Illinois doctor fights charges he misled patient about marijuana
Supporters of an Illinois doctor who's in trouble for a marijuana recommendation say his case could have a chilling effect on other doctors' participation in the state's medical cannabis pilot program.
Dr. Joseph Starkman, 36, faces possible suspension or revocation of his license or multiple violations of the Medical Practice Act. Starkman finished his testimony Friday, said Stephanie Wolfson, an attorney for Starkman who was at the hearing.
State regulators allege Starkman misled a 79-year-old patient by issuing a bogus medical marijuana certification for a $250 fee. They claim Starkman told the patient he qualified for marijuana after learning the man had a previous diagnosis of glaucoma, but that Starkman didn't perform an eye exam himself.
"The Department will investigate complaints of illegal or unprofessional behavior by physicians, including those involved in the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, and, if the evidence clearly demonstrates non-compliant actions, intends to discipline violators," said Terry Horstman, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
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Marijuana Does Not Affect Brain Volume, Study Finds
The latest research adds to the debate over marijuana's effects on the brain
Using marijuana does not cause changes in brain volume, a new study suggests.
Public health experts have cited concerns that using marijuana could be associated with structural changes in the brain. However, a new trial comparing the brains of marijuana users and non-users to their siblings reveals that marijuana use likely does not cause changes in brain volume.
In the study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, researchers looked at a large group of siblings ages 22 to 35. Of the 483 people, 262 reported ever using marijuana, even just once. The researchers then split the men and women into groups: sibling pairs who had never used marijuana, sibling pairs where both had reported using marijuana, and sibling pairs where one had used marijuana and one had not. Overall, they noticed that people who reported using marijuana had smaller volumes in certain parts of the brain—like the left amygdala, which is involved in emotional processing. However, these differences still fell within a range of volume that is considered normal.
The researchers hypothesized that in the sibling pairs where one had used marijuana and one had not, they would see differences in brain volume. But instead, they found that the exposed and unexposed siblings had the same amygdala volume. “We found no evidence for the causal influence of cannabis exposure on amygdala volume,” the authors concluded.
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