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Cannabis use during pregnancy likely to cause mental health problems in children

Children whose mothers used cannabis during pregnancy may be more likely to develop mental health problems such as ADHD and aggressive behaviour, a new study suggests.

An analysis of data from more than 10,000 children aged 11 and 12 revealed that exposure to cannabis in utero was associated with a higher risk of developing disorders such as ADHD, aggressive behaviour, conduct disorder and rule-breaking behaviour, according to the report published in JAMA Pediatrics.

“Dramatic increases in cannabis use during pregnancy are alarming because of evidence that prenatal exposure may be associated with a host of adverse outcomes. We previously found that prenatal cannabis exposure (PCE) following maternal knowledge of pregnancy is associated with increased psychopathology during middle childhood using baseline data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. Here, leveraging longitudinal ABCD study data (data release 4.0), we examined whether associations with psychopathology persist into early adolescence.”

Source: Study – Association of Mental Health Burden With Prenatal Cannabis Exposure From Childhood to Early Adolescence – David A. A. Baranger, PhD1; Sarah E. Paul, MA1; Sarah M. C. Colbert, BA2; et al

The study’s first author, David Baranger PhD, says:

“The take-home message from this study is that there is some evidence that one should be cautious about using cannabis during pregnancy,”

The new study is an association and can’t prove that cannabis is the cause of the mental health problems, Baranger said. However, the results fall in line with earlier research on the same children, who were participants in the ongoing Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study. The long-term project, which is supported by the National Institutes of Health, has been tracking the brain development of nearly 12,000 children via MRI scans.

A 2019 study that looked at the children when they were 9 and 10 found the same association between prenatal cannabis and behavioral issues. It also showed that children exposed to cannabis in utero tended to have lower birth weight, lower brain volume and lower white matter volume.

Read the full report here:

Why we shouldn’t be pardoning or decriminalising cannabis use in NZ

“Progressives” are forever trying to loosen our laws and ultimately make society more liberal. They want to dismantle the foundations upon which much of western civilisation has been built upon. Moves to normalise and legalise drug use have always been part of their agenda. US President Joe Biden is now pardoning thousands of Americans convicted of cannabis possession, his first step towards decriminalising the drug altogether. Those benefiting from Biden’s pardon will receive a ‘certificate of pardon’.

Of course, this move by the US President has emboldened New Zealand’s pro-drug politicians and activists. The Green Party and NZ Drug Foundation are immediately putting pressure on our Government to do likewise. Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick, a staunch advocate for legalising cannabis, is calling on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to follow US President Joe Biden’s move.

Make no mistake, pardoning previous drug convictions is simply the first step towards legalising drug use.

All this despite New Zealand voting NO to legalising cannabis at the 2020 referendum. Following that 2020 referendum result, Curia Market Research conducted a survey asking Kiwis: “Should the government respect the result of the cannabis referendum and not legalise cannabis for recreational use, even though it was a close vote”. 66% of respondents said Yes, the government should respect the result of the referendum, vs. only 26% who said they should’t respect the result. It’s clear that any moves to loosen our drug laws go against the wishes of the New Zealand public.

So it’s great to read last week that National Party leader Christopher Luxon says he will not consider pardoning or decriminalising the possession or use of cannabis if elected. Luxon told 1news that he would not consider decriminalising the use of cannabis following the 2020 referendum result which voted NO to legalising the drug.

He said the Government should focus on other aspects of “rising crime” affecting the country, such as retail and violent crime.

Luxon said he voted against legalising cannabis in the 2020 referendum, while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern voted in favour of legalising cannabis.

We applaud Christopher Luxon for making this statement and clarifying National’s position, which is to respect the result of the 2020 referendum.

Our laws set the standard for acceptable (and unacceptable) behaviours, as well as protecting individuals and society. The New Zealand public wants recreational cannabis use to remain illegal. The coercion of the law, with a sensible approach for first time use, and the availability of rehabilitation services should be the focus.

Cannabis is harmful and should not be normalised. Many studies link cannabis use to serious mental health problems, including psychotic disorders.

