Tag: social (page 1 of 4)

Substantial Drop in Colorado Teens Using Cannabis Since Legalization

Data from surveys will continue to be extremely important for cannabis as states begin to implement and adjust their medical and recreational laws. In our previous article, we discussed a recently published report from the American Journal of Public Health that showed a major decrease in traffic fatalities across states with medical cannabis laws.

Especially important was the finding that the most statistically significant reductions were among age groups 15 to 24, and 25 to 44. These adolescent and young adult populations are historically the most at risk for involvement in a fatal car accident. The general decrease in the traffic death rates takes a lot of wind from the sails of anti-cannabis groups, which often fall back on two arguing points: cannabis laws increase traffic deaths, and cannabis laws increase youth exposure, use, and abuse.

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The positive driving data is very encouraging, but the state-level data for Colorado from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health may change the way we debate about cannabis entirely.

Despite the cries from anti-cannabis groups, the first tangible data from a state with recreational laws shows something incredible – people ages 12 to 17 are using cannabis less and less, year after year.

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Comparisons of 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 population percentages show cannabis use among adolescents dropped from 20.81 to 18.35 percent.

Washington also experienced a decrease in youth abuse of cannabis, from 17.53 to 15.61 percent, but the reduction was not as statistically significant as the results from Colorado due to population constraints.

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Overall, in states that legalization cannabis, as well as the District of Columbia, cannabis use among individuals 12 to 17 has been declining year over year. This is great ammunition for pro-cannabis advocacy groups that have been involved in a social debate for the last few decades.

One of the biggest issues with these state reports on cannabis use among teens is that each state represents its own ecosystem, with local factors that influence the data in unique. Compare the decrease in use among teens in Colorado to a recent Arizona study, and you will see that the arguments around cannabis (and how they are perceived) are greatly dependent on the state itself.

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The Arizona Youth Survey reviewed answers from 57,000 students in high school, and concluded that the overall number of teens (8th through 12th grade) who used cannabis in the past 30 days rose only 0.6 percent from the 2014 report. Despite the insignificant increase, anti-cannabis activists began shouting the results from the rooftop.

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Cannabis Use in Arizona, 2012-2016, 8th, 10th, and 12th Graders (left to right)

Comparing Colorado to Arizona is difficult considering they have very different populations with a variety of social and economic issues. But it doesn’t take a data scientist to sense there is something more to the story when one state legalizes adult use of cannabis and youth abuse drops off a cliff, and another state with only medical laws sees a minor increase.

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Of course, more research is necessary, but pro-cannabis advocates finally will have data to back up their claims that cannabis can be a safe medicine and a responsible recreational substance.

And maybe declines in cannabis use among adolescents are simply the result of another social phenomenon: drugs aren’t so cool when your mom and dad have fun with them.

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How Changing Ourselves Changes the World Around Us (Part 2)

This article was originally published on CannabisHealthIndex.com.

In part 1 of this article series (Cannabis is a Gateway Drug! But It’s Not What You’ve Been Told), we looked at the fact that synapses that fire together wire together and in doing so create the very experience we focus on, especially those experiences we repeat.

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We examined how the brain or the internal mind-body architecture of a person chronically focusing on fear, worry, or negativity has a very different set of synaptic clefts compared to a person with a tendency for optimism, positivity, and compassion and how this influences our health and well-being.

Now we will look at the higher octave of this natural ability to create our own experiences (good or bad) and explore how and why (its biological bases) it impacts others around you.

But first let’s back up a bit in time to the 1980’s. Neurophysiologists from one of the oldest universities in the world, the University de Parma in Italy, discovered nerve cells called mirror neurons (MN’s). Essentially, MN’s react (fire) in the same place and fashion when we perform an action or just observe the same action performed by another.

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MN’s offer a physiological explanation with which to better understand how we are connected to each other and how we constantly impact each other for better or worse. MN’s are the functional basis for empathy (the ability to feel another persons feelings), learning by example, or the capacity to know each other’s intentions.

Let’s say you’re in the movies and are watching a horror flick. You know the actor is stupid to follow the the cat into the depth of darkness. The music builds slowly until that fateful moment (you know what is coming, don’t you?). The lurking monster lashes out from the shadows and grabs the “unsuspecting” victim by the leg. Most everybody in the theatre reacts with shock and recoils. Why?

Your mirror neurons witness the emotion and try them on for size. Your autonomic nervous system does not know the difference between watching a movie or things happening for real. As they fire in a mirror fashion, neurotransmitters of fear (adrenalin), and stress (cortisol) are rapidly ejected from your adrenal glands on top of your kidneys and instantly flood your blood stream. Fight or flight or freeze.

