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Study: Marijuana addiction in adults related to anxiety disorder

Published: Friday, October 27, 2017 @ 2:30 PM

Five Fast Facts: Marijuana
Uriel Sinai/Getty Images
Five Fast Facts: Marijuana(Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

New research from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, suggests anxiety may be a major risk factor of problematic marijuana use in early adulthood.

>> Read more trending news

The research, published last month in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, involved 1,229 participants enrolled in the Great Smoky Mountains Study, a 20-year cohort study that followed participants between 1993 and 2015.

The Great Smoky Mountain Study is part of a collaborative effort between Duke University and the North Carolina State Division of Developmental Disabilities, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

One of its primary goals is to estimate the number of youth with emotional and behavioral disorders and the persistence of those disorders over time, according to the study website.

>> Related: Why more US teens are suffering from severe anxiety than ever before — and how parents can help

To study risk factors for problematic cannabis use, researchers examined the Great Smoky Mountains participants annually from ages 9 and 16 years and then again at ages 19, 21, 26 and 30 years and logged patterns of problematic cannabis use.

Problematic cannabis use refers to the daily consumption of marijuana or a habit that meets diagnostic guidelines for addiction, meaning cannabis use disorder.

The researchers split the participants’ cannabis use into the patterns described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5.

Patterns of problematic use, according to the DSM-5:

  • Non-problematic use in adolescence (19-21) and early adulthood (26-30)
  • Limited problematic use in late adolescence only and persistent problematic use in late adolescence and early adulthood
  • Delayed problematic use in early adulthood only

Using pairwise associations to identify risk profiles associated with patterns of problematic cannabis use in early adulthood, the researchers also examined multiple risk factors, such as psychiatric disorders; other substance use; education’ challenging social factors, such as low socioeconomic status and family issues; and additional demographics.

What the researchers found

More than three quarters, 76.3 percent, of the participants in the study did not develop problematic use of cannabis during their late adolescence or early adulthood.

>> Related: Doctors address illness linked to chronic marijuana use

But one quarter of the participants did develop problematic use of cannabis, and researchers found they had distinctive risk profiles. 

This group was divided into the three pattern categories: persistent problematic cannabis use, limited problematic cannabis use and delayed problematic cannabis use.

Persistent problematic use

For persistent users -- those with the most problematic use of marijuana, sometimes beginning as early as age 9 -- the problems continued into early adulthood.

>> Related: Northern Michigan University offers marijuana studies degree

What’s most important, Sherika Hill — adjunct faculty associate at Duke University School of Medicine and lead author of the study — told Medical News Today, is that 27 percent of persistent users reported anxiety disorders as children and 23 percent reported anxiety disorders as older teens or during college years, up to age 21.

This group also had the highest levels of psychiatric disorders.

“This suggests,” Hill said, “that a focus on mental health and well-being could go a long way to prevent the most problematic use.”

Limited problematic use

The group with limited problematic use surprisingly reported the most childhood family instability and dysfunction of the three -- factors usually linked with a higher level of drug use, the researchers found.

>> Related: Need relief from chronic pain? Marijuana may not help after all, studies say

But limited users tended to have more cannabis use issues as preteens, teens and early adolescents and fell off the habit as they got older.

Delayed problematic use

And lastly, most of the participants in the group of delayed users with little to no cannabis use in adolescence and early adulthood but problematic use between age 26 and 30 experienced bullying and mistreatment as children.

Why did childhood bullying and mistreatment not lead to earlier problematic cannabis use? The researchers don’t really know. 

Hill told Medical News Today about the motivation behind the new study is that most of the current policies and interventions on cannabis use are aimed at early adolescents.

Five Fast Facts: Marijuana

“We have to start thinking about how we are going to address problematic use that may arise in a growing population of older users. Given that more states may be moving towards legalization of cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes, this study raises attention about what we anticipate will be the fastest growing demographic of users — adults.”

What is Dry January? Taking a break from alcohol can improve sleep and weight, study says

Published: Thursday, January 04, 2018 @ 11:35 AM



Carl Court/Getty Images
(Carl Court/Getty Images)

The holiday season is officially over, and many are now looking at their New Year’s resolutions, which may include maintaining a healthier lifestyle.

>> Read more trending news

To get a head start, some are participating in Dry January, a month-long break from alcohol. But how effective is it?

Researchers from the University of Sussex conducted a study, published in Health Psychology, to find out. 

They examined more than 850 individuals who gave Dry January a try. They then followed up with a questionnaire one month later and another six months later.

>> Related: Just one drink a day can increase your risk of cancer, study warns

After analyzing the results, they found that after six months, participants said they drank less and were not getting drunk as much.

In fact, 72 percent of the subjects had maintained lower levels of harmful drinking and 4 percent were still not drinking after six months.

After just one month, about 62 percent reported having better sleep, 62 percent said they had more energy and 49 percent experienced weight loss.

>> Related: Women who use IUDs may have reduced risk of cervical cancer, study says

The changes were also seen for those who did not make it to the end of the challenge. “Even if participants took part but didn’t successfully complete the 31 days, it generally led to a significant decrease across all the measures of alcohol intake,” Richard de Visser said in a statement.

The scientists believe their findings prove the challenge can be used to help reduce drinking long-term, added Emily Robinson, director of campaigns at Alcohol Concern, a U.K. charity to combat alcohol harm.

“This research,” she said, “is the proof of how, with the help, advice and support we offer throughout the month, our model can really change behaviour and reduce drinking.”

