Saturday December 16, 2017

Cannabis can help heal bone fractures

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London: Use of an anti-inflammatory compound found in cannabis significantly helps heal bone fractures, a study says. cannabis_sativa_young_flower_top_by_transmitdistort-d5b6vp6

The study, conducted on rats with mid-femoral fractures, found that administration of the non-psychotropic component cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) markedly enhanced the healing process of the femora after just eight weeks.

“We found CBD alone to be sufficiently effective in enhancing fracture healing,” said one of the lead researchers Yankel Gabet from Tel Aviv University in Israel.

Cannabis, also known by the names marijuana and hashish — was used as a go-to medical remedy by societies around the world for centuries. But the therapeutic use of marijuana was banned in most countries in the 1930s and ’40s due to a growing awareness of the dangers of addiction.

The significant medical benefits of marijuana in alleviating symptoms of such diseases as Parkinson’s, cancer, and multiple sclerosis have only recently been re-investigated.

In the new study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, the researchers injected one group of rats with CBD alone and another with a combination of CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major psychoactive component of cannabis.

After evaluating the administration of THC and CBD together in the rats, they found CBD alone provided the necessary therapeutic stimulus.

“We found that CBD alone makes bones stronger during healing, enhancing the maturation of the collagenous matrix, which provides the basis for new mineralization of bone tissue,” Gabet said.

“After being treated with CBD, the healed bone will be harder to break in the future,” he said.

“Other studies have also shown CBD to be a safe agent, which leads us to believe we should continue this line of study in clinical trials to assess its usefulness in improving human fracture healing,” Gabet said.

The findings could lead to use of cannabinoid drugs to combat osteoporosis and other bone-related diseases.

(IANS)

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Do you regularly take opioids and anti-depressants? This study says it may increase bone diseases

The researchers evaluated 11,049 rheumatoid arthritis patients, aged 40 and above, with no signs of osteoporotic fractures prior to the tests. After a median follow-up time of 5.7 years, the study found 863 patients affected with osteoporotic fractures.

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Anti-depressants may increase the risk of developing bone fractures, says a new study

New York, November 6, 2017 : Consuming opioids and anti-depressants may increase the risk of developing bone fractures among people who are already suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, says a new study.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and limitation in the motion and function of multiple joints and organs of the body.

Chronic inflammation and pain in arthritis patients further leads to several diseases like cardiovascular, mental and gastrointestinal disorders. People take multiple medications in such cases that sometimes influences the risk of osteoporotic fractures or a disease caused due to reduced bone density, the researchers noted.

ALSO READ Importance of Magnesium in Human body, Strenghtens bones

“Even at younger ages, rheumatoid arthritis is associated with a two-fold increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures due to chronic inflammation and glucocorticoid use. More importantly, osteoporotic fractures significantly contribute to the disability, health-related costs and mortality with substantially higher complication in rheumatoid arthritis patients,” said Gulsen Ozen, researcher at the University of Nebraska Medical Centre.

The researchers evaluated 11,049 rheumatoid arthritis patients, aged 40 and above, with no signs of osteoporotic fractures prior to the tests. After a median follow-up time of 5.7 years, the study found 863 patients affected with osteoporotic fractures.

The patients who developed fractures were significantly older and had higher disease risk and bone fracture risk at the baseline than those patients who did not experience fractures.

The results presented at the ACR/ARHP annual meeting 2017 in San Diego mentioned that the osteoporotic fracture risk increased within 30 days when the patients were given opioids. The associated medications also led to falls in certain cases.

“Knowing the risks associated with the use of these medications can guide rheumatologists and other physicians in choosing the most appropriate management strategies in patients, particularly the ones who have a high fracture or fall risk,” Ozen added. (IANS)

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Percentage of US College Students Using Marijuana at the Highest Level in 30 Years, Claims New Study

The increasing use of marijuana among college students deserves immediate attention from college personnel as well as students and their parents

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Marijuana grower and activist Juan Vaz checks marijuana plants in Montevideo, Uruguay, VOA

Washington, September 12, 2017 : Percentage of US college students using marijuana was at the highest level in 2016 since the past three decades, according to a study conducted by University of Michigan researchers.

The national Monitoring the Future follow-up study, funded by the the National Institute on Drug Abuse, showed in 2016, 39 per cent of full-time college students aged 19-22 indicated that they used marijuana at least once in 12 months, and 22 per cent indicated that they used at least once in 30 days, reports Xinhua news agency.

ALSO READ Substance abuse of Marijuana rises in the United States

Both of these 2016 percentages were the highest since 1987, and represented a steady increase since 2006, when they were 30 and 17 per cent, respectively.

Daily or near daily use of marijuana-defined as having used 20 or more times in the prior 30 days-was at 4.9 per cent in 2016; this is among the highest levels seen in more than 30 years, though it has not shown any further rise in the past two years.

“These continuing increases in marijuana use, particularly heavy use, among the nation’s college students deserve attention from college personnel as well as students and their parents,” John Schulenberg, the current principal investigator of the Monitoring the Future follow-up study, said on Monday.

