With marijuana use rising among pregnant women, study raises new concerns — ScienceDaily


Pregnant women who use cannabis may slightly increase the risk their unborn child will develop psychosis later in life, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

“Our research shows that prenatal marijuana exposure after maternal knowledge of pregnancy is associated with a small increase in psychosis proneness during middle childhood or about age 10,” said Jeremy Fine, an undergraduate majoring in psychological & brain sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University and the study’s lead author.

The findings come on the heels of several national studies documenting a dramatic increase in marijuana usage by pregnant women, including a 2018 study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis that found past-month marijuana use among pregnant mothers in the United States increased by 75 percent between 2002 (2.85 percent) and 2016 (4.98 percent).

As more states legalize medicinal and recreational use of cannabis, other reports suggest that many marijuana dispensaries commonly suggest cannabis as a natural cure for pregnancy related nausea.

This latest study, published March 27 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, suggests that pregnant women should be discouraged from using cannabis at any time in their pregnancy because so little is yet known about its health effects.

But its findings also raise new concerns that prenatal exposure to cannabis may pose a greater risk after the fetal brain begins to develop a receptor system for endocannabinoids, which are part of the naturally occurring neurotransmitter network through which cannabis affects the brain.

“One possible explanation for the finding of increased psychosis risk for marijuana use following, but not before, knowledge of pregnancy is that the endocannabinoid receptor system may not be in place during the early weeks of pregnancy,” said Ryan Bogdan, associate professor of psychological & brain sciences and senior author of the paper. “Prenatal cannabis exposure may be associated with later psychosis proneness in offspring only when there is sufficient fetal endocannabinoid type 1 receptor expression, which may not occur until after many mothers learn they are pregnant.”

Bogdan, who directs the Washington University BRAIN Lab where the research took place, said these latest findings build on other basic research suggesting that endocannabinoid signaling may contribute to processes, such as neurogenesis and neural migration, that play important roles in early development of brain structure and connections.

“This study raises the intriguing possibility there may be developmental windows during which cannabis exposure may be more likely to increase psychosis risk,” he said.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the principal psychoactive component of marijuana, mimics our body’s endocannabinoids and binds to endocannabinoid receptors to exert its effects. Various studies have confirmed that THC crosses the placental barrier to gain access to the developing fetus.

“Data from rodent studies suggest that the endocannabinoid type 1 receptor, through which the psychoactive effects of THC largely arise, is not expressed until the equivalent of 5-6 weeks of human gestation,” Fine said. “Given that mothers in our study on average learned of their pregnancy at 7.7 weeks, it is plausible that any impact of THC on psychosis risk would not arise until sufficient endocannabinoid type 1 receptors are expressed.”

The BRAIN Lab findings are based on data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, an ongoing longitudinal study of child health and brain development with data collection sites throughout the nation. They used data from the initial ABCD baseline data release which included survey responses from 3,774 mothers about marijuana usage during 3,926 pregnancies. Risk of psychosis in the 4,361 children born from these pregnancies between 2005 and 2008 was measured using a questionnaire administered to the children between ages 8.9 and 11 years.

Among the 4,361 children sampled in this study, 201 (4.61 percent) were reported to have been exposed to marijuana before birth. Of these, 138 were exposed only before mothers knew they were pregnant; two were exposed only after the mother knew she was pregnant.

Bogdan and his co-authors acknowledge that the study has many limitations, including the small sample of prenatal cannabis-exposed offspring; potential maternal underreporting of use during pregnancy; imprecise data on timing, amount, frequency and potency of cannabis exposure; absence of data on whether childhood psychosis proneness is associated with conversion to psychosis; and lack of data on some potential confounders, such as maternal stress and genetic risk of psychosis among parents.

“Our research is correlational and as such cannot draw causal conclusions,” said Allison Moreau, study co-author and a graduate student in psycholody at Washington University. “However, that the relationship between prenatal marijuana exposure following maternal knowledge of pregnancy was associated with offspring psychosis proneness after accounting for potentially confounding variables — such as maternal education, prenatal vitamin usage, prenatal alcohol and nicotine use, child substance use, and so on — increases the plausibility that prenatal cannabis exposure may contribute to a small risk of increased psychosis liability in children.”

The study provides further evidence that expectant mothers should think twice before considering cannabis usage during pregnancy.

