Entries in marijuana (31)


Colorado Company Plans Pot-Infused Skin Care Line

Apothecanna(DENVER) -- Lavender, aloe vera, and now, marijuana?

The makers of a new line of lotions promise to light up your skin care routine with a special ingredient: cannabis.

The Denver-based company Appothecanna is taking advantage of Amendment 64, the newly-enacted law that legalizes recreational marijuana use in Colorado. Some varieties of the company’s creams, lip balm and body sprays contain cannabis flower oil, which had been illegal due to its high concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC — pot’s psychoactive ingredient.

“THC is what people resonate with, and that’s what most consumers are looking for when they are buying a product like this,” Apothecanna owner James Kennedy told ABC News.

THC-containing industrial products, such as soaps and lotions, are exempted from drug controls as long as the THC does not enter the body, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. And Kennedy claims the pot-infused products, which he refers to as the medicated line, are safe and effective without the side effects of smoking weed.

“Everything is for the skin,” he said. “It’s not meant to be inebriating in any way.  It’s added in there to enhance the properties of the other ingredients.”

Apothecanna claims the topical products have the potential to relieve pain, but medical experts have not reached a consensus when it comes to cannabis-based skin care products.

“Without definitive data demonstrating efficacy of botanical ingredients such as cannabis, more research must be done to evaluate their utility for skin conditions,” said Manhattan-based dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner, an assistant professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York.

The pot-enhanced products carry a disclaimer that they’re “not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”

Apothecanna produces a separate line of products containing cannabis seed oil, which, unlike the flower oil, is low in THC but high in skin-soothers.

“The seeds of the cannabis plant are rich in nutrients and essential fatty acids,” said dermatologist Zeichner. “The oils can help hydrate the skin and improve skin barrier function.”

Kennedy said the cannabis seed oil creams do not produce a “high” or show up on a drug test, but claims the “calming creme” can reduce stress and soothe muscles, while the “stimulating” version can firm the skin and energize the mind.

But Colorado residents eager to work more weed into their skin care regimen will have to wait: the cannabis flower oil-based products are only available to medical marijuana patients until retail marijuana stores are allowed to open in January 2014.

Apothecanna plans to promote its products at the Winter X-Games in Aspen, Colorado. A 2-ounce bottle of the extra-strength medicated crème is currently priced at $18.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Marijuana Use Up Among Teens, Survey Finds

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Marijuana use is on the rise among the nation's high school students, according to a survey conducted by the National Institutes of Health.  

The annual "Monitoring the Future" survey shows more than a third of high school seniors say they've tried marijuana within the past year, and views on pot are changing.  

A record low number of eighth graders believe it's harmful to occasionally smoke pot -- just 20 percent of 12th graders agree.  

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, highlights the dangers of teens not understanding the harmful effects of regular marijuana use.

"Marijuana use that begins in adolescence increases the risk they will become addicted to the drug, she says in a statement. "The risk of addiction goes from about 1 in 11 overall to about 1 in 6 for those who start using in their teens, and even higher among daily smokers."

The survey, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, also shows use of the prescription stimulant Adderall is up, but illicit drug use overall continues to decline, as tobacco use, and alcohol intake also fall.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Colorado, Washington Become First States to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In a groundbreaking move, Colorado and Washington voters have passed referendums legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The drug is still banned under federal law.

Colorado's Proposition 64 to the state's constitution makes it legal for anyone over the age of 21 to possess marijuana and for businesses to sell it.

"The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will," Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a statement. "This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don't break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly."

Amendment 64 legalized marijuana for anyone over the age of 21 at certain retail stores. Proponents believed the bill could generate millions in revenue for the state government.

A similar measure on the ballot in Washington state legalizes small amounts of marijuana for people over 21.

Even though the issues have passed, they are likely to meet legal challenges very quickly.

In 2005, the Supreme Court struck down a California law that legalized medical marijuana in the state. The Court said Congress had the power to criminalize marijuana under the Commerce Clause.

A similar ballot issue to legalize marijuana in Oregon did not pass.

In Massachusetts Tuesday night, voters approved legislation to allow marijuana for medicinal reasons, joining 17 other states that allow it.

