New Harvard Study links Casual Use of Marijuana by Young Adults to Brain Changes

Published in Journal of Neuroscience : http://www.sfn.org/Press-Room/News-Release-Archives/2014/Brain-Changes-Are-Associated-with-Casual-Marijuana-Use-in-Young-Adults

Washington, DC — The size and shape of two brain regions involved in emotion and motivation may differ in young adults who smoke marijuana at least once a week, according to a study published April 16 in The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings suggest that recreational marijuana use may lead to previously unidentified brain changes, and highlight the importance of research aimed at understanding the long-term effects of low to moderate marijuana use on the brain.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, with an estimated 18.9 million people reporting recent use, according to the most current analysis of the National Survey on Drug Use and Mental Health. Marijuana use is often associated with motivation, attention, learning, and memory impairments. Previous studies exposing animals to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the main psychoactive component of marijuana — show that repeated exposure to the drug causes structural changes in brain regions involved with these functions. However, less is known about how low to moderate marijuana use affects brain structure in people, particularly in teens and young adults.

In the current study, Jodi Gilman, PhD, Anne Blood, PhD, and Hans Breiter, MD, of Northwestern University and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to compare the brains of 18- to 25-year olds who reported smoking marijuana at least once per week with those with little to no history of marijuana use. Although psychiatric evaluations ruled out the possibility that the marijuana users were dependent on the drug, imaging data revealed they had significant brain differences. The nucleus accumbens — a brain region known to be involved in reward processing — was larger and altered in its shape and structure in the marijuana users compared to non-users.

“This study suggests that even light to moderate recreational marijuana use can cause changes in brain anatomy,” said Carl Lupica, PhD, who studies drug addiction at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and was not involved with this study. “These observations are particularly interesting because previous studies have focused primarily on the brains of heavy marijuana smokers, and have largely ignored the brains of casual users.”

The team of scientists compared the size, shape, and density of the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala — a brain region that plays a central role in emotion — in 20 marijuana users and 20 non-users. Each marijuana user was asked to estimate their drug consumption over a three-month period, including the number of days they smoked and the amount of the drug consumed each day.  The scientists found that the more the marijuana users reported consuming, the greater the abnormalities in the nucleus accumbens and amygdala. The shape and density of both of these regions also differed between marijuana users and non-users.

“This study raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn’t associated with bad consequences,” Breiter said.

This research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

The Journal of Neuroscience is published by the Society for Neuroscience, an organization of nearly 40,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system. Gilman can be reached at jgilman1@partners.org, Blood at ablood@nmr.mgh.harvard.edu, and Breiter at h-breiter@northwestern.edu. More information on marijuana and addiction can be found on BrainFacts.org.

 

Prescription Medication Take Back Day Saturday, April 26th, 2014 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

TBD feature image_04_26_14_mkOn Saturday, April 26th , Grass Valley Police Department is partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County in a nationwide prescription drug “Take-Back” day.   This program allows members of the public to drop off potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for safe disposal and destruction at the Corner of Neal and South Auburn in downtown Grass Valley.

Previous “Take Back Days” have been very successful in Nevada County.  From April 2012 through October 2013, Nevada County residents safely disposed of 1,925 pounds of unwanted and outdated prescription drugs.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Monitoring, securing and safely disposing of medications can prevent the abuse of prescription drugs and protect our environment. Many people are not aware that medicines that languish in homes are susceptible to misuse and abuse. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

It’s also a bad idea to flush unused medications down the toilet as they can get into our water systems. A 2008 study by the Associated Press found traces of pharmaceuticals in tap water across the U.S. and evidence suggest this water pollution may also have negative affects on wildlife.

DROP OFF LOCATION: In Grass Valley Corner of Neal and South Auburn (parking lot across from Safeway in downtown Grass Valley)

WHEN:  Saturday, April 26th, 2014 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
For more information on Permanent Safe Disposal Sites, please visit: www.drugfreenevadacounty.org

Contact Information:

Shelley Rogers, Coalition Coordinator: shelley@drugfreenevadacounty.org  530-273-7956
Lt. Alex Gammelgard, Grass Valley Police Department: agammelgard@gvpd.net  530-477-6400

 

Recovery Enrichment Series: Dr. Christina Lasich presents Foods that Trigger Pain & Relapse

Pain happens but it does not have to happen all the time. If you eat the wrong foods, you’ll likely experience more pain in your life than if you were eating the right foods. So what makes foods wrong or right? What causes food to trigger pain? On April 24th, 2014, I will take the audience on an exploration of pain and things that you put in the grocery cart that might cause pain. And for those that are recovering from chemical addiction, the last thing you want is pain because pain can lead to relapse. Join us for the next installment of our Recovery Enrichment Series because we at Community Recovery Resources do not want pain or relapse to happen to you.
~ Dr. Lasich, Medical Director

Please join us for our second installment of the new Recovery Enrichment Series kicked off in February by coveted speaker, Father Tom Weston. We are pleased to announce that the distinguished Dr. Lasich will be presenting on Foods that Trigger Pain and Relapse. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to be inspired and enrich your journey!

