What You Should Know About Drug Cocktailing

If you check Reddit, you’ll find threads of messages filled with people planning on attending music festivals and asking for help on their “festival drug schedule” — that is what order and in what combination to do your drugs. A typical response involves some combination of substances on different days.

Drug experts agree that polysubstance use, like that described above, is common in the festival scene and beyond. Sometimes called “cocktailing,” polysubstance use is broadly defined as the consumption of more than one substance by the same person, often at the same time or sequentially. There are dangerous implications to polysubstance use which is why it’s important to know why young people are engaging this behavior.

“It’s quite unusual [in general] for people to only use one substance,” says Mitchell Gomez, executive director of Dance Safe, a peer-based organization that promotes health and safety within the nightlife and electronic music community. Stefanie Jones, who runs music festival outreach for the Drug Policy Alliance, echoes the sentiment: “Polysubstance use is the norm.” This is especially true in the music scene, Gomez says, where the concert form has shifted from a one-night rave to a multi-day camping festival. “The idea that someone would go to a four-day festival and only do one drug,” he says, “is ludicrous. And even throughout a single night I think it’s extremely common for people to combine substances.”

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Marijuana shops recommend products to pregnant women, against doctors’ warnings

A majority of cannabis dispensaries in Colorado recommended their products to women posing as pregnant customers with morning sickness, clashing with doctors’ warnings about the potential harms, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Of 400 randomly selected dispensaries in Colorado, about seven in 10 recommended cannabis products as a treatment for morning sickness. Nearly two-thirds of the employees who answered these calls based these recommendations on “personal opinion,” and more than a third said cannabis was safe during pregnancy. Roughly 32% of employees recommended the caller talk to a health care provider without the caller having to bring it up herself.

“I was really surprised,” said study author Dr. Torri Metz, a high-risk obstetrician at Denver Health in Colorado, where marijuana was legalized in 2012. “I did not expect dispensaries to be recommending cannabis products to pregnant women.”

Metz said women seek information on cannabis use during pregnancy from a variety of sources beyond their doctors — including the internet, friends and family.
“Women are hesitant to disclose any kind of drug use in pregnancy to their health care providers for fear of potential legal ramifications or involvement by social services,” she said.
Experts worry that some of these women may seek advice from cannabis retailers, expecting that they have specialized knowledge on the drug’s safety during pregnancy.

Medical cannabis stores are coming to Ohio: 5 questions answered for you

Local residents will soon be able to visit medical marijuana stores in the Miami Valley.

The Dayton-Springfield-Cincinnati region will get 12 medical marijuana stores, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy ruled on Monday. Locally, the stores will open in Montgomery, Greene, Butler, Warren, Clark and Hamilton counties. The Board of Pharmacy announced the winners of up to 56 dispensary licenses out of 376 applications statewide.

Here’s what we else we know:

1. What local counties didn’t win out?

The licenses are distributed across 28 geographic districts. Three districts, including one that covers Miami County, did not have viable or any applications.

2. When will the stores open? 

The licensees are expected to open storefront operations later this year when Ohio’s new medical marijuana industry launches. In Montgomery County, three stores will open: Pure Ohio Wellness LLC, CannAscend Alternative and Schottenstein Aphria III LLC. In Greene County, Harvest of Ohio LLC will open in Beavercreek. Check out the rest of the stores and where they will be located.

3. How were the stores chosen?

State pharmacy officials and North Highland, a consultant, spent six months reviewing and scoring applications based on business, operations and patient care plans as well as compliance with existing laws.

Read the rest of the article here.

Marijuana won’t be available in Ohio on Sept. 8. The state has delayed the rollout.

Ohio patients will not be able to buy marijuana on Sept. 8, the anticipated start date for Ohio’s medical cannabis program.

In fact, it could take weeks more before medicinal weed is available for patients. Even then, it’s likely to be available only in limited quantities.

Delays in licensing 25 marijuana growers in Ohio have pushed back the program’s launch, the Ohio Department of Commerce said Tuesday. Before planting can begin, the growers must have their facilities inspected by the state and be granted a certificate of operation.

“We really should have had plants in the ground by this time,” said Mark Hamlin, a Ohio Commerce Department spokesman.

Ohio legalized medical marijuana in June 2016, saying people could buy it out of state if they had a doctor’s note – although few people have taken that option. Meanwhile, the state has been working toward setting up its own marijuana growers and dispensaries.

The rollout has been fraught with hiccups and delays.

So far, just one large grower – Pure Ohio Wellness – has had its facility inspected but did not receive a certificate of operation. The Commerce Department, which regulates the growers, is continuing to work with the company to pass inspection.

Recreational marijuana, hemp and more in the works from backers of failed Ohio legalization ballot measure

Recreational marijuana sales, hemp farms and a way to erase past drug convictions could be coming soon to Ohio.

That’s if all goes according to Ian James’ plans.

The man behind Ohio’s 2015 failed marijuana legalization measure has big plans for cannabis policy in Ohio. James is a controversial figure in Ohio politics and among marijuana activists. But the ResponsibleOhioinitiative he backed was the only one out of a dozen legalization proposals made over the years to appear on a statewide ballot.

James, speaking with reporters Tuesday, said he plans this year to push legislation to legalize hemp production in Ohio, back a new “free market” recreational marijuana constitutional amendment and reintroduce the “Fresh Start Act” to allow Ohioans to expunge convictions for crimes that are no longer criminal offenses.

Read the rest of the article here.

We Haven’t Forgotten about Marijuana or Alcohol. Neither Should You.

