Addiction, Author Interviews, Cannabis, JAMA / 27.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_34181" align="alignleft" width="165"]Deborah S. Hasin, Ph.D. Professor of Epidemiology Columbia University New York, New York 10032 Dr. Hasin[/caption] Deborah S. Hasin, Ph.D. Professor of Epidemiology Columbia University New York, New York 10032 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Among adults, the prevalence of cannabis use and cannabis use disorders has increased in recent years. Concerns have been raised that for various reasons, medical marijuana laws would promote use of cannabis and consequently, cannabis-related consequences. Many studies show that this didn't happen among adolescents, but very little was known about the relationship between medical marijuana laws and adults. Using data from three surveys spanning the years 1991-2013, the study findings suggested that medical marijuana laws did play a role in increasing rates of cannabis use and cannabis use disorders.
Addiction, Author Interviews, Cannabis / 24.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ian Hamilton Department of Health Sciences University of York York, UK  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This review looked back over 40 years of research on the links between cannabis and psychosis to examine how knowledge has developed on this issue. The review found that there is sufficient evidence to suggest a dose response relationship exists in the risk for developing a psychosis that would not have happened if the individual had not been exposed to cannabis. Also for people with schizophrenia cannabis exacerbates their symptoms and prolongs recovery.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Dermatology / 21.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jessica S. Mounessa, BS University of Colorado School of Medicine Aurora, Colorado and Robert Dellavalle, MD, PhD, MSPH Professor of Dermatology and Public Health University of Colorado School of Medicine Colorado School of Public Health Chief, Dermatology Service US Department of Veterans Affairs Eastern Colorado Health Care System Denver, CO 80220  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: One in 10 adult cannabis users in the U.S. use it for medicinal purposes. Medicinal cannabis is well studied for its uses in chronic pain, anorexia, and nausea. Numerous recent studies have highlighted other medicinal uses for cannabinoids and related compounds. We conducted a comprehensive review of the literature on the potential role of cannabinoids in conditions affecting the skin. Our study reveals the potential benefit of topically prepared cannabinoid compounds, especially for pruritus and eczema.  For example, creams containing Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), which enhances cannabinoid-receptor binding, have been successful in relieving itch both in the literature, and anecdotally in our clinics. Though not strictly considered an endocannabinoid, as it does not directly bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors, PEA works by enhancing endocannabinoid binding to these receptors.** Furthermore, the majority of the cannabinoid compounds we studied did not contain psychoactive effects.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 04.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_33647" align="alignleft" width="200"]James McIntosh PhD Economics Department Concordia University Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Dr. McIntosh[/caption] James McIntosh PhD Economics Department Concordia University Montreal, Quebec, Canada. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study Response: Marijuana is about to become legal in Canada. Consequently, an analysis of its effects on users is a high priority. This issue has been explored by Canadian researchers to some extent but there are gaps in what is known about the effects of using marijuana. Most of the Canadian studies focus on youth or adolescent use. This is clearly important but adult use is as well. Establishing the link between early usage and the effects of use over an individual’s lifetime was a major objective of the study.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Heart Disease, Stroke / 19.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_33103" align="alignleft" width="140"]Aditi Kalla, MD Cardiology Research Fellow Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia Dr. Aditi Kalla[/caption] Aditi Kalla, MD Cardiology Research Fellow Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As of the recent 2016 election, decriminalization of cannabis passed in several states bringing the total count up to 28 states and D.C. where cannabis is now legal for medicinal and/or recreational purposes. From a physician’s perspective, it is rare that a drug has “hit the market” so to speak without undergoing clinical trials to determine safety and efficacy. Hence, we sought out to study if cannabis had any effects (positive or negative) on the cardiovascular system.
