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Download PDF Copy   March 27, 2018

While cigarette smoking has long been on the decline, marijuana use is on the rise and, disproportionately, marijuana users also smoke cigarettes. A new study by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the City University of New York reports that cannabis use was associated with an increased initiation of cigarette smoking among non-cigarette smokers. They also found adults who smoke cigarettes and use cannabis are less likely to quit smoking cigarettes than those who do not use cannabis. Former smokers who use cannabis are also more likely to relapse to cigarette smoking. Results are published online in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The analyses were based on data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions in 2001-2002 and 2004-2005, and responses from 34,639 individuals to questions about cannabis use and smoking status.

"Developing a better understanding of the relationship between marijuana use and cigarette use transitions is critical and timely as cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of premature death and disease, and use of cannabis is on the rise in the U.S.," said Renee Goodwin, PhD, in the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, and senior author.

The study suggests that marijuana use--even in the absence of cannabis use disorder (characterized by problematic use of cannabis due to impairment in functioning or difficulty quitting or cutting down on use)--is associated with increased odds of smoking onset, relapse, and persistence. As cannabis use is much more common than cannabis use disorder, its potential impact on cigarette use in the general community may be greater than estimates based on studies of cannabis use disorder alone, according to the researchers.

An earlier study by Goodwin and colleagues showed that the use of cannabis by cigarette smokers had increased dramatically over the past two decades to the point where smokers are more than 5 times as likely as non-smokers to use marijuana daily.

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The UK Mail on Sunday  PUBLISHED:  25 March 2018  

Britain could set off a schizophrenia timebomb if it ignores the dangers of super-strength ‘skunk’ cannabis, one of the UK’s most eminent psychiatrists warns today.

Strong evidence now shows that smoking potent forms of the Class B drug increases the chance of psychosis, paranoid delusions and schizophrenia.

But too many people – from teenagers to top officials – have little idea of the terrible toll it can take on the mind, says Professor Sir Robin Murray.

Prof Murray, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, said: ‘I don’t think any serious researcher or psychiatrist would now dispute that cannabis consumption is a component cause of psychosis.’

He warned that:

  • MRI scans show long-term use of skunk can shrink a vital part of the brain;
  • The substance – now dominant on Britain’s streets – is four times stronger on average than cannabis smoked in the past;
  • A clear majority of studies show those who regularly smoke cannabis are at ‘significant increased risk’ of developing psychosis or schizophrenia-like illness;
  • Heavy users of skunk are up to four times more likely than non-users to develop psychotic symptoms.

MRI scans reveal that long-term use of skunk shrinks the hippocampus – the part of the brain essential for regulating emotions and long-term memory – by 11 per cent 

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By Lynn Allison  -  16 Mar 2018 

A major new study claims that smoking marijuana dramatically increases a person’s risk of suffering a heart attack and other cardiovascular events. The study authors, along with top cardiologists across the country, are calling for more research into the use of medicinal and recreational cannabis in light of the startling new evidence.

Researchers found that over a 5-year period, regular users as young as in their early 30s were 4.6 times more likely to have a cardiac-related illness than those who did not smoke the drug.

Scientists from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio presented their findings at the recent American College of Cardiology (ACC) conference held in Washington, D.C.

While most medical concerns over the use of cannabis have been linked to mental disorders and depression, researchers also discovered a link between marijuana use and increased risk of stroke and heart failure.

“Even when we corrected for known risk factors, we still found a higher rate of both stroke and heart failure in those patients using the drug,” says Dr. Aditi Kalla, a cardiologist at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. “That leads us to believe that there is something else going on besides just obesity and or diet-related cardiovascular side effects.

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EXECUTIVE HIGHLIGHTS:  Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana in 2012, followed by Alaska and Oregon in 2014. The District of Columbia legalized cultivation and possession in 2014. Today’s highly potent marijuana represents a growing and significant threat to public health and safety, a threat that is amplified by a new marijuana industry intent on profiting from heavy use. State laws allowing marijuana have, in direct contradiction to federal law, permitted this industry to flourish, influencing both policies and policy makers. While the consequences of these policies will not be known for decades, early indicators are troubling. This report, reviewed by prominent scientists and researchers, serves as an evidence-based guide to what we currently observe in various states.  

For Full report see attached PDF

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SARA BRITTANY SOMERSET   March 12, 2018

The United Nations International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) recently issued its 2017 annual report, and the takeaway with regard to cannabis is clear: The INCB is deeply concerned with the spread of adult-use legalization.

Countries pursuing legalization are acting in 'clear violation' of the UN's 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, says the International Narcotics Control Board.

The report contains stern warnings, accusing countries like Uruguay of acting in “clear violation” of global drug control accords.

The Board, which monitors compliance with international drug control treaties, is made up of individuals, not U.N. member states. That’s meant to protect it from political pressure. The Board’s charter also stipulates, however, that it must include individuals with “medical, pharmacological or pharmaceutical experience.” That means Big Pharma is well represented, while advocates for cannabis legalization—whether medical or adult-use—have no seat at the table.

International drug control treaties, signed by most member states decades ago, are meant to prohibit the proliferation and non-medical use of dangerous drugs. Cannabis is specifically covered under most of the treaties.

However, in recent years countries like Uruguay have legalized and regulated the non-medical use of cannabis. Canada is planning to legalize later this year. In the United States, nine states and the District of Columbia have implemented some form of adult-use legalization.

That does not sit well with the INCB. “Governments and jurisdictions in North America have continued to pursue policies with respect to the legalization of the use of cannabis for non-medical purposes, in violation of the 1961 Convention as amended,” states the Board’s 2017 report.

Warnings to Uruguay, Jamaica

The Board strongly cautioned Uruguay, which legalized cannabis nationally in 2013, and currently sells cannabis in pharmacies, that the nation is “acting in clear violation” of the drug treaties.

“The limitation of the use of controlled substances to medicinal and scientific purposes is a fundamental principle to which no derogation is permitted under the 1961 Convention as amended,” the INCB report says.

The U.N. board members also criticized Jamaica for legalizing cannabis for religious use three years ago. Cannabis is considered a religious sacrament among adherents of the Rastafarian religion. Rastafarians take their spiritual name from Ras Tafari Makonnen Woldemikael, (Emperor Haile Selassie I, of Ethiopia). Selassie is considered a direct descendent of King Solomon.

While the U.N. claims to promote global religious tolerance, the INCB strongly disagrees with the religious nature of the rasta cannabis ceremony.

“The Board reminds the Government of Jamaica, and all other parties, that under article 4, paragraph (c), of the 1961 Convention as amended, only the medical and scientific use of cannabis is authorized, and that use for any other purposes, including religious, is not permitted,” the report states. 

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