In addition to making a presidential pick, voters in states across the country voted on a number of polarizing issues including same-sex marriage and physician-assisted suicide.

Dozens of state-wide ballot questions were posed to voters, and their implications could reverberate across state lines.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Kicking Pot Habit Can Lead to Withdrawal

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Chris M. -- who requested that his full name not be disclosed -- remembers the time in 1999 when he was caught by a security guard while smoking marijuana in a parking lot.

For him, it was a wake-up call.  Chris was no teenage stoner; he was a 38-year-old anesthesiologist.  But it was not the first time he had used marijuana.  He started smoking pot as a teenager, and by the end of his senior year he was using it every day.  Over time, his use went down, but the death of his father in 1997 led him to pick it up again.

The episode in the parking lot led Chris to rehab and a 12-step program that helped him understand the root causes of his addiction.  But the experience also led to an understanding of a process more commonly associated with so-called "harder" drugs -- withdrawal.

Chris lost his appetite, had trouble sleeping, and developed body aches.

"At the time, I didn't realize it because you chalk it up to other stuff," he said.  "Once I realized it and put two and two together, I talked to other people.  Over time, I realized what marijuana withdrawal is."

New findings show that many people can relate to his experience.  An Australian study, published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE, surveyed nearly 50 marijuana users on their withdrawal symptoms before, during and after a two-week abstinence period.  The authors showed that marijuana withdrawal symptoms can interfere with the lives of regular users who are trying to quit.

"It's very similar to what people experience with tobacco," said study co-author Alan J. Budney, a professor of psychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College in Lebanon, N.H.  "It makes you irritable.  It makes you restless.  It makes it hard to sleep."

At its worst, Budney said, withdrawal from marijuana "can be very disturbing and distressing. ... It can be enough to cause you some problems at work and home."

The researchers also found that heavy users were more likely to have worse withdrawal symptoms and were more likely to relapse during the abstinence period if their withdrawal symptoms were worse.  Subjects would also use much more marijuana in the following month if they had worse withdrawal symptoms.

The findings show that, contrary to popular belief, marijuana "behaves just like other drugs of abuse," said Scott E. Lukas, a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at Harvard Medical School and MacLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., who was not involved with the study.

"There is a common belief among the public that marijuana is not very addictive and so it is not a big problem," he said.  "It is not enough to simply say, 'I want to quit,' but, instead, the person must be able to withstand the turmoil of going through withdrawal."

Dr. A. Eden Evins, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said there are certain telltale signs that accompany marijuana withdrawal.  One of the most troublesome and common symptoms is an intense craving to use marijuana to get high, said Evins, who was not involved with the study.

People may "seem moody, tense, anxious and nervous," she said.  Other symptoms include an inability to sleep, a loss of appetite and difficulty sitting still.

The symptoms usually peak at around four days and last for two weeks, she said, but the extreme craving for marijuana is one symptom that can last longer than two weeks.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Marijuana Use Tied to Testicular Cancer Risk

iSrtockphoto/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Young men who use marijuana have a higher risk of testicular cancer, a new study found.

The study of 455 Californian men found those who had smoked pot were twice as likely to have been diagnosed with testicular germ cell tumors, the most common form of testicular cancer in men younger than 35.

"Testicular cancer is on the rise," said study author Victoria Cortessis, assistant professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles. "So we asked, 'What is it that young men are doing more frequently that could account for the increased risk?'"

Cortessis and colleagues used interviews to probe recreational drug use among 163 men diagnosed with testicular cancer and 292 healthy men of the same age, and found those who smoked marijuana had double the risk of testicular tumors compared with men who passed on grass. On top of that, their tumors tended to be faster-growing and tougher to treat.

"Most men who get testicular cancer today survive, and that's wonderful. But as a result of treatment, they may have problems with fertility or sexual function," said Cortessis. "So we're talking about the risk of developing the cancer in the first place as well as the subsequent effects of the cancer and its treatment."

The study, published today in the journal Cancer, adds to mounting evidence that smoking marijuana may have lasting effects on men's fertility and overall health.

