Trump Vows to Crack Down on Recreational Marijuana

Sean Spicer, White House press secretary under new President Trump, said this week, regarding federal drug laws, “I do believe you will see greater enforcement of (illegal marijuana).” This is an interesting statement due to the fact that President Obama’s administration indicated that they would not interfere in states where nonmedical use of marijuana is allowed. In other words, the new Trump administration says they will enforce federal marijuana laws when they come into conflict with states where the recreational use of marijuana is allowed.

Although the Obama administration felt that they had bigger issues than cracking down on marijuana use in states that have legalized its use, recent studies indicate that marijuana use is linked to the widespread use of painkillers. This new evidence points to the fact that allowing use of recreational marijuana can be, and most likely is being, interpreted as pardoning the facts of the dangers of drug use.

Spicer indicated, “When you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people. There is still a federal law that we need to abide by when it comes to recreational marijuana and drugs of that nature.”

However, Spicer was quick to indicate that although the President does not approve of recreational marijuana use, he understands that medical marijuana can help ease suffering for patients with terminal illnesses. President Trump was quoted during his campaign as saying, “I know people that have serious problems — it really does help them.”

Common Street Drugs Part 2: Meth, Weed, Heroin

This part 2 follow up discusses 3 more dangerous street drugs that are commonly being used in the U.S. today. Although awareness about the dangers of drug abuse has grown considerably over the last few decades, the problem of addiction continues to exist and, in some cases, is on the increase. Meth, Heroin, and Marijuana are spoken about in the news often. With prescription painkiller addictions turning into street heroin addictions on the rise throughout the entire country and legalization of marijuana in so many states, these drugs pose a new threat that wasn’t around a decade ago because of their easier access.

  1. Methamphetamine – what is it made of and what does it do? How widespread is the use of this drug?
  • Meth is a stimulant often marketed under the name Desoxyn. It is is highly addictive. It was known for being a drug made at home at one time, but because of recent laws, meth ingredients are tougher to get so most of it is coming from South American and Mexico. Meth is ingested by being snorted, swallowed, injected or smoked. Often users change methods. Street names for meth include: Crystal Glass Stove Top, Trash Black Beauties, Chalk, Crank, Yaba. In 2015, agents recovered record setting amounts: 1,686 grams.

2. Heroin – what is it made of and what does it do? How widespread is the use of this drug?

  • Heroin is made from opium, a naturally occurring substance extracted from poppies and it has no accepted medical use, no accepted safe procedure for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for addiction and abuse. Known on the street as Black Tar, Chiva, Smack, Hell Dust, Horse, Negra or Thunder, it comes as a white or brownish powder, or as a black, sticky substance and is typically snorted, injected, or smoked. Often,heroin is cut with other substances such as sugar or powdered milk. Abuse of heroin is widespread and is on the rise. Many law enforcement agencies point to the increase in prescription painkillers as a problem, since many turn to street heroin once their prescriptions are no longer valid.

3. Marijuana – what is it made of and what does it do? How widespread is the use of this drug?

  • Marijuana is a plant that is grown inside or outdoors in North and South America as well as in Asia. The street names for marijuana include: dope, grass, pot, skunk, smoke, weed, yerba, and boom. Marijuana is addictive and as been shown to decrease brain function. Agents are constantly seizing marijuana based drug It is one of the most common street drugs and is also the best known among high school and college aged kids who abuse drugs. With recent changes in marijuana legalization, many seem to turn a blind eye to some of its harmful effects when it is not used for medicinal purposes. The use of marijuana is very widespread.

 

Source: usatoday.com

 

marijuanalegalization2016electionresultsMarijuana Legalization 2016 Election Results

Nine states had measures on their ballots this 2016 election regarding legalizing marijuana. Some were voting to legalize recreational marijuana and some voted to legalize medicinal marijuana. As of Wednesday morning after the election, eight of the nine measures had been approved; just one was rejected. Most significantly, recreational marijuana was legalized in California – this will affect 40 million Americans. With conflicting reports about long-term effects of recreational marijuana use, there are some who are definitely concerned. After Tuesday night, a majority of the United States now has access to legalized medicinal and/or recreational marijuana. Those who are in favor of legal and recreational marijuana are hopeful the trend of support will continue to grow.

