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April 27, 2018

HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND TO CANNABIS IMPAIRED DRIVING?

Professor Wayne Hall has recently published a editorial for "Drug and Alcohol Review" titled "How should we respond to cannabis-impaired driving?" In the article, Professor Hall describes a recent international symposium on drug impaired driving, which attempted to unpack this issue.  One of the primary problems with roadside saliva testing for cannabis use, is that these tests do not have any correlation with actual impairment caused by THC. This makes it difficult to assess whether or not roadside saliva testing for cannabis can have a road safety benefit and critics of the approach says that these types of test are designed to discourage cannabis use rather than protect public safety.  In this article, Professor Hall describes the challenges related to responding to cannabis-impaired driving and describes the areas of research that are needed to adequately respond to these challenges.

Go to "How should we respond to cannabis-impaired driving?"

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April 27, 2018

GREEN RUSH: THE RACE TO RICHES FOR AUSTRALIA'S NEW CANNABIS MOGULS

ABC's 4 Corners recently broadcast an episode titled "Green rush: The race to riches for Australia's new cannabis moguls."  The episode describes the industry developing around medicinal cannabis in Australia, with local and international players positioning themselves for the possibility of significant profits from both medical and potentially recreational cannabis.


Watch "Green Rush: The race to riches for Australia's new cannabis moguls."

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October 6, 2017

EXPLORING THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN CANNABIS AND TOBACCO

The alcohol and other drugs blog site "Volteface" recently published an article titled "A problem of 'joint' use: Exploring the interplay between cannabis and tobacco". The article draws on data from the Global Drug Survey, as well as a placebo-controlled double-blind study that compared cannabis and tobacco co-administration. The Global Drug Survey found that people who smoke cannabis mixed with tobacco tended to have less motivation to quit, than those who used cannabis alone. The placebo-controlled study found no difference in how stoned people became, regardless of whether they mixed tobacco with cannabis, but those who combined did show more extreme changes in heart rate and blood pressure - potentially increasing the harm.  The simple take home message is people who smoke cannabis should avoid mixing it with tobacco.

Read "A problem of 'joint' use: Exploring the interplay between cannabis and tobacco"

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August 31, 2017

HARM REDUCTION VIDEOS FROM VICE MEDIA: SAFE SESH

Vice Media have developed a series of harm reduction videos, including substances such as MDMA, cocaine., cannabis, nitrous oxide and more.  The videos use a scientist from The Loop, a drug testing service from the UK, to answer some key questions that users often have, with practical suggestions to reduce the harms. Obviously, the only way to reduce all of the harms is to not use. However for those who do use, there are some strategies that can be implemented to reduce the harms. Some of the tips in the videos include: not to use MDMA more than once every three months, to reduce the risks of developing tolerance and increasing some of the potential cognitive effects of MDMA.

Go to Vice Media's "Safe Sesh" videos.

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July 20, 2017

LOWER-RISK CANNABIS USE GUIDELINES: A COMPREHENSIVE UPDATE OF EVIDENCE AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The American Journal of Public Health has published a systematic review by Fischer and colleagues called "Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines: A Comprehensive Update of Evidence and Recommendations", examining the evidence on the adverse health outcomes from cannabis that may be modified by the user. Ten major recommendations were developed for lower risk use, some of which include avoiding early initiation, particularly before 16 years, choosing low potency THC or balanced THC to CBD ratio products, avoiding synthetic cannabinoids, deep inhalation practices, high frequency use and driving while under the influence. The authors conclude that poor health outcomes may be reduced by informed behavioural choices among users and with cannabis laws evolving in North America, suggest Lower-Risk Use Cannabis Guidelines could serve as a population level education tool to help improve public health outcomes.

Read and download the review here

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March 10, 2017

ADF DRUG FACTS

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (formerly known as the Australian Drug Foundation) have re-launched their Drug Facts website.  The site contains information on a broad range of drugs, in an accessible format suitable for any worker.  Each fact sheet contains information on the specific substance including how the substance is used, an overview of the effects and harms, and information on rates of use in the population.

Go to the ADF Drug Facts website

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July 15, 2016

CANNABIS: THE WAFT OF CHANGE

Dr Adam Winstock from the Global Drug Survey presented this keynote presentation at the Scottish Drug Forum's Cannabis Conference earlier this year called "Cannabis: the waft of change". In the presentation Dr Winstock talks about the types of cannabis, the harms related to cannabis, motivations for change and clinical issues. Dr Winstock describes some recent innovations including the increasing use of vaporisers, and even cannabis suppositories.

You can view the presentation here.

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May 13, 2016

CANNABIS USE IN PEOPLE WITH PSYCHOSIS

An article has been published in The Lancet Psychiatry titled "Continued versus discontinued cannabis use in patients with psychosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis".  The authors looked at 24 studies that included 16 565 participants.  They found that people who were diagnosed with psychosis and continued to use cannabis had a greater increase in relapse of psychosis than those who ceased cannabis use.  The people who continued using cannabis also had longer hospital admissions than non cannabis users.  The authors conclude with "Continued cannabis use after onset of psychosis predicts adverse outcome, including higher relapse rates, longer hospital admissions, and more severe positive symptoms than for individuals who discontinue cannabis use and those who are non-users."  This article is followed by a response titled "Correlation still does not imply causation" which urges caution in these findings, with the authors describing the "shared vulnerability hypothesis".


"Continued versus discontinued cannabis use in patients with psychosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis"

 

"Correlation still does not imply causation"

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October 28, 2015

MEDICINAL CANNABIS REPORT

The Victorian Law Reform Commission has published its report on Medicinal Cannabis. The report contains recommendations for changes to the law to allow people to be treated with medicinal cannabis in exceptional circumstances.

Download the report here

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October 14, 2015

SAFER USE LIMITS

Alcohol guidelines have been developed in many countries, including Australia, in order to help advise people who use alcohol of ways to reduce the short and long term consequences of their drinking.  Similar guidelines for illicit drug use do not exist, and so the folks at the Global Drug Survey have used the data generated by over 100 000 participants from last years survey in order to understand the ways that real people who use illicit drugs minimise harms.  The "Safer Use Limits" website allows a person to enter the current level of substance use and then provides the user with feedback.  The feedback includes an overall assessment of risk, as well as practical strategies to reduce these risks.  Current cannabis is the only substance available, however more drugs will be added in the future including cocaine, MDMA and alcohol.

Go to "Safer Use Limits" website

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