Medical Marijuana Pregnancy & Fertility

Secondhand Marijuana Smoke Exposure Evident In Infant Urine, Says Study

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Marijuana has emerged as one of the most popular psychoactive drugs because of its multiple effects that include mood changes, altered state and perception of mind, euphoria and hallucinations. Amidst the ongoing debate regarding the safety and legality of cannabis use, a new study discovered a possible danger of secondhand marijuana smoke.

In a study published in the Pediatric Research Journal last December 2, researchers concluded that children exposed to marijuana smoke are at a higher risk of health problems in later years. Children can be exposed to marijuana by breathing in marijuana smoke or eating foods that might contain cannabis, as reported in a news release.

According to the study, secondhand smoke is taken from end of the joint and by breathing in the exhaled smoke. When children ingest cannabis, they might experience lethargy and sleepiness. Some other symptoms might also include blood-shot eyes, dry mouth and anxiety.

Meanwhile, children who inhale marijuana smoke might show symptoms of asthma attacks and lung irritation. The symptoms can last up to 24 hours. As of this time, there are no reported fetal and child deaths from marijuana poisoning.

Nevertheless, if your child shows this symptom, make sure to contact the local poison center.


Substance Abuse

Teen Smoking and Drug Use Rates At An All-Time Low

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Researchers from the National Institute of Drug Abuse released some favorable results of their survey regarding teen smoking and drug use. Compared to figures from last year, there has been a significant decrease in smoking among 8th graders to 10th graders.

The decline in the number of drug users from the mentioned age group may also be brought about the decline of cigarette smoking. It is very likely that individuals who smoke also tend to do drugs and alcohol. According to researchers, it is hard to pinpoint what really caused the decline, but this is already good news by itself.

For the past months, a lot of reports have linked illicit drug use with numerous deaths. Fortunately, there has been a huge difference in the number of users from the same age group from 40 years ago. The use of drugs has declined among teens, which should be a good sign that the youth of today are becoming more cautious with their way of life.

In addition, there is a significant decline in prescription drug abuse as well as marijuana use, which continues to plague a lot of people in the U.S. and all around the world.

Here are some more results from the survey, as reported in a news release:

  • Only 1.8% among high school seniors smoke a half pack of cigarette compared to 11% from 1991.
  • The use of e-cigarettes among high school seniors has dropped from 16% last year to 12% this year.
  • Teens are getting more sober than ever, having the lowest level at 37.3% among 12th graders compared from a high of 53.2% back in 2001.

One theory for this may be brought about by the proliferation of online games that have kept children busy. Jonathan Caulkins, a drug policy researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, said that relationships between teenagers and their parents may have become better compared to relationships from the past generations.


Substance Abuse

Synthetic Cannabinoid AMB-FUBINACA Caused New York ‘Zombies’ Last Summer

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After the scary effects of synthetic marijuana were put on full display in New York City around the middle of 2016, a group of researchers from the University of California, San Francisco discovered the exact culprit.

In a report based on the mass casualty case last summer in Brooklyn, the synthetic cannabinoid AMB-FUBINACA was identified as the chemical that led to overdose and death. The report, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, based the findings on urine and blood samples from victims of the apparent zombie apocalypse in New York City during that time. The compound is said to be 85 times stronger than the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that naturally occurs in cannabis plants.

Report co-author and University of California, San Francisco clinical chemist Roy Gerona explained that the rise in the use of synthetic marijuana may be caused by its nomenclature. “There is this false idea out there that these drugs are safe, because no one overdoses on marijuana,” Gerona said in a news article.

AMB-FUBINACA now joins the ranks of K2 and Spice in the notorious class of synthetic cannabis variants that cause heightened health risks in people. The compound was developed by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which abandoned the drug without pursuing human trials.


Medical Marijuana

Incoming U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and His Stand on Marijuana and Drugs

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Several states in the U.S. have voted to legalize medical marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD) to increase the options for current medical treatments which communities have access to. At present, marijuana still falls under the Schedule I classification — an identification among drugs that have no medical use, and should never be considered as treatment for medical conditions even for serious cases.

