Marijuana doesn't harm lung function, study found

Category: News | Posted on Wed, January, 11th 2012 by THCFinder
CHICAGO (AP) -- Smoking a joint once a week or a bit more apparently doesn't harm the lungs, suggests a 20-year study that bolsters evidence that marijuana doesn't do the kind of damage tobacco does.
The results, from one of the largest and longest studies on the health effects of marijuana, are hazier for heavy users - those who smoke two or more joints daily for several years. The data suggest that using marijuana that often might cause a decline in lung function, but there weren't enough heavy users among the 5,000 young adults in the study to draw firm conclusions.
Still, the authors recommended "caution and moderation when marijuana use is considered."
Marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law although some states allow its use for medical purposes.
The study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham was released Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The findings echo results in some smaller studies that showed while marijuana contains some of the same toxic chemicals as tobacco, it does not carry the same risks for lung disease.
It's not clear why that is so, but it's possible that the main active ingredient in marijuana, a chemical known as THC, makes the difference. THC causes the "high" that users feel. It also helps fight inflammation and may counteract the effects of more irritating chemicals in the drug, said Dr. Donald Tashkin, a marijuana researcher and an emeritus professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. Tashkin was not involved in the new study.
Study co-author Dr. Stefan Kertesz said there are other aspects of marijuana that may help explain the results.
Unlike cigarette smokers, marijuana users tend to breathe in deeply when they inhale a joint, which some researchers think might strengthen lung tissue. But the common lung function tests used in the study require the same kind of deep breathing that marijuana smokers are used to, so their good test results might partly reflect lots of practice, said Kertesz, a drug abuse researcher and preventive medicine specialist at the Alabama university.
The study authors analyzed data from participants in a 20-year federally funded health study in young adults that began in 1985. Their analysis was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


Marijuana Use Most Rampant in Australia

Category: News | Posted on Fri, January, 6th 2012 by THCFinder
SYDNEY — A study published Friday in a British medical journal may have finally uncovered the secret behind Australia’s laid-back lifestyle, and it turns out to be more than just sun and surf: The denizens Down Under, it turns out, consume more marijuana than any other people on the planet.
The study, an analysis of global trends in illegal drugs and their effect on public health published in The Lancet, a prestigious journal, found that Australia and neighboring New Zealand topped the lists globally for consumption of both marijuana and amphetamines, a category of drugs whose use the study found to be growing rapidly around the world.
The study’s co-authors, Professors Louisa Degenhardt of the University of New South Wales and Wayne Hall of the University of Queensland, reported that as much as 15 percent of the populations of Australia and New Zealand between the ages of 15 and 64 had used some form of marijuana in 2009, the latest year for which data were available.
The Americas, by comparison, clocked in at 7 percent, although North America batted above the neighborhood average with nearly 11 percent of its population partaking. Asia demonstrated the lowest global marijuana use patterns at no more than 2.5 percent, the study said, although difficulties in obtaining accurate data in less developed countries were cited as one possible reason for the low figures.
The results were not surprising and reflected trends that have been in place for more than a decade, Mr. Hall said in an interview on Australian radio Friday. Despite the high figures in the report, he said, the rate of marijuana use in Australia has actually been dropping “steadily for the better part of a decade.”
Mr. Hall blamed both the ubiquity of the drug — Australia and New Zealand have no shortage of remote rural areas where policing is difficult and the plant grows like, well, a weed — and cultural mores that place the consumption of intoxicants at the center of social life.
“Just look at the way we take alcohol as an integral part of everyday life. I think a lot of young people see cannabis in the same way that we see alcohol: as no big deal, as a drug just to use to have a good time,” he said.
Stepping back for a global perspective, the study found that marijuana was the world’s most widely consumed illicit drug, with anywhere from 125 million to 203 million people partaking annually. Use of the drug far outstrips that of other illicit drugs globally, with 14 million to 56 million people estimated to use amphetamines, 14 million to 21 million estimated to use cocaine and 12 million to 21 million estimated to use opiates like heroin.
Still, despite marijuana’s significantly outpacing other illicit drugs in terms of the volume of use, the study found that it was the least likely of all illicit drugs to cause death. Additionally, barely 1 percent of deaths in Australia annually can be attributed to illegal drugs, the report said, compared with almost 12 percent from tobacco use.
The prevalence of marijuana use in Australia is widely accepted if not openly condoned, and at least three states have moved to decriminalize the possession of small quantities for personal use.
But the findings in the report most likely to cause concern to the Australian government were those relating to the use of amphetamines, and particularly methamphetamine, which has become a major public health concern over the past two decades. As much as 3 percent of the Australian population has used amphetamines like speed, compared with just 0.2 percent to 1.4 percent in Asia.


Marijuana Smoking For Middle-Aged Men Can Actually Improve Mental Sharpness

Category: News | Posted on Thu, January, 5th 2012 by THCFinder
Given the schizophrenic state of marijuana studies, we wouldn't blame if you just ignored the nerds and continued on with that joint.
It makes you drive better. It makes you crash.
It makes you insane in the membrane. It makes you slightly sharper.
Huh? That's right. That's the latest contention about L.A.'s favorite medicinal remedy in a new study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology:
Pot use actually appeared to improve "cognitive functioning" among the middle-aged men it examined.
Researchers looked at a whopping 8,992 men who used drugs, mainly marijuana, at age 42, and then again at age 50. They were given tests to determine their level of brain functioning. The study concluded:
A positive association was observed between ever (past or current) illicit drug use and cognitive functioning.
Reuters notes that " ... marijuana was by far the most common indulgence for the participants" of the study by Alex Dregan of King's College London.
Hell yeah, said the shaved-headed, 50-year-old creep who still has a bong and goes to raves. In your face, dad.
The study warns that heavy, long-term drug use could still be bad for your smarts and memory. But a little toke now and then with the boys? Eh.
An abstract of the study concludes:
At the population level, it does not appear that current illicit drug use is associated with impaired cognitive functioning in early middle age.


