Drug Test Cheating Myths Debunked

Due to the wide implementation of drug tests in many areas of society, it’s not surprising that a lot of hearsay and beliefs may muddle the truth. Let us discuss some of the most common myths surrounding drug tests, and the real score behind each of them.

Myth 1: Passing a drug test is required in all companies that you plan to work in.

Probably due to the global emphasis on the importance of drug tests, one popular misconception is that all companies require their workers to undergo and pass a drug test. In a sense, the truth comes in terms of some companies requiring a drug test from job applicants and new employees.

However, the operative word here is “all”. Not all companies treat drug testing as a requirement. Most business owners in the field of medicine, engineering and construction may implement this, but companies in other fields of specialization may not be that strict when it comes to drug use. Of course, their general leniency comes with the assumption that you’re not going to use drugs during office time.

Myth 2: You can use homemade remedies that can guarantee a negative drug test result.

The Internet is a rich source of information about drug testing, but some of the online content may not be accurate or even true. If you read somewhere that drinking cranberry juice or increasing your intake of certain vitamins can affect the integrity of drug test results, think again. Many of these “truths” are merely tall tales of people who claim to have the secret homemade formula to cheat a drug test.

To date, there has been no concrete research on the effectiveness of homemade remedies to render a drug test result inaccurate. Relying on this kind of fallacy could spell disaster on your next drug test.

Myth 3: Drink lots and lots of water in order to hide and dilute drug metabolites in your urine sample.

Let’s be clear: Diluting the drug compounds in urine by drinking lots of water is actually true. Drinking water in excessive amounts can effectively reduce the concentration of drug metabolites (such as THC from marijuana). However, this strategy also dilutes the natural components of your urine, which the testing lab can detect. For instance, an extremely low concentration of creatinine in urine is considered a warning sign of drug test cheating.

Myth 4: Intense physical activity can increase your chances of passing a drug test.

Attempting to cheat a drug test is really a gamble, and this particular strategy is like playing a poor set of cards in a game of poker. Exercise improves the normal circulation of the body and enhances the removal of toxins – and drug compounds – from the body. However, this will work only if the drug test is roughly a month away.

Unfortunately, many of the drug tests in companies are unannounced and unscheduled. You may not be able to predict when the next drug test would be conducted, and so you wouldn’t know exactly when you should start exercising intensely. Would you really risk the chance of getting caught?

Myth 5: Compounds from marijuana stay in your body for a predetermined time, regardless of the cannabis variety

In the same manner that equal amounts of skimmed milk and full-cream milk have different fat contents, marijuana varieties also differ in THC concentration. Don’t think for a second that all marijuana products are created equal, because that will affect how you face drug tests.

Abstinence is still the best way to ensure a negative drug test. However, if you really have the urge to use marijuana, make sure that you know how strong it is.

Precautionary Measures To Prevent Cheating In Drug Tests

Drug testing has become a norm especially in the corporate world. Most companies conduct drug screening to ensure that the workplace is safe and that the business is being run by competent people as they make critical decisions for the company.

Since more companies are now implementing drug testing policies, cheating is a natural response by some employees. However, even though people have developed several ways to cheat, company owners should be alert and one step ahead of drug test cheaters.

Here are some tips to protect companies from potential cheating in drug tests:

  1. Follow a random and unannounced drug testing schedule. Surprising employees with a drug test will not give them room to use tricks such as diluting their urine samples with water or taking detox drinks (which need an hour or so to take effect). On-the-spot drug testing is a good and effective way to catch drug users off guard.
  2. Monitor check in times at collection sites. As the superior or the HR representative, you should be aware of the distance of the collection site from the employee workstations, as well as the duration of travel to and from the testing site. You can look into these things to check if there is dishonesty in your employees, because any delay gives a hint that they’re doing something malicious within the long time delay.
  3. Use different testing methods. Sticking to just one kind of specimen to test for drugs can give employees the opportunity to cheat. Feel free to use different drug testing sample specimens such as urine, hair, saliva and blood. This way, employees would be cornered from doing anything to fake the drug test.
  4. Invite collectors to come on site. Restricting the employees to go outside the company premises for drug test sample collection can reduce the incidence of cheating. Arrange the collection agency to visit your workplace instead.

Conclusion

Because of the stringent measures that drug testing entails – and the stigma that people experience when they test positive for drug use – many people resort to cheating. Whatever your status is – a company owner or an employee, a school administrator or a student, a parent or a child – it is important to note that there is no easy way to cheat a drug test. In fact, we can all say that cheating a drug test is a futile endeavor.

The best way to pass a drug test is to not take drugs. Period.

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Employees With Economic Instability More Prone to Drinking After Work Hours

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Many studies in the past have revealed that people who lose their jobs have a higher risk of engaging in alcohol consumption. However, new research sheds light into a possibly similar trend with those who have kept their jobs but during economic instability.

Based on a recent study by researchers from the Research Institute on Addictions at the University at Buffalo in New York, alcohol consumption increased in employees during a time of economic recession. The study by Michael Frone and colleagues conducted surveys of more than 5,000 U.S employees, close to half of which were asked before the recent U.S. recession, and the rest asked after the economic downtrend. The survey was conducted over the phone.

Results showed that people who had work during and after the recession had a higher likelihood to drink alcohol outside work hours than those working prior to the economic struggle. “Despite the increased stress at work that came with the recession, employees decreased their alcohol use during the workday to avoid putting their employment in jeopardy… But perhaps to reduce stress, they increased both excessive alcohol use and drinking right after work,” Frone said in a news release.

The figures were most prominent in middle-age workers, who drank more frequently than the younger generation of employees.

The research team believes that the results of their study reveal a disturbing and vicious cycle for employees working during an economic crisis. “Excessive drinking can lead to absenteeism or coming to work hung over, which can affect productivity. Also, increased drinking after work may lead to family problems, which can affect performance at work,” Frone added.

The study was published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

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Kids who take Medication for ADHD Twice as Likely to be Bullied

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As if they didn’t have enough problems dealing with their disorder, middle and high school students who have been diagnosed with  attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are twice as likely to be bullied as those who have not been diagnosed with the disorder.

A University of Michigan study has found that students taking medication like Ritalin and other stimulants were twice as likely to be bullied as students without ADHD while those who sold or shared their medications were four-and-a-half times likelier to be victimized. This was true for both genders.

For the study, research assistant professor Dr. Quyen Epstein-Ngo and her colleagues surveyed nearly 5,000 middle and high school students over four years. About 15% had been diagnosed with ADHD while nearly 4% had been prescribed Ritalin or another stimulant within the past year. Of those who took pills, 20% said they’d been asked to sell or share them, and about half of the students did share or sell their pills with others.

The University of Michigan researchers recommend a closer collaboration between parents and doctors to ensure effective treatment of ADHD children without increasing their risk for victimization.

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