It should be remembered that during his campaign, Donald Trump was consistent in his stand that marijuana legalization will depend on the decision of the states. However, on November 18, Trump nominated Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to hold the position as U.S. Attorney General, which may turn the tides as the senator from Alabama is known for his antagonistic view on marijuana. With his new designation, Sessions has also come to forward his challenge for the states and people who are for the use of recreational and medical marijuana.

The general public is now wondering what will happen to the ongoing clamor for the legalization of medical marijuana, given that a number of debates claim that its use contributes a lot to the medical sector. Will the incoming Trump administration give full support to the cause of Sessions? Is this administration going to launch a war against marijuana? Is Trump’s pick to take on the job as U.S. Attorney General already the answer to the questions above?

Given that 100 percent of Americans live in a country where weed is still prohibited by federal law, U.S. states – especially those that have recently approved recreational and medical marijuana – are waiting for what is about to happen to their decision.

Who is Jeff Sessions?

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has been nominated for the position of U.S. Attorney General by incoming President Donald Trump, following former AGs Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, who are both African Americans.

Sessions graduated with a Juris Doctorate degree from Alabama School of Law in the year 1973. Before entering politics, Sessions practiced law in Alabama, and also served in the United States Army Reserve until the year 1986. He has sponsored bills that are related to health, immigration, international affairs, economics, and public finance. Sessions is a Republican senator from Alabama, who has served the country for two decades.

Before he expressed his support to Trump, he is known as a senator who has conservative perspectives on major issues like the U.S. pro-life movement, reforms on immigration, and same-sex marriage.

As his personal response to fight crimes in the country, he authored the Coverdell National Forensic Sciences Improvement Law of 2000 wherein additional funds were authorized to be used for blood and DNA tests that are critical in the investigation of pending crimes. Serving in the senate for two decades has earned him several awards, which include the American Conservative Union Award for Conservative Excellence, the Watchdogs of the Treasury Golden Bulldog Award, the Coalition of Republican Environment Advocates Teddy Roosevelt Environmental Award, and the Alabama Farmers Federation Service to Agriculture Award.

Because of his exemplary passion and commitment to his duty, Session was elected in the Senate for his fourth term, getting roughly 97 percent of the total votes at that time.

His Stand on Marijuana and Other Drugs

Sessions is known for his strong opposing view on marijuana, earning the dub as one of the “steadfast drug warriors” in the U.S. He has made a mark for his stand against the use of the drug, but his statement that “good people don’t smoke marijuana” has created a significant outburst in the U.S., given that twenty-nine states have already voted for its legalization, specifically its medical benefits.

Being a conservative politician that he is, it is no surprise that his antagonistic view will continue, and probably this time, will be stronger and will be more aggressive, more so because of his designation as chief of the country’s Justice Department. His stand is to protect his country from the dangerous drug which, for him, does more harm than good. His call to the government consistently leans toward his view that such concern should be taken seriously, so that they can easily convince the youth not to do drugs.

In 2014, Sessions was in the news due to his criticism against FBI Director James Comey, who suggested to loosen the government’s restrictions on applicants who have tried using marijuana. In his statement, Sessions said that giving such consideration could be interpreted as an American leadership that does not put the much-needed attention to strictly prohibit marijuana.


As of this writing, Sessions has not yet discussed any of his plans to combat the use of recreational and medical marijuana. However, if he decides to push through with them, expect that he will pull all the stops to implement his plans. Most likely to become the country’s top prosecutor against drug use, Sessions is expected to have strong influence on future decisions to be made by the administration that will result to significant effects on the growing cannabis industry and the use of it.

However, given that U.S. states are focusing on resolving more pressing issues such as child pornography, financial fraud, terrorism, and firearms trafficking, states are less likely to consider cannabis as a threat to their communities.