Addiction, Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Mental Health Research / 03.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_32622" align="alignleft" width="175"]Emil F. Coccaro, M.D. Ellen C. Manning Professor Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience The University of Chicago Chicago, Illinois 60637 Dr. Emil Coccaro[/caption] Emil F. Coccaro, M.D. Ellen C. Manning Professor Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience The University of Chicago Chicago, Illinois 60637 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Aggressive behavior and drug use have been related for years but this study shows people with problematic aggression (Intermittent Explosive Disorder: IED) are in fact at risk for developing alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis use disorders and that the onset of problematic aggression (IED) begins before the onset of the drug use. The increased risk for alcohol use disorder was nearly six-fold higher, the increased risk for cannabis use disorder was seven-fold higher, and the increased risk for tobacco use disorder  was four-fold higher. In addition, the presence of IED increased the severity of the substance use disorder.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Opiods / 01.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_32519" align="alignleft" width="200"]Philippe Lucas VP, Patient Research & Access, Tilray Graduate Researcher, Centre for Addictions Research of BC Philippe Lucas[/caption] Philippe Lucas VP, Patient Research & Access, Tilray Graduate Researcher, Centre for Addictions Research of BC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In 2001 Canada become one of the first nations to develop a federally regulated program to allow access to cannabis for medical purposes with the launch of the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR). The program has undergone numerous convolutions, culminating in the establishment by Health Canada of the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) in 2014, which was replaced by the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes (ACMPR) in 2016. One of the primary changes in the new program(s) has been to move from a single Licensed Producer (LP) of cannabis to multiple large-scale Licensed Producers. This is the first comprehensive survey of patients enrolled in the MMPR/ACMPR, and with 271 complete responses, it’s the largest survey of federally-authorized medical cannabis patients to date.
Addiction, Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Education, Pediatrics, Smoking / 23.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. James Williams UCL Medical School UCL, London, UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Despite a downward trend over the last decade in the usage of particular substances amongst adolescents in the UK, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis remain prevalent behaviours in this demographic. These risky health behaviours present a large problem in terms of public health due to the immediate and long-term health problems they cause, as well as negative non-health outcomes such as poor educational attainment and reduced employment. The role of academic ability in determining patterns of substance use is not clear and no study has evaluated academic ability at age 11 in relation to the onset and persistence of all three substances from early to late adolescence and into young adulthood. Our study sought to determine the association between academic ability and the onset and persistence of substance use in adolescence in a representative sample of English school pupils. This would answer for the first time whether ability was associated with ‘experimentation’ in early adolescence or if the association persists into late adolescence.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cannabis / 17.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_31289" align="alignleft" width="124"]Kathleen K. Bucholz, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Psychiatry Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis MO 63110-1547 Dr. Kathleen Bucholz[/caption] Kathleen K. Bucholz, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Psychiatry Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis MO 63110-1547 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We know that development of alcohol use disorder progresses through several stages of alcohol use, from beginning to drink, to engaging in problem drinking, and then to developing alcohol use disorder, but we don’t know whether the same factors are associated with each step in this progression. Stage-specific associations have implications for prevention, where targeting certain characteristics might stave off progression to the next level of alcohol involvement, potentially. That is what this particular study set out to investigate. The data were from nearly 3600 adolescents and young adults, the majority of whom came from families with alcohol use disorder in their relatives. Thus, this sample was enriched with individuals who were at high risk for progressing to more severe stages of alcohol involvement. In studying the associations at each stage, we strengthened our analysis by defining wherever possible variables as risk factors only if they occurred before or at the same age as the particular alcohol stage. For example, we counted cannabis use as a risk factor for starting to drink only if it either preceded or occurred at the same age as taking the first drink. With this definition, we can infer that a particular factor is antecedent and not simply a correlated influence.