“Non-medical cannabis use and cannabis use disorder were consistently associated with self-reported psychotic disorders over time, while frequent and daily/near-daily use was also associated with self-reported psychotic disorders in the more recent survey. The increasing perception of cannabis as a harmless substance may deter the general public as well as health care providers from recognizing that nonmedical cannabis use may play a role in exacerbating the risk for psychotic disorders.” Source: The American Journal of Psychiatry

The UN’s 2022 World Drug Report shows increased drug use worldwide and accelerated daily use (and related health impacts) in parts of the world where cannabis has been legalised. Legalisation clearly leads to accelerated usage and associated negative health outcomes.

We are now seeing some highly alarming outcomes from legalising cannabis in US states, including “spiralling addiction, psychotic illnesses and hospitals facing a deluge of poisonings”: Cannabis legalisation sees spiralling addiction and psychotic illnesses

While in the UK, there has been a surge in psychosis after Scotland decriminalised cannabis: Surge in psychosis after cannabis decriminalisation

New Zealand made the only safe decision by voting NO to dope at the 2020 cannabis legalisation referendum. Legalising recreational cannabis would have been a disaster for New Zealand.

**The post was written by Family First staff writers.

Thailand: Doctors want immediate suspension of cannabis decriminalisation

This year Thailand became the first country in Asia to legalise growing and consumption of cannabis in food and drink. Immediately businesses began openly marketing marijuana products, which of course led to rapidly increased consumption of the drug. The rapid rise in cannabis sales has sparked concern.

Now, more than 1,200 doctors have issued a statement calling for the immediate suspension of decriminalisation of cannabis. The doctors are demanding adequate controls to protect the young. The statement was announced by the president of the Forensic Physicians Association of Thailand,  Dr Smith Srisont.

According to the statement, “cannabis decriminalisation without adequate measures and policies for safe use led to the widespread recreational use of the drug and its access by young people, amid clear and considerable scientific evidence that cannabis has negative effects on the bodies and brains of the young.”

“The present situation is a real threat to the health system and public health, in both the short and long term,” the statement said.

The doctors urged the government to immediately suspend the policy until laws were in place to protect young people from cannabis abuse and ensure proper use of cannabis, to minimise its impact on the general public.

McBLOG: Thankfully we said nope to dope

Study: Highly potent weed creating marijuana addicts worldwide

Cannabis use worldwide is increasing while the cannabis on the market is getting stronger in terms of its THC content. Of real concern, fewer young people see it as harmful. Now the largest ever study into the health effects of different types of cannabis highlights concerns about stronger forms of the drug.

A new study, published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, has found that cannabis products with high THC concentrations carry an increased risk of addiction and mental health disorders.

“One of the highest quality studies included in our publication found that use of high potency cannabis, compared to low potency cannabis, was linked to a four-fold increased risk of addiction,”

said Tom Freeman, a senior lecturer in the department of psychology and director of the addiction and mental health group at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom.

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction found a 76% rise in people entering treatment for cannabis addiction over the past decade, “while cannabis potency continued to rise during the same time,” Freeman said.

THC levels increased by approximately 5.7 milligrams each year from 1975 to 2017, the study found. Concentrated products can reach extremely high levels of THC. This yearly rise in potency may not be clear to consumers, experts fear.

As marijuana became more potent, cases of marijuana-associated psychosis rose, the review found. Psychosis is a “loss of contact with reality” that can be characterised by hearing voices and having delusions, Freeman said.

“The evidence linking cannabis potency to addiction and psychosis was very clear”

High-potency weed users appear to have a significant increase in the likelihood of developing generalised anxiety disorder than those who smoke less robust strains of marijuana


Note: In New Zealand, The Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) studied cannabis potency in 1996 and 2010 and found that the latter had THC levels of up to 30%, compared to levels ranging between 1.3 and 9.7% in 1996. The NZ Government was going to legislate potency ‘starting’ at 15% if cannabis was legalised in New Zealand in 2020. 🙄

Thankfully New Zealand voted Nope To Dope.

*This post was written by Family First staff writers.

2022 World Drug Report – accelerated drug use where cannabis is legalised

The UN Office of Drugs and Crime has released its 2022 World Drug Report, showing increased drug use worldwide and accelerated daily use (and related health impacts) in parts of the world where cannabis has been legalised.