"We now have three studies connecting marijuana use to testicular cancer, and no studies that contradict them," said Stephen Schwartz, an epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle and author of the first study linking marijuana use to testicular cancer in 2009. "I think we should start taking notice."

The National Cancer Institute estimates more than 8,500 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2012. About 360 of them will die from it.

But how marijuana affects the risk of testicular cancer is unclear. In animal studies, marijuana smoke and the cannabis chemical tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, reduce levels of circulating hormones like testosterone.

"We know testosterone is an important regulator of testes development and function," said Cortessis. "It may be that marijuana use disrupts this regulation in a way that makes the testes much more vulnerable to cancer."

Cortessis suspects boys who experiment with marijuana during puberty might be particularly susceptible. In her study, the risk of testicular cancer was higher among men who smoked less than once a week and for fewer than 10 years.

"Guys who tried it and abandoned it may have been very young," she said, adding that her study was too small to tease out age-related risks. "We plan to investigate the possibility that men who use marijuana during puberty may be especially vulnerable, which makes sense if marijuana is disrupting the hormone signaling that directs the testes to maturity."

But other factors could be at play, as men who use marijuana are more likely to drink and use other drugs. However, Cortessis found men who used cocaine were actually less likely to develop testicular cancer – a result that might reflect the drug's toxic effects.

"My suspicion is that the effect of cocaine is to kill the germ cells so they're not there," she said, describing how cocaine cuts testicular size and function in mice. "It's more analogous to a mastectomy to reduce the risk of breast cancer. And for a young guy, that would be high price to pay."

Cortessis and Schwartz agree more work is needed to uncover how marijuana use affects testicular cancer risk, but said men "shouldn't assume smoking marijuana has no impact on your health," according to Schwartz.

"I think at this stage of knowledge men deserve to be informed of this," said Cortessis. "It's not a huge body of work, but the results are so consistent that it's very unlikely this is due to chance."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Teenage Marijuana Use May Hurt Future IQ

BananaStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Teenagers lighting joints may end up less bright, according to new research released Monday.

In a study of more than 1,000 adolescents in New Zealand, those who began habitually smoking marijuana before age 18 showed an eight-point drop in IQ between the ages of 13 and 38, a considerable decline. The average IQ is 100 points. A drop of eight points represents a fall from the 50th percentile to the 29th percentile in terms of intelligence.

The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, charted the IQ changes in participants over two decades.

Researchers tested the IQs of all of the study subjects at age 13 before any habitual marijuana use. They then split the study into five “waves” during which time they assessed cannabis use -- ages 18, 21, 26, 32, and 38. They again tested IQ at age 38. The authors also controlled for alcohol use, other drug use and education level.

The eight-point drop in IQ was found in subjects who started smoking in adolescence and persisted in “habitual smoking” -- that is, using cannabis at least four days per week -- in three or more of the five study waves.

People who started smoking in adolescence but used marijuana less persistently still had a hit to their IQ’s, but it was less pronounced than the group that used it early and persistently.

In contrast, those who never used marijuana at all gained nearly one IQ point on average.

Madeline Meier, lead researcher and a post-doctoral associate at Duke University, said that persistent use of marijuana in adolescence appeared to blunt intelligence, attention and memory. More persistent marijuana use was associated with greater cognitive decline.

“Collectively, these findings are consistent with speculation that cannabis use in adolescence, when the brain is undergoing critical development, may have neurotoxic effects,” Meier writes in the study.

Of particular worry is the permanence of these effects among people who began smoking marijuana in adolescence. Even after these subjects stopped using marijuana for a year, its adverse effects persisted and some neurological deficits remained. People who did not engage in marijuana smoking until after adolescence showed no adverse effects on intelligence.

Experts in child development said the reasons adolescents may be more susceptible to the harmful effects of marijuana may have to do with a substance called myelin. Myelin can be thought of as a kind of insulation for nerve cells in the brain that also helps speed brain signals along -- and in adolescent brains, the protective coating it forms is not yet complete.

The study appears to lend credence to “stoner” stereotypes in popular media. However, no previous studies can provide data for this phenomenon, since establishing whether a drop in IQ has actually occurred requires that a baseline IQ be obtained before a person ever started using marijuana.  This study did just that.