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, JAMA, Pediatrics, UC Davis / 02.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_30899" align="alignleft" width="115"]Magdalena Cerda, DrPH, MPH Vice Chancellor's Chair in Violence Prevention Associate Director, Violence Prevention Research Program UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program Dr. Magdalena Cerda[/caption] Magdalena Cerda, DrPH, MPH Vice Chancellor's Chair in Violence Prevention Associate Director, Violence Prevention Research Program UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The potential effect of legalizing marijuana for recreational use has been a topic of considerable debate since Washington and Colorado first legalized its use for adults in 2012. Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C., followed suit in 2014, and voters in California, Massachusetts and Nevada approved recreational use this past November. In our study, we examined changes in perceived risk of marijuana use, and in use of marijuana among school-attending adolescents, in Washington and Colorado, following legalization of recreational marijuana use, and compared pre- to post-legalization changes in these two states to changes in the 45 contiguous US states that had not legalized recreational marijuana use. Marijuana use significantly increased and its perceived harm decreased among eighth- and 10th-graders in Washington state following enactment of recreational marijuana laws. There was no change in use or perceived harm among 12th graders or among similar grades in Colorado. In particular, the data showed that legalization of recreational marijuana use significantly reduced perceptions of marijuana’s harmfulness by 14 percent and 16 percent among eighth and 10th graders and increased their past-month marijuana use by 2 percent and 4 percent in Washington state but not in Colorado. Among states without legalized marijuana use, the perceived harmfulness also decreased by 5 percent and 7 percent for students in the two grades, but marijuana use decreased by 1.3 percent and .9 percent. Among older adolescents in Washington state and all adolescents surveyed in Colorado, there were no changes in perceived harmfulness or marijuana use in the month after legalization.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Nature, UT Southwestern, Weight Research / 19.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_29787" align="alignleft" width="300"](l-r) Dr. Zhenhua Shao and Dr. Daniel Rosenbaum (l-r) Dr. Zhenhua Shao and Dr. Daniel Rosenbaum UT Southwestern[/caption] Dan Rosenbaum, Ph.D. Principal Investigator Department of Biophysics The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, Texas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study focuses on the structure of the human CB1 cannabinoid receptor. The CB1 protein is a membrane-embedded G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) in the brain and peripheral tissues that responds to a variety of different compounds, including endogenous lipid messengers (‘endocannabinoids’), plant natural products (such as THC from the Cannabis sativa plant i.e. marijuana), and synthetic antagonists (such as the taranabant ligand used for this study). The CB1 receptor is involved in regulating neurotransmission in vertebrates, and is a potential therapeutic target for numerous conditions including obesity, pain, and epilepsy. The main findings of this study entailed the solution of the high-resolution crystal structure of human CB1 receptor bound to the inhibitor taranabant. This structure revealed the precise shape of the inhibitor binding pocket, which is also responsible for binding THC and endocannabinoids. In addition to helping explain the mechanism of inhibitor and THC binding, our structure provides a framework for computational studies of binding to a large diversity of cannabinoid modulators of therapeutic importance.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Gender Differences, Heart Disease / 14.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_29640" align="alignleft" width="200"]Amitoj Singh MD Chief Cardiology Fellow St. Luke’s University Health Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Dr. Amitoj Singh[/caption] Amitoj Singh MD Chief Cardiology Fellow St. Luke’s University Health Bethlehem, Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Marijuana use in steadily increasing and it is the most commonly used illicit drug in the US and worldwide. There has been a recent increase in reports of heart and vascular complications associated with its use. These include Myocardial infarctions, stroke and takotsubo. We had two questions that we wanted to answer with our study: a) Is there an association between marijuana use and development of Transient Regional Ventricular Ballooning [TVRB] (aka Stress Cardiomyopathy /Broken Heart Syndrome/ Takotsubo)? b) If the above is true, what are the differences between Marijuana users (MU) and Non Marijuana Users (NMU) who developed Stress Cardiomyopathy.
