More aging Americans are using pot to soothe what ails them

The group of white-haired folks — some pushing walkers, others using canes — arrive right on time at the gates of Laguna Woods Village, an upscale retirement community in the picturesque hills that frame this Southern California suburb a few miles from Disneyland.

There they board a bus for a quick trip to a building that, save for the green Red Cross-style sign in the window, resembles a trendy coffee bar. The people, mostly in their 70s and 80s, pass the next several hours enjoying a light lunch, playing a few games of bingo and selecting their next month’s supply of cannabis-infused products.

“It’s like the ultimate senior experience,” laughs 76-year-old retired beauty products distributor Ron Atkin as he sits down to watch the bingo at the back of the Bud and Bloom marijuana dispensary in Santa Ana.

Most states now have legal medical marijuana, and 10 of them, including California, allow anyone 21 or older to use pot recreationally. The federal government still outlaws the drug even as acceptance increases. The 2018 General Social Survey, an annual sampling of Americans’ views, found a record 61 percent back legalization, and those 65 and older are increasingly supportive.

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HEALTH NEWS Does marijuana cause lung cancer? Doctors call for more research

A direct link to lung cancer has not been found, but long-term use of the drug could have consequences for lung health, doctors warn.

Early in his career operating on lung cancer patients, Dr. Raja Flores knew most were cigarette smokers. But through the years, Flores, a thoracic surgeon at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, noticed a startling pattern: Some of his patients had never smoked a tobacco cigarette. They smoked a different drug: marijuana. And they had developed a much more aggressive form of lung cancer.

Initially, Flores didn’t consider there could be a connection between marijuana and lung cancer. The research linking pot smoking with cancer was scant and largely inconclusive. But as the numbers grew, Flores wondered if he was seeing some kind of grim new trend.

“I said to myself, ‘wait a minute, here’s another person in his 40s who never touched a cigarette and the cancer is all over the place,” Flores told NBC News. “It’s so bad I can’t even operate.’”

Flores first raised his concerns about harms from smoking marijuana in SurvivorNet, an online community for cancer patients and experts. He acknowledges there isn’t scientific proof that smoking cannabis causes lung cancer. But he worries that the combination of widespread legalization and marketing of marijuana’s potential health benefits are contributing to the belief that cannabis is an entirely benign drug. In fact, a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults published last summer found that nearly a third thought that smoking or vaping weed could protect a person’s health.

Continue reading the rest of the story here.

Anne Hathaway Expands Upon Her No-Alcohol Rule as a Mom: ‘My Last Hangover Lasted for Five Days’

“I will never be that person who can nurse a glass of wine throughout an entire evening,” Anne Hathaway admitted about drinking in her Tatler cover story

Anne Hathaway is continuing to be candid about her decision to stay dry for the sake of her son.

The Hustle actress is the cover star of Tatler‘s June 2019 issue, for which she opened up in an accompanying interview about her life as a mom to 3-year-old Jonathan Rosebanks — specifically, how the “just one drink” method doesn’t really work for her as a parent.

“My issue is I just love it. So. Much. But the way I do it makes me unavailable for my son,” says Hathaway, 36, of her previous approach to drinking before she gave it up completely last year. “My last hangover lasted for five days.”

“I’d earned it — it was a day drinking session with friends that went into an evening birthday party with one of my drinking buddies,” she adds. But still, the star admits she “will never be that person who can nurse a glass of wine throughout an entire evening.”

Read more here.

Release of “13 Reasons Why” associated with increase in youth suicide rates

NIH-supported study highlights the importance of responsible portrayal of suicide by the media.

The Netflix show “13 Reasons Why” was associated with a 28.9% increase in suicide rates among U.S. youth ages 10-17 in the month (April 2017) following the shows release, after accounting for ongoing trends in suicide rates, according to a study published today in Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The findings highlight the necessity of using best practices when portraying suicide in popular entertainment and in the media. The study was conducted by researchers at several universities, hospitals, and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIMH also funded the study.

Continue reading here.

Drug Overdose Deaths Involving Cocaine and Psychostimulants with Abuse Potential — United States, 2003–2017


What is already known about this topic?

Overdose deaths involving cocaine and psychostimulants continue to increase. During 2015–2016, age-adjusted cocaine-involved and psychostimulant-involved death rates increased by 52.4% and 33.3%, respectively.