Supreme Court Could Decide if Drug-Sniffing Dogs Constitutional

Category: News | Posted on Wed, January, 4th 2012 by THCFinder
A case from Florida asks the question if a police dog’s behavior outside a house gives the officers the right to get a search warrant for illegal drugs inside the home, or is a dogs sniff warrant a constitutional search?
The Florida Supreme court said that the dog’s ability to detect marijuana inside a home from the outside of a closed front door crosses a constitutional line. The Florida state attorney, Pam Bondi, is hoping that the Supreme Court of the United States will overturn that ruling.  Law experts all agree that the Highest Court in the land will, in fact, hear this very important case and make a ruling.
The case is being monitored by law enforcement agencies across the country that use dogs in the search for illegal substances. The dog in question, Franky, is now retired but is responsible for the seizure of more than 2.5 tons of marijuana – and $4.9 million dollars of drug-contaminated money. The chocolate lab spent most of his career in airports.
The US Supreme Court has heard four dog sniffing cases before – two of the previous cases involved the use of drug dogs after a traffic stop, one involved airport luggage, and the other one involved a package in transit. If they argue this case, it will be the first one that includes a dog and a private residence. Again and again, the US Supreme court has ruled that the home is entitled to greater privacy than roads or public places. The Justices ruled in 2001 that police could not use thermal imaging technology to detect marijuana grows from outside the home since the equipment could also detect lawful activity, such as intimate details about when the occupants were bathing. And it is already well established, that officers can knock on your front door, but if you refuse to open up and talk, the officers need a warrant, and to get a warrant they need evidence of a crime.


Surfers to be tested for drugs

Category: News | Posted on Tue, January, 3rd 2012 by THCFinder

Getting a little out of hand with the drug testing aren't we? What's next?

In the 1960s and 1970s, it was the counter culture's sport of choice. With the long hair and beach bum lifestyle came marijuana and LSD. But surfing is set for a radical image change as its international governing body prepares to introduce comprehensive drug testing for professionals for the first time.
Amid growing evidence that the sport's drug culture has gripped even some of its elite athletes, the Association of Surfing Professionals will in 2012 roll out a policy for screening competitors and officials for performance-enhancing and recreational drugs.
The move comes after the death of the triple world champion Andy Irons in November 2010. A postmortem found he died from a heart attack and "acute mixed drug ingestion". Traces of methadone, methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth, and a metabolite of cocaine were found in his bloodstream.
Another professional surfer, Anthony Ruffo, a 47-year-old pioneer of the Santa Cruz scene in the 1980s, is facing a possible jail sentence for selling methamphetamine after he was caught with an ounce of the drug.
"We believe this is a natural evolution in enhancing the professionalism of our sport," said Dave Prodan, a spokesman for the ASP. "This motion has the full support of the surfers on tour as they want to be taken more professionally, and believe this is a step in the right direction. We have been discussing and drafting a policy with the guidance of the World Anti Doping Agency for over two years and the budget, approved at the November board of directors meeting, has just allowed us the possibility of implementing it as soon as next year."
Professional surfers compete for prizes of up to $100,000 (£65,000) and testing is already carried out at some European events and in the UK and Ireland.


Cops Total BMW Looking for Marijuana That Never Was

Category: News | Posted on Mon, January, 2nd 2012 by THCFinder
I’ve heard of someone’s drug-related past causing problems later in life, but seriously?
On September 23rd, Darren Richardson was pulled over by the Pompton Lakes, New Jersey police department, reportedly after almost causing a traffic accident. When Lt. Moises Agosto's police dog did a cursory check of Richardson’s 6-year-old BMW 325i, it was determined that the vehicle had a “strong odor of raw marijuana” eminating from its trunk. Lt. Agosto called to have the vehicle impounded for further inspection.
I can understand the initial concern, given that Richardson, 28, had previously served two years in prison over an earlier drug charge. Richardson himself admits that he “doesn’t trust cops” and had argued a bit with Lt. Agosto. “The way they were acting, their whole demeanor, and the way I was antagonizing them,” said Richardson, “I knew they were going to mess with me.”
Richardson and his passenger were initially handcuffed and jailed for evidence tampering and resisting arrest - likely based on their forceful arguing with Lt. Agosto. Richardson’s passenger further received charges of terrorist threats. These serious charges were later downgraded to disorderly conduct.
I’m sure Richardson never expected what he saw, three weeks later, when he was called to pick up his BMW. The car’s instrument panel and dashboard were missing, and the gearshift had been literally torn from its housing. Car seats had been cut into. In fact, so much damage had been done to the BMW by three separate police agencies (and a federal drug task force agent) that Richardson’s insurance company, GEICO, has declared the vehicle totalled.
So, given the estimated $12,636.42 in damage done tearing apart Richardson’s car for pot, what did law enforcement find?
Nothing. Not one wrapped bundle of Maui Wowie, or a single seedy brick of Skunk Weed. Not one dime baggie or even a half-smoked joint of backyard bud. Nada.
Understandably, last week Richardson filed a claim against the police department, and GEICO is within its rights to follow suit with their own case. Pomptom Lakes officials have stated that they initially tried to compensate Richardson directly; however, once GEICO got involved, things got complicated.
“This is a great illustration of the costs of this kind of law enforcement,” said New Jersey ACLU Executive Director Deborah Jacobs. Other law enforcement and legal experts agree that the Pompton Lakes Police Department search was overzealous, to say the least. An internal affairs investigation of the Department’s practices has been launched.



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