Medical Express

Medical Xpress is a web-based medical and health news service that is part of the renowned Science X network. Based on the years of experience as a Phys.org medical research channel, started in April 2011, Medical Xpress became a separate website. Branching out with Phys.org's monthly 2.5 million readership, Medical Xpress features the most comprehensive coverage in medical research and health news in the fields of neuroscience, cardiology, cancer, HIV/AIDS, psychology, psychiatry, dentistry, genetics, diseases and conditions, medications and more.

Concern with potential rise in super-potent cannabis concentrates

Concern over the rise in use of super potent cannabis. Credit: University of Queensland University of Queensland researchers are concerned the recent legalisation of medicinal cannabis in Australia may give rise to super-potent cannabis concentrates with associated harmful effects. UQ Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research’s Dr Gary Chan, who led the butane hash oil study, said a significant proportion of cannabis users used the concentrate. “Butane hash oil is a cannabis concentrate that is over 10 times more potent than herbal cannabis,” Dr Chan said. “Although users were more likely to report medical use, the use of butane hash oil was associated with high levels of depression, anxiety disorder and other illicit substance use. These results were consistent globally.” …

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Uruguay pharmacies start selling pot

Pharmacies in Uruguay start selling marijuana from Wednesday under the final phase of a four-year-old law that made the small South American country the first in the world to legalize pot from production to sale. The government of leftist President Tabare Vazquez announced the commercialization of pot last week. Little information has been given, however, on the 16 pharmacies selected to start offering the drug to Uruguay’s 3.4 million residents. The government didn’t work out deals with the big pharmacy chains that cover the country. Sales won’t be on a walk-in basis, however. Under the legislation set by the state agency regulating the marijuana market, people have to register to buy pot in pharmacies. Only registered residents can do so—preventing …

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Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation via cannabinoids

Graduate student Josephine Watson, professor Aditi Das, graduate student Megan Corbett, professor Kristopher Kilian and their colleagues discovered an enzymatic pathway that converts omega-3-derived endocannabinoids into more potent anti-inflammatory molecules. Credit: Steph Adams Chemical compounds called cannabinoids are found in marijuana and also are produced naturally in the body from omega-3 fatty acids. A well-known cannabinoid in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, is responsible for some of its euphoric effects, but it also has anti-inflammatory benefits. A new study in animal tissue reveals the cascade of chemical reactions that convert omega-3 fatty acids into cannabinoids that have anti-inflammatory benefits—but without the psychotropic high. The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Foods such as meat, eggs, fish and …

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Depression among young teens linked to cannabis use at 18

Cannabis indica. Credit: Wikipedia A study looking at the cumulative effects of depression in youth, found that young people with chronic or severe forms of depression were at elevated risk for developing a problem with cannabis in later adolescence. The study led by UW Medicine researchers interviewed 521 students recruited from four Seattle public middle schools. Researchers used data from annual assessments when students were ages 12-15 and then again when they were 18. The results were published in the journal Addiction. “The findings suggest that if we can prevent or reduce chronic depression during early adolescence, we may reduce the prevalence of cannabis use disorder,” said lead author Isaac Rhew, research assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at …

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Opioids second only to marijuana in illicit drug abuse rates

(HealthDay)—Abuse of prescription opioids is second only to marijuana abuse as the most common illegal drug problem in the United States, according to a report from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Analysis of 2012 to 2014 national data found that 4.31 percent of Americans aged 12 and older reported nonmedical use of prescription opioids in the past year. However, nonmedical use of prescription opioids did decline between 2010-2012 and 2012-2014 nationally and in 13 states. Nonmedical opioid use was most common in Oklahoma, Alabama, Arkansas, and Nevada, all with rates exceeding 5 percent. The lowest rates—less than 3.5 percent—were in Massachusetts, Vermont, Florida, Montana, and Minnesota, the report noted. “Prescription pain relievers when used properly …

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Pharmacies in Uruguay to start selling pot next week

Uruguay will allow pharmacies to sell marijuana starting next Wednesday in the final phase of a law making the small South American country the first in the world to legalize and regulate pot from production to sale. Under a law approved in 2013, Uruguayans have been allowed to grow their own pot and smoke it in clubs. But working out a timetable for pharmacies to sell it—the third and last conduit called for in the legislation—proved more tricky. This has now been resolved, the state agency regulating marijuana said in a statement Friday. To buy it in pharmacies people have to sign up on a registry, and so far 4,700 have done so. Uruguay’s total population is 3.4 million. Pot …

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Nevada regulators mull expedited marijuana supply licensing

In this Saturday, July 1, 2017, file photo, people line up at the NuLeaf marijuana dispensary in Las Vegas. The Nevada Tax Commission is expected to approve an emergency regulation on Thursday, July 13, to issue distribution licenses needed to address an anticipated supply shortage in the coming weeks. (AP Photo/John Locher, File) Following an overwhelming demand for recreational marijuana, Nevada regulators are set to vote Thursday on emergency rules that would expedite licensing for pot distributors. Dozens of retailers started selling recreational marijuana on July 1 but a unique state law could quickly lead to empty shelves. The law dictates only alcohol wholesalers can transport pot from growers to store fronts for the next 18 months. So far, fewer …

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Public health at risk when opinion trumps evidence

Dozens of studies and numerous reviews have demonstrated the safety of vaccines. Credit: Shutterstock In the Trump era, we have seen dramatic reductions in dialogue on important issues of the day. We have seen attacks on the legitimacy of science. We have seen attacks on trusted news sources, derided as fake. On social media, one person’s opinion, whether expert or not, often seems to outweigh all other forms of evidence. Belief in an opinion is treated as a legitimate form of evidence. For many people today, beliefs about vaccination or breastfeeding or marijuana inform everyday important decisions that affect their health and the public’s health. This is dangerous. Many historical examples show that beliefs can lead us astray. At one …

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Australia cautiously enters medical marijuana market

At a secret location in Australia’s southeast, Peter Crook delicately tends to a two-month-old cannabis cutting. Barely knee high, it is one of about 50 government-sanctioned “mother plants” to be cloned for future generations of crops for the country’s fledgling medicinal marijuana industry. “I think we’ll see Australia punch above its weight, both in agriculture research as well as medical technology,” says Crook, the chief executive of Cann Group Limited, the firm granted Australia’s first commercial grower’s licence. “As different conditions come online we are going to see the market grow rapidly.” Following Canada, Israel, and more than half the US states, who through varying approaches have legalised medicinal marijuana, Australia has signalled its intention for a homegrown industry. But …

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Puerto Rico enacts medicinal marijuana law

The depleted government coffers of bankrupt Puerto Rico will take in $50 million a month now that a law allowing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes has taken effect, the governor said. After the bill survived a bumpy ride through the National Assembly in this US territory, Governor Ricardo Rossello Nevares signed it on Sunday. It establishes a legal framework for medicinal marijuana and paves the way for people with cancer and other diseases to avoid prosecution for possessing pot or products derived from it. The previous governor legalized it by decree because the legislature rejected a law that would also have legalized use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Rossello Nevares said the new law will be an economic …

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