Colorado Gives D.C. a Reason to Tread Carefully on Recreational Marijuana
When children steal cookies from the cookie jar, they usually suffer little more than a scolding. When those cookies contain cannabis, it’s a different story: According to a study published Monday, exposure to marijuana among children in Colorado has increased in the two years since the state began selling the drug legally — and so have the emergency-room visits that follow.
Colorado gave the green light to medical marijuana in 2000. In 2012, the state sanctioned recreational use, and by January 2014, dispensary store shelves were stocked with potent products of all shapes and sizes. Since then, marijuana-related trips to children’s care centers have almost doubled, though incidence overall remains low. Edibles in particular seem to entice unsuspecting children who think they are sneaking everyday snacks, though secondhand smoke is also a culprit. After accidental marijuana consumption, most children simply become sleepy. In the worst of cases, they can end up intubated.
It’s possible that reports have risen in Colorado in part because doctors are more aware of the problem and parents less reluctant to admit to having marijuana in their homes. But the trend, which holds true in states with similar laws, deserves attention — not least because it could teach legislators considering decriminalization in other localities to exercise caution.
Read more at The Washington Post.
One Minute of Secondhand Marijuana Smoke Impairs Cardiovascular Function
One minute of exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) from marijuana diminishes blood vessel function to the same extent as tobacco, but the harmful cardiovascular effects last three times longer, according to a new study in rats led by UC San Francisco researchers.
In a healthy animal, increased blood flow prompts arteries to widen, a process known as flow-mediated dilation (FMD). When FMD is compromised, as happens during SHS exposure, blood flow is impeded, and the risks of heart attack, atherosclerosis and other heart problems increase, said UCSF’s Matthew Springer, Ph.D., professor of medicine and senior author of the new study.
“Your blood vessels can carry more blood if they sense that they need to pass more blood to the tissues,” Springer said. “They dilate to allow more blood through. But that’s inhibited by exposure to smoke.”
Read more at the University of California, San Francisco.
Marijuana Legalization Might Be Fix to Nation’s Opioid Problems
Proponents of marijuana prohibition have long alleged that experimentation with pot acts as a “gateway” to the use and eventual abuse of other illicit substances. But the results of a just released national poll finds that most Americans no longer believe this claim to be true.
According to survey data compiled by YouGov.com, fewer than one in three US citizens agree with the statement, “the use of marijuana leads to the use of hard drugs.” Among those respondents under the age of 65, fewer than one in four agree.
Their skepticism is well warranted. In fact, science has long discredited gateway theory. More than two decades ago, the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine reported “there is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other drugs.”
More recently, Rand Corporation issued a report titled “Reassessing the Marijuana Gateway Effect.” The report affirmed that “marijuana has no causal influence over hard drug initiation.” …
Read more at The Hill.
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