Space is limited so please RSVP right away to reserve your seat.

RSVP to:

Email: srogers@corr.us

Phone: 530-273530-273-7956

About Dr. Christina Lasich
Dr. Christina Lasich, M.D. began her medical career after graduating from the University of California, Davis School of Medicine with honors. Her interests in orthopedics and physical therapy lead her to the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. This specialty field serves those with chronic conditions with an emphasis on improving quality of life and independence. After leaving residency training, she returned to her hometown of Grass Valley, CA to open her practice in 2001. She quickly found an underserved population of people with chronic pain, especially women in pain. Her life, her practice, and her book – High Heels To Hormones – all reflect a philosophy that pain is a signal for the individual to improve habits, life-style, and nutrition. She views pain as the ultimate motivator and that pain is also a doorway to transformation.

Continuing Education Credits now available for the upcoming Recovery Enrichment Series: Foods that Trigger Pain and Relapse, Presented by Dr. Christina Lasich, CoRR Medical Director.

Community Recovery Resources is approved to provide two (2.0) continuing education units (CEU’s):
BBS #PCE2459
, CAADAC #5-01-456-0215.

To read more about Dr. Lasich’s remarkable contribution to our community, visit her website. www.healingwomeninpain.com

April 24, 2014Foods that Trigger Pain and Relapse 4-24-14

5:30pm – 7:30pm

The Campus

180 Sierra College Drive

Grass Valley, CA 95945

RSVP to:

Email: srogers@corr.us

Phone: 530-273-7956

Click HERE to view and download flyer

 

Holiday Mocktail Contest 2013

Community Recovery Resources and the Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County invite you to participate in our first ever Mocktail Recipe Contest. 

The purpose of the “Mocktail Contest” is to blend this fun and festive contest with the important message of being safe and responsible during the holiday season. Join us in creating awareness about drinking responsibly and encourage hosts to offer delicious, non-alcoholic beverages to their guests. We know that this helps keep our streets safer through the Holidays.

The Holidays are the perfect time to introduce friends and family to the concept of Mocktails – visually appealing, non-alcoholic and delicious  beverages to serve at parties, and to order while you are out on the town. The contest offers holiday entertainers and local restaurants and bars a few new delicious recipes to serve their guests.

You are invited to submit a recipe online here: Submit your recipe HERE! Entries can be made between now and Thursday December 19th, 2013 at Noon. The winner will be chosen on Friday the 20th.

The Winner will receive “Movies and Dessert” for two.

 

 

Prescription Medication Take Back Day Saturday October 26th in Grass Valley

On Saturday, October 26th Grass Valley Police Department is partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County in a nationwide prescription drug “Take-Back” day.   This program allows members of the public to drop off potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for safe disposal and destruction at the Drop off Location listed below. 

Previous “Take Back Days” have been very successful in Nevada County.  From April 2012 through September 2013, Nevada County residents safely disposed of 1,925 pounds of unwanted and outdated prescription drugs.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Monitoring, securing and safely disposing of medications can prevent the abuse of prescription drugs and protect our environment. Many people are not aware that medicines that languish in homes are susceptible to misuse and abuse. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

It’s also a bad idea to flush unused medications down the toilet as they can get into our water systems. A 2008 study by the Associated Press found traces of pharmaceuticals in tap water across the U.S. and evidence suggest this water pollution may also have negative affects on wildlife.

DROP OFF LOCATION: In Grass Valley Corner of Neal and South Auburn (parking lot across from Safeway in GV)

WHEN:  Saturday, October 26th  from 10:00-2:00

IMPORTANT! In addition to the Take Back Days, we want to remind people that three local pharmacies now host permanent drop boxes that are open daily; Kmart, Rite Aid and Save Mart in addition to the one in the lobby of the Grass Valley Police Department providing  easy and convenient way’s to safely dispose of your unneeded prescription medications.

Permanent Safe Disposal Sites:

Grass Valley Police Department  Kmart Pharmacy
129 South Auburn Street
Grass Valley, CA 95945
111 W. McKnight Way
Grass Valley, CA 95945
Rite Aid Pharmacy Save Mart Pharmacy
720 Sutton Way
Grass Valley, CA 95945
12054 Nevada City Hwy
Grass Valley, CA 95945

more information: http://www.drugfreenevadacounty.org