Legal Weed in Colorado: 10 Years Later | Media Pyro

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Plus: As much substance use as it is for physical health, researchers have found more than 100 negative consequences from college drinking.

By William Wagner

It’s been decades since recreational drug use was legalized in Colorado, opening the door for other states to follow suit. What can we glean from 10 years of legal weed? An article from the University of Colorado at Boulder points us in the right direction.

Other highlights this week include the ways substance use disorder (SUD) affects physical health, and the many consequences of drinking in college.

From the University of Colorado at Boulder:
What we know about legal weed

The University of Colorado has marked the 10th anniversary of legal marijuana in the Centennial State with an article explaining what that means. Among the highlights:

  • Cannabis has become a $2 billion annual industry in Colorado.
  • Agencies from coast to coast have increased research on marijuana since marijuana was legalized in Colorado, examining its chemical properties, health benefits and risks.
  • Residents of countries where drugs are legal use drugs 24% more than those who do not.
  • Studies show that heavy marijuana use can have a negative impact on the brain development of adolescents and young adults.
  • College students are more likely to drink alcohol when using marijuana, which ultimately results in symptoms.
  • Weed use among adolescents can cause sleep problems later in life.
  • The arrival of marijuana products with high levels of THC (the substance that gets you high) can cause long-term harm to users.
  • Marijuana use can benefit those suffering from chronic pain, anxiety and cancer.
  • Using cannabis doesn’t mean you turn into a “couch potato.” In fact, says one researcher, “lighter users have a lower body mass index, a better waist-to-hip ratio, and a stronger more likely to comply with exercise recommendations than non-users.”
  • The labeling of marijuana products should be more accurate.

The bottom line? Legal weed is a mixed bag, and we still have a lot to learn.

From The Psychological Lancet:
SUD and General Physical Health

It is not surprising that people with SUD have worse outcomes from many physical disorders than the rest of the population. Researchers from the UK and Czechia studied the records of patients with 28 different illnesses who were previously hospitalized for SUDs. They found that those with SUD had a shorter time.

Tomáš Formánek

“The nature of the substance abuse disorder has a very negative effect on the prognosis after the development of various physical health conditions later on, sometimes significantly affecting the life expectancy of the affected people,” said the study’s lead author Tomáš Formánek, a PhD student at the National Institute of Mental Health, Czechia, and the University of Cambridge. The conditions that caused the worst outcomes for people with previous SUDs were atrial fibrillation, hypertension and ischemic heart disease.

Overall, patients with SUD are more vulnerable to other diseases, such as diabetes and cancer, because they have less access to screening and prevention. Petr Winkler, PhD, from the National Institute of Mental Health, Czechia: “They don’t seek professional help and hospitals for these situations. [until a] the most advanced stages of the disease.”

From Addictive Behavior:
The Effects of College Drinking

For many people, drinking and college go hand in hand—and all kinds of bad consequences. According to research from Penn State University, there are more than 100 alcohol-related consequences for the college crowd, from blackouts and hangovers to missing work or school.

“We often think that friends are responsible for drinking behavior, but we found that parents can make changes even after their child has left home.”

—Kimberly Mallett, Penn State University

The researchers followed 1,700 students for four years, surveying them twice a year. Interestingly, they found that students who felt their parents disapproved of their drinking had fewer negative consequences. “Often we think of peers as being responsible for drinking behavior, but we found that parents can make changes even after their child leaves home,” he said. says Kimberly Mallett, PhD, a research professor at Penn State’s Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Center. He added, “Children really look to their parents for guidance in many ways, even if they don’t say it out loud.”

Top image: Shutterstock

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