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Schizophrenia / 27.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Stine Mai Nielsen Copenhagen University Hospital Mental Health Center Copenhagen Gentofte, Denmark MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Several studies have tested whether use of substances can cause schizophrenia. However due to methodological limitations in the existing literature, uncertainties still remains. We aimed to investigate the association between several types of substance abuses and the risk of developing schizophrenia later in life. We did a nationwide, prospective cohort study using the detailed Danish registers, which enabled us to address some of the limitations from prior findings. Our cohort consisted of more than 3.13 mio. individuals, that we were able to follow up for more than 104 mio. years at risk. We found that dealing with a substance abuse increased the overall risk of developing schizophrenia by 6 times, with abuse of cannabis and alcohol presenting the highest associations (5 and 3 times increased risk). The risk was found to be significant even 10-15 years prior to a diagnosis of substance abuse.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Cognitive Issues, Depression, Pediatrics / 12.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_28754" align="alignleft" width="115"]Elizabeth Osuch, M.D. Associate Professor; Rea Chair Department of Psychiatry FEMAP--London Health Sciences Centre London, ON   Dr. Elizabeth Osuch[/caption] Elizabeth Osuch, M.D. Associate Professor; Rea Chair Department of Psychiatry FEMAP--London Health Sciences Centre London, ON    MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As a researcher and psychiatrist doing clinical work in youth aged 16-25 with mood and anxiety disorders I often see patients who are depressed and believe that using marijuana (MJ) improves their mood.  Yet they remain depressed.  This was the clinical inspiration for this brain imaging study, where we investigated emerging adults with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).  Subject groups included patients with MDD who did and did not use MJ frequently.  Our results showed that the MDD+MJ group did not have significantly less depression than the MDD alone group, and the brain abnormalities found in MDD were not corrected by MJ use in the MDD+MJ group.  In fact, some of the brain differences were worse with the addition of MJ, while others were just different.
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Columbia, Opiods / 17.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_28045" align="alignleft" width="163"]June H. Kim Doctoral candidate,Department of Epidemiology Mailman School Public Health Columbia University June Kim[/caption] June H. Kim Doctoral candidate,Department of Epidemiology Mailman School Public Health Columbia University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: A previous study indicated that states with medical marijuana laws had a reduced rate of opioid overdoses. If this is true, we'd expect to see similar reductions in opioid use associated with these laws. For this study, we used data from the FARS, a national surveillance system that records any crash events on US public roads that result in a fatality. Some states provide uniform testing of the majority of their deceased drivers, year to year. Among these states, we found that there was a lower prevalence of positive opioid toxicology tests among drivers crashing in states with an operational medical marijuana versus drivers crashing in states before a future medical marijuana law is implemented, particularly among drivers aged 21-40.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Lancet, NIH / 06.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_27683" align="alignleft" width="125"]Dr. Wilson Compton MD, Deputy Director National Institute on Drug Abuse Dr. Wilson Compton[/caption] Dr. Wilson Compton MD, Deputy Director National Institute on Drug Abuse MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The study found that overall past year marijuana use by adults in the U.S. increased by more than 30% in the past dozen years, and 10 million more people were using marijuana in 2014 than in 2002. Use of marijuana on a daily (or near daily) basis increased even more markedly. In 2002, 3.9 million adults in the U.S. reported using marijuana daily or nearly every day, and the number more than doubled to 8.4 million by 2014. Along with this increase in use, we found that U.S. adults perceptions of the potential harms from using marijuana greatly decreased. Despite scientific evidence of potential harms, adults are much less convinced about dangers associated with using marijuana. These reductions in perceived harm were strongly associated with the increases in use.
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Pediatrics / 28.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Graeme Gordon CEO and Founder at SneakGuard - Home of Safe Responsible StorageGraeme Gordon CEO and Founder at SneakGuard - Home of Safe Responsible Storage MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for SneakGuard™? Response: SneakGuard™ creator and founder, Graeme Gordon recognized the urgent need to keep adventurous young snoopers from unintentionally ingesting cannabis. Founded in 2014, SneakGuard™ is a locking, vacuum and thermally insulated container that provides responsible storage of medications and cannabis, with the passion to protect, save and enhance everyday quality of life. Gordon explains “As a father of a 8 year old I understand how pressing it is for adults to protect children, teens, and even pets from unintended ingestion, so I created a unique storage unit to provide a solution.”
