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Author: Shernide Delva
As more and more states legalize marijuana, there has been a concern on how to monitor impaired driving. Now, police are testing a marijuana breathalyzer on drivers for the first time. The device is manufactured by Hounds Labs and CEO Mike Lynn who is an emergency room doctor in Oakland, California, and a reserve officer with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
Lynn began pulling over drivers suspected of impaired driving during the initial field tests. However, the use of the breathalyzer was optional.
“Basically everyone agreed because they were curious,” Lynn told US News & World Report. “The objective was not to put people in jail but to educate them and use the device if they volunteered so we could get the data.”
All the drivers tested were not arrested, but they were required to find another ride home. The Hounds Labs breathalyzer can detect marijuana (smoked or ingested) as well as alcohol. Lynn says his breathalyzer can even measure the concentration of the drug. In the past, other technology could only detect THC.
“It’s not as if every breathalyzer will be replaced overnight [but] it will completely change the ability to recognize stoned drivers,” said Lynn last year, “[and] our technology also will prevent the wrongful arrest of people who have some THC in their system but are not impaired.”
Last year, Alameda County Sherriff Greg Ahern told US News that he is eager to use the new breathalyzer.
“Current methods for testing THC are not practical for the roadside,” Ahern said. “On top of that, results can take weeks and will only tell us if marijuana is in a person’s system. By measuring THC in breath, Hound Labs, Inc. will help us get impaired drivers off the road and also make sure that unimpaired individuals who happen to have some THC in their system aren’t wrongfully arrested.”
Lynn hopes to have the breathalyzers distributed within the next six months. Hounds Labs is not the only one working on this new technology, though, however, it is the closest to market. Another company, Cannabix Technologies said in a July press release that they are working on a reduced size version of their product.
Other devices like Intelligent Fingerprinting detect traces of sweat from one’s fingertips. Their device is likely to come out next year, according to US News.
“We do have a significant stable of cities and counties that are interested in piloting and thus validating our product for roadside [driving under the influence of drugs] stops,” said Duffy Nabors, vice president of sales and marketing at Smartox, the company that distributes the fingerprint technology.
How does marijuana affect driving?
With all this new technology to test drivers, the next question is how much does marijuana impair drivers? The exact impact of marijuana on driving ability remains a controversial subject. However, while drunk driving is on the decline, driving after consuming marijuana has become more prevalent.
The next question is if there can be a threshold established for marijuana in the same way that alcohol’s threshold is .08. Several studies have been conducted to find out the level of THC that is needed to impair driving ability; however a threshold has yet to be established.
As for driving, marijuana can impair a person’s judgment, motor coordination, the ability to concentrate, and slows down a person’s reaction time. Therefore, using marijuana while driving does pose a significant risk and increases the chance of an accident occurring.
Overall, while more and more states are in the voting stages of marijuana reform, impaired driving remains a serious problem. Driving under the influence of any substance is a major no-no. Do not take this risk. If you are struggling with addiction, do not wait. Call today.
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Currently, marijuana is labeled as a Schedule I drug by the federal government, which means that it is not considered to have any accepted medical benefits. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin and crack cocaine.
As a Schedule I drug, marijuana cannot even be used to test for any possible medical benefits. But, all of that might change soon.
The new U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recently gave an interview with the television program CBS This Morning during which he supported medical marijuana – despite originally opposing legalization during his confirmation hearings. During a senate confirmation hearing last year, Murthy said he opposed marijuana legalization and stated that he didn’t “think it’s a good habit to use marijuana.”
Medical marijuana has found a powerful ally in Mr. Murthy, who stated that the drug can be “helpful” for certain conditions during the interview.
Could Marijuana Be Re-Scheduled Soon?
Although some states are already allowing for medical marijuana and even recreational marijuana, as far as the federal government is concerned, marijuana is still illegal and just as much of a threat to communities as the heroin and crack scourge.
But Murthy, after admitting that there needs to be more data on the subject, urged a need for collecting data “to drive policymaking.” He appeared optimistic about the benefits of medical marijuana based on “preliminary data…for certain medical conditions and symptoms.”
And Murthy is not the only one who feels this way. Previous U.S. Surgeon Generals have also said similar things regarding the marijuana controversy. For instance, Regina Benjamin, who was the U.S. Surgeon General from 2009-2013, said she believed that marijuana could have medicinal benefits. And back in the early ‘90s, then-U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders went even further by claiming that marijuana wasn’t addictive and that she supported legalization.
Medical marijuana seems to be gaining more allies as of late. Even pediatricians’ groups have been supportive of medical marijuana research. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said they were in favor of using cannabis for children who had either severely debilitating or life-limiting conditions. The AAP has also suggested reclassifying marijuana to a Schedule II drug so that research on the medicinal benefits of cannabis could be researched.
Currently, there have not been any studies on the effectiveness of cannabinoids for children with certain medial conditions.
The AAP is firm, though, in saying that it opposes medical marijuana unless it is approved by the FDA. The AAP also acknowledged that marijuana has negative consequences including decreased concentration and impaired short-term memory. Right now, there are only two FDA-approved drugs that contain synthetic cannabinoids.
Marijuana addiction is a real condition for some people. If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder, such as chemical dependence or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today. We are available 24/7 to take your call and to answer your questions. We can give you resources and help you figure out what’s next for you so that you can get back on the path towards your goals and aspirations.
A leading drugs expert says marijuana addicts are being let down because there is too much focus on helping people who are addicted to harder drugs, like heroin and cocaine.
Doctor Adam Winstock, founder of the Global Drug Survey, the world’s biggest drug poll, told Newsbeