Yet Another Study Finds That Cannabis Use Is Not Independently Linked With IQ Decline

Marijuana researchCannabis use by teens is not independently linked with adverse changes in intelligence quotient or executive functioning, according to longitudinal data published online ahead of print in the journal Addiction.

A team of investigators from the United States and the United Kingdom evaluated whether marijuana use is directly associated with changes over time in neuropsychological performance in a nationally representative cohort of adolescent twins. Authors reported that “family background factors,” but not the use of cannabis negatively impacted adolescents’ cognitive performance.

They wrote: “[W]e found that youth who used cannabis … had lower IQ at age 18, but there was little evidence that cannabis use was associated with IQ decline from age 12 to 18. Moreover, although cannabis use was associated with lower IQ and poorer executive functions at age 18, these associations were generally not apparent within pairs of twins from the same family, suggesting that family background factors explain why adolescents who use cannabis perform worse on IQ and executive function tests.”

Investigators concluded, “Short-term cannabis use in adolescence does not appear to cause IQ decline or impair executive functions, even when cannabis use reaches the level of dependence.”

Their findings are consistent with those of several other studies – including those here, here, here, and here – finding that cannabis use alone during adolescence does not appear to have a significant, direct adverse effect on intelligence quotient.

widely publicized and still often cited New Zealand study published in 2012 in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported that the persistent use of cannabis from adolescence to adulthood was associated with slightly lower IQ by age 38. However, a follow up review of the data published later in the same journal suggested that the observed changes were likely due to socioeconomic differences, not the subjects’ use of cannabis. A later study by the initial paper’s lead investigator further reported that the effects of persistent adolescent cannabis use on academic performance are “non-significant after controlling for persistent alcohol and tobacco use.”

Study: CBD Administration Reduces Blood Pressure

oil_bottlesOral CBD administration is associated with reduced blood pressure in healthy volunteers, according to clinical trial data published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Investigators from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom assessed the effects of a single oral dose of 600 mg of CBD extract versus placebo in nine male subjects.

Cannabidiol administration reduced resting systolic blood pressure and stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped by the left ventricle of the heart in one contraction). Compared to placebo, CBD intake was associated with reduced BP levels following exercise and in response to stress. Increased heart rate was observed following CBD administration, but no “adverse events” were reported by participants either during or following the study sessions.

Authors concluded: “Our data show that a single dose of CBD reduces resting blood pressure and the blood pressure response to stress, particularly cold stress, and especially in the post-test periods. This may reflect the anxiolytic and analgesic effects of CBD, as well as any potential direct cardiovascular effects. … Further research is also required to establish whether CBD has any role in the treatment of cardiovascular disorders such as a hypertension.”

Full text of the study, “A single dose of cannabisiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study,” is online here.

Washington Post: Can We Prescribe Medical Marijuana To Kids?

In another positive sign of the times for cannabis law reform, please find below a new video from the Washington Post’s The Fold looking at a couple of different situations where parents faced the legal-moral dilemma of whether or not to follow a physician’s recommendation for their young child to use cannabis as a therapeutic. Dr. Ben Whalley From Reading University in United Kingdom is interviewed about his recent cannabinoid research into the use of pediatric cannabis medicine for children, for example, suffering from epilepsy. As a twenty plus year reader of the Washington Post, it is very hard for me to imagine prior editors (and publishers) who would have assigned and widely broadcast a piece that looked at the potential health benefits from cannabis (meaning that as the World War II generation, informed by their government-created ‘Reefer Madness’, that largely ran the storied newspaper until recently has had to logically yield and defer to a decidedly more cannabis-informed generation of Baby Boomers and younger).

Industrial Hemp Reform Emerging From Marijuana Legalization Election Victories

One of the major public policy and business fronts to end cannabis prohibition in America is to pressure the federal government to allow American farmers the same ability to cultivate industrial hemp like farmers in the United Kingdom, France, Russia and even Canada do under current so-called anti-drug international treaties. Ninety percent of hemp used in the United States is cultivated and imported from Canada.

What sane reason can be employed by the federal government to ban industrial hemp cultivation when Canadian farmers can prosper from cultivating it?

Numerous states–just like with decriminalization, medicalization and legalization–have passed industrial hemp reform laws that run afoul of the federal government’s anti-cannabis policies. This has created upward political pressure on Congress to introduce needed hemp law reform.

Check out this recent Washington Post article profiling lobbying efforts to get hemp legalized.

You can help out by signing the White House petition to bring the matter of industrial hemp law reform before the Obama Administration for a public reply.

See the dozen or so state hemp laws here.

To learn more about hemp and law reform efforts in states and Congress check out VoteHemp.

End Criminal Sanctions For Growing And Possessing Cannabis, British Study Says

Possessing and cultivating personal use amounts of cannabis should no longer be a criminal offense, according to the recommendations of a six-year study released last week by a coalition of leading British drug policy experts, treatment specialists, and law enforcement.

The study, commissioned by the UK Drug Policy Commission, argues that decriminalizing minor cannabis offenses will reduce police and prosecutorial costs without adversely impacting levels of illicit drug use. The UK Drug Policy Commission is an independent charity “that provides objective analysis of the evidence concerning drug policies and practice.”