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Pulmonary Disease, UCSF / 27.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_26428" align="alignleft" width="200"]Matthew L. Springer, Ph.D. Professor of Medicine Division of Cardiology University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, CA Dr. Matthew Springer[/caption] Matthew L. Springer, Ph.D. Professor of Medicine Division of Cardiology University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, CA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We've known for many years that secondhand smoke from tobacco cigarettes is harmful, and the vast majority of deaths thought to result from secondhand smoke are from cardiovascular disease. However, very little has been known about cardiovascular consequences of exposure to secondhand smoke from marijuana, and people tend to mistake the lack of evidence that it is harmful, for evidence that is it not harmful. As a result, many people seem relatively unconcerned about smoking marijuana and being exposed (or exposing others) to marijuana secondhand smoke. Politicians and policy makers also seem less willing to limit where people can smoke marijuana (under legal circumstances) than tobacco. What has been lacking is research into how exposure to marijuana smoke affects cardiovascular health. It has been difficult to do such experiments because marijuana is illegal in the eyes of the federal government. However, we have been studying the harmful effects of secondhand tobacco smoke on the function of rat blood vessels, which is similar to its harmful effects on human blood vessels, and we now have studied how the function of rat blood vessels is affected by exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, JAMA, Pediatrics / 25.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_26469" align="alignleft" width="144"]George Sam Wang MD FAAP Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Section of Emergency Medicine, Medical Toxicology Department of Pediatrics University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Children's Hospital Colorado Dr. Wang[/caption] George Sam Wang MD FAAP Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Section of Emergency Medicine, Medical Toxicology Department of Pediatrics University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Children's Hospital Colorado MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Many states have allowed medical and now recreational marijuana. The impact on pediatric population has not been fully described. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Unintentional exposures presenting to our children's hospital and calls to our regional poison center significantly increased after our state allowed recreational marijuana. MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Response: Exposures in children are increasing in our state that allows medical and recreational Marijuana, many were edible products. Marijuana products should be treated like medications and household products in home and properly and safely stored. States looking to legalize marijuana need to consider safety rules and regulations during rule making processes.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 06.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_25898" align="alignleft" width="125"]Mary P. Heitzeg, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry University of Michigan Dr. Mary Heitzeg[/caption] Mary P. Heitzeg, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We wanted to find out if marijuana use changed the way the brain’s reward system responded to natural rewards. To probe response to natural reward, we used the chance to win some money and we observed brain response using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We looked at brain activity when participants were 20 years old on average, and then again 2 years later and 4 years later. We found that over time marijuana use was associated with a decrease in the brain’s reward response to the chance to win money. This finding is consistent with current theories of addiction that suggest that repeated use of a substance may dampen the brain’s reward response to things normally perceived as pleasurable and this alteration may drive the individual to continue substance use.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 21.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Hanan El Marroun, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Epidemiology The Generation R Study Erasmus, The Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background for the study is that little is known about the potential long-term effects of cannabis exposure during pregnancy on child development. The main findings are the prenatal cannabis exposure was associated with differences in cortical thickness in childhood. MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Response: That our findings suggest an association between prenatal cannabis exposure and cortical thickness in children. However, the results must be carefully interpreted, as there may be other factors involved that we did not take into account. Therefore, further research is needed to explore the causal nature of this association.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, CHEST, Pulmonary Disease / 12.