“Given increasing cannabis accessibility and potency, as well as growing public perceptions that it’s safe to use, it is critical for additional research to understand the potential adverse consequences and benefits of cannabis throughout development and how these associations may arise.” Bogdan said. “In the meantime, evidence that prenatal marijuana use is associated with a small increase in offspring psychosis proneness suggests that marijuana use during pregnancy should be discouraged until more is known.”

Other Washington University co-authors include Nicole Karcher, post-doctoral research scholar; Arpana Agrawal, professor of psychiatry; and Cynthia Rogers, assistant professor of child psychiatry, all in the Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine; and Deanna Barch, chair of the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences in Arts & Sciences and the Gregory B. Couch Professor of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine.

Funding for this study was provided by the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, which was funded by awards from the National Institutes of Health and additional federal partners .



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Patients with or without cancer use different forms of marijuana, study finds — ScienceDaily


People with and without cancer are more likely, over time, to use a more potent form of medical marijuana with increasingly higher amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a new study shows.

In a report publishing in the Journal of Palliative Medicine on March 26, researchers say that cancer patients were more likely to favor forms of medical marijuana with higher amounts of THC, which relieves cancer symptoms and the side effects of cancer treatment, including chronic pain, weight loss, and nausea.

By contrast, marijuana formulations higher in cannabidiol (CBD), which has been shown to reduce seizures and inflammation in other studies, were more popular among non-cancer patients, including those with epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, say the study authors.

Cancer patients were also more likely to prefer taking oil droplets containing medical marijuana under the tongue than “vaping.”

“Although there is growing patient interest in medical cannabis, there is a scarcity of solid evidence about the benefits, risks, and patterns of use of marijuana products in various disease settings,” says study lead investigator Arum Kim, MD, an assistant professor of medicine and rehabilitation medicine at NYU School of Medicine and director of the supportive oncology program at its Perlmutter Cancer Center. “Such information is important for delivering the best care.”

Since 1996, 31 states, including New York in 2014, have legalized medical marijuana.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from 11,590 men and women in New York, of whom 1,990 (17.2 percent of the total patient cohort) were cancer patients who purchased and used cannabis products from Columbia Care LLC., a dispensary licensed in New York State, between January 2016 and December 2017.

The researchers caution that their data did not include the type of cancer the purchasers had, how much of what they bought was used, or whether marijuana was used for symptoms unrelated to the cancer. Nevertheless, the patterns of use among cancer patients were distinctly different from those of non-cancer patients.

Specifically, the study found that cancer and non-cancer patients used different dosages of cannabis formulations with dramatically different THC:CBD ratios. The two most common formulations contained THC and CBD, but one had twenty times more THC than CBD, whereas the other had the opposite ratio.

Over the two years of the study, the research team found that all types of patients increased their THC dose by approximately 0.20 milligrams per week.

“Our study provides valuable new information about how cancer patients are using marijuana,” says study senior investigator Benjamin Han, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of medicine and population health at NYU School of Medicine. “In the absence of strong clinical research data for medical marijuana, identifying patterns of use offers some sense of how to guide patients who come in with questions for using medical marijuana, and what may or may not help them.”

Researchers say they next plan to get more detailed information about how medical marijuana affects patient response to therapy and functional status at different stages of their disease, as well as the risks and side effects of treatment. Furthermore, the profiles of other cannabinoids besides THC and CBD in medical marijuana products warrant further research, according to the study authors.

Along with Kim and Han, another co-author from NYU School of Medicine and Perlmutter Cancer Center, which funded the study, was Zujun Li, MD. Other study authors include Christopher Kaufmann, PhD, MHS, at University of California San Diego; and Roxanne Ko, BA, BS, at the University of Hawaii.



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Wednesday, March 27, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News


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Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, March 27, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Guam Becomes First U.S. Territory To Send Marijuana Legalization To Governor In 2019 (Marijuana Moment)

// Michigan commission: State should not set driving limit for marijuana (Click on Detroit)

// Chart: Medical cannabis license growth still sizzling in Oklahoma (Marijuana Business Daily)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 150,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// The White House And Federal Scientists Are Pushing The Myth That Marijuana Is Laced With Fentanyl (Buzzfeed)

// People are lining up to grow marijuana for research. Trump’s Justice Department won’t let them. (Vox)

// Seth Rogen teams up with Canopy Growth to launch cannabis brand Houseplant (Financial Post)

// Molson Coors: Cannabis consumption may hit company’s bottom line (Marijuana Business Daily)

// The Battle Over the HARVEST Trademark for Cannabis Retail (Canna Law Blog)

// Watch Live: Key Congressional Committee To Vote On Marijuana Banking Bill (Marijuana Moment)

// Can CBD Save the Shopping Mall? (Leafly)


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Tuesday, March 26, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News


The frame is filled with bright green growing marijuana plants close to harvest time.

