Almost as soon as the young man crouching on a trash-strewed street in Brooklyn pulled out a crumpled dollar bill from his pocket and emptied its contents of dried leaves into a wrapper, he had company. A half-dozen disheveled men and women walked swiftly to where the young man was rolling a cigarette of a synthetic drug known as K2 to wait for a chance to share.
The drug has been the source of an alarming and sudden surge in overdoses — over three days this week, 130 people across New York City were treated in hospital emergency rooms after overdosing on K2, almost equaling the total for the entire month of June, according to the city’s health department. About one-fourth of the overdoses, 33, took place on Tuesday along the border of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Bushwick, the same Brooklyn neighborhoods where, despite a heightened presence of police officers, people were again openly smoking the drug on Thursday.
As marijuana becomes legal for recreational use in more states, it is likely more people will use it with alcohol. What do we know about combining these substances? What are the physiological effects and is there a safe level of use for both products used simultaneously? Will combining substances increase social harm? There has been little thought or public discussion about this issue. Moreover, little research exists that could form the basis for public education and policies designed to prevent harms.
Howard County police want to raise awareness about the potentially hazardous use of a concentrated form of marijuana, known as “dabbing.” Using the drug in this form creates a dangerously intense high; manufacturing the drug can cause serious burns and explosions.
The dabbing process can raise marijuana potency from the standard street level of 15 percent to 80 percent or more.
Click here to read the Howard County Police Department News Release.
Earlier this year, new rules for packaging and labeling went into effect in the Centennial State.
By Bill Lucia, Government Executive’s Route Fifty
Highlighting the case of a young man in Denver who jumped to his death from a hotel balcony last year after eating a cookie that contained marijuana, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report on Friday that warns of potential risks posed by edible cannabis products.
New packaging and labeling requirements for edible marijuana goods went into effect on Feb. 1 in Colorado. The rules were designed to help curb overconsumption, and to prevent instances of accidental ingestion by children.
A new study conducted by researchers at the University of York finds men are more likely to suffer from cannabis psychosis than women. To date, there have been many studies examining the link between cannabis — the most used illegal substance in the United Kingdom — and psychosis, but this is the first to study the ways in which it affects men and women differently.
So what exactly is cannabis psychosis? Most people describe it as a delusion, hallucination, or feeling of paranoia that sometimes occurs after using marijuana, although some believe marijuana is capable of much more, such as inducing mental illnesses linked to psychosis, like schizophrenia, and exacerbating preexisting psychosis.
According to NPR, nine studies have been conducted on the link between marijuana use and the development of schizophrenia, all but one finding evidence in the affirmative.
The recent Gallup poll shows that a slim majority of Americans, 51%, favor legalizing the use of marijuana, down from 58% last year.
The new result is based on an Oct. 12-15 Gallup poll, conducted in the run-up to the midterm elections in which various pro-marijuana policy initiatives went before voters in Oregon, Washington, D.C and Florida, as well as in several cities in Maine, Michigan and elsewhere. Most of those initiatives succeeded, although a proposed Constitutional amendment in Florida to legalize medical marijuana failed with 57% of the vote, just shy of the 60% needed.
Residents of Oregon, Alaska, and the U.S. capital voted to legalize marijuana on Tuesday, in key victories that could fuel the legalization movement as cannabis usage is increasingly recognized by the American mainstream.
The Oregon and Alaska measures would legalize recreational pot use and usher in a network of retail pot shops similar to those operating in Washington state and Colorado, which in 2012 voted to become the first U.S. states to allow marijuana use for fun.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says his state's voters were "reckless" for voting to become the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The Democrat's statement came during a debate Monday with his Republican opponent, Bob Beauprez, just four weeks before voters head to the polls for the state's hotly contested gubernatorial election.
In 2012, more than 55 percent of voters in Colorado supported Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana for recreational use. The amendment aimed to regulate marijuana in roughly the same way alcohol is regulated.
Connor Reid Eckhardt was just 19 when he died after using what scientists and doctors call a “synthetic cannabinoid,” but most everybody else calls “spice”, “K2” or any of half a dozen other names.
Eckhardt unlikely knew just how dangerous this so-called synthetic marijuana can really be, but emergency rooms and forensic labs all over the world are well-acquainted with the risks because they see the results every day.
Nearly 1 in 6 high school seniors who responded to a 2011 survey reported that, within the past 2 weeks, they had driven a motor vehicle after using an illicit drug or drinking heavily. Nearly 1 in 4 said they had recently ridden in a car with such a driver. Altogether 28 percent had put themselves at risk, within that short time frame, by being in a vehicle whose driver had been using marijuana or another illicit drug, or had drunk 5 or more alcoholic drinks. These rates had all risen nearly 20 percent in only 4 years, due almost entirely to an increase in driving after smoking marijuana.
Last month, when Gov. Martin O'Malley passed historic legislation to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, Maryland was abuzz. Politicians, the media, advocates and critics voiced their opinions (both supporting and opposing the bill) loud and clear. But there was a critical voice missing from this conversation: the voice of a teenager.
It's widely understood that decriminalization is the first step toward legalization, and teens understand all too well how this will play out in conversations at the dinner table and in drug education classrooms at school. Adults will say, "we support Governor O'Malley, and we see the merits to decriminalizing marijuana, yet it is still never OK for you to possess or smoke pot."
DENVER--The easy availability of marijuana in Colorado is raising concerns among police, parents and teachers who worry that kids are getting sick from eating pot-infused "edibles."
Manufacturers are adding marijuana to everything from cookies to chocolate bars, sodas and candies, and strength and serving size vary widely. Colorado on Jan. 1 permitted special stores to sell marijuana to adults but retained a legal ban on possession of pot by minors.
The teenager's brain has a lot of developing to do: It must transform from the brain of a child into the brain of an adult. Some researchers worry how marijuana might affect that crucial process.
"Actually, in childhood our brain is larger," says Krista Lisdahl, Director of the Brain Imaging and Neuropsychology Lab at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. "Then, during the teenage years, our brain is getting rid of those connections that weren't really used, and it prunes back.
"It actually makes the brain faster and more efficient."
The streamlining process ultimately helps the brain make judgments, think critically and remember what it has learned.
Lisdahl says it's a mistake for teenagers to use cannabis.
I've been thinking a great deal about marijuana lately.
You can't turn on the television without seeing breathless reporters talking about a new cultural enthusiasm for legalizing weed. Two states (Colorado and Washington) have legalized marijuana possession for personal use. And it's probably only a matter of time before Maryland joins the party—pun intended.