June 5th, 2014
11:19 AM ET
"If you’re a cannabis user and you’re trying for a baby ... stop."
This advice comes from Dr. Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom and lead author of a new study that suggests using marijuana could increase a man's risk of fertility problems.
The study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, looked at how a man's lifestyle affects his sperm morphology: the size and shape of sperm. Researchers collected data from 1,970 men who provided semen as part of a fertility assessment.
April 29th, 2014
10:00 AM ET
Multiple sclerosis sufferers may benefit from taking medical marijuana, according to a new study in the journal Neurology.
MS patients who used marijuana either as a pill or as an oral spray found relief from a number of symptoms, according to the study. The findings were released Monday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).
"Medical marijuana can be considered to relieve particular symptoms of MS, including spasticity, pain related to spasms, or central pain from MS lesions," says Dr. Barbara Koppel, main author of the research analysis.
Koppel, a neurologist at New York Medical College in New York, says medical marijuana did not help MS patients who had tremors, nor did it relieve abnormal involuntary movements in late-stage Parkinson's disease. Researchers also didn't find enough evidence to recommend the treatment for other conditions they looked at, including epilepsy, she says. FULL POST
April 23rd, 2014
06:21 PM ET
Young people who use marijuana may be at risk for heart attacks and other serious cardiovascular problems, a new study suggests.
Researchers reviewed records from the French Addictovigilance Network, a national system of centers in France that gather information about drug abuse and dependence. From 2006 to 2010, they found 35 reports of patients who had experienced cardiovascular complications following cannabis use. The study was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
April 16th, 2014
09:02 AM ET
If you thought smoking a joint occasionally was OK, a new study released Tuesday suggests you might want to reconsider.
The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, is the first to link casual marijuana use to major changes in the brain. And according to the researchers, the degree of abnormalities is based on the number of joints you smoke in a week.
Using different types of neuroimaging, researchers examined the brains of 40 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 who were enrolled in Boston-area colleges. Twenty of them smoked marijuana at least once a week. The other 20 did not use pot at all. FULL POST
May 28th, 2013
02:21 PM ET
The state of Colorado is seeing an increase in the number of children accidentally exposed to medical marijuana, according to a new study in Pediatric JAMA.
Doctors in Colorado evaluated about 1,400 patients aged 8 months to 12 years who came to the Children's Hospital Colorado emergency room from January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2011.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.