Childhood social environmental and behavioural predictors of early adolescent-onset cannabis use
Scholes-Balog and colleagues followed 852 Australian fifth graders through to the age of 19. They were looking for the factors which explained why some of these students used cannabis early (before age 15), late (after 15), or abstained from cannabis use altogether.By making risk indexes (representing a lot of factors) for community, family, school, peer, individual, and early drug use, the study shed light on which factors could best predict the cannabis usage of these students.
Substance use (alcohol, cigarettes, drugs other than cannabis) was the greatest independent predictor for early onset cannabis use. Antisocial families with poor management also predicted cannabis use. In general, the delayed onset and abstinence from cannabis are more likely with increased protective factors (such as healthy socialization) and reduced risk factors.
Associations between digital technology and substance use among U.S. adolescents: Results from the 2018 Monitoring the Future survey.
Digital technology is becoming ubiquitous in adolescents, with over 90% of teens reporting multi-daily usage of social media. While digital technology has potential benefits for increasing social connection, especially during these times, there also exists a possibility for it to introduce and reinforce social norms and advertising regarding substance use. This recent study found that digital technology use that facilitates interaction with others was associated with increased risk of self-reported 30-day substance abuse in adolescents. The likelihood of cannabis use was almost three times higher for individuals exposed to pro-cannabis posts on Twitter, while similar trends were seen on other platforms. Previous research has also shown an increase in social media advertising aimed at increasing substance use, which may affect youth substance use.
The Effectiveness of Cannabis Flower for Immediate Relief from Symptoms of Depression
Depression is the leading cause of disability globally, with over 250 million people directly affected by the condition. In a recent study, researchers found that cannabis decreased the intensity of self-reported depressive symptoms in 95.8% of participants. Unlike traditional antidepressants which can take weeks to take effect, the effects of cannabis were seen within two hours in most participants. Symptom relief did not vary by plant phenotypes (indica, sativa, or hydroid) or combustion method. While no serious side effects were found in the short-run, other studies have suggested possible longer term drawbacks of continued cannabis use, such as addiction and cognitive impairments.
Autonomy, competence and relatedness and cannabis and alcohol use among youth in Canada: a cross-sectional analysis
In light of legalization, there has been increasing attention on preventing problematic youth substance use. Strength-based approaches emphasize protective factors, such as positive mental health. In this recent study, positive mental health was assessed by the self-determination theory, which suggests that competence, autonomy, and relatedness are basic psychological needs. Researchers found that in Canadian adolescents in grade 6 to grade 12, increased levels of competence and relatedness led to lower likelihood and frequency of substance use, including cannabis and alcohol. Conclusions on the role of autonomy were mixed.
Unraveling the Intoxicating and Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis Ingredients on Psychosis and Cognition
Population data estimates that around 200 million individuals use cannabis worldwide. Being one of the most widely used recreational drugs, it is imperative to understand the effects of cannabis. While cannabis has been implicated in the development, worsening, and treatment of psychosis and cognitive dysfunction, this recent review explored the contributions of THC and CBD such effects. Frequent and high THC cannabis was associated with a higher risk of psychosis, especially in individuals with genetic vulnerabilities. In contrast, some studies have found that CBD has antipsychotic effects. Not only may it prevent, reverse, or reduce the effects of THC, but CBD is also being tested as a treatment for multiple psychiatric conditions. These effects may be dependant on age and disease progression.
Application of Social Network Analysis of COVID-19 Related Tweets Mentioning Cannabis and Opioids to Gain Insights for Drug Abuse Research.
With the ongoing pandemic, technology has become a primary method of spreading information and misinformation. This recent study conducted an analysis of COVID-19 related Tweets mentioning cannabis and opioids. The top stakeholder disseminating information about cannabis was CNN, while the top stakeholder for opioids was Nature. They found that more cannabis-related Tweets were created and disseminated. Yet, the opioids Twitter network had a cleaner online environment with less disinformation than the cannabis Twitter network, with a focus on COVID-19 prevention and treatment.