NORML News August 27, 2015

 Judy Pentz
August 27, 2015 9:32 PM

From NORML.org:

Recent Action Alerts:

GOP Voters In Early Primary States Oppose Federal Interference In State Marijuana Laws

GOP Voters In Early Primary States Oppose Federal Interference In State Marijuana Laws

Raleigh, NC: Republican voters in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire do not believe that the incoming administration ought to interfere with the enactment of state laws legalizing marijuana, according to polling data conducted by Public Policy Polling and published Tuesday by Marijuana-Majority.com.

Sixty-seven percent of GOP voters in New Hampshire believe "[S]tates should be able to carry out their own marijuana laws without federal interference." Sixty-four percent of Iowa GOP voters agree with the statement.

This voter sentiment is contrary to the public positions of at least two Republican presidential candidates, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Senator Marco Rubio – both of whom have espoused using the power of the federal government to roll back changes in state marijuana laws.

Overall, a super-majority of all voters in Iowa (71 percent) and New Hampshire (73 percent) oppose federal interference in state laws permitting marijuana use.

Nationwide polls have previously reported similar results. Gallup pollsters reported that 64 percent of respondents oppose federal interference in state laws that allow for the legal use of cannabis by adults, while a poll commissioned by the think-tank Third Way found that six out of ten voters believe that states, not the federal government, should authorize and enforce marijuana policy. Most recently, a 2015 nationwide Pew poll reported that a strong majority of Americans -- including 64 percent of Independents, 58 percent of Democrats, and 54 percent of Republicans -- believe that the federal government should not enforce laws in states that allow marijuana use.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director at (202) 483-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org.

New Study Fails To Support Past Claims About Marijuana And Brain Health

New Study Fails To Support Past Claims About Marijuana And Brain Health

St. Louis, MO: Cannabis exposure is not a cause of alterations in brain structure, according to clinical data published this week in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Psychiatry.

Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Missouri, and Kings College in London assessed the effects of cannabis exposure on brain volume in the hippocampus, amygdala, ventral striatum, and orbitofrontal cortex in groups of exposed and unexposed sibling pairs. Investigators reported that all of the volumetric differences identified "were within the range of normal variation," and that they were attributable to "shared genetic factors," not cannabis exposure.

Authors concluded, "[W]e found no evidence for the causal influence of cannabis exposure on amygdala volume."

The trial is "the largest study to date examining the association between cannabis exposure (ever versus never used) and brain volumes."

The study is one of two recent clinical trials to be published in recent months rebutting the claims of a widely publicized 2014 paper which alleged that even casual marijuana exposure may be linked to brain abnormalities, particularly in the region of the brain known as the amygdala, which plays a primary role in the processing of memory, decision-making, and emotional reactions.

In January, researchers writing in The Journal of Neuroscience reported "no statistically significant differences ... between daily [marijuana] users and nonusers on [brain] volume or shape in the regions of interest" after researchers controlled for participants' use of alcohol. They concluded: "[I]t seems unlikely that marijuana use has the same level of long-term deleterious effects on brain morphology as other drugs like alcohol. ... The press may not cite studies that do not find sensational effects, but these studies are still extremely important."

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, "Shared predisposition in the association between cannabis use and subcortical brain structure," appears in JAMA Psychiatry.

Study: Smoking Still Remains Cannabis Consumers' Preferred Method Of Ingestion

Study: Smoking Still Remains Cannabis Consumers' Preferred Method Of Ingestion

Atlanta, GA: The majority of people who self-report consuming cannabis do so by methods that involve smoking the substance, according to nationally representative survey data published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Investigators from the US Center for Disease Control and Emory University assessed survey data from those over the age of 18 in regard to their mode of marijuana ingestion and current reason for use.

Authors reported: "Overall, 7.2 percent of respondents reported current marijuana use; 34.5 percent reported ever use. Among current users, 10.5 percent reported medicinal-only use, 53.4 percent reported recreational-only use, and 36.1 percent reported both. Use of [a] bowl or pipe (49.5 percent) [or a] joint (49.2 percent) predominated among current marijuana users, with lesser use of bongs, water pipes, or hookahs (21.7 percent), blunts (20.3 percent); edibles/drinks (16.1 percent); and vaporizers (7.6 percent)."

Use of vaporization technology, which does not result in the exposure to combustion gases, was most likely to be reported by those residing in the western region of the United States (15.8 percent) and among those under the age 24 (19.3 percent). Edible products, which are associated with delayed onset of drug effect, greater drug bioavailability, and prolonged duration of effect, were most popular in the west (38.4 percent) and among those respondents between the ages of 25 to 34 (32.5 percent). African American respondents (37.3 percent) were more likely than other ethnicities to report using blunts.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, "Toking, vaping, and eating for health or fun: Marijuana use patterns in adults, US, 2014," appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.



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