The lack of a clear stand by Trump against drugs might still be a venue for Sessions to continue his aggressive fight against it. While Trump has applauded Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for his current initiatives to curb the issue on drugs, he still has not emphasized his full commitment to what he plans to do on U.S. soil. For some of his fellow politicians who maintain their voice in the issue, Trump is less likely to create a stand that would disappoint his supporters.

If the existing plans are going to push through, Sessions will be sworn in as the new U.S. Attorney General as soon as President-elect Donald Trump takes office on January 20, 2017.

[Imge by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Creative Commons]


Substance Abuse

Drug Policy Alliance Releases ‘Public Health and Safety Approach’ On Prescription Drug Abuse

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The Drug Policy Alliance recently offered a number of policy proposals that would provide increased access to effective treatment, extend harm reduction services, prevent further opioid misuse, and minimize the role of criminalization and incarceration and lessen racial disparities. Under the plan, the following recommendations shall be implemented:

Establish Safe Drug Consumption Services

These supervised injection facilities offer controlled health care, allow drug consumption under clinical supervision, and provide health care, counseling, and referrals to health and social services.

Implement Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion

Through Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), law enforcers are given the authority to immediately direct people to housing, treatment, and other services rather than arrest or book them for certain petty offenses. The program started and was evaluated in Seattle, Washington.

Research Heroin-Assisted Treatment (HAT)

This type of treatment involves the careful regulation and controlled administration of pharmaceutical-grade heroin to those who have failed other methods of treatment. Research have revealed that HAT is effective in reducing drug use, overdose deaths, infectious disease, and crime while saving money and promoting social integration.

The Drug Policy Alliance is aimed at ushering a new era of drug policy in the United States. In a news article, Nevada State Senator Tick Segerbiom said that elected officials should start embracing this new policy. “Elected officials must embrace evidence-based solutions to the growing epidemic if we are to start making a dent and protecting the people we serve. If we are to start making a dent and protecting the people we serve. The old solutions have failed.”


Health & Wellness Home Health Hazards

Triclosan Ban Highlights Needs For Safer Anti-Bacterial Chemicals

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Triclosan, an anti-bacterial compound commonly used in soaps and cosmetics, has been banned by the Food and Drug Administration since September 2016. In a write-up published by the American Society for Microbiology, authors Peter McNamara and Stuart Levy insisted that the triclosan ban is not the only stand-alone priority. Other factors such as triclosan’s long-term impact and the potential risks of substitute chemicals should also be given focus.

Triclosan’s use in soaps and other anti-bacterial products is widely encouraged since it is meant to target bacteria. However, its use in these products has become a growing concern since triclosan is considered one of the biggest contributors of anti-bacterial resistance. Despite the chemical’s anti-bacterial properties, bacteria can adapt and resist the chemical over time, an activity known as cross-resistance.

According to McNamara via a news article, the existence of biocides in the environment promote antibiotic resistance. Triclosan exists in rivers, lakes, sediment, and soil then adheres to biosolids, which is recycled organic matter used in agriculture. Triclosan then chooses antibiotic resistance in the microorganisms that break these biosolids down.

This is the reason why McNamara and Levy are encouraging efforts geared toward the creation of new chemicals in place of triclosan that will be safer for the environment. McNamara stated that these new chemicals should not contribute to the current problems already caused by triclosan and that it should demonstrate safe and effective qualities.


Substance Abuse

Self-Medication Using Kratom Not Advisable

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With Canada on the verge of a fentanyl crisis, drug abusers are now focusing their sights on kratom as an alternative for quitting the habit.

Kratom comes from Southeast Asia but is readily available in some shops in Canada and online stores. The plant, which is dried and available in different concentrations, is said to minimize the side effects of quitting opiates as well as opioid withdrawal.

However, Alberta Health Services psychiatrist Nicholas Mitche warned on using kratom as a way to fight addiction. In a news release, Mitche bared that taking the drug can be lethal and the user may end up in the hospital with psychotic symptoms. This is because kratom contains other undesirable compounds, and the concentrations may vary from plant to plant. The effect may also be different from one person to another.