What is added by this report?

From 2016 to 2017, death rates involving cocaine and psychostimulants increased across age groups, racial/ethnic groups, county urbanization levels, and multiple states. Death rates involving cocaine and psychostimulants, with and without opioids, have increased. Synthetic opioids appear to be the primary driver of cocaine-involved death rate increases, and recent data point to increasing synthetic opioid involvement in psychostimulant-involved deaths.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Continued increases in stimulant-involved deaths require expanded surveillance and comprehensive, evidence-based public health and public safety interventions.

Read the full CDC article here.

How Big Tobacco Got a New Generation Hooked

Twenty years ago, as a creative director, I helped create a commercial for the Truth campaign to introduce its effort to prevent cigarette smoking by young people. The spot was simply footage of tobacco executives all testifying, “I believe nicotine is not addictive.” All we did was add a laugh track.

The effect of my campaign and others was to help a generation of young people see the tobacco companies as they really were. Companies that lied not just to the government but the public, with misleading ad campaigns aimed at teenagers, their “growth market.”

Now they’re doing it again, but in a new, slick, high-tech guise that is harder to combat. And ad agencies, which had mostly left Big Tobacco’s side, are aiding the effort, lured back in by increasing fees for the work and decreasing fears the public will judge them for it.

Read more here.

‘I’m too high. Something’s wrong.’ Teens caught vaping marijuana in scary new trend

As more teens vape, schools have struggled to keep the practice in check. Now, some schools are seeing a worrisome twist — students vaping marijuana.

Just as with tobacco, students can vape right under a teacher’s nose and go undetected. There is no telltale odor, and the handheld devices used are small enough that a surreptitious student can indulge in class.

Compounding the trouble, experts say, is the potency the devices can deliver, giving a student a much more intense high than expected. Often adults don’t realize a student has indulged until the teen confesses.

School resource officers at one large Indiana high school has seen a surge this year in something they have never dealt with before.

Several students were sent to the emergency room by the school nurse after vaping THC, the chemical compound in marijuana that produces a high.

Continue reading here.

As Meth Use Surges, First Responders Struggle To Help Those In Crisis

Amelia and her roommate had been awake for two days straight. They decided to spray-paint the bathroom hot pink. After that, they laid into building and rebuilding the pens for the nine pit bull puppies they were raising in their two-bedroom apartment.

Then the itching started. It felt like pinpricks under the skin of her hands. Amelia was convinced she had scabies, skin lice. She spent hours in front of the mirror checking her skin and picking at her face. She even got a health team to come test the apartment. All they found were a few dust mites.

Read more here.

There’s nothing funny about today’s highly potent marijuana. It killed my son.

Modern medical marijuana is much more potent than your father’s pot brownies of the 1970s, and that potency is taking a toll on mental health.

As attorneys argued over a section of an Arizona law that differentiates between marijuana and cannabis, the state’s Supreme Court justices joked about baking pot brownies in their kitchens.

They clearly do not understand how the marijuana industry has irresponsibly manipulated pot into dangerously high levels of potency.

My son could explain it to them. Or he could if he were still with us.

“I want to die,” he wrote before hanging himself at the age of 31. “My soul is already dead. Marijuana killed my soul + ruined my brain.”

Continue reading the article here.

In Washington, Juul Vows to Curb Youth Vaping. Its Lobbying in States Runs Counter to That Pledge.

For months, Juul Labs has had a clear, unwavering message for officials in Washington: The e-cigarette giant is committed to doing all it can to keep its hugely popular vaping products away from teenagers.

But here in Columbia, the South Carolina capital, and in statehouses and city halls across the country, a vast, new army of Juul lobbyists is aggressively pushing measures that undermine that pledge.

The company’s 80-plus lobbyists in 50 states are fighting proposals to ban flavored e-cigarette pods, which are big draws for teenagers; pushing legislation that includes provisions denying local governments the right to adopt strict vaping controls; and working to make sure that bills to discourage youth vaping do not have stringent enforcement measures.

Though Juul supports numerous state bills that would raise the legal age for buying vaping and tobacco products to 21, some of those bills contain minimal sanctions for retailers. Others fine only the clerks and not the owners for violations.

Read more here.