“We know from our research and that of others that heavy marijuana use is associated with poor academic performance and non-completion of college.

In 2016, 30 per cent of those aged 19-22 perceived regular use of marijuana as carrying great risk of harm, the lowest level reached since 1980.

These findings come from the long term Monitoring the Future study, which has been tracking substance use of all kinds among American college students for the past 37 years. (IANS)

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Indonesia’s War on Drugs Follows Philippines’ Infamous Crusade to Curb Drug Use

Indonesia's Drug War by President Joko Widodo follows Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte way

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An Indonesian policeman checks crystal methamphetamine from China after a raid at Anyer beach in Serang, Banten province, Indonesia
An Indonesian policeman checks crystal methamphetamine from China after a raid at Anyer beach in Serang, Banten province, Indonesia. VOA
  • Idham Azis said he would not think twice to discharge police officers who were indecisive against drug trafficking
  • Human Rights Watch official Phelim Kline criticized the move

Indonesian president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is once again using the language of “emergency” to ramp up the country’s war on drugs, in a move that seems in step with Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s infamous crusade in a neighboring island country.

Widodo recently ordered police to shoot foreign drug dealers who “resist arrest,” claiming the country was in a “narcotics emergency position.” Then, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights announced a plan to consolidate drug felons in four prisons. On Tuesday, Jakarta police chief Gen. Idham Azis said he would “not think twice” to discharge police officers who were indecisive against drug trafficking.

Widodo’s speech last week came on the heels of a drug-related police shooting in Jakarta, targeting a Taiwanese man who resisted arrest while trying to smuggle one ton of crystal methamphetamine into Indonesia.

Human Rights Watch official Phelim Kline criticized the move, writing in a statement that, “President Joko Widodo should send a clear and public message to the police that efforts to address the complex problems of drugs and criminality require the security forces to respect everyone’s basic rights, not demolish them.”

Meth panic

The target of President Duterte’s drug war is the cheap crystal methamphetamine known locally as shabu, and it is also the subject of Indonesian hand-wringing. The ton seized last month was the largest drug seizure in the nation’s history.

ALSO READ: What is the relation between Religion and Drug use?

The head of Indonesia’s narcotics agency, Gen. Budi Waseso, has been calling for a Philippines-style war on drugs as early as September 2016.

“The market that existed in the Philippines is moving to Indonesia, the impact of President Duterte’s actions is an exodus to Indonesia, including the substance,” Budi told Australia’s ABC News.

Indonesia enforces capital punishment for drug trafficking, which makes it an offense on par with murder and terrorism. It is estimated that about 70 percent of Indonesia’s prison population are low-level drug offenders.

“For me, there is a question mark over President Jokowi’s narcotics policy,” said Erasmus Napitupulu of Jakarta’s Institute for Criminal Justice Reform. “He always talks about the death penalty as a way to protect the nation’s children.” But in fact, he said, “the death penalty targets small drug couriers, which in many cases leads to unfair trials. Indonesian law has not been able to bear the burden of a fair trial,” he said.

Calls for leniency

“Of course we are concerned with the president’s rhetoric … to justify the war on drugs,” said Edo Nasution, national coordinator of the nonprofit Solidarity for Indonesian Drug Victims.

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“Evidence-based drug policy is what we need, not a policy that is only based on moral values or ideology,” said Edo, a one-time drug user who spent 13 years in Indonesian jails. “For example, there has been harm reduction programs in Indonesia for a long time and there is much scientific evidence as to the success of this approach.”

Harm-reduction refers to the practice of managing the risks of drug use, such as providing sterile needles, rather than trying to eradicate drug use.

Southeast Asia has long resisted trends toward leniency for drug users or traffickers, with countries like Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines resolutely maintaining harsh penalties that they say deters a major societal problem. As of last year, Thailand seemed like it might rethink the criminalization of methamphetamine because of overcrowded prisons, but there are no such signs in Indonesia.

Widodo’s last big anti-drug push was in 2015, two months after he was sworn into office when he executed 14 people for drug offenses.

“Far from having a deterrent effect, the number of drug-related crimes in Indonesia increased in the months after the executions were carried out in January and April 2015,” according to Claudia Stoicescu, an Oxford University researcher.

The increased resources devoted to drug-related arrests have drawn money away from rehabilitation centers that some say would better serve Indonesia’s nearly 1 million (according to the National Narcotics Agency) drug addicts. In the absence of such treatment, many poor addicts are turning to dubious herbal and faith-based cures that do nothing at best.

Erasmus wishes Indonesia would learn from the experience of the United States, which has gradually softened its approach to marijuana.

“American narcotics policy that criminally prosecuted drug users failed even without the death penalty. The result? The U.S. gradually changed the direction of policy toward decriminalization [of marijuana],” he said. “If Indonesia retains capital punishment as the main solution for drug issues, then I believe it is a political decision to preserve [politicians’] image, not to protect actual narcotics victims.” (VOA)