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, March 26, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Marijuana Legalization Vote Cancelled Due To Lack of Support In New Jersey Senate (Marijuana Moment)

// Connecticut Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization Bill In Key Committee (Marijuana Moment)

// Diversity Provisions Added To Marijuana Banking Bill Up For Congressional Vote This Week (Marijuana Moment)


Today’s headlines are brought to you by our friends over at Eaze.com, California’s top one stop website for legal marijuana delivery. If you live in the golden state, swing over to Eaze.com to see if they are active in your area. With deliveries taking place in less than an hour, it’s never been easier to get legal California marijuana delivery. And of course, if you don’t live where Eaze delivers, you can still benefit from all the useful bits of industry insight and analysis they’ve developed using their properly aggregate and anonymized sales data stream.


// Student pleads guilty to illegal wiretapping after live-streaming congressional staffer in meeting (Washington Post)

// ‘All the advantages are going to the big-money people’: Mass. and Boston inch forward on marijuana equity efforts (Boston Globe)

// New York State Only Pretends It Wants Diversity In Cannabis Companies (Green Market Report)

// Local crime data shows recreational pot shops are ‘good neighbors’ (Boston 25 News)

// Brookline recreational marijuana shop says lines are under control as most customers reserve ahead of time (Boston Globe)

// Louisiana Patients Demand Cannabis Be on Shelves by May 15 (Leafly (AP))

// Wanted by the DEA: Someone to Burn 1,000 Pounds of Weed Per Hour (Merry Jane)


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Surge in cannabis use among youth preceded legalization in Canada — ScienceDaily


National discussions on cannabis legalization, along with increased access to medical marijuana, may have encouraged more high school students to consume the drug years before it became legal in Canada.

A recent study using data from more than 230,000 questionnaires by Canadian high school students in grades 9 to 12 found that almost 10 per cent reported having used the drug at least once per week in 2017-18, with a further 18 per cent saying they had used it at least once in the last year.

Both weekly and occasional use reached their lowest points in 2014-15 (9 percent and 15 percent respectively) and have since been rising steadily.

“The problem was developing while legalization was being discussed, but well before concrete steps to change the law were taken,” said lead author Alex Zuckermann, a post-doctoral fellow with the Public Health Agency of Canada working in the School of Public Health and Health Systems.

“With medicinal use more widespread and talk of total legalization starting, we saw a shift in public perception starting around 2014. Before that, youth cannabis use was declining. These changing social norms may have contributed to rising youth use.”

The work used data from the COMPASS Study, an annual survey of high school students in grades 9 to 12 in Ontario and Alberta. The demographic groups that saw the biggest increases since 2014-15 were female and Indigenous youth. Weekly use for females went from 7 to 8 percent, and occasional use from 17 to 19 percent during this time period. Indigenous youth weekly use went from 23 to 25 percent, and occasional use from 18 to 21 percent.

“We often think of male youth when we talk about drug use, but here female students are driving increases. Historically, their use has been more stigmatized, so normalization may be having a bigger effect,” said Zuckermann. “We also see that Indigenous youth start young and have by far the highest rates of current use, factors that will have long-term health implications and need to be addressed.”

In 2017-18, rates of lifetime and past-year cannabis use were highest among male (33 and 29 percent) and Indigenous students (55 and 46 percent), and lowest among Asian students (17 and 14 percent). Female students stood at 31 percent for lifetime use and 26 percent in the past year.

“The ability to track multiple risk factors among youth over time and maintain ongoing data systems like COMPASS can provide valuable information to policymakers,” added Scott Leatherdale, principal investigator and a professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems. “It helps to provide the necessary evidence to learn from new policy implementation.”

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Materials provided by University of Waterloo. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.



