Issue 2 Passed: What Now?


Marijuana General

1) Cannabis (Marijuana) Research Report (2020)
National Institute on Drug Abuse of the U.S. National Institutes of Health

This 26-page large print compendium of research with simple explanations and quick references is a must read for parents and policymakers interested in the major topics in marijuana.

2) The health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: the current state of evidence and recommendations for research (2017)
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

This 487-page exhaustive report compiled and reviewed by over 50 recognized experts provides a definitive overview of the evidence (as of 2017) on the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids, with recommendations for further research.  It includes a summary and is an excellent reference source.

Brain Effects

3) Cannabis Addiction and the Brain: a Review (2018)
A. Zehra, J. Burns, C. Liu, et all

About 30% of marijuana (THC/cannabis) users suffer addiction, also known as cannabis use disorder.  This extensive article describes in detail the brain changes associated with marijuana addiction including human functional PET scans and animal assays of neurotransmitters.  They compare this addiction to other substance use disorders and suggest possible pharmacological treatment strategies for the future.  There are no currently available drugs for the treatment of THC addiction.

4) Effects of Cannabis on the Adolescent Brain (2015)
J. Jacobus, S. Tapert.

This article reviews neuroimaging, neurocognitive, and preclinical findings on the effects of cannabis on the adolescent brain referencing 92 published studies.  It documents shrinkage in several areas of the brain, reduced white matter and poorer white matter structure, as well as other architectural alterations.

5) Cannabis and the Developing Brain: Insights into Its Long-Lasting Effects (2019)  
Y. Hurd, O. Manoni, M. Pletnikov, F. Lee, S. Bhattacharyya, M. Melis. 

With a strong focus on exposure during pregnancy and breastfeeding, this article by a renown international group of researchers reviews the long-term adverse molecular, epigenetic, electrophysiological, and behavioral consequences of prenatal, perinatal, and adolescent exposure to THC. 

Driving / Alcohol / Flavors

6) Marijuana-Impaired Driving: A Report to Congress (2017)
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

This 38-page report to Congress by the nation’s primary highway safety monitor leaves more questions than it answers.  After legalization of recreational use, states report higher levels of crashes and injuries related to THC use, and marijuana use has been shown to impair critical driving related motor skills and aspects of judgement and attention. However, there  are currently no evidence-based methods to detect marijuana-impaired driving.  THC levels do not correlate well with impairment, and crash data suggests that the presence of THC in blood does not increase crash risk.  Until better methods emerge, field sobriety tests remain the mainstay of detection and enforcement against crash risk.

7) Association of Recreational Cannabis Legalization With Alcohol Use
V Macha, R, Abouk, C. Drake

This 2022 study of over 4.2 million adults gives lie to the idea that alcohol use will go down after marijuana legalization.  In fact, it goes up.  We already know that kids who use marijuana are much more likely to drink and binge.  Now we know that adults don’t substitute one drug for the other, they add them.

8) Flavors increase adolescents’ willingness to use cannabis or nicotine (2023)
B. Chafee, E. Couch, M. Wison, et al.

This survey of 2300 California teens is a reminder that drugs shouldn’t taste like candy.  Highly flavored and candy colored marijuana products are designed to entice kids.  There is no logical rationale for their use.

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