The results are as follows:

  • ARKANSAS: Approved legalized marijuana for certain medical conditions, medicinal dispensaries, state regulatory agency
  • ARIZONA: Rejected up to 1 ounce of marijuana for private consumption for anyone 21 and over, up to 12 plants per residence, state regulatory agency, 15 percent tax on top of existing sales tax
  • CALIFORNIA: Approved up to 1 ounce of marijuana for private consumption for anyone 21 and over, up to 6 plants per residence, state regulatory agency, 15 percent tax on top of existing sales tax, cultivation tax
  • FLORIDA: Approved legalized marijuana for cancer, epilepsy, HIV, PTSD, and other conditions, medicinal dispensaries, regulation by Florida Department of Health
  • MAINE: Approved up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for private consumption for anyone 21 and over, retail sales, 10 percent tax, up to 6 flowering plants, 12 immature plants and unlimited seedlings per residence, regulation by Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
  • MASSACHUSETTS: Approved up to 1 ounce of marijuana for private consumption for anyone 21 and over, up to 12 plants per residence, state regulatory agency, retail sales, 3.75 percent tax on top of existing sales tax
  • MONTANA: Although medicinal marijuana use is already legal in Montana, the state approved giving patients easier access to marijuana and allows providers to hire employees to cultivate, dispense and transport medical marijuana.
  • NEVADA: Approved up to 1 ounce of marijuana for private consumption for anyone 21 and over, up to 6 plants per residence for anyone who doesn’t live within 25 miles of dispensary, regulation from Nevada Department of Taxation, additional 15 percent tax for growers, with revenue going toward state’s education system
  • NORTH DAKOTA: Approved legalizing marijuana to treat cancer, epilepsy, HIV, PTSD, chronic back pain and other conditions, medicinal dispensaries, and up to 8 plants per residence for anyone who doesn’t live within 40 miles of dispensary, regulation by North Dakota Department of Health

Source: Newsweek.com

Marijuana Use Doubled in Past Decade

Shocking new information published in JAMA Psychiatry from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that marijuana use doubled from 2001 to 2013.

Researchers analyzed nationally representative data from both the 2001-2002 and 2012-2013 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Condition on marijuana use and marijuana use disorders in the United States. It showed that in 2001-2002, 4.1 percent of study participants used marijuana. The more recent study showed that marijuana use jumped all the way to 9.1 percent. Even more concerning was that the study showed that 3 out of every 10 Americans who used marijuana were diagnosed with a marijuana use disorder. The study showed that those who most commonly used marijuana were those between the age of 45 and 64, were Hispanic or Black, and had the lowest income levels in their area.

Researchers indicated the need for public education on marijuana use, specifically on the risk of addiction. Many continue to believe that marijuana is not dangerous or addicting. Education is needed, especially because 23 states in the United States have legalized medical marijuana, 4 of which have also legalized marijuana for general use.

Marijuana Use and Prediabetes Linked?

A recent study reported in Diabetologia entitled: Marijuana use and risk of prediabetes and diabetes by middle adulthood: the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, showed that both current and former marijuana users have a higher chance of developing “prediabetes.” Prediabetes does not indicate that an individual has diabetes, but rather is experiencing poor blood sugar control. The researchers (Bancks et. al) report that due to the rise in studying the effects of marijuana in recent years, many possible adverse long-term side effects have been seen with marijuana use.

The researcher’s data from the study indicated that 65 percent of current marijuana users were at great risk of developing prediabetes. Previous long-term users were at a 45 percent risk level. Although these rates are high for prediabetes, there was no direct link between marijuana and actual diabetes. Interestingly, those who reported using marijuana 100 times or more in the course of their lifetime had a greater risk for prediabetes than those who had never used marijuana.

The study also looked at other aspects that could be affecting the development of prediabetes, including race, age and weight since those factors contribute to the development of diabetes itself. The researchers also concluded that future studies on topics related to marijuana use and overall metabolic health would be helpful and noted that Marijuana use in young adulthood is associated with an increased risk of prediabetes by middle adulthood, but not with the development of diabetes by this age.

 

2016 GOP Presidential Candidates and Marijuana Legalization

Many are watching, reading and listening to the GOP contenders in the race for the 2016 presidency. Many ideas and views are debated, discussed, and expressed. One of the hot topics in the upcoming run for office will definitely be legalization of marijuana. As The Huffington Post indicates, “with at least 10 more states expected to consider legalization in some form by 2016, the next president of the United States will almost certainly have to reckon with the disparity between state and federal law on marijuana.”