“[The findings] provide evidence for the actual -- rather than ideological and legal -- basis for concerns regarding cannabis use,” said Dessa Bergen-Cico, a assistant professor of public health, food studies and nutrition at Syracuse University.  “These findings reinforce recommendations on the importance of primary prevention, evidence based drug education and policy efforts targeting not only adolescents, but elementary age children before they start.”

Though the study was conducted among New Zealand young people, the findings could be extended to adolescents in the United States as well. According to statistics released in June by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American teenagers today are more likely to be using marijuana than tobacco products. Of particular worry is the attitude that marijuana is one of the more harmless drugs.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


WATCH: Marijuana Legalization Group Launches TV Ad

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Forget Bob Marley – Washington mom Kate Pippinger is the new face of the movement to legalize marijuana.

Pippinger appears in a new 30-second ad by New Approach Washington, a Washington state group that supports the legalization and regulation of marijuana. And she differs from many marijuana activists who have come before her – she doesn’t even smoke pot.

“I don’t like it personally,” Pippinger says right off the bat, “but it’s time for a conversation about legalizing marijuana.”

The ad calls for the regulation of marijuana distribution, including background checks for retailers, penalties for selling to minors and taxing sales to fund education and health care.

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The spot is part of a $1 million ad campaign by New Approach to pass Initiative 502 in Washington,  a measure that would  license and regulate marijuana production, distribution and possession for people over 21, remove state  criminal and civil penalties for activities that it authorizes, tax marijuana sales and earmark marijuana-related revenues.

Yet noticeably absent from the ad is any mention of the ballot initiative – a deliberate decision made by New Approach  to start a conversation with undecided voters, according to Alison Holcomd, campaign director.

“There hasn’t been much of conversation for people who may not like marijuana, may not use marijuana but see that the current approach has failed,” Holcomd said. “We want this ad to start that conversation with them, instead of continuing the polarized arguments that we’ve seen in the past.”

The ad premiers Wednesday in the Seattle media market and will run until Aug. 25.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Back in the Habit: Baby Boomers Admit Drug Abuse

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Those who came of age in the marijuana-happy, acid-dropping, cocaine-snorting 1960s and '70s are finding their way back to drugs.

In 2010, nearly 2.4 million people ages 50 to 59 said they had abused prescription or illegal drugs within the past month -- more than double that of 2002, according to data from the National Institutes of Health.

Emergency rooms nationwide are seeing more patients age 55 and older for reactions to cocaine, heroin and especially marijuana.

Visits to the emergency room for marijuana abuse, for example, jumped 200 percent from 2004 to 2009 in this age group, according to Gayathri Dowling, PhD, the acting chief of the science policy branch at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

"We knew a lot of baby boomers had used drugs in their youth," said Dowling.  "That is a risk factor.  The younger you use, the more likely you are to have problems later."

Dowling says boomers grew up in a culture where drug use "became less stigmatized."

Bee, 52, who lives in the Boston area, agrees.  She admits to heavy marijuana use in her late teens and early 20s, but then she kicked the habit.  Bee, who asked ABC News not to use her last name, started again in her 40s, while dating a man who liked to light up.

"If you've done it before," said Bee, "it's easier to start again."

She's now trying to quit, and has been mostly clean for six months.

In Florida, the Hanley Center, an addiction recovery facility in West Palm Beach, opened a boomer unit three years ago.  Juan Harris, the clinical director of boomer treatment, says they are packed.  Right now it's a 24-bed facility, with plans to expand to 40 beds.

"Alcohol addiction is [still] the primary substance for people age 50, but it's going down," said Harris.  "There are more and more people over 50 abusing more illicit stuff, such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana and prescription drugs."

Harris places the blame partly on the pressures of this stage of life.

"Divorce, loss of a job, loss of health, a lot of grief and loss issues," he said.  The good news, according to Harris, is that these older drug users are motivated to break their habit, and have a good success rate.

Some of the increase in drug use in this age group is due to their sheer numbers; an estimated 75 million people were born in the Baby Boom years between 1946 and 1964.  Still, some experts say population numbers alone don't explain all of the increase.

