13/2/18Bottom of Form Mixing Alcohol and Marijuana Amplifies THC in the System
Three news stories exemplify the tragic results of mixing alcohol and marijuana before getting behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Most recently, a suspected-DUI driver crashed into a California Highway patrolman in a parked vehicle on Christmas Eve. Andrew Camilleri, 33, died instantly. He left behind a wife and three children.
A driver who drank alcohol and smoked marijuana killed CHP Officer Andrew Camilleri, on Chrstmas Eve.
A New York teen admitted that he used both marijuana and beer before the crash that killed his 16-year-old friend on August 31. Another 14 year-old in the vehicle was injured. Authorities have charged the teen with vehicular homicide and vehicular assault. Yet, the teen claimed that he didn’t feel that he was ‘messed up.’ He said that he had taken 3 or 4 hits of a joint, and drank from two partial cans of beer. But when driving, he “encountered a deer on the road and swerved to avoid it,” leading to the crash.
January 29, 2018 - According to a recent study, the use of weed or tobacco cigarettes is connected to the increased risk of psychotic-like experiences, which could include hallucinations or delusions.
The study, published by JAMA Psychiatry, is entitled “Association of Combined Patterns of Tobacco and Cannabis Use in Adolescence With Psychotic Experiences,” and analyzes data from a longitudinal cohort study of more than 3,300 teens.
While both marijuana and tobacco smoking were associated with psychotic experiences, they found that the risk was greater with weed.
"Individuals who use cannabis regularly have a 2- to 3-fold increased risk of a psychotic outcome," researchers from the University of Bristol wrote
January 26, 2018 10.17am AEDT Updated January 31, 2018 5.11pm AEDT
One of the enduring myths about marijuana is that it is “harmless” and can be safely used by teens.
Many high school teachers would beg to disagree, and consider the legalization of marijuana to be the biggest upcoming challenge in and around schools. And the evidence is on their side
As an education researcher, I have visited hundreds of schools over four decades, conducting research into both education policy and teen mental health. I’ve come to recognize when policy changes are going awry and bound to have unintended effects.
As Canadian provinces scramble to establish their implementation policies before the promised marijuana legalization date of July 2018, I believe three major education policy concerns remain unaddressed.
These are that marijuana use by children and youth is harmful to brain development, that it impacts negatively upon academic success and that legalization is likely to increase the number of teen users.
‘Much safer than alcohol’
Across Canada, province after province has been announcing its marijuana implementation policy, focusing almost exclusively on the control and regulation of the previously illegal substance. This has provoked fierce debates over who will reap most of the excise tax windfall and whether cannabis will be sold in government stores or delegated to heavily regulated private vendors.
All of the provincial pronouncements claim that their policy will be designed to protect “public health and safety” and safeguard “children and youth” from “harmful effects.”
However, a 2015 report from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse cites rates of past-year cannabis use ranging from 23 per cent to 30 per cent among students in grades seven to 12 in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador during 2012-2013. And notes that, “of those Canadian youth who used cannabis in the past three months, 23 per cent reported using it on a daily or near daily basis.”
The report also describes youth perceptions of marijuana as “relatively harmless” and “not as dangerous as drinking and driving.”
Early-onset paranoid psychosis
In the rush to legalize marijuana in Canada, medical experts are warning about weed’s alarming side, particularly for younger users. January 15, 2018
Sean Savoie first smoked marijuana around the age of 14 when, behind a gas station, a friend handed him a pop can fashioned into a bong. He doesn’t remember if he got high or even enjoyed the experience, but he did start smoking two or three times a week. Marijuana became a way for Savoie to create an identity for himself during those tumultuous high school years, and a way to make friends. His parents disapproved and urged him to quit, but he never abandoned the habit for long. Eventually, his parents stopped trying, contenting themselves with the fact that at least their son wasn’t using harder drugs. “That kind of told me that it’s okay,” says Savoie, who lives in Winnipeg. “So I started using every day.”
By the time he was in university, Savoie was smoking multiple times a day. He’d spark up as soon as he rolled out of bed, as well as before hanging out with friends, before a video game session, before family dinners and before sleep. No matter what he was about to do, Savoie wanted to be high for it. It never occurred to him that he might have a problem. “It was like, ‘You can’t get addicted to weed. It’s the harmless drug,’ ” he recalls.
But after five years of heavy use, Savoie noticed his short-term memory was starting to fray. He avoided talking to people. Worse, festering feelings of anxiety and depression were growing. He tried to mask them with weed, deepening his dependency. He upended his life, quitting his job and breaking up with his girlfriend, trying to find the source of his depression. Nothing worked. “Maybe it’s the drug use,” he recalls thinking, “because I’m constantly relying on it.”
Mark Gold MD
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