When the scene is over your body realizes you’re still alive it releases serotonin and anandamide and you feel happy. You’re still alive, yay! This is the fun of watching movies. A roller-coaster ride of emotions and molecules. You can learn more about serotonin and the other health effects of neurotransmitters at TheBabbleOut.com.

Just a Few Types of Neurotransmitters (source)

Just a Few Types of Neurotransmitters (source)

MN’s also offer an explanation for real life events such as the mob mentality of aggression when hate speech politicians feed verbal red meat to their base or when thousands of soccer fans suddenly become aggressive and act out.

Imagine yourself at a concert and everyone syncs to the groove of a favorite tune and the entire hall experiences a state of collective bliss. The shared sadness at a funeral. The mutual emotion of revulsion when witnessing an injustice. You get the point.

Now, what is true in large groups is also true between small groups or between two people. Have you ever been in love? Do you remember that time where your resonance, the core of your being, was filled with that most precious of all feelings?

Just the memory of being in love can cause your body to generate oxytocin, serotonin, and anandamide for example. And, due to the very nature of MN’s anyone in your field of resonance (or anyone connecting with you) would also begin to generate those neurotransmitters.

Now, think about what happens to those around you when you drop deep into that meditative state, or you enter a properly dosed cannabis-experience? What do you see? What do you notice?

Please let us know so we can share with our readers.

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Uwe Blesching is a medical journalist and regular contributor in the fields of cannabinoid science, mind-body medicine, phytopharmacology, and more. Blesching earned his PhD from the Western Institute for Social Research. Much of the information from his most recent book, The Cannabis Health Index, has been made available on Cannabis Reports as well.

For the most up to date info on Cannabis Reports, follow us on Twitter, and like us on our Facebook page.

Hiking with Outset Edibles: How to Stay Active and Healthy in the Cannabis Industry

Working in the cannabis industry can be exhausting. Most of the incredible folks who are committed to providing quality products devote well beyond the forty hours of a regular work week to be successful. It is important that everyone working for cannabis also take the time to remain healthy and mentally refreshed.

Outset Edibles on Hike (Cannabis Reports)

Our friends from Outset Edibles know how demanding cannabis production and distribution can be, so when they suggested a group hike, the Cannabis Reports team jumped at the opportunity to interact outside of the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area. So early one Sunday morning, we jumped into our vehicles and journeyed over to West Marin county to explore the natural wonders on the Palomarin Trail.

Taking a Walk on the Natural Side

The Palomarin Trailhead is located North of Stinson Beach in Marin county. Sure, it’s a little bit out of the way, but the distance from our normal daily routines really helped set a new stage. We invited many different friends, and the hike included members of the Cannabis Reports and Outset Edibles teams, as well as lawyers, artists, and patients.

Outset Edibles on Hike (Cannabis Reports)

Something about being removed from the business world allowed everyone to engage in completely different ways. It became very evident that nature allows us to remove the weight of our normal responsibilities over in San Francisco. Complete strangers became friends in the first quarter mile, and the level of creativity blossomed as ideas were exchanged.

Outset Edibles on Hike (Cannabis Reports)

Group hikes give us the opportunity to discuss cannabis topics without feeling so tied to our normal dialogues. Opinions were shared openly amongst the hikers, and the cannabis experts that Outset Edibles convinced to tag along were able to communicate some very valuable points about the industry that are easily lost during standard cannabis meet-ups.

Outset Edibles on Hike (Cannabis Reports)

Outset Edibles was kind enough to pack a bunch of samples for everyone to enjoy (disclaimer: all of the hikers were California cannabis cardholders). By the time we had reached the beach, the conversation had evolved from cannabis to overall wellness and healing. After a team yoga session, we toyed around with cameras to try and capture the easy-going attitude that had swept over the group.

Outset Edibles on Hike (Cannabis Reports)

The return hike was filled with laughter and a lot of stops to absorb some of the beauty we had overlooked on our way to Alamere Falls. These group hikes are definitely an effective way to build friendships with the people who we normally interact with in a working environment.

Outset Edibles on Hike (Cannabis Reports)

Breaking the “stoner” stereotype is a major milestone for the cannabis community. Friendly events like this group hike prove that we are rapidly approaching that mile marker on the road to legitimate cannabis. Hopefully more cannabis companies begin to organize these impromptu get togethers, and make sure to simply enjoy one another’s company and share ideas and opinions. So give your friends a call, schedule a fun hike, and enjoy your health. Happy trails!

Outset Edibles on Hike (Cannabis Reports)

For the most up to date info on Cannabis Reports, follow us on Twitter, and like us on our Facebook page. If you have any questions about getting involved in your local cannabis community, please join the discussion in the comment section below, or reach out through our social media links.

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