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_25149" align="alignleft" width="200"]Stefania I. Papatheodorou, MD, PhD Cyprus International Institute for Environmental and Public Health Limassol, Cyprus Dr. Stefania Papatheodorou[/caption] Stefania I. Papatheodorou, MD, PhD Cyprus International Institute for Environmental and Public Health Limassol, Cyprus MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. Despite increasing use and acceptance of marijuana, both medically and recreationally, gaps remain in our knowledge regarding potential health effects. In this study, we aimed to evaluate associations between recent marijuana use, exhaled Nitric Oxide (eNO) and pulmonary function. We performed a cross-sectional study of 10,327 US adults participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in the years 2007 to 2012. Exhaled Nitric Oxide was lower among participants who used marijuana in the past 0 to 4 days and those who last used marijuana 5 to 30 days before the examination compared with the never users. FEV1 was higher among participants who used marijuana within 0 to 4 days before the examination compared with those who never used marijuana, while FVC was higher in both past and current marijuana users compared with never users. The FEV1/FVC ratio was significantly lower among those who used marijuana in the 0 to 4 days before the examination compared with never users.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Toxin Research / 18.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_24476" align="alignleft" width="150"]Professor Claire Roberts PhD Professor Claire Roberts Robinson Research Institute Adelaide University Prof. Claire Roberts[/caption] Professor Claire Roberts PhD Robinson Research Institute Adelaide University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Roberts: Our research aimed to identify novel risk factors for the four main complications of pregnancy;
  • preeclampsia where the mother gets high blood pressure and her kidneys don’t work properly,
  • preterm birth which is delivery before 37 weeks of gestation,
  • small for gestational age and
  • gestational diabetes. We have studied over 5500 pregnant women in 6 centres in 4 countries, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland. We have identified a number of factors that contribute to these major pregnancy complications. However, in this paper we have focused on well known risk factors for pregnancy complications including maternal cigarette smoking, BMI and socioeconomic status. To these we added maternal use of marijuana before pregnancy, in first trimester, at 15 weeks and at 20 weeks gestation. After adjusting the data for the other factors, we found that continued maternal marijuana use at 20 weeks gestation is strongly associated with spontaneous pre-term birth independent of maternal cigarette smoking. Women who continued to use marijuana at 20 weeks’ gestation were over 5 times more likely to deliver preterm than women who did not use marijuana. Previous studies have shown conflicting evidence but none have accounted for maternal cigarette smoking.
Importantly, not only did continued use of marijuana increase risk for preterm birth but it also made these births 5 weeks earlier on average with a greater number of women delivering very preterm. That is much more dangerous for the baby who inevitably would require admission to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Earlier delivery would be expected to increase the baby’s risk for dying and having long term disabilities.
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Cannabis / 11.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_24278" align="alignleft" width="200"]Mr. Brian C. Tefft Senior Research Associate AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Mr. Brian Tefft[/caption] Mr. Brian C. Tefft Senior Research Associate AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In December 2012, a new law took effect in Washington state that effectively legalized the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana by adults aged 21 years and older for recreational purposes, and also created a legal limit for driving under the influence of marijuana such that having a concentration of 5.00 nanograms or greater of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana) per milliliter of whole blood while driving in the state of Washington is per se driving under the influence. Data from population-based surveys indicate that the proportion of Washington state residents who report using marijuana increased after this law took effect; however, not much was known about the impact of this new law on traffic safety in the state. To investigate the traffic safety impact of the new law, we examined drug test results from drivers involved in motor vehicle crashes that occurred in years 2010 – 2014 in Washington and resulted in the death of at least one person within 30 days of the crash. Specifically, we looked at the proportion of all drivers involved in fatal crashes who had detectable THC in their blood at or shortly after the time of the crash, which generally suggests that the driver had used marijuana within the past few hours. Results showed that from 2010 through 2013, approximately 8-9% of drivers in fatal crashes each year were positive for THC, and that proportion was basically flat from 2010 through 2013. In 2014, the proportion basically doubled, to 17%. Our modelling suggests that an increasing trend in the proportion of drivers who were positive for THC began in late 2013, about 9-10 months after the new law took effect.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, FASEB, Fertility / 20.