Although recreational marijuana has been legalized in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and the District of Columbia- it is illegal under federal law. The stares that have legalized marijuana have only been able to do so because federal guidance has been in place. With a new election, those rights could be taken away. So what are the major GOP runner’s views on recreational marijuana legalization? Below is a quick summary:

Jeb Bush: He doesn’t believe in legalizing marijuana, but would support states right and would not revoke the federal guidance.

Marco Rubio: He opposes legalization and decrimilization of recreational marijuana. He said he doesn’t believe that we should legalize additional intoxicants in this country for the primary reason that “when you legalize something, what you’re sending a message to young people is it can’t be that bad, because if it was that bad, it wouldn’t be legal.” (huffingtonpost.com)

Ted Cruz: Cruz has criticized Obama for permitting recreational marijuana laws to go into effect without federal intervention in the states that have legalized.

Rand Paul: He backs states in making their own laws concerning recreational marijuana.

Chris Christie: He is the most outspoken on this topic and says he will enforce federal law – even on those states who have already legalized recreational marijuana– and “will crack down and not permit it.”

Carly Fiorina: She says she is opposed to Prop. 19 and the legalization of marijuana.

Mike Huckabee: His stance isn’t clear, but he posted on Facebook that it doesn’t seem like the right thing to legalize when you think about the impact on kids.

John Kasich: He indicates that he is totally opposed to legalizing marijuana.

Ben Carson: Being a former chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Medical School he has seen the benefits of medical marijuana use. However, he says that legalizing recreational marijuana is “not something we want for our society. “

Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Scott Walker, Rick Santorum, and Bobby Jindal are all opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana as well. Except for Jindal- who will push for more federal enforcement-, most seem to indicate that they will support state’s rights in them matter. So, no matter who gets the big job, it looks like a very strong opposition to any more legalization of recreational marijuana if the GOP wins the 2016 presidential election.

Source: huffingtonpost.com

Wax-lipbalmdrugWAX – Warning to Teen Parents

A new drug, called WAX, is becoming increasingly popular amongst teens. The drug, which is a based with marijuana plant oils, looks and feels a lot like lip balm and is easy to hide. Teenagers are replacing the lip balm from containers, like Carmex, with the waxy drug and it is going undetected.  The drug has dangerously high levels of THC and is harmful to the growing teenage brain and body. Parents should be aware of this drug and initiate conversations with their teenagers. For more information and pictures of the drugs, go here.

medicinal marijuanaTalking to your child about drugs: Part 2 – teens and marijuana

Talking with your teen about drugs, particularly marijuana is important to helping them chart a course away from drug abuse. When we are empowered with knowledge, and know the risks and dangers of something, we are less likely to engage in those behaviors. Drugabuse.gov recently published an article about discussing marijuana with your teen. The information therein will be cited and quoted throughout this post, as it is very informative on the subject.

For some teenagers, drug use begins as a means of coping. Kids use drugs to deal with anxiety, anger, depression, boredom, and other unpleasant feelings. However, sometimes getting high can be a way of simply avoiding the problems and challenges of growing up. Some kids also use drugs because their family members do. Parents, grandparents, and older brothers and sisters are models that younger kids look up to and follow their example.

Research shows that talking with kids about the key issues and getting information “out in the open” can help kids know what they are up against and understand long term consequences of their behavior. Drugabuse.gov answered the most frequently asked recent questions by teens through their website. The questions asked and the answers given are summarized below. Talking to your teen about these questions and answers can help to open the door to a great conversation between your teen and you regarding marijuana.

Can marijuana be addictive? Yes, marijuana can be addictive. In fact, “about 1 in 6 people who start smoking in their teens, and 25–50 percent of people who use it every day, become addicted to marijuana.” (drugabuse.gov)

Is it safe to drive while using marijuana? No, marijuana is unsafe behind the wheel. “Marijuana is the most commonly identified illegal drug in fatal accidents (showing up in the bloodstream of about 14 percent of drivers), sometimes in combination with alcohol or other drugs.” (drugabuse.gov)

How does marijuana affect school grades? “Marijuana is associated with school failure. Compared with their nonsmoking peers, students who smoke marijuana tend to get lower grades and are more likely to drop out of high school.” (drugabuse.gov)

How can marijuana affect me mentally? “High doses of marijuana can cause psychosis or panic during intoxication. Although scientists do not yet know whether the use of marijuana causes mental illness, high doses can induce an acute psychosis (disturbed perceptions and thoughts, including paranoia) or panic attacks.” (drugabuse.gov)

What is marijuana? “Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa).” All marijuana is made of the same mind altering chemical. (drugabuse.gov)