Tips For Keeping Your New Year's Resolutions

Canola oil linked to dementia, study says

Published: Friday, December 08, 2017 @ 5:03 PM



David McNew/Getty Images
(David McNew/Getty Images)

Memory loss and confusion are common symptoms of dementia. Now scientists are linking canola oil to the disease in a new report

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from Temple University recently conducted an experiment, published in Scientific Reports, to determine how the common cooking oil may have an effect on the brain.

To do so, they examined mice that were six months old, dividing them into two groups. One was fed a normal diet, while the other had “a diet supplemented with the equivalent of about two tablespoons of canola oil,” the authors explained. 

After observing the animals for 12 months, they weighed them. They found that the mice on the canola oil diet weighed significantly more than those on a regular diet. 

They then assessed their working memory, short-term memory and learning ability by administering maze tests. They discovered the mice that had consumed canola oil suffered damage to their working memory. The canola oil-treated mice had reduced levels of amyloid beta 1-40, a protein that serves a beneficial role in the brain. 

“As a result of decreased amyloid beta 1-40, animals on the canola oil diet further showed increased formation of amyloid plaques in the brain, with neurons engulfed in amyloid beta 1-42,” the authors said. “The damage was accompanied by a significant decrease in the number of contacts between neurons, indicative of extensive synapse injury. Synapses, the areas where neurons come into contact with one another, play a central role in memory formation and retrieval.”

Their findings suggest canola oil is not beneficial to the brain, especially when it is consumed over long periods of time. Researchers now hope to further their studies to find out exactly how much canola oil can produce changes in the brain and if it can be linked to Alzheimer’s disease. 

“Even though canola oil is a vegetable oil, we need to be careful before we say that it is healthy,” lead researcher Domenico Pratico said. “Based on the evidence from this study, canola oil should not be thought of as being equivalent to oils with proven health benefits.”

 

Scientists say glitter is potential environmental hazard

Published: Tuesday, November 28, 2017 @ 6:00 PM

Glitter May Pose Potential Hazard To The Environment

Glitter's sparkly days may be over, if scientists get their way.

Because glitter is a microplastic, it poses a potential ecological hazard, scientists told The Independent. The threat is particularly serious to marine animals, who have suffered fatal consequences from consuming plastic that makes its way into the ocean.

>> Read more trending news

Glitter is not just found on cards and decorative items, but also in makeup.

Scientists don't necessarily want a complete ban on glitter, but are encouraging the creation of nontoxic, eco-friendly alternatives.

Related

Leonid meteor shower 2017: Here's how to see this weekend's celestial spectacle

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 5:24 PM



Ethan Miller/Getty Images
(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

If you're looking for a shooting star so you can make your wish come true, this weekend may just be your lucky opportunity.

The Leonid meteor shower will peak this weekend, providing ideal viewing conditions for millions across the United States. With clear skies predicted by meteorologists in many parts of the country, even amateur stargazers should be able to catch a glimpse of the cosmic spectacle.

>> Read more trending news

Experts say 10 to 25 shooting stars will be visible per hour in areas with clear skies this Friday evening and Saturday morning, according to the Smithsonian. Even for the unlucky, such a high number gives anyone decent odds of sighting one of the meteors.

For those hoping to view the shower this weekend, here's everything you need to know:

7 Fun Facts About Meteors

What is the Leonid meteor shower?

The Leonid meteors are connected to the comet Tempel-Tuttle, according to David Samuhel, senior meteorologist and astronomy blogger at AccuWeather.

"It makes fairly frequent passes through the inner solar system," he said. "This lays out fresh debris in the path of the Earth's orbit every 33 years."

The Earth actually passes through the debris of the comet, making the falling particles visible as they burn up in the atmosphere. Thanks to clear skies and the absence of moonlight, this year's display should give stargazers a decent show.

Where will the meteor shower be most visible?

First of all, stargazers should get as far away from city lights as possible to avoid light pollution. There's no specific spot in the sky to look. But the shooting stars get their name from the Leo constellation, as their paths in the sky can be traced back to those stars.

Peak time for viewing is from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. ET Saturday.

People living throughout the Southeast, the Northern Plains and California are in luck, as meteorologists are predicting clear skies, ideal for viewing the shower.

Those who reside in the Northeast, the Great Lakes region, the central Plains or the Pacific Northwest, however, may have to travel to other areas if they want to spot a falling star.

"A large storm system will be moving from the Plains into the Great Lakes, and cloudy skies are forecast to dominate much of the eastern half of the nation," meteorologist Kyle Elliot said, according to Accuweather. "Rain and thunderstorms will put an even bigger damper on viewing conditions in many of these areas."

The shower will actually be most visible, with the highest rates of visible meteors, in East Asia.

How intense can a Leonid shower get?

While this weekend's display is sure to impress, it's actually considered a light meteor shower, as opposed to a meteor storm. The last Leonid meteor storm took place in 2002. During storms, thousands of meteors can be spotted in an hour.

In 1833, stargazers reported as many as 72,000 shooting stars per hour, according to National Geographic. In 1966, a group of hunters reported seeing 40 to 50 streaks per second over the duration of 15 minutes.

Scientists currently predict the next major outburst won't take place until 2099. But calculations suggest the comet will be returning closer to Earth in 2031 and 2064, meaning more intense storms may be seen sooner. Smaller showers, such as the one occurring this weekend, happen on a regular basis.

So, while you may get another shot at seeing Leonid's shooting stars, this weekend promises to be a great chance for many.