Posts tagged with ‘marijuana’
Marijuana refers to any number of preparations of the Cannabis plant intended for use as a psychoactive drug. The typical herbal form of marijuana consists of the flowers, leaves, and stalks of female plants. The resinous form of the drug is known as hashish (or hash). The major psychoactive chemical compound in marijuana is THC. Aside from a subjective change in perception and mood, the most common short-term physical and neurological effects include increased heart rate, lowered blood pressure, impairment of short-term episodic memory, working memory, psychomotor coordination, and concentration. Long-term effects are less clear, although marijuana use has been assessed by several studies to be correlated with the development of anxiety, psychosis, and depression.
If being called “Dad” is on your bucket list, studies say there are a few things you can do to get those sperm in fighting shape: exercise more, eat fewer fats, watch less TV (really), and lay off the marijuana.
A team of researchers from some of the nation’s leading universities looked at data from tens of thousands of Americans and found that high marijuana intake is often accompanied by serious psychological problems, chief among them a condition known as social anxiety disorder (SAD).
A Team of Experts
The research team members were Dr. Franklin Schneier of Columbia University, Dr. Julia Buckner of Louisiana State University, Dr. Carlos Blanco of New York State Psychiatric Institute and Dr. Richard Heimberg of Temple University. Together they reviewed data collected through the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Full Story
Brief intervention is a general term used to describe short sessions of counseling or advice designed to educate people about various critical health issues. Substance abuse and addiction experts sometimes deliver information in this form in order to help reduce or eliminate an individual’s use of drugs or alcohol. In a study published in October 2013 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers from four U.S. institutions examined the effectiveness of brief interventions in reducing the impact of cannabis use among U.S. teenagers. Some of the interventions under consideration were administered via computer, while others came directly from a therapist.
Cannabis (marijuana, hashish and hashish oil) is widely known as one of the world’s most popular recreational substances. Current evidence indicates that an individual’s expectations about the pros and cons of using the drug strongly influence that individual develops a regular pattern of intake. In a study published in January 2014 in the journal Addiction, researchers from several Australian institutions examined how a person’s belief that he or she controls participation in cannabis use alters his or her opinion on the drug’s benefits and harms.
The United Nations has spoken publicly against new U.S. laws that make marijuana use legal in a few states. The U. N. official who heads up international drug monitoring has said that the new laws pave the way for increased recreational marijuana use. With drugs representing a significant health problem around the world, the U.N. ambassadors do not see decriminalization as a step in the right direction. Full Story
Binge drinking in the United States is a problem that continues to get grow. Not only does 23 percent of the population exceed the regular amount of daily drinks, but also many of the 23 percent are not even of legal age to consume. About 8 percent of underage drinkers illegally get drunk every week.
The Risks of Binge Drinking
In a recent study of states with the highest amount of binge drinkers, North Dakota took first place at 29.7 percent, while the District of Columbia followed in at 29.96 percent. Other states rounding out the top five are Wisconsin, Iowa, and Rhode Island. The state with the lowest percentage of binge drinkers is Utah with 14 percent. The average number across the United States is 23.4 percent.
Studies have shown that binge drinking can lead to many health problems. The risk of heart disease and diabetes are much higher, not to mention all the extra calories that are added to your body. If a woman finishes a bottle of wine in one sitting, that bottle can add up to four inches around the waist. The same habit for men can add up to two extra inches.
Drug Abuse Trends
While binge drinking is increasing at a high rate, another problem that is burdening the U.S. is the use of illicit drugs. In a recent report, it was found that in the past month, 6.4 percent of Americans and 10.8 percent in the past year have used marijuana.
When each individual state was looked at, it was discovered that Alaska had the highest rate of illicit drugs used in America at 13.5, and Rhode Island followed close behind with 12.6 percent. Vermont, Oregon, and Hawaii were also in the top five. The state with the lowest number of illicit drug users was Iowa with 5.29 percent. The average among all of the states is a staggering 8.3 percent.
In another report from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it was shown that since the rates of drug use and binge drinking have risen, so has the rate of mental health disorders. Nearly 9 percent of all Americans have become dependent on illegal drugs or alcohol. In Americans over the age of 18, it was also reported that fewer than 5 percent have had a severe mental illness. Rhode Island is leading the count with 7.2 percent. Following are Hawaii and South Dakota, with the lowest reported numbers at 3.5 percent.
Illegal drugs are becoming such a big problem that tobacco is being seen as less risky. Smoking and tobacco use have fallen in the past two years, from 9.5 percent to now only 9 percent. Unfortunately more dangerous drugs, like cocaine and prescription drugs are becoming more of a problem and need greater attention and treatment.
Many teens use marijuana regularly and believe that it is a harmless drug with few addictive properties. Recently, however, research has been increasingly showing an association between marijuana and psychosis, and some research shows a connection between marijuana use and other risky behaviors.
A new study published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors shows that even a short, minimal intervention could significantly reduce a teen’s use of the drug. Because most high school students report that they have access to marijuana, and nearly a third report smoking it, the technique may be a powerful tool in reducing marijuana use in the United States.
Denise Walker, co-director of the University of Washington’s Innovative Programs Research Group, and colleagues examined the impact of motivational conversations with teenagers to help them reduce marijuana use. While many teens use marijuana without experiencing problems, explains Walker, there are others who use it regularly and are looking for a way to stop.
Walker and co-authors conducted two sessions of Teen Marijuana Check-Up at schools, in which they described myths and facts about marijuana, along with common reasons why teens use marijuana and the risks associated with the behavior.
As part of the presentation, Walker told the students about the study, and students could volunteer privately to become a participant. Walker says that many teens have concerns about marijuana use, even if they are not discussing these concerns with family or peers. The opportunity offered by the study gave the teens a convenient way to think through the pros and cons of drug use in a way that did not shame them for their use.
The presentation was originally given to approximately 7,100 students, of which 619 volunteered for the study and 310 met the criteria for participation. The participants, all high school students in Seattle public schools, attended two one-on-one sessions with health educators.
The students were given one of two types of approaches. One approach was motivational interviewing, which provided the student a session with a health educator. The discussion centered on the student’s marijuana use and how it might be affecting the student’s life. The health educator also shared with the student about social norms of how much others use marijuana.
The second approach featured a PowerPoint presentation which described current marijuana research, and the health and psychological effects of marijuana use.
The students who were given motivational interviewing decreased marijuana use by 20 percent, from using marijuana 40 out of the previous 60 days to using it only 32 out of 60 days. Those who observed the PowerPoint presentation had slower progress, reporting an 8 percent decrease in marijuana use.
The results of the study support the benefit of even short, minimal education and intervention plans to help reduce marijuana use among teens.
Daily marijuana use can lead to more than just a mellow disposition. According to a new Emory University study, such use in adolescence may hasten the onset of symptoms leading up to psychosis.
Joyce started smoking marijuana when she was 15. It started as a pleasant escape and then turned into an obsession, something she needed just to get through the day. She found herself hiding her addiction from her family, friends, and co-workers.
“I would come home from work, close my door, have my bong, my food, my music, and my dog, and I wouldn’t see another person until I went to work the next day,” Joyce told the New York Times. “What kind of life is that? I did that for 20 years.”