How is marijuana used? “Most users roll loose marijuana into a cigarette (called a joint) or smoke it in a pipe or a water pipe, sometimes referred to as a bong. Some users mix marijuana into foods, or use it to brew a tea.” (drugabuse.gov)

How many people use marijuana? Today, marijuana “is the most often used illegal drug in the United States. According to a 2012 national survey, more than 111 million Americans over the age of 12 had tried marijuana at least once, and nearly 19 million had used the drug in the month before the survey.” (drugabuse.gov)

What are the quick effects of marijuana? These short term effects include: euphoria (high), memory impairment, adverse mental reactions (in some), and physical changes. Other effects include: “depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and personality disturbances. One of the effects most frequently reported is an “amotivational syndrome” characterized by a diminished or lost drive to engage in formerly rewarding activities.” (drugabuse.gov)

Can smoking marijuana cause lung cancer? There is no proven research on this, but “marijuana users can have many of the same respiratory problems tobacco smokers have, such as chronic cough and more frequent chest colds.” (drugabuse.gov)

Is Spice or synthetic marijuana as bad for you? Spice, synthetic marijuana, or K2 is just as harmful if not more harmful than regular marijuana.

Starting an open conversation with your teen and talking to your teen about marijuana is a positive start to steering them away from marijuana abuse. The above questions and answers can be useful in beginning this discussion. When teens are made aware of facts and have discussed dangers with their parents, they are more equipped to deal with the pressures and temptations that their teen years bring.

Spice

With the legalization of marijuana in some states, and the government statistic that marijuana is the most abused drug among high school students, some wonder what the difference between marijuana and spice is.  Simply put, spice is synthetic marijuana.  It is the second most commonly abused drug among high school students.  It is composed of a “wide variety of herbal mixtures that produce experiences similar to marijuana.  Further, spice is sold under names such as K2, fake weed, Yucatan Fire, Skunk, Moon Rocks, and is often labeled “not for human consumption”.  Spice contains dried, shredded plant material and chemical additives that are responsible for their psychoactive (mind-altering) effects. A disturbing finding is that spice is being marketed to buyers as a safe and legal alternative to marijuana.” (drugabuse.gov).

Drugabuse.gov reports that, “Spice products are popular among young people; of the illicit drugs most used by high-school seniors, they are second only to marijuana. (They are more popular among boys than girls — in 2012, nearly twice as many male 12th graders reported past-year use of synthetic marijuana as females in the same age group.) Easy access and the misperception that spice products are “natural” and therefore harmless have likely contributed to their popularity. Another selling point is that the chemicals used in spice are not easily detected in standard drug tests.”

Further disconcerting is the fact that because spice is synthetically made and the ingredients change to allude law enforcement, the actual effects of spice are not officially understood or documented.  However, many spice abusers report confusion, vomiting, agitation, hallucinations and rapid heart rate.  Spice has also been shown to raise blood pressure and reduce blood supply to the heart.  Regular spice users see withdrawal and addiction symptoms as well.

Because of the unknown factors of spice, the actual effects remain mysterious.  But drugabuse.gov reports that, “one public health concern is that there may be harmful heavy metal residues in Spice mixtures.”  The bottom line is that abusing spice is especially dangerous due to the many unknown factors of exact make up of each package of spice as well as the unknown effects of abusing spice.

marijuanaMarijuana use among teens rising

Recently, a survey was conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that indicates that while teens are saying no to most drugs, their use of marijuana seems to be on the rise. Also, the survey found that the number of teens who think that marijuana is dangerous has continued to drop over the past decade. Further, the study also concluded that more teens are using marijuana than in the past several years. The study’s researchers say that relaxed attitudes about marijuana, combined with legalization in certain areas, have probably contributed to the increased use of marijuana.

“We should be extremely concerned that 12 percent of 13- to 14-year-olds are using marijuana,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “The children whose experimentation leads to regular (marijuana) use are setting themselves up for declines in IQ and diminished ability for success in life.”

The survey’s poll included responses from over 41,000 eighth-, 10th- and 12th-grade teens from 389 public and private schools. When they asked about their marijuana usage over the last month, 23 percent of the high school seniors surveyed said that they had smoked marijuana at least once along Eighteen percent of 10th-graders and 12 percent of even the eighth-graders also indicated that they has smoked marijuana within the last month. According to the researchers, drug use among the youngest teen age group (8th graders) surveyed should be a wake up call and a warning for parents and public health officials alike.

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