Drug Facts in Media
The increased legalization of cannabis over the past several years can potentially increase its co-use with alcohol. Concerningly, very few studies have looked at the effects of these two drugs when used in combination. In a series of new studies, researchers at used rats to understand how brain structure and behavior can change when cannabis and alcohol are taken together.
A 20-year study examined the long term relationship between cannabis and illicit opioid use. Overall results were inconsistent and showed no strong link. The study showed that clinicians and policymakers should be cautious about relying on cannabis to reduce opioid use, especially in the US and Canada.
A new analysis of the genomes of more than 1 million people has shed light on the underlying biology of cannabis use disorder and its links to psychiatric disorders, abuse of other substances such as tobacco, and possibly even an elevated risk of developing lung cancer.
Researchers have developed a more efficient way to find out which new 'designer drugs' are circulating in the community. In a new study, they showed how high-resolution mass spectrometry can be used to analyze urine samples at scale and uncover molecules from emerging designer drugs that have been missed by conventional testing. The approach can support public health and safety by enabling swift identification of new substances, potentially saving lives and guiding timely clinical responses to drug-related emergencies.
After conducting the first scoping review of its kind, researchers have developed an evidence-based interactive mapping tool to assist policymakers as they consider regulating the concentration of THC in cannabis products and as more potent products move into the marketplace.
Results from a new clinical trial suggest that a group of brain regions known as the 'salience network' is activated after a drug is taken intravenously, but not when that same drug is taken orally. When drugs enter the brain quickly, such as through injection or smoking, they are more addictive than when they enter the brain more slowly, such as when they are taken orally. However, the brain circuits underlying these differences are not well understood. This study offers new information that helps explain what may be causing this difference.
Researchers report that cocaine addiction disrupts the dopamine neurons that govern how we perceive and learn from rewards. Though people with cocaine addiction have similar expectations of rewards compared to controls, their dopamine neurons send out much weaker signals when these rewards are actually received. This dysregulation could make it more difficult for people with cocaine addiction to learn from their experiences and change addictive behavior.
In a mouse study designed to explore the impact of marijuana's major psychoactive compound, THC, on teenage brains, researchers say they found changes to the structure of microglia, which are specialized brain immune cells, that may worsen a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia.
Scientists have found success in treating a 'neglected' inflammatory condition, polymyalgia rheumatica, with a drug that could provide an alternative to steroids for patients.
Cannabis use, even for medical purposes, could make some people sick due to harmful fungi that contaminate the plants. That is the finding of a recently published peer-reviewed journal article, whose authors recommend further study and consideration of changes to regulations to protect consumers, especially those who are immunocompromised. They examined data, previous studies, and U.S. and international regulations related to the cannabis and hemp industry.
When you're under stress, your brain may release its own cannabinoid molecules to calm you, activating the same brain receptors as THC derived from cannabis plants. But the brain activity regulated by these cannabinoid molecules were not well known. A new study in mice has discovered a key emotional brain center, the amygdala, releases cannabinoid molecules under stress that dampen the incoming stress alarm from the hippocampus, a memory and emotion center in the brain. The finding may reveal novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of stress-related disorders.
New research has detected significant levels of metals in the blood and urine among marijuana users, concluding that marijuana may be an important and under-recognized source of lead and cadmium exposure. This is among the first studies to report biomarker metal levels among marijuana users and most likely the largest study to date, that links self-reported marijuana use to internal measures of metal exposure, rather than just looking at metal levels in the cannabis plant. The results are important because marijuana is the third most used drug in the world.