NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - May 15, 2008

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - May 15, 2008
Posted by CN Staff on May 15, 2008 at 11:57:22 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
  Pot’s Effects On Driving Performance Contrast Alcohol’s, Study Says   May 15, 2008 - Jerusalem, IsraelJerusalem, Israel: Low doses of cannabis and alcohol have contrasting effects on psychomotor performance, according to clinical trial data published in the current issue of the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.
Investigators at Hebrew University and the University of the Negev in Israel assessed the impact of alcohol and THC on simulated driving performance in fourteen subjects. Researchers reported that volunteers’ subjective and actual performance differed under the influence of THC compared to alcohol. "Average speed was the most sensitive driving performance variable affected by both THC and alcohol but with an opposite effect," authors wrote. "Smoking THC cigarettes caused drivers to drive slower in a dose-dependent manner, while alcohol caused drivers to drive significantly faster than in ‘control’ conditions." Both alcohol and low doses of cannabis impaired drivers’ ability to maintain lane position and significantly increased subjects’ reaction time. Neither low doses of alcohol nor THC significantly increased subjects’ total number of collisions.In terms of overall driving performance, subjects administered cannabis performed in a manner similar to drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05, authors determined."The present study reveals that although some similarities in the degree of impairment could be observed – mainly with the lower level of THC and alcohol, where both increased reaction time and [lane position variability] – some discrepancies also appeared between the two drugs," authors concluded. "In particular, subjects seemed to be aware of their impairment after THC intake and tried to compensate by driving slower; alcohol seemed to make them overly confident and caused them to drive faster than in control sessions."Two recent examinations of fatal accident crash data indicate that alcohol, even at low doses, greatly increases drivers’ crash risk compared to cannabis. A 2007 case-control study published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health reported that US drivers with blood alcohol levels of 0.05 percent were three times as likely to have engaged in unsafe driving activities prior to a fatal crash as compared to individuals who tested positive for marijuana. Similarly, a 2005 review of French auto accident data reported that drivers who tested positive for any amount of alcohol had a four times greater risk of having a fatal accident than did drivers who tested positive for marijuana in their blood.For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul Full text of the study, "Effects of THC on driving performance, physiological state, and subjective feelings relative to alcohol," appears in Accident Analysis and Prevention. Additional information regarding marijuana use and on-road accident risk is available in the NORML report "Cannabis and Driving: A Scientific and Rational Review," available online at:  Survey: One In Seven Public School Districts Drug Test Students  May 15, 2008 - Chapel Hill, NC, USAChapel Hill, NC: One in seven public school districts now randomly drug tests their student body, according to survey data published this month in the American Journal of Public Health.The percentage is approximately 50 percent higher the total number of schools that reported performing suspicionless drug testing five years ago.Among the schools that employ random drug testing, 93 percent test student athletes, while 65 percent test students who engage in extracurricular activities – a practice that was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2002 in a 5-4 decision.Twenty-nine percent of school districts that perform drug testing impose it the entire student body, a practice that extends "beyond current Supreme Court sanctions."Last year the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on School Health resolved, "There is little evidence of the effectiveness of school-based drug testing," and warned that students subjected to random testing programs may experience "an increase in known risk factors for drug use." The Academy also warned that school-based drug testing programs could decrease student involvement in extracurricular activities and undermine trust between pupils and educators.A 2003 cross-sectional study of national student drug testing programs previously reported, "Drug testing, as practiced in recent years in American secondary schools, does not prevent or inhibit student drug use."For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul norml.orgFull text of the study, "Random drug testing in US public school districts," appears in the American Journal of Public Health.DL:   Hawaii: Legislature Approves Medical Marijuana Task Force Measure May 15, 2008 - Honolulu, HI, USAHonolulu, HI: The Hawaii legislature approved legislation last week to establish the formation of an eleven-member task force to investigate options for providing legal cannabis for Hawaii’s state-qualified medical cannabis patients. The bill now awaits action from Gov. Linda Lingle (R). An estimated 3,000 Hawaiians are registered to use medical cannabis under state law. As approved by the legislature, House Bill 2675 calls on the task force to make recommendations regarding "the feasibility of developing safe growing facilities … for qualified patients with written certification to grow medical marijuana for their medical use." The task force is also mandated to review statewide guidelines authorizing the amount of medical cannabis patients may legally use and possess under state law.The task force must submit its recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the 2009 regular session.For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul or visit: http://www.mccfdia.comFull text of the bill is available online at: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: May 15, 2008Copyright: 2008 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives 
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Comment #4 posted by potpal on May 18, 2008 at 08:35:21 PT
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Comment #3 posted by aolbites on May 16, 2008 at 22:41:04 PT
Enjoy life, or you die feel good guys!