Even if kratom can be used in fighting addiction, there is still not enough research to back it up. Mitche said that there is no scientific evidence that shows whether kratom is effective. “We do not have enough scientific evidence to know if it is effective or not. If it was regulated, we need good studies on its efficacy and risk and we just don’t have those studies.” Mitche said.

The controversial substance has been firing up the news recently, especially with the recent kratom ban lift by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

[Image courtesy of ThorPorre via Wikimedia Creative Commons]


Substance Abuse

DEA Declares Furanyl Fentanyl As Schedule I Substance

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The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has issued its final ruling in categorizing furanyl fentanyl as part of the Schedule I list under the Controlled Substances Act. The ongoing war against drugs and addiction has been growing annually as more people are becoming victims of illegal substances, and fentanyl drug abuse is no exception.

Furanyl fentanyl is a synthetic drug that acts as an opiate or painkiller. It is similar to that of morphine but can even be stronger.

The substance now joins the drug U-47700, a similarly potent and hazardous drug that has recently been placed under Schedule I by the DEA.

The agency has uncovered findings and evidences that make furanyl fentanyl an imminent health hazard. Fentanyl is a controlled substance because of its euphoric effects akin to that of heroin. Moreover, fentanyl is extremely potently and highly addictive. Even small amounts of this drug can produce euphoric high, altered state of mind, palpitation and even overdose and death.

As a Schedule I drug, fentanyl is illegal to be manufactured, distributed and possessed with intent of selling. Any person caught with this counterfeit substance will be imprisoned and would need to pay a specific fine.

According to the Controlled Substances Act, Schedule I drugs are substances with high potential of abuse and are known for their addicting properties. Another indication that a chemical substance should be listed under Schedule I is when a particular substance has no accepted medical with severe potential for drug dependence.


Substance Abuse

Rate of Naloxone Use Increasing Due To More Designer Drug Overdose Cases

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Naloxone is a medication known to reverse and block the effect of opioids such as loss of consciousness, drowsiness and shallow breathing. It is popular for emergency use in treating narcotic overdose. Recently, the rate of naloxone use has been increasing steadily especially in light of more cases of designer drug overdose.

Since the beginning of September 2016, there have been more case of naloxone rescues just in New Jersey’s Cape May, according to a news item. This is in response to the new designer drugs roaming the streets of Cape May, which has already resulted to 10 fatalities.

The new street drug causing the 97 total overdoses for this year is said to be the synthetic opioid U-47700. The fatal opioid usually comes as a mixture of fentanyl and heroin, and causes the user to have an altered state of mind. The Drug Enforcement Administration has already banned U-47700 in November this year.

According to reports, Cape May police authorities have been administering naloxone, carrying multiple doses for quick deployment.

[Image by Intropin via Wikimedia Creative Commons]


Substance Abuse

Recreational Marijuana Legalized in Four Additional U.S. States After November 8 Vote

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More states in the United States are legalizing the use, sale, possession and cultivation of marijuana, and this became more evident after the November 8 ballot wherein four additional U.S. states have voted in favor of recreational marijuana use.

Despite the inclusion of cannabis in the Schedule 1 controlled substances category, this didn’t hamper the legalization of recreational marijuana on the states of Nevada, Maine, California and Massachusetts, which voted last November 8 for the affirmative.

Here are some of the details involving the votes:

  • Massachusetts: 54 percent voted for the legalization of recreational marijuana. However, they all agreed that regularization of the drug is of utmost importance.
  • California: 56 percent voted yes to recreational pot, but legalization is limited to individuals 21 years of age and older.
  • Nevada: 54 percent voted for the legalization of cannabis for recreational use. Same as in California, Nevada is making legal the use, possession, cultivation and sale of marijuana only to people at least 21 years of age.
  • Maine: 3 percent voted for recreational marijuana use. The state of Maine only allows people over the age of 21 to use, cultivate and sell the substance.

The rest of the U.S. is waiting for the next move of the remaining states that have yet to legalize cannabis for medical or recreational purposes. Until then, marijuana remains to be illegal in these states.