December 19th, 2012
05:17 PM ET
Marijuana use is holding steady among eighth, 10th- and 12th-graders in the United States and tobacco smoking rates remain low.
Those are some of the results published in the annual Monitoring the Future study, a survey of more than 45,000 8th, 10th, and 12th graders from 395 public and private schools. It was released Wednesday.
Each year, the survey gathers information from teens about their use of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco, as well as asking them questions regarding their attitudes about the drugs. FULL POST
September 10th, 2012
03:39 PM ET
Marijuana may double the risk of testicular cancer among young men, particularly tumors that are more severe, according to a new study published in the American Cancer Society's journal, Cancer.
"This is a very consistent finding now that marijuana seems to be associated with the worst kind of testis cancer that occurs in young men ... (it) may well be causal," said study author Victoria Cortessis, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles.
April 15th, 2012
09:00 AM ET
Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at email@example.com.
Q: I sometimes smoke pot on the weekend. Can this affect my work during the upcoming week?
A: It sure can. Although the immediate effects of marijuana typically last only one to three hours, frequent users can have a hard time concentrating and processing information, even days later.
Marijuana has other risks, too: It contains more carcinogens than tobacco and can cause the same respiratory issues - possibly even cancer.
Bottom line: Your weekend habit could have consequences way worse than just making you feel spaced out at work.
January 10th, 2012
05:11 PM ET
Science has shown the dangers of cigarette smoking on lungs– smoking undermines lung function, causes lung cancer and long-term breathing problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). But what about smoking marijuana?
Researchers sought to determine whether exposure to marijuana smoke, which contains many of the same components in cigarette smoke, would also show negative effects on lung function.
They were surprised to find that subjects who occasionally smoked pot – meaning two to three times per month – did not show the same reduced lung function that was seen in cigarette smoking. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
September 8th, 2011
06:10 PM ET
More than 22 million Americans age 12 and older - nearly 9% of the U.S. population - use illegal drugs, according to the government’s 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
The overall rate of drug use is only slightly higher than the 2009 study but nearly a percentage point above the 2008 survey.
“I am encouraged there were no significant increases in drug use over the past year,” Gil Kerlikowske, the U.S. director of national drug control policy, said in a statement. “However, today’s survey also shows that drug use in America remains at unacceptable levels.”
Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants and some prescription drugs used for non-medical purposes were counted in the survey. Marijuana was the most commonly used drug, with more than 17 million users in 2010, 3 million more than in the 2007 survey.
February 7th, 2011
05:56 PM ET
Using marijuana, or cannabis, may cause psychosis to develop sooner in patients already predisposed to developing it, and in other patients the drug may even cause psychosis, according to a new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
"This finding is an important breakthrough in our understanding of the relationship between cannabis use and psychosis," according to the study. "It raises the question of whether those substance users would still have gone on to develop psychosis a few years later."
October 25th, 2010
12:05 AM ET
Although health experts and most parents know that some teens experiment with drugs, many kids often do not voluntarily admit to using illicit substances, even when they know they could undergo a drug test that could prove it.
In a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, surveyed more than 400 high-risk urban teens and their parents or caretakers. After asking about drug use (marijuana, cocaine, opiates, alcohol, tobacco) in a questionnaire, teen and adult hair samples were taken and tested for cocaine and opiates. The data found that young people were 52 percent more likely to test positive for cocaine in their hair samples than they were to actually report using cocaine on their questionnaires.
October 14th, 2010
06:23 PM ET
More kids and teens are smoking marijuana at younger ages, according to data collected by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. From 2008 to 2009, there was a 9 percent increase - to 7.3 percent of people age 12 or older - who currently use marijuana. During the same time period, the average age of first-time marijuana users decreased to 17 years old.
The human brain is still developing throughout the teen years and in to a person's 20s That's why the Office of Drug Control Policy says using marijuana at the age of 12 can lead to addiction, respiratory illness, weakened motor skills, and cognitive impairment not only while the child smokes but for years after a person quits.
July 7th, 2010
11:49 AM ET
Kevin Grimsinger dreads the night. He often wakes up with searing memories of what happened years ago. Grimsinger, 42, is a former special forces medic. He served in Kosovo and the first Gulf War. Grimsinger's life changed in 2001, when he stepped on a land mine in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He lost parts of both his legs and broke his back. But it's the injuries you can't see that he says are the worst.
"I don't sleep. I don't eat. When I do sleep, it is broken up because of nightmares," Grimsinger said during a recent conversation from his Colorado home.
June 21st, 2010
02:15 PM ET
By Elizabeth Landau
A medication called Sativex has become the first drug fully approved for multiple sclerosis that is made from natural cannabis.
The United Kingdom's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency approved the drug, an oral spray, on Friday, and it went on sale in the country on Monday. The drug has been available in Canada on a limited basis since 2005 for the relief of neuropathic pain and advanced cancer pain, and also to a small number of patients in Spain. It is expected to be approved more broadly in Spain later this year.
Sativex is approved by prescription only for multiple sclerosis patients in the U.K. It targets the effects of spasticity, a symptom of multiple sclerosis caused by damage to nerves in the central nervous system. Loss of mobility and painful spasms may result from this involuntary stiffening of muscles.
The drug is sprayed into the mouth on the inside of the cheek or under the tongue, said Bayer Schering Pharma, the pharmaceutical company launching the product. Cannabis plants grown in a controlled environment give rise to the extracts that are the active ingredients of the drug.
The Multiple Sclerosis Trust, a U.K. charity, supported the launch of this medication.
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.