Cancer Patients' Quality Of Life Directly Relates To Their SurvivalScienceDaily (May 16, 2008) — Patients who feel better live longer, say Mayo Clinic researchers, working with the North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG), in study results released May 15 as part of the 44th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).Mayo Clinic cancer researcher and the study's lead author, Angelina Tan, says the results show quality of life is an independent factor in survival."Quality of life appears to affect the survival of cancer patients," says Tan. "If physicians can identify patients who are not doing well, they will be able to intervene and, we hope, improve not only their patients' sense of well-being, but also their length of life."
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Comment #2 posted by aolbites on May 16, 2008 at 22:31:43 PT
lose your cannabinoids, get cancer!
Starting Point Of Sun-induced Skin Cancer Discovered: Molecular 'Hooks' Also Pull Compounds From Marijuana From BloodstreamScienceDaily (May 16, 2008) — According to a new study from the University of Minnesota, the earliest event in the development of sun-induced skin cancer may have been identified. The researchers found that the point of entry for skin cancer in response to sun exposure is in receptor molecules, molecular "hooks" on the outer surface of cells that also pull cannabinoid compounds found in marijuana out of the bloodstream."The question at the core of this research was, 'Why does ultraviolet light induce skin cancer?'" said lead researcher Zigang Dong, a professor of cellular and molecular biology and director of the university's Hormel Institute, which supported the study. "The idea is to find an agent that can prevent skin cancers after exposure to the sun."The receptor molecules are protein structures that are components of cells's outer membranes. Acting like receiving docks, their function is to catch specific compounds from the blood and enable the cells to engulf or otherwise interact with the compounds. Receptors have been identified for many substances, including hormones and other chemical signals that regulate what cells do.The researchers found that two receptors for cannabinoids also responded to UV light. They made the discovery during a search for the initial interaction between UV light and human skin cells.The researchers began their search with plant cells because plants must interact with UV light in order to harness its energy for photosynthesis. They concluded that the UV receptors in plants ought to be similar to any found in humans, and, therefore, the genes for the plant and human receptors must also be similar. When they compared plant genes for UV receptors to human genetic material, they found that the human genes for cannabinoid receptors matched.If cannabinoid receptors are important in the initiation of skin cancer by UV light, then animals that lack the receptors should be relatively protected from the ravages of the light. Working with mouse embryos, the researchers removed the genes for the cannabinoid receptors. They found that the skin of the resulting adult mice, which lacked the receptors, was resistant to the development of UV-induced inflammation and skin tumors called papillomas.Also, when they exposed cannabinoid receptors to UV light, the receptors changed from an inactive to an active state, indicating they had absorbed and responded to the light.Why should evolution have produced receptors that respond to both UV light and cannabinoids?"That we don't know," said Dong. The research appears in the May 15 issue of Cancer Research.The Hormel Institute is a collaborative research unit of the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic. The work was supported by the Hormel Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.
Molecular 'Hooks' Also Pull Compounds From Marijuana From Bloodstream
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 15, 2008 at 15:29:00 PT
R.I. Senate Approves Marijuana Sales To Ill
 R.I. Senate Approves Marijuana Sales To Ill Patients May 15, 2008 PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Rhode Island's Senate has approved a bill permitting up to three nonprofit stores to sell marijuana to chronically ill patients registered with the state.more stories like thisA spokesman for Senate President Joseph Montalbano says the proposal passed Thursday 29-6. It now heads to House lawmakers.Sen. Rhoda Perry, the bill's sponsor, has said the proposal fixes a loophole in Rhode Island's medical marijuana program.State lawmakers voted in 2006 to allow chronically ill patients and their caregivers to possess small amounts of marijuana for pain relief. But they never made clear how patients were supposed to buy the drug. It remains illegal under federal law.More than 700 patients and caregivers are enrolled in the state's medical marijuana program.Copyright: 2008 Associated PressURL:
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