Our country is in the depths of an opioid epidemic, but a large number of calls to our Parent Helpline are from parents concerned about their son’s or daughter’s marijuana use. A timely reminder that while the landscape is constantly shifting, some substances — namely marijuana and alcohol — remain ones that parents should be vigilant about.

“It’s a rite of passage.”

“He’s just experimenting.”

“It’s a phase. She’ll grow out of it.”

Our culture has a habit of justifying certain types of teen and young adult substance use as perfectly normal, but research indicates otherwise. Ninety percent of addictions begin during the teen years, while the brain is still very much in development. Risk-taking and making mistakes may be normal teen behavior, but when it comes to substance use, there is reason to be concerned and take action.

Continue reading here.

What Parents Need to Know About College Binge Drinking

The feeling of sending a grown child off to college for the first time can be described as a strange mixture of pride, relief and severe anxiety. What do parents need to know as their adult child takes this big step? As a public health researcher, I have some good news to share, and some reminders about what to be aware of during this critical transition for both you and them.

The first piece of good news is that your voice matters. Your child might not tell you, but when researchers have asked them about your influence, they find that parent attitudes and the rules you put in place during their development are major influences on their risk-taking behavior. Preparing and protecting your child from engaging in excessive drinking during college starts way before “drop-off” day. Even in middle school, and throughout high school, sending a clear message of your disapproval for underage drinking is critical and equally important in college.

To some parents, it might be tempting to think that you can “teach” your child how to drink responsibly by allowing them to drink before going to college. Many parents also think that not allowing their children to drink turns alcohol into “forbidden fruit,” increasing the child’s interest in drinking. Instead, research has shown that having parents who communicate clear expectations against using alcohol during high school is associated with a lower chance of drinking excessively during college 1.

From our own study of more than 1,000 college students ages 17 to 19, we found that those who didn’t drink during high school drank an average of 1.8 drinks per occasion, compared with 5 drinks among those who did drink during high school 2.

Continue reading here.

How to Know if Your Kid is Vaping Marijuana — and What to Do About It

Hardly a week goes by without another news article about vaping. In 2014, vaping was selected as Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year, beating out other candidates like “Bae” and “Budtender”. If they were picking a word today, it would more likely be JUUL or Juuling, the wildly popular “stealth vape” of adolescents.

Juuling kids are vaporizing flavored e-juices with nicotine, but what about vaping marijuana? According to Monitoring the Future, an annual survey of nearly 50,000 adolescents, 3 percent, 8 percent and 10 percent of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders respectively had vaped marijuana in 2017.

According to a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, e-cigarettes use may lead to marijuana initiation. The authors hypothesize that e-cigarette use may be a marker of risk-taking behaviors, and that e-cigarette users are more likely to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, which are associated with marijuana use. There is also the concern that vaping nicotine, which is in Juuls and many other vaping devices, may pave the way to other substance use problems in the developing adolescent brain. Aggressive marketing in states where marijuana has been legalized may also contribute to increased curiosity about marijuana while at the same time reducing its perceived harm.

Continue reading here.

Mom’s Marijuana Winds Up in Breast Milk

Breast-feeding has known benefits for both baby and mom, but if a new mom also smokes marijuana, does the drug turn up in her breast milk?

Yes, says new research. But the exact consequences of the small amount of marijuana that makes it to a baby aren’t yet clear.

“This study is just a start to see if marijuana transferred into breast milk. Levels in milk were quite low,” said senior study author Thomas Hale, director of the Infant Risk Center at Texas Tech University School of Medicine in Amarillo.

The researchers also don’t know if the levels of pot in breast milk would rise if a woman smokes more.

Still, study co-author Dr. Teresa Baker, co-director of the Infant Risk Center at Texas Tech, said, “We do not recommend the use of marijuana. There’s concern for the developing brain exposed to THC [the active component in marijuana].”

Both Hale and Baker said that women should abstain from smoking marijuana while breast-feeding because there’s simply no known safe amount.

The study included eight women who used pot. The women lived in Denver, where recreational marijuana is legal. Their use of marijuana varied, with most using the drug infrequently, although one woman said she’d used it seven to 10 times during the past week.

The women were between two and five months after delivery, and all were exclusively breast-feeding their babies.

The study was done completely anonymously. The researchers never knew who the women were.

For rest of the article, click here.

The Spice of Death: The Science behind Tainted “Synthetic Marijuana”

Experts describe how rat poison linked to a recent bleeding outbreak does its damage

Three people died and more than 100 have been sickened in the past few weeks after taking synthetic cannabinoids, human-made compounds that target the same brain receptors as marijuana. Symptoms documented by poison centers—first mostly in the Midwest, and now in Maryland—include unexplained bruising, coughing up blood, bleeding from the nose and gums, blood in urine and feces, and excessively heavy menstruation.

An ongoing investigation has identified a likely culprit in the blood of those affected: rat poison, specifically brodifacoum. Commonly sold in hardware stores, it is a dangerous anticoagulant that can also cause brain damage.

These are the first known instances of rat poison being found in synthetic cannabinoids—and how the toxin got there is unknown. Douglas Feinstein, a neuroscientist and brodifacoum expert developing new antidotes to this substance at the University of Illinois at Chicago, says the symptoms in these cases indicate high levels of exposure. That makes accidental contamination unlikely, he says, and suggests the poison may have been introduced deliberately. “We don’t know the exact doses these people are getting, but it’s a lot,” says Feinstein, who is hoping to analyze blood samples from those affected.* “It could have been added intentionally to prolong the high.”

Read more here.