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_23611" align="alignleft" width="180"]Paola Grimaldi, PhD Associate Professor of Anatomy Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, School of Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata Rome, Italy Dr. Paola Grimaldi[/caption] Paola Grimaldi, PhD Associate Professor of Anatomy Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, School of Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata Rome, Italy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Grimaldi: Our previous studies reported that mouse mitotic germ cells, spermatogonia, express type 2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2) and its stimulation promoted differentiation and meiotic entry of these cells in vitro. In this study we demonstrate that CB2 plays a role of in regulating the correct progression of spermatogenesis in vivo and we found that the use of exogenous agonist or antagonist of this receptor disrupts the normal differentiation of germ cells. This suggests that a basal and finely regulated level of endocannabinoids in male germ cells activate CB2, thus maintaining the homeostasis of spermatogenesis. Another important novelty of our study is that CB2 activation in developing germ cells determines the appearance of modifications in DNA-bound proteins, which are known to impact on gene expression and inheritance of specific traits in developing germ cells. An exciting idea could be that these modifications might be maintained in the mature spermatozoa and transmitted to the offspring.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cannabis, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 06.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_23192" align="alignleft" width="192"]Cara Christ, M.D., M.S. Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services Dr. Cara Christ[/caption] Cara Christ, M.D., M.S. Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Christ: This study was a systematic review. The purpose of a systematic review is to critically assess and summarize the best available research evidence on a specific issue. This usually involves a critical synthesis of the results of several high quality studies on the issue under review. Overall, this review found that infants exposed to cannabis during pregnancy had a 77% higher likelihood of being underweight (<2500grams) at birth, compared to infants whose mothers did not use cannabis. Also, if the mother used cannabis during pregnancy, the likelihood of her infant needing to be placed in a neonatal intensive care unit was two times higher compared to those infants whose mothers did not use cannabis during pregnancy.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Lancet, Mental Health Research / 08.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Sagnik Bhattacharyya Reader in Translational Neuroscience and Psychiatry Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, KCL Consultant Psychiatrist, Early Intervention Pathway Director, Maudsley Early Intervention in Dual Diagnosis clinic Psychosis Clinical Academic Group, South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust King’s Health Partners  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bhattacharyya: Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in the world and its use has been linked to the onset of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. Whilst a lot of research has investigated the association between cannabis use and the development of psychosis, there is less clarity regarding the consequences of continued cannabis use in those with an established psychotic disorder. We therefore pooled together all available evidence from studies that specifically looked at the effects of cannabis use on outcome following the onset of psychosis. Based on data from more than 16000 patients with a first episode or more established psychosis, our results show that continued cannabis use is consistently associated with poor outcome in the form of more relapses (as indexed by psychiatric hospitalisation), longer hospitalisations and increased positive symptoms. However, outcomes were not as bad if cannabis use was discontinued following the onset of psychosis.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Mental Health Research / 06.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_22289" align="alignleft" width="180"]Dr. Rashmi Patel MA (Cantab) MA BM BCh PGDip (Oxon) MRCPsych Clinical Lecturer in General Psychiatry Kings College London Dr. Rashmi Patel[/caption] Dr. Rashmi Patel MA (Cantab) MA BM BCh PGDip (Oxon) MRCPsych Clinical Lecturer in General Psychiatry Kings College London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Patel: Previous studies suggest that cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of developing a psychotic disorder but, until now, little was known about the effects of cannabis on people with an established psychotic disorder. Using novel text mining techniques, we investigated the association of cannabis use with the clinical outcomes of over 2,000 people following their first episode of psychosis. We found that cannabis use was associated with significantly poorer clinical outcomes including a 50% increased frequency of hospital admission and 35 additional days spent in hospital in the 5 years after first receiving treatment. We also found that the poor outcomes associated with cannabis use may be linked to antipsychotic treatment failure.