Substance Abuse News Alerts
Cannabis: Colorado state releases report
“The committee’s work represents one of the first and most comprehensive reviews to assess the strength of credible scientific literature available today regarding marijuana use,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, the executive director and chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.
DFL has in the constitutional court testified in 2002 about the negative effects of cannabis use and the legalization there of. If it was not for this testimony we might today have pilots flying planes, doctors performing surgery and emergency/rescue services all working under the influence of cannabis.
In 2001 Colorado State USA started a gradual legalization of cannabis beginning with medicinal use and ending with recreational use in January 2014. The ‘slippery slope’ effect this has had on the state of Colorado is nothing short of shocking. To mention a few key facts; Hospital visits for possible cannabis exposures in children 9 years and older increased by 86 %. Casualty visits went up by 69.4 %. Hospital visits for children 9 years and younger increased 5-fold (500%). Casualty visits increased by more than 3-fold (300%).
A Colorado state panel, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) set up to review the health effects of cannabis warned citizens about the dangers of using the drug during pregnancy, while driving and during adolescence and young adulthood. This report confirms what Doctors for Life International has already been stating regarding the wide spread effect this form of legalization can have on government as well as the different population groups of society as a whole. The report also found preliminary evidence to suggest that legalization in the state had resulted in increased hospitalizations, emergency room visits and poison centre calls possibly related to cannabis use.
This proves to demonstrate a principal which was well researched by the American Society of Addictive Medicine (ASAM): The so called money from taxation the USA would obtain from legalization of cannabis is dwarfed by the expenses incurred by the medical and criminal justice systems involved. These expenses come directly from the various related effects attributed to the use of cannabis as proved by ASAM and the CDPHE report.
For years, a lack of scientific research led to inconsistent ideas about the drug’s negative health effects among users. Today, scientific literature has advanced beyond such claims. Though it is far from complete scientists have repeatedly found short-term memory effects lasting up to a week after heavy cannabis use by the adult population. DFL would like to bring such information to the public in order to better educate the citizens of our country especially in light of South Africa’s current effort to legalize cannabis use.
For specific population groups the use of cannabis has clear negative impacts, the Retail Marijuana Public Advisory Committee found in the review of scientific literature, the rate of motor vehicle crashes in Colorado, for instance, doubled. They also found that maternal use during pregnancy was associated with negative effects on exposed offspring, “Including decreased academic ability, cognitive function and attention.” Some effects may not appear until adolescence.
”We found SUBSTANTIAL evidence that adolescent and young adult marijuana users are more likely than non-users to use and be addicted to illicit drugs in adulthood.”-CDPHE.
This statement applies to all races surveyed (Indian, Latin, Asian, African and White American).This further enforces DFL’s stance on cannabis being a gateway drug to harder substance abuse. Use by teens is also associated with decreased school performance and memory impairments that last as long as 28 days after use. There is also a demonstrated association between early and heavy use and the development of mental disorders like schizophrenia in adulthood among certain populations.
Adult use in Colorado is now higher than the rest of the USA, according to two surveys included in the report. This report released by the CDPHE shows the effects of legalization of cannabis over a prolonged period of time on the state/country and the people involved that are using cannabis for either medicinal or recreational use.
By using data available to us such as the CDPHE report which outlines the negative effects of the legalization of cannabis on society as a whole, we can stop the same statistics/effects being attributed to our children here in South Africa.
The CDPHE report is available to be viewed at-
Doctors for Life International represents more than 1400 medical doctors and specialists, three-quarters of whom practice in South Africa. Since 1991 DFL has been actively promoting sound science in the medical profession and health care that is safe and efficient for all South Africans.
USA – Marijuana may hurt the developing teen brain
In childhood our brain is larger, says Krista Lisdahl, director of the brain imaging and neuropsychology lab at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. During the teenage years, our brain is getting rid of those connections that weren’t really used, and it prunes back. Researchers from Duke University analysed data gathered over many years from people living in New Zealand. They compared IQs in childhood through age 38 among marijuana users and nonusers. “We found that people who began using marijuana in their teenage years and continued to use marijuana for many years lost about eight IQ points from childhood to adulthood”, says study author Madeline Meier, now a professor at Arizona State University, “whereas those who never used marijuana never lost IQ points.”