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The work carried out by the Neuropharmacology Laboratory highlight the influence of environmental factors such as stress on the harmful effects of the exposure to cannabis during early ages

A new study conducted on laboratory animals shows that exposure to cannabis and stress during adolescence may lead to long-term anxiety disorders characterized by the presence of pathological fear. The work carried out by the Neuropharmacology Laboratory-NeuroPhar at Pompeu Fabra University, was led by the researchers Fernando Berrendero, now at Francisco de Vitoria University, and Rafael Maldonado, and has been published in the journal Neuropharmacology.

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The Independent - January 2019 

Teenagers who use cannabis just once or twice may end up with changes to the structure of their brain, scientists have warned.

A study, conducted by researchers at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, found that there were clear differences on brain scans between teens who said they had smoked cannabis a couple of times and those who had never tried it.

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Alex Berenson’s new book delves into research linking heavy use with violent crime and mental illness. by Stephanie Mencimer Mother Jones (San Francisco), January 5, 2019. 

It’s been a few years since Alex Berenson has “committed journalism,” as he likes to say. As a New York Times reporter, Berenson did two tours covering the Iraq War, an experience that inspired him to write his first of nearly a dozen spy novels. Starting with the 2006 Edgar Award-winning The Faithful Spy, his books were so successful that he left the Times in 2010 to write fiction full time. But his latest book, out January 8, strays far from the halls of Langley and the jihadis of Afghanistan. Tell Your Children is nonfiction that takes a sledgehammer to the promised benefits of marijuana legalization, and cannabis enthusiasts are not going to like it one bit.

The book was seeded one night a few years ago when Berenson’s wife, a psychiatrist who evaluates mentally ill criminal defendants in New York, started talking about a horrific case she was handling. It was “the usual horror story, somebody who’d cut up his grandmother or set fire to his apartment – typical bedtime chat in the Berenson house,” he writes. But then, his wife added, “Of course he was high, been smoking pot his whole life.”

Berenson, who smoked a bit in college, didn’t have strong feelings about marijuana one way or another, but he was skeptical that it could bring about violent crime. Like most Americans, he thought stoners ate pizza and played video games – they didn’t hack up family members. Yet his Harvard-trained wife insisted that all the horrible cases she was seeing involved people who were heavy into weed. She directed him to the science on the subject.

We look back and laugh at Reefer Madness, which was pretty over-the-top, after all, but Berenson found himself immersed in some pretty sobering evidence: Cannabis has been associated with legitimate reports of psychotic behavior and violence dating at least to the 19th century, when a Punjabi lawyer in India noted that 20 to 30 percent of patients in mental hospitals were committed for cannabis-related insanity. The lawyer, like Berenson’s wife, described horrific crimes – including at least one beheading – and attributed far more cases of mental illness to cannabis than to alcohol or opium. The Mexican government reached similar conclusions, banning cannabis sales in 1920 – nearly 20 years before the United States did – after years of reports of cannabis-induced madness and violent crime.

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Tell Your Children: 
The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence 
by Alex Berenson                     

(New York: Free Press, 2019) Hardcover: 272 pages ISBN: 978-1982103668 RRP: US$26.00
Book description An eye-opening report from an award-winning author and former New York Times reporter reveals the link between teenage marijuana use and mental illness, and a hidden epidemic of violence caused by the drug – facts the media have ignored as the United States rushes to legalize cannabis.

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A few years ago, the National Academy of Medicine convened a panel of sixteen leading medical experts to analyze the scientific literature on cannabis. The report they prepared, which came out in January of 2017, runs to four hundred and sixty-eight pages. It contains no bombshells or surprises, which perhaps explains why it went largely unnoticed. It simply stated, over and over again, that a drug North Americans have become enthusiastic about remains a mystery!

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A Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) study finds that one month of abstaining from cannabis use resulted in measurable improvement in memory functions important for learning among adolescents and young adults who are regular cannabis users. The study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry is one of the first to prospectively track over time changes in cognitive function associated with halting cannabis use. “Our findings provide two pieces of convincing evidence,” says Randi Schuster, PhD, director of Neuropsychology at the Center for Addiction Medicine in the MGH Department of Psychiatry, lead author of the paper. “The first is that adolescents learn better when they are not using cannabis. The second – which is the good news part of the story – is that at least some of the deficits associated with cannabis use are not permanent and actually improve pretty quickly after cannabis use stops.” 

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