Tagmarijuana

New Study Finds No Causal Link Between Schizophrenia and Marijuana

Previous studies have found that cannabis users were more likely to develop psychotic disorders than non-cannabis users, but were unable to determine a causal relationship between use of the drug and psychosis. A new study suggests that there is no causal link.

In the new study, by comparing families with and without a history of marijuana use, the Harvard researchers were able to address this question.

They recruited four groups:

-87 non-psychotic people who had used no drugs.
-84 non-psychotic people who had used marijuana.
-32 patients who had schizophrenia but hadn’t used drugs.
-76 patients with schizophrenia who had used marijuana.

They then looked at the relatives of those with schizophrenia in comparison to the relatives of those in the control groups.

The results showed an increased risk of developing schizophrenia in the relatives of patients who already had schizophrenia, whether or not those patients used marijuana.

This study, then, finds no evidence that marijuana is associated with developing schizophrenia.

Full Story: PsyBlog: Marijuana Does Not Cause Schizophrenia

Previously

Pot smokers who started young more likely to exhibit psychosis

Cannabis-Psychosis link not caused by dopamine increase

Is Schizophrenia Caused by Retroviruses?

THC Cuts Lung Cancer Tumors in Half, Study Finds

THC molecule illustration

Then, for three weeks, researchers injected standard doses of THC into mice that had been implanted with human lung cancer cells, and found that tumors were reduced in size and weight by about 50 percent in treated animals compared to a control group. There was also about a 60 percent reduction in cancer lesions on the lungs in these mice as well as a significant reduction in protein markers associated with cancer progression, Preet says.

Although the researchers do not know why THC inhibits tumor growth, they say the substance could be activating molecules that arrest the cell cycle. They speculate that THC may also interfere with angiogenesis and vascularization, which promotes cancer growth.

Preet says much work is needed to clarify the pathway by which THC functions, and cautions that some animal studies have shown that THC can stimulate some cancers. “THC offers some promise, but we have a long way to go before we know what its potential is,” she said.

Science Daily: Marijuana Cuts Lung Cancer Tumor Growth In Half, Study Shows

(via Socialphysicist)

Previously: Does Marijuana Shrink Tumors?

Are Stoners Really Dumb, or Do They Just Think They Are?

Stoner cropped

Earleywine and his colleagues studied 57 users, 30 male and 27 female. Half were given material to read suggesting that marijuana damages the brain; the other half read a research summary suggesting that the drug had no long-term negative cognitive effects. Then, all participants were asked to take cognitive tests after abstaining from marijuana for at least one day. (More on Time.com: See photos of cannabis conventions)
There was a marked difference in results — interestingly, between men and women. Men who got the negative information about marijuana performed worse than men who didn’t, but the women who were faced with stereotype threat actually scored better on tests of verbal skills and memory than women who weren’t given negative information.

Time: Are Stoners Really Dumb, or Do They Just Think They Are?

Pot smokers who started young more likely to exhibit psychosis

Pot smoker

Among all the participants, a longer duration since the first time they used cannabis was associated with multiple psychosis-related outcomes. “Compared with those who had never used cannabis, young adults who had six or more years since first use of cannabis (i.e., who commenced use when around 15 years or younger) were twice as likely to develop a non-affective psychosis and were four times as likely to have high scores on the Peters et al Delusions Inventory [a measure of delusion],” the authors write. “There was a ‘dose-response’ relationship between the variables of interest: the longer the duration since first cannabis use, the higher the risk of psychosis-related outcomes.”

However:

“The nature of the relationship between psychosis and cannabis use is by no means simple,” they write. Individuals who had experienced hallucinations early in life were more likely to have used cannabis longer and to use it more frequently. “This demonstrates the complexity of the relationship: those individuals who were vulnerable to psychosis (i.e., those who had isolated psychotic symptoms) were more likely to commence cannabis use, which could then subsequently contribute to an increased risk of conversion to a non-affective psychotic disorder.”

Science Daily: Long-Time Cannabis Use Associated With Psychosis

Marijuana also fights cancer?