According to the study, criminal penalties for cannabis “could be replaced with simple civil penalties, such as a fine, perhaps a referral to a drug awareness session run by a public health body, or if there was a demonstrable need, to a drug treatment program. … These changes could potentially result in less demand on police and criminal justice time and resources. Given the experience of other countries, our assessment is that we do not believe this would materially alter the levels of use, while allowing resources to be spent on more cost-effective measures to reduce harm associated with drug use. … We would expect the net effect to be positive.”

Although the study’s authors do not recommend the removal of “criminal penalties for the major production or supply offenses of most [illicit] drugs,” they acknowledge that such non-criminal approaches ought to be considered for cannabis, concluding: “[F]or the most ubiquitous drug, cannabis, it is worth considering whether there are alternative approaches which might be more effective at reducing harm. For example, there is an argument that amending the law relating to the growing of it, at least for personal use, might go some way to undermining the commercialization of production, with associated involvement of organized crime. … Perhaps the most expedient course to take here would be to re-examine sentence levels and sentencing practice to ensure that those growing below a certain low volume of plants face no – or only minimal – sanctions.”

The Drug Policy Commission’s final report is the first major, independent review of British drug policy since a 1999 report commissioned by the Police Foundation, which similarly recommended decriminalizing cannabis. Following the publication of that report, British lawmakers in 2004 temporarily downgraded cannabis from a Class B to a Class C ‘soft’ drug. Lawmakers reclassified cannabis as a Class B illicit substance in early 2009. Nevertheless, British police typically issue warnings to minor cannabis offenders in lieu of making criminal arrests.

Full text of the UK Drug Policy Commission’s final report is available online here.

Hope For Industrial Hemp? Group Of Senators Seeking Legislative Sanity

According to Washington, D.C. Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill, a group of bipartisan Senators, led by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (D), have filed legislation seeking to exempt industrial hemp (which, in effect, is very low potent cannabis) from the Controlled Substances Act (which, concerning cannabis specifically, is largely directed at prohibiting recreational and therapeutic use of the herb).

Update: You can help advocate for this bill’s passage here.

One of the most indefensible aspects of modern Cannabis Prohibition is the federal government’s continued opposition to allowing American farmers and consumers benefit from a domestic industrial hemp industry, when, ridiculously, other free market and democratic countries who also maintain user prohibitions on cannabis—countries like the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and notably Canada—allow their farmers to legally cultivate industrial cannabis. This inherently places American farmers and agriculture at a competitive disadvantage and American consumers paying higher costs for imported raw and finished hemp products.

Senator Wyden tells The Hill:

“I firmly believe that American farmers should not be denied an opportunity to grow and sell a legitimate crop simply because it  resembles an illegal one,” Wyden said. “Raising this issue has sparked  a growing awareness of exactly how ridiculous the U.S.’s ban on  industrial hemp is. I’m confident that if grassroots support continues to grow and Members of Congress continue to hear from voters then common sense hemp legislation can move through Congress in the near  
future.”

Read more here.

To learn everything you need to know about hemp and efforts to reform America’s antiquated industrial hemp laws, please check out our hempen friends:

VoteHemp.org

TheHIA.org

 

NORML SHOW LIVE #859 – Federal Shenanigans Keeping Marijuana Prohibited


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Hemp Headlines

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  1. Ron Paul calls for industrial hemp in North Dakota
  2. Domino’s Pizza manager busted for selling boxes of weed
  3. Shivirtri Festival beings in India
  4. Idaho media hyping teenage marijuana use numbers

Daily Toker Tunes

Electric Tuesday: Brought to you by Cannabis Cure UK – the reform podcast for the United Kingdom

  • Satta Spliff – “Put It Ina Rizla”

NORML Newsmakers

  • Dale Gieringer, California NORML – Report on the federal crackdown on medical marijuana

Radical Rant

  • Guest Opinion: Wayne Reiss on the FDA Approval of Cannabis is a Red Herring

NORML SHOW LIVE #843 – Legalize Everywhere… Even in West Virginia!


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Grassroots Activism

  • Joseph Phillips, West Virginia medical marijuana advocate organizing the High Five K.

Todd’s Toker Topics @ArmToddstong

  • State Lines

Radical Rant

    The CannaDome! (OR: How getting all reformers to agree on one initiative is like Mad Max)

NORML SHOW LIVE #828 – Paul Armentano on Top Ten Marijuana Stories of 2011


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  1. Supreme Court May Look at Florida Dog Sniffing Case
  2. Colorado Asks the Feds to Reschedule Marijuana

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Electric Tuesday: Brought to you by Cannabis Cure UK – the reform podcast for the United Kingdom

Behind the Headlines with NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano

  • The Top Ten Events in Marijuana in 2011

NORML SHOW LIVE #786

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  1. Montana SB423 Referendum officially qualifies for the ballot
  2. Phoenix Fire Dept. warns of dangers of home grows
  3. Michigan insurers want protection from medmj claims
  4. Papa John’s backs pizza guy who narced on legal medical marijuana patients

Daily Toker Tunes

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  • Electric Tuesday: Yourname – “Tired High”

Todd’s Toker Topics

  • Stoner Time

Radical Rant

  • Drug Czar “Gateway” Gil Kerlikowske uses lies, half-truths, and misdirection to answer Rep. Steve Cohen’s call for marijuana rescheduling
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