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Monday, March 25, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News


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Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Monday, March 25, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Gotham Green to Invest $250 Million into MedMen (Merry Jane)

// Decision day for New Jersey? $1.5 billion recreational cannabis market at stake (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Here’s how the first day of recreational marijuana sales in Brookline went (Boston.com)


Today’s headlines are brought to you by our friends over at Eaze.com, California’s top one stop website for legal marijuana delivery. If you live in the golden state, swing over to Eaze.com to see if they are active in your area. With deliveries taking place in less than an hour, it’s never been easier to get legal California marijuana delivery. And of course, if you don’t live where Eaze delivers, you can still benefit from all the useful bits of industry insight and analysis they’ve developed using their properly aggregate and anonymized sales data stream.


// UP school with marijuana program to spend $1M on equipment (WBAY Action News 2)

// Cleveland School of Cannabis is growing, operating in black (Crain’s Cleveland Business)

// Cannabis country: Marijuana drives new industry in Central Mass. cities, towns (Worcester Telegram)

// Men hold 93% of Canadian cannabis boardroom positions (Marijuana Business Daily)

// House dumps bid to make marijuana extracts legal (Arizona Capitol Times)

// Legalization Activists Push Marijuana Industry To Uphold Social Responsibilities (Marijuana Moment)

// 2020 Presidential Candidate Cory Booker Voices Support for Cannabis Legalization in New Jersey (Civilized)


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Photo: MedMen



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Friday, March 22, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News


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Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, March 22, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// You can’t own more than three pot shops, but these companies are testing the limit – and bragging about it (Boston Globe)

// 50 unlicensed medical marijuana shops to be shut down by Michigan officials (Michigan Live)

// Portland’s $6 Eighth-Ounces Are the Future of Cannabis (Leafly)


Today’s headlines are brought to you by our friends over at Eaze.com, California’s top one stop website for legal marijuana delivery. If you live in the golden state, swing over to Eaze.com to see if they are active in your area. With deliveries taking place in less than an hour, it’s never been easier to get legal California marijuana delivery. And of course, if you don’t live where Eaze delivers, you can still benefit from all the useful bits of industry insight and analysis they’ve developed using their properly aggregate and anonymized sales data stream.


// New York Legalization Lives or Dies by Friday Senator Says (Leafly)

// Marty Walsh writes in to New York Times after article on legalizing recreational marijuana (Boston.com)

// Illinois Senate panel passes bill to protect banks serving cannabis businesses (Marijuana Business Daily)

// A North Dakota House Bill would Increase Patient Access to Medical Marijuana (KXNet CBS)

// Smokable medical marijuana sold for first time in Florida at Tallahassee dispensary (Orlando Sentinel)

// Florida Commission Plans To Loosen Regulations On Marijuana Before UFC Event (Low Kick MMA)

// Military Veterans Organizations Press Congress On Medical Marijuana Research (Marijuana Moment)


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Findings show that pain declines, assessments of health improve and Americans remain in the workforce — ScienceDaily


A study that examined older Americans’ well-being before and after medical marijuana laws were passed in their state found reductions in reported pain and increased hours worked. The study, co-written by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Temple University, suggests medical marijuana laws could be improving older Americans’ health.

The paper analyzed more than 100,000 responses from survey participants age 51 and older from 1992 to 2012. Researchers found a 4.8 percent decrease in reported pain and a 6.6 percent increase in reported very good or excellent health among respondents with a health condition that would qualify for medical marijuana after their states passed medical marijuana laws relative to similar respondents whose states did not pass a law.

The study appears in the Spring 2019 issue of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

“Our study is important because of the limited availability of clinical trial data on the effects of medical marijuana,” says Lauren Hersch Nicholas, PhD, assistant professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management. “While several studies point to improved pain control with medical marijuana, research has largely ignored older adults even though they experience the highest rates of medical issues that could be treated with medical marijuana.”

Medical marijuana remains controversial as national support for it surges. Opponents continue to argue that legalizing medical marijuana would promote illegal use of the drug and increase misuse of related substances. Supporters highlight the potential health benefits of medical marijuana for pain management and other conditions. By the end of 2018, 33 states and Washington, D.C. had passed laws legalizing medical use of marijuana.

For their study, researchers used data from the 1992-2012 Health and Retirement Study (HRS), the largest nationally representative survey to have track health and labor market outcomes among older Americans. The researchers examined survey responses about symptoms that have a plausible link to one’s ability to work: frequency of pain, whether health limits work, overall health assessment and depressive symptoms. At the time of the analysis, 20 states had medical marijuana laws in place.