I remember reading about a study in Madrid around 1999 or 2000 in which THC was found to kill brain tumors in mice. It was on Yahoo! News and the story was removed after a week or two, and I’ve never been able to find anything else about it… until now:

Dr Melamede said whereas nicotine activated carcinogenic compounds, THC – one of 60 cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant – had been shown to inhibit them in mice cells.

“Compounds found in cannabis have been shown to kill numerous cancer types including lung, breast, prostate, leukaemia, lymphoma and skin cancer.”

But he said the effects of cannabis were complex as evidence also suggested low doses of THC could stimulate growth of lung cancer cells.

BBC: Cannabis cancer risk played down

High Times get a face lift

It turns out High Times was started by a drug smuggler to promote his gourmet weed. That makes my copy of the first issue that much more interesting.

Full Story: Newsday: ‘High Times’ Post-9/11

(via Hit and Run).

Top 10 Counterculture Colleges in America

The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, which I happen to go to, was selected by High Times as the number one counterculture school in the America. Whoo hoo! The story’s spotty, but it paints a pretty good picture of what life is like here. My biggest complaint is that the reporters were only here during spring, when it rains less and people are less miserable. The local paper did an equally spotty job of reporting on the story. Seems people around here are concerned that the publicity will hurt Evergreen, and the school works hard to deny that marijuana is any more prevalent here than at any other school. They also complain that the story wasn’t based on scientific data. Like what? Counterculture actions per capita? The problem is that the school has been trying hard to “mainstream” Evergreen by emphasizing sports and de-emphasizing culture. The administration seems to want the school to become just another state college. Hopefully this article will attract some bright free-thinkers to the school and keep the counterculture spirit alive.

Marijuana’s Effect on Driving

Here is an interesting example of the way data can be presented and interpretted in entirely different ways by the media. New Scientist‘s lede was “It’s official: smoking dope makes you a worse driver” and Getting It‘s headline was “DRIVING WHILE DOPED Are potheads better drivers?”

Both publications used the same source data to reach opposite conclusions. There is no reality.

Does Marijuana Shrink Tumors?

Smokedot pointed to an article on THC Today that states that the US government has known about studies that indicate that THC may slow the growth of certain cancers. The article mentions a study that was suppressed in the 70s, as well as a more recent Madrid Test (which I remember reading about last year on Yahoo! Daily News but I can’t find it anymore). Anyway, I’m not sure this is reliable info about the 1974 study, but the Madrid study is certainly interesting.

And speaking of weed… Plastic reports that there is a Dutch company that has figured out a way to legally ship weed to the US (I don’t recommend trying this, though).

Update: The link to overgrow.com is now permanently broken. The domain name has apparently been seized by the Canadian government, and it’s excluded from Archive.org.

But this may be the same article, I can’t remember:

The term medical marijuana took on dramatic new meaning in February, 2000 when researchers in Madrid announced they had destroyed incurable brain tumors in rats by injecting them with THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.

The Madrid study marks only the second time that THC has been administered to tumor-bearing animals; the first was a Virginia investigation 26 years ago. In both studies, the THC shrank or destroyed tumors in a majority of the test subjects.

Most Americans don’t know anything about the Madrid discovery. Virtually no major U.S. newspapers carried the story, which ran only once on the AP and UPI news wires, on Feb. 29, 2000.

The ominous part is that this isn’t the first time scientists have discovered that THC shrinks tumors. In 1974 researchers at the Medical College of Virginia, who had been funded by the National Institute of Health to find evidence that marijuana damages the immune system, found instead that THC slowed the growth of three kinds of cancer in mice – lung and breast cancer, and a virus-induced leukemia.

The DEA quickly shut down the Virginia study and all further cannabis/tumor research, according to Jack Herer, who reports on the events in his book, “The Emperor Wears No Clothes.” In 1976 President Gerald Ford put an end to all public cannabis research and granted exclusive research rights to major pharmaceutical companies, who set out – unsuccessfully – to develop synthetic forms of THC that would deliver all the medical benefits without the “high.”

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