"We are concerned that it is going to get worse," said NIDA's Dowling, who adds that older adults metabolize drugs differently, and "even moderate levels of use can have more severe consequences."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Chemicals in Baby Shampoos Lead to False Marijuana Positives

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- Exposure to trace amounts of baby soaps and shampoos, commonly stocked in grocery stores and pharmacies across the county, are leading newborn babies to test positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, a new study finds.

A hospital in North Carolina became concerned recently when a high number of its newborns tested positive for marijuana exposure.  When researchers began looking into it, they found the culprit was chemicals found in baby soaps, including those manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, Aveeno and CVS brand products.

Dr. Catherine Hammett-Stabler, lead study author at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, said that at first researchers were unable to pinpoint what was causing the urine tests to come back positive for marijuana.

"We went up to the nursery, followed the nurses and the staff around to identify everything that was done, everything that was essentially touching those babies' skins, could possibly come into contact with the urine that we were subsequently testing," she told ABC News.  "We were really surprised when we found it was the soaps were the culprit."

Mixtures of drug-free urine and various commercial products and materials that commonly contact newborns were used in the study, according to the abstract published by the National Center for Biotechnical Information.

The study ultimately found that certain chemicals found in these soaps and shampoos -- including polyquarternium-11 and cocamidopropyl betaine -- can trigger the positive THC results.

Products that led to the false positives included Johnson & Johnson's Bedtime Bath, CVS Night-time Baby Bath, Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash and Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo.

The researchers said they believe that trace amounts of the chemicals -- 0.1 milliliters or less -- were coming from the soaps, washing off the babies' bodies, and finding their way into the urine samples used for the study.

Testing newborns for marijuana is fairly routine, especially in situations where the mothers are considered high-risk.  Dr. Carl Seashore, a co-author of the study, told Time magazine that one of the reasons to conduct the research was to ensure that no mothers were falsely accused.

"[The researchers] do not want to be falsely accusing anybody.  They want to correctly identify situations that need additional intervention or social services actions for the protection of the baby," Stabler told the magazine.

The researchers said that labs need to be aware of this potential source for false positive screening results, and understand that "sources of error are not confined to the laboratory walls."

They also said that the research demonstrates the need for active involvement in the "total testing process" to reduce false results and, in some cases, needless legal action.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Chong Treats Prostate Cancer With Cannabis

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Actor-comedian Tommy Chong, one-half of the pot-loving pair “Cheech and Chong,” said he’s treating his “slow stage-one” prostate cancer with his favorite plant.

“I’ve got prostate cancer, and I’m treating it with hemp oil, with cannabis,” Chong, 74, told CNN Saturday. “So [legalizing marijuana] means a lot more to me than just being able to smoke a joint without being arrested.”

Chong told the news site that he was diagnosed with the illness about a month ago, but he first experienced symptoms of the cancer about eight years ago while in jail after selling drug paraphernalia.

He no longer smokes marijuana because of “health reasons,” he told CNN, and he consumes the hemp oil at night so he “won’t be woozy all day.”

Cannabis has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to relieve symptoms of nausea and vomiting, and to help increase appetite in people with cancer and AIDS, according to the American Cancer Society. The most potent ingredient of medical marijuana is THC. The product comes in the form of an inhaler, pills and oil and it can also be smoked.

There are no other drugs that work as well as cannabis for treating the nausea and anorexia associated with cancer and its treatments, Dr. Donna Seger, associate professor of clinical medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn., told ABC News in March.

It is unclear whether Chong has undergone chemotherapy or other treatments for the cancer, but treatment of stage 1 prostate cancer, which is only found in the prostate, is often approached by the “watchful waiting” technique, when doctors allow time to pass to see the progression of the disease before they suggest surgery or medical intervention.

At least one doctor believes Chong’s promoting his self-described treatment is a disservice to other men with the disease.

“As a comedian, this is a really funny skit,” said Dr. Leonard G. Gomella, chairman of the department of urology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. “As a public figure who can get a forum, it is irresponsible. Had he been suffering from widely metastatic disease with bone pain and other devastations, perhaps there may be a role, but not for early disease.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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