Here are the key findings from the 2022 World Drug Report:

  • Approx. 284 million people aged 15-64 used drugs worldwide in 2020, a 26 per cent increase over the previous decade

  • Cannabis legalisation in parts of the world appears to have accelerated daily use and related health impacts

  • Cannabis legalisation in North America appears to have increased daily cannabis use, especially potent cannabis products and particularly among young adults.

  • Associated increases in people with psychiatric disorders, suicides and hospitalisations have also been reported

  • Record rises in the manufacturing of cocaine, growing 11 percent

  • 1.2 million people worldwide were injecting drugs

  • Trafficking of methamphetamine continues to expand geographically, especially in South East Asia (up by 30 percent)

Women remain in the minority of drug users globally yet tend to increase their rate of drug consumption and progress to drug use disorders more rapidly than men do. Women now represent an estimated 45-49 per cent of users of amphetamines and non-medical users of pharmaceutical stimulants, pharmaceutical opioids, sedatives, and tranquillisers.

Increased drug use also creates negative outcomes for the environment. Key findings include that the carbon footprint of indoor cannabis is between 16 and 100 times more than outdoor cannabis on average and that the footprint of 1 kilogram of cocaine is 30 times greater than that of cocoa beans.

Other environmental impacts include substantial deforestation.


Research: Marijuana users more likely to need emergency care and hospitalisation

New Canadian study, published in BMJ Open Respiratory Research, suggests that cannabis use is associated with increased risk for serious adverse health events, and is linked to heightened emergency care and hospital admissions. Researchers conclude “its recreational consumption in the general population should be discouraged”.

“Our research demonstrates that cannabis use in the general population is associated with heightened risk of clinically serious negative outcomes, specifically, needing to present to the ED [emergency department] or be admitted to hospital.” says Dr. Nicholas Vozoris (MD, FRCPC, MHSc), respirologist and lead author of the study. 

The research analysed the national health survey and health records data for 35,114 Canadians aged 12 to 65, from January 2009 until December 2015.

Cannabis users were 22 percent more likely than those who don’t use the drug to end up in emergency care or become hospitalised for any reason. Acute trauma (15%) was the most common cause of emergency admissions, followed closely by respiratory health (14%).

“Unlike tobacco, there is some uncertainty or controversy regarding the adverse health impacts of cannabis. Some individuals may perceive that cannabis has some health benefits and is otherwise benign. Our research highlights to those using – or considering to use – cannabis, that this behavior is associated with important negative health events.” says Dr. Vozoris.

Dr. Vozoris is an Assistant Professor and Clinician Investigator within the Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine, at the University of Toronto. He is also a Staff Respirologist at St. Michael’s Hospital.

The evidence is telling, and the message is clear: avoiding recreational drugs, including cannabis, is the only safe choice.

Read more here …

*This post was written by Family First staff writers.

Research: Little evidence for the long-term benefits of medical cannabis

Despite the hype around cannabis products, there is “very little scientifically valid research into most of these products” according to a new systematic review by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University. Reviewers searched more than 3,000 studies in the scientific literature and found only 25 with scientifically valid evidence—18 randomised controlled studies and seven observational studies of at least four weeks. A review of these 25 studies concluded there was insufficient evidence for the long-term pain-relieving effect of cannabis”. This is consistent with a 2020 review by psychiatrists at the University of Melbourne, which concluded the evidence is too weak’ to prove cannabis helps anxiety, depression or insomnia”.

“Many reviews were unable to provide firm conclusions on the effectiveness of medical cannabis, and results of reviews were mixed. Mild adverse effects were frequently but inconsistently reported, and it is possible that harms may outweigh benefits.”

Source: Annals of Internal Medicine and National Library of Medicine

“In general, the limited amount of evidence surprised all of us,” said lead author Marian S. McDonagh, Pharm.D., emeritus professor of medical informatics and clinical epidemiology in the OHSU School of Medicine.

“Unfortunately, there is very little scientifically valid research into most these products,” she said. “We saw only a small group of observational cohort studies on cannabis products that would be easily available in states that allow it, and these were not designed to answer the important questions on treating chronic pain.”

Researchers found many of the products now available at U.S. dispensaries have not been well studied.

“For some cannabis products, such as whole-plant products, the data are sparse with imprecise estimates of effect and studies had methodological limitations,” the authors write.

This situation makes it very difficult to for health professionals to safely guide patients.

