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media :: news - Tue, 24 Nov 2015 04:20:21 PST
Study: Marijuana Consumers Less Likely To Suffer From Metabolic Syndrome
Miami, FL: Those who consume cannabis are 50 percent less likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome as compared to those who do not, according to findings published online ahead of print in The American Journal of Medicine. Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and abdominal fat, which are linked to increased risk of heart disease and adult onset diabetes, among other serious health consequences.
Investigators from the University of Miami, Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine analyzed the association between cannabis use and metabolic syndrome in a cohort of nearly 8,500 subjects aged 20 to 59 who participated in the 2005-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Researchers classified participants as suffering from metabolic syndrome if they possessed more than three of the following symptoms: elevated fasting glucose levels, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, elevated systolic/diastolic blood pressure, and increased waist circumference.
Among subjects with no history of cannabis use, 19.5 percent met the criteria for metabolic syndrome. By contrast, 17.5 percent of former users and only 13.8 percent of current users met the criteria.
"Among emerging adults, current marijuana users were 54 percent less likely than never users to present with metabolic syndrome," investigators reported. Specifically, mean fasting glucose levels were significantly lower among current marijuana users as compared to never users, while waist circumference was significantly lower among males who reported current marijuana use as compared to those with no cannabis use history.
"These findings have important implications for the nation as marijuana use becomes more accepted and we simultaneously face multiple epidemics of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes," authors concluded.
The findings are consistent with those of previous observational studies showing an inverse relationship between cannabis use and diabetic markers, and support population data showing that those who use cannabis typically possess smaller waist circumference and lower body mass index than those who do not.
Full text of the study, "Metabolic Syndrome among Marijuana Users in the United States: An Analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Data," appears in The American Journal of Medicine.
Texas: Houston Police To Halt Marijuana Possession Charges
Houston, TX: Police in America's fourth largest city will cease filing criminal charges in marijuana possession cases as part of a mandatory, countywide program effective January 1, 2016.
The Harris County District Attorney's office announced that all first-time marijuana offenders found in the possession of two ounces or less must be offered the opportunity to participate in a pre-trial intervention program. Those offenders who elect to participate in the program, which consists of class work and community service, will not have criminal charges formally filed against them. Those who complete the program will not be charged with a crime and they will not possess a criminal record.
Only first-time offenders will be eligible for the program.
Texas law classifies the possession of two ounces or less of marijuana as a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a $2,000 fine, and a criminal record.
Currently, law enforcement in only a handful of Harris County are electing to participate in the program, known as the First Chance Intervention Program. On January 1, 2016, police throughout the county must offer defendants the opportunity to participate in the program.
Commenting on the policy, Harris County D.A. Devon Anderson said: "[It] frees up space in jail. It minimizes the administrative burden that officers face when filing charges. It reduces the cost for prosecution and court proceedings. And of course, it gives the offender an opportunity to have a completely clean record. When we don't offer it until after the offender is charged, we lose a lot of the best benefits of the program."
Study: Cannabinoids Are Safe, Effective For Pain Treatment
Halifax, Canada: Cannabinoids are safe and effective in the treatment of chronic pain, according to the results of a systematic review of randomized controlled trials published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology.
Investigators from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and McGill University in Montreal evaluated the results of 11 placebo-controlled trials conducted between the years 2010 and 2014. Trials assessed the use of various types of cannabinoid preparations, including herbal cannabis, liquid and oral cannabis extracts, and nabilone (a synthetic analog of THC), in pain treatment.
Cannabinoids possessed "significant analgesic effects" and were "well tolerated" in the majority of studies reviewed.
Authors concluded, "The current systematic review provides further support that cannabinoids are safe, demonstrate a modest analgesic effect and provide a reasonable treatment option for treatment of chronic non-cancer pain."
A 2011 review of 18 separate randomized trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of cannabinoids for pain management similarly reported, "[C]annabinoids are a modestly effective and safe treatment option for chronic non-cancer (predominantly neuropathic) pain."
In September, Canadian researchers reported that pain patients who consumed herbal cannabis daily for one-year experienced decreased analgesia and no increase in serious adverse side effects compared to matched controls.
For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Full text of the study, "Cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain: An updated systematic review of randomized controlled trials," appears in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology.
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