Pediatric Exposures to Marijuana

Unintentional Pediatric Exposures to Marijuana in Colorado, 2009-2015
JAMA Pediatr. 2016;170(9):e160971. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.0971
George Sam Wang, MD
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2534480

Clinical effects reported were:

  • drowsiness/lethargy 49%
  • ataxia/dizziness 12%
  • agitation 8%
  • vomiting 5%
  • tachycardia 6%
  • dystonia/muscle rigidity 2%
  • respiratory depression 2%
  • bradycardia/hypotension 2%
  • seizures 3%

picture from:
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/05/28/186899565/pot-brownies-should-be-childproofed-doctors-say

Antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/nov/16/new-strain-cannabis-treat-psychosis-schizophrenia-gw-pharmaceuticals-david-potter

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476

A critical review of the antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol: 30 years of a translational investigation.
Curr Pharm Des. 2012;18(32):5131-40.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22716160
Zuardi AW

Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ(9)-THC) is the main compound of the Cannabis Sativa responsible for most of the effects of the plant. Another major constituent is cannabidiol (CBD), formerly regarded to be devoid of pharmacological activity. However, laboratory rodents and human studies have shown that this cannabinoid is able to prevent psychotic-like symptoms induced by high doses of Δ(9)- THC. Subsequent studies have demonstrated that CBD has antipsychotic effects as observed using animal models and in healthy volunteers. Thus, this article provides a critical review of the research evaluating antipsychotic potential of this cannabinoid. CBD appears to have pharmacological profile similar to that of atypical antipsychotic drugs as seem using behavioral and neurochemical techniques in animal models. Additionally, CBD prevented human experimental psychosis and was effective in open case reports and clinical trials in patients with schizophrenia with a remarkable safety profile. Moreover, fMRI results strongly suggest that the antipsychotic effects of CBD in relation to the psychotomimetic effects of Δ(9)-THC involve the striatum and temporal cortex that have been traditionally associated with psychosis. Although the mechanisms of the antipsychotic properties are still not fully understood, we propose a hypothesis that could have a heuristic value to inspire new studies. These results support the idea that CBD may be a future therapeutic option in psychosis, in general and in schizophrenia, in particular.

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The new strain of cannabis that could help treat psychosis
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/nov/16/new-strain-cannabis-treat-psychosis-schizophrenia-gw-pharmaceuticals-david-potter
Tom Ireland

The origins of modern cannabis can be traced to California in the late 1970s, when professional breeders began to select the most potent, THC-rich plants for the first time. “Until then, most cannabis came in the form of hashish resin, made of mixed populations of plants from parts of Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean, containing varying amounts of both CBD and THC”

By 1984, a variety of cannabis known as “skunk#1” arrived in Europe. Named after its pungent smell, it contained 15% THC instead of the 1-8% found in older varieties.

Pot smokers in the UK never looked back and skunk is now by far the most prevalent type of cannabis sold illegally here.

Could Pot Help Veterans with PTSD?

Could Pot Help Veterans with PTSD? Brain Scientists Say Maybe
NPR. December 24, 2013
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/12/23/256610483/could-pot-help-veterans-with-ptsd-brain-scientists-say-maybe

Veterans who smoke marijuana to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder may be onto something. There’s growing evidence that pot can affect brain circuits involved in PTSD.

Experiments in animals show that tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that gives marijuana its feel-good qualities, acts on a system in the brain that is “critical for fear and anxiety modulation,” says Andrew Holmes, a researcher at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The use of marijuana for PTSD has gained national attention in the past few years as thousands of traumatized veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan have asked the federal government to give them access to the drug. Also, Maine and a handful of other states have passed laws giving people with PTSD access to medical marijuana.

For decades, researchers have suspected that marijuana might help people with PTSD by quieting an overactive fear system. But they didn’t understand how this might work until 2002, when scientists in Germany published a mouse study showing that the brain uses chemicals called cannabinoids to modulate the fear system, Ressler says.

There are two common sources of cannabinoids:

  • One is the brain itself, which uses the chemicals to regulate a variety of brain cells.
  • The other common source is Cannabis sativa, the marijuana plant.

So in recent years, researchers have done lots of experiments that involved treating traumatized mice with the active ingredient in pot, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Ressler says. And in general, he says, the mice who get THC look “less anxious, more calm, you know, many of the things that you might imagine.”

Problems with Pot
Unfortunately, THC’s effect on fear doesn’t seem to last, Ressler says, because prolonged exposure seems to make brain cells less sensitive to the chemical.

Another downside to using marijuana for PTSD is side effects, says Andrew Holmes at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “You may indeed get a reduction in anxiety,” Holmes says. “But you’re also going to get all of these unwanted effects,” including short-term memory loss, increased appetite and impaired motor skills.

related:

Why Is It So Hard To Test Whether Drivers Are Stoned?
February 9. 2016
http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/02/09/466147956/why-its-so-hard-to-make-a-solid-test-for-driving-while-stoned
cognitively impaired for up to 28 days

Drug laws & treatment innovation

Effects of Schedule I drug laws on neuroscience research and treatment innovation
David J. Nutt, Leslie A. King and David E. Nichols
NATURE REVIEWS NEUROSCIENCE, AUGUST 2013, VOLUME 14: 577-585
http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v14/n8/full/nrn3530.html

draconian penalty

cannabis (marijuana)

lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD; also known as lysergide)

3,4-methyl- enedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA; also known as ecstasy)

psilocybin:  a hallucinogenic indole C12H17N2O4P obtained from a fungus (as Psilocybe mexicana or P. cubensis syn. Stropharia cubensis)

LSD has been used successfully to treat other addictions

there is no evidence that psychedelics have addictive properties

MDMA similarly has low dependence potential, although some chronic cannabis users can develop dependence

circular argument

in the United States, medical use of marijuana is legal in 18 states and in the District of Columbia.

cannabis was a prescription medication in the United Kingdom until the middle of the twentieth century

In practice, research with Schedule I drugs has almost completely ceased, with research into psychedelic drugs being particularly affected.

Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient of cannabis that makes users ‘stoned’.

Overall, cannabis is less harmful than other popular drugs, such as alcohol.

related news release:
http://www.maps.org/media/David_Nutt_NRN_Press_release_June2013.pdf

related:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/08/12/339822911/colorado-case-puts-workplace-drug-policies-to-the-test