Pro-cannabis advocates greatly overstate the supposed ‘health’ benefits of cannabis, yet there is simply very little evidence for the benefits of the drug. There are major gaps in knowledge that put in doubt the efficacy and safety of medical cannabis.

Before any drug is approved and released to the wider population, it must typically undergo a lengthy review process involving extensive research and ongoing clinical trials. This simply has not been done for most cannabis products. In fact, since cannabis products vary significantly in chemical make-up, it means no two cannabis products are the same.

“Cannabis products vary quite a bit in terms of their chemical composition, and this could have important effects in terms of benefits and harm to patients,” said co-author Roger Chou, M.D., director of OHSU’s Pacific Northwest Evidence-based Practice Center. “That makes it tough for patients and clinicians since the evidence for one cannabis-based product may not be the same for another.”

Yes, researchers did find some evidence to support a short-term benefit in treating some neuropathic pain caused by damage to peripheral nerves. This research involved only two cannabis products. Both products also lead to notable side effects including sedation and dizziness, according to the review.

The harms of medical cannabis may outweigh any claimed benefits.

US: Cannabis legalisation sees “spiralling psychotic illnesses … and booming black market”

We are now seeing some highly alarming outcomes from legalising cannabis in US states, including “spiralling addiction, psychotic illnesses and hospitals facing a deluge of poisonings”. This absolutely affirms New Zealand made the only safe decision by voting NO to dope at the 2020 cannabis legalisation referendum. Legalising recreational cannabis would have been a disaster for New Zealand.

Remember the claims made by pro-drug activists in support of cannabis legalisation in New Zealand. According to the Government, the Green Party, NZ Drug Foundation and Helen Clark Foundation, we were supposed believe that legalising recreational cannabis would lead to significant health benefits, reduced black market, no increase in usage, reduction in mental health issues, reduced crime and so on. Thankfully, 51.2% of us weren’t fooled into believing this, just enough Kiwis to vote down the proposed cannabis legalisation bill.

And there is continued mounting evidence refuting those pro-cannabis claims. US states that legalised recreational cannabis 8 or so years ago are instead seeing spiralling addiction, psychotic illnesses and even deaths. Meanwhile the illegal cannabis market in California is booming, estimated to be worth £6 billion – twice that of the legal industry. Gangs continue to sell products at a higher potency and lower price, thus undercutting the registered shops.

Scientists overwhelmingly conclude that frequent use of the drug is not worth the risks.

In summary, here are some conclusions from the latest research and data:

  • Record levels of cannabis use in states where cannabis has been legalised
  • Experts describe these highly concentrated products as ‘the crack cocaine of cannabis’, and say demand for ever-stronger stuff is another by-product of legalisation
  • Surge in addiction and mental illness – depressive breakdowns, psychosis, suicidal thoughts, all related to cannabis
  • Hospital admissions for cannabis-related complications have shot up – from 1,400 in 2005 to 16,000 by 2019
  • Recreational marijuana users were 25 per cent more likely to end up needing emergency hospital treatment
  • Scientists overwhelmingly conclude that frequent use of the drug is not worth the risks
  • Frequent and heavy cannabis use is becoming normalised in California
  • Rates of addiction are nearly 40 per cent higher in states that have legalised cannabis, than states without legal cannabis
  • Risk of being involved in a cannabis-related accident is significantly higher in states where the drug is legal
  • The black market that has grown by nearly 100 per cent since cannabis laws were relaxed, as bootleggers sell products at a lower price, undercutting the registered shops
  • The illegal cannabis market in California is booming, estimated to be worth £6 billion – twice that of the legal industry
  • Rapid increase of unlicensed stores prescribing and selling medical cannabis
  • Major review of 25 studies concluded there was insufficient evidence for the long-term pain-relieving effect of cannabis
  • 2020 review by psychiatrists at the University of Melbourne concluded the evidence is ‘too weak’ to prove cannabis helps anxiety, depression or insomnia

So this refutes virtually every claim made by pro-drug activists in support of cannabis legalisation.

“We’ve been sold a lie, that cannabis use is harmless and even has a multitude of health benefits. It is exactly the same as what happened with tobacco. The industry told the public it was good for their health at first, before it was proven to be deadly.”

Sourced from Mail on Sunday. Read full article here.