Saturday January 18, 2020

Regular Pot Smokers May Need Higher Dosage for Sedation: Study

Cannabis use in the United States increased 43 per cent between 2007 and 2015. An estimated 13.5 per cent of the adult population used cannabis during this period, with the greatest increase recorded among people 26 and older

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An employee inspects the leaf of a cannabis plant at a medical marijuana plantation in northern Israel. (VOA)

People who regularly use cannabis may require more than two times the usual level of sedation when undergoing medical procedures, warns a new study.

“Some of the sedative medications have dose-dependent side effects, meaning the higher the dose, the greater likelihood for problems,” said lead researcher Mark Twardowski from Western Medical Associates in Colorado, US.

“That becomes particularly dangerous when suppressed respiratory function is a known side effect,” Twardowski added.

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In this July 12, 2018 file photo, a newly-transplanted cannabis cuttings grow in pots at a medical marijuana cultivation facility in Massachusetts. (VOA)

For the study, the researchers in Colorado examined the medical records of 250 patients who received endoscopic procedures after 2012, when the state legalised recreational cannabis.

Patients who smoked or ingested cannabis on a daily or weekly basis required 14 per cent more fentanyl, 20 per cent more midazolam, and 220 per cent more propofol to achieve optimum sedation for routine procedures, including colonoscopy, showed the findings published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

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“Cannabis has some metabolic effects we don’t understand and patients need to know that their cannabis use might make other medications less effective. We’re seeing some problematic trends anecdotally, and there is virtually no formal data to provide a sense of scale or suggest any evidence-based protocols,” Twardowski said.

Cannabis use in the United States increased 43 per cent between 2007 and 2015. An estimated 13.5 per cent of the adult population used cannabis during this period, with the greatest increase recorded among people 26 and older, according to the study. (IANS)

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Here’s How Marijuana can Have an Impact on Your Driving Ability

Marijuana may affect driving ability for 12 hours after use

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Marijuana use may have an impact on driving ability even 12 hours after use. Pixabay

Researchers have found that marijuana use may have an impact on driving ability even 12 hours after use.

The study, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, found that in addition to chronic, heavy, recreational cannabis use being associated with poorer driving performance in non-intoxicated individuals compared to non-users.

While several studies have examined the direct effect of cannabis intoxication on driving, no other studies until now have examined the effects on driving in heavy marijuana users who are not high.

“People who use cannabis don’t necessarily assume that they may drive differently, even when they’re not high,” said study researcher Staci Gruber from McLean Hospital in the US.

“We’re not suggesting that everyone who uses cannabis will demonstrate impaired driving, but it’s interesting that in a sample of non-intoxicated participants, there are still differences in those who use cannabis relative to those who don’t,” Gruber added.

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While several studies have examined the direct effect of cannabis intoxication on driving, no other studies until now have examined the effects on driving in heavy marijuana users who are not high. Pixabay

For the findings, the research team used a customised driving simulator to assess the potential impact of cannabis use on driving performance.

At the time of study, marijuana users had not used for at least 12 hours and were not intoxicated.

Overall, heavy marijuana users demonstrated poorer driving performance as compared to non-users.

For example, in the simulated driving exercise, marijuana users hit more pedestrians, exceeded the speed limit more often, made fewer stops at red lights, and made more center line crossings.

When researchers divided the marijuana users into groups based on when they started using cannabis, they found that significant driving impairment was detected and completely localized to those who began using marijuana regularly before age 16.

“It didn’t surprise us that performance differences on the driving simulator were primarily seen in the early onset group,” said study researcher Mary Kathryn Dahlgren.

According to the authors, research has consistently shown that early substance use, including the use of cannabis, is associated with poorer cognitive performance.

“What was interesting was when we examined impulsivity in our analyses, most of the differences we saw between cannabis users and healthy controls went away, suggesting that impulsivity may play a role in performance differences,” Dahlgre added.

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“There’s been a lot of interest in how we can more readily and accurately identify cannabis intoxication at the roadside, but the truth of the matter is that it is critical to assess impairment, regardless of the source or cause,” she said. o

“It’s important to be mindful that whether someone is acutely intoxicated, or a heavy recreational cannabis user who’s not intoxicated, there may be an impact on driving,” she added. (IANS)