The analysis matched medical marijuana law effective dates to the HRS interview responses, based on month and year, to track the possible effects of these policy changes. The analysis used 100,921 participant responses that represented individuals with one or more of four health conditions that would qualify for medical marijuana treatment under most state laws (arthritis, cancer, glaucoma and pain). The paper found that 55 percent of the study sample were suffering from one or more of these diagnoses.

The study found that medical marijuana laws lead to increases in full-time work in both samples.

In the sample that would qualify for medical marijuana treatment, the researchers found a greater increase in full-time work after medical marijuana laws were passed. In the full sample, researchers found a 5 percent increase in full-time work versus a 7.3 percent in the sample that qualified for medical marijuana. These results suggest that any decline in productivity resulting from medical marijuana usage — such as not being able to work at capacity while under treatment — is outweighed by increased capacity to work.

The study found no evidence that medical marijuana laws were associated with changes in daily activities such as getting dressed, going to the bathroom or walking.

“These findings underscore the close relationship between health policy and labor supply within older adults,” says Nicholas. “When we’re doing policy evaluations, we have to think not only about whether the policy is changing health outcomes, but also whether it does it in a way that supports labor force participation.”

The results can help inform policy decisions about medical marijuana policy and broaden clinical support for additional research on marijuana as an effective medical treatment. This is important, the authors say, because marijuana is still illegal and classified as a schedule 1 drug at the federal level, and there remains limited clinical evidence available to inform medical marijuana policies and treatment options for many patients, especially older adults.

The study was supported by the National Institute on Aging.



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Thursday, March 21, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News


A green and budding marijuana plant is seen against a green background.

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Thursday, March 21, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Murphy: Still Not Enough Support In NJ To Legalize Marijuana (WCBS Radio)

// Cuomo: Pot legalization dropped from New York state budget (CNN)

// Curaleaf signs distribution deal with CVS for hemp products (Marijuana Business Daily)


Today’s headlines are brought to you by our friends over at Eaze.com, California’s top one stop website for legal marijuana delivery. If you live in the golden state, swing over to Eaze.com to see if they are active in your area. With deliveries taking place in less than an hour, it’s never been easier to get legal California marijuana delivery. And of course, if you don’t live where Eaze delivers, you can still benefit from all the useful bits of industry insight and analysis they’ve developed using their properly aggregate and anonymized sales data stream.


// Medical marijuana sponsor says governor will sign bill, but Lee’s office says otherwise (WKRN News)

// So far, legalizing pot isn’t paying off in Massachusetts (Boston Globe)

// Arkansas Senate passes medical cannabis bills affecting edibles advertising (Marijuana Business Daily)

// John Hickenlooper calls Donald Trump a ‘bully,’ discusses health care and legalizing marijuana in CNN town hall (Newsweek)

// Beto O’Rourke Says Prosecute Pharma Execs And Legalize Marijuana (Marijuana Moment)

// Canada Wants to Tax Your Cannabis Based on THC Content (Leafly)

// Don’t Be Greedy! Why Cannabis Companies Should Support Home Cultivation (Forbes)


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Wednesday, March 20, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News


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Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, March 20, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// First Congressional Marijuana Vote Of 2019 Officially Scheduled For Next Week (Marijuana Moment)

// Grabbing enough votes for legal weed in N.J. has ‘a ways to go,’ Murphy says (NJ.com)

// Yavapai County attorney: Arizona voters never intended to legalize marijuana extracts, edibles (Daily Courier)


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// Rice: Expungement Bill Shouldn’t be Contingent on Recreational Marijuana Legalization (Insider NJ)

// U.S. Postal Service Issues Advisory On Mailing Hemp-Derived CBD (Marijuana Moment)

// Smokable medical marijuana is legal in Florida, so why can’t patients get it yet? (WTSP 10 CBS)

// Former Health Department attorney files lawsuit against Unity Bill (Oklahomian)

// Hawaii Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Decriminalization Bill In Joint Committee Hearing (Marijuana Moment)

// NHL Alumni Study Centres on CBD, Puts THC on Ice (Leafly)

// RBC to Lend Eve & Co. $18.7 Million to Construct Cannabis Greenhouse (New Cannabis Ventures)


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Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
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Photo: Misha Popovikj/Flickr



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