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By Shamard Charles, MD
This year, Vermont and Michigan were legalized as the ninth and tenth states to legalize recreational marijuana, which is also legal in the District of Columbia. And voters in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Utah overwhelmingly approved electoral measures that make medical marijuana legal. This means that 33 states and the DC are now approving the illicit drug for medical use, raising the question of whether the US will follow Canada's lead in legalizing marijuana nationwide. In 1969, legalization for recreational use in New York and New Jersey seems imminent.
The wave of legalization is taking place as recent polls show that nearly two-thirds of Americans support twice the respondents in 2000. Investors are also noticing, and this year, North American industries have invested an estimated $ 10 billion.
Nevertheless, medical researchers continue to warn against their use, as little is known about the effects on health. Here is an overview of what we learned about marijuana and marijuana based products in 2018.
Today's weed is stronger than the
of yesterday – tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the main psychoactive constituent of marijuana and is commonly used as a measure of potency. In the last decade, the amount of THC in marijuana has steadily increased in the United States, and in terms of a legal market, the change has been more dramatic.
A study published in 2016 investigated over 38,000 police seized marijuana samples Drug Enforcement Administration from 1995 to 2014. The average THC level in 1995 was around 4 percent. By 2014, it had risen to 12 percent.
A legal market is located in Washington State. "The average potency of the Washington licensed flower product is over 20 percent, and the average potency of extract-based products – such as pen oils, swabs, and the like – is 70 percent," said Jonathan Caulkins, a drug policy researcher and Professor at Carnegie Mellon University.
Pot Use Affects Teenagers' Thinking Capacity
"Our studies have shown that cannabis leads to cognitive impairment and delayed cognitive development in adolescents," said Patricia Conrod, a professor of psychiatry The University of Montreal and a longtime researcher on marijuana and the brain.
A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that marijuana was more damaging to teenagers' long-term cognitive abilities than alcohol. After the students reported stopping, si her perception is not.
"It's important that we study the neuropsychological effects of cannabis directly related to how someone works in life," said Conrod.
It's not the first research that has found that cannabis use harms young brains
In a study published in June in JAMA Psychiatry, scientists from the University of Pennsylvania analyzed 69 studies of younger cannabis users, finding that adolescents who frequently consumed marijuana, with slightly lower scores than non-users in memory tests, learn new ones Information and higher-level thinking, including problem-solving and processing, had lesser results
Studies have shown that chronic marijuana use affects the same brain structures involved in addiction.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse lays close that 30 percent of those who consume marijuana, may have some degree of "marijuana-consuming disorder".
Marijuana use disorders are often associated with a dependency in which a person feels withdrawal symptoms if they do not take the drug. It occurs when the brain adapts to large amounts of the drug and is more and more required to produce the desired euphoric effect. Withdrawal symptoms include irritability, mood and sleep disorders, loss of appetite, cravings, restlessness, and physical ailments that peak within the first week after cessation and last up to two weeks.
CBD Effective in Epilepsy
In June, the Food and Drug Administration will approve Epidiolex, a purified form of cannibidiol, a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, used to treat rare and severe forms of epilepsy in children – the first drug based on marijuana, which helps in the treatment of the disease. The drug does not contain the THC, which boosts recreational users.
The FDA acknowledged that this was a significant advance in the search for proven and safe medical applications for marijuana-based products.
"The difficult-to-control seizures that patients with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome have a profound impact on the quality of life of these patients," said Dr. Billy Dunn to the FDA.
"In addition to another important treatment option for Lennox -Gastaut Patients This is the case The first-time approval of a drug especially for Dravet patients will bring about a significant and necessary improvement in the therapeutic approach to treating people with this condition. "
The Marijuana Research Horizon for 2019
Caulkins believes that more research is needed
Researchers also believe that medical marijuana can be a means of controlling opioid use, and opioid overdoses have increased dramatically in recent years, with more than 500,000 deaths from 2000 to 2015 – more than the number of Ameri killed in World War II Kaner.
Two recently published studies indicate that this strategy is useful.  The studies published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that in states that allow the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, Medicare Part D prescribed 2.1 million fewer opioid doses per day per year as in countries without medical cannabis laws. 19659037] And under Medicaid, opioid prescriptions sank by nearly 6 percent, according to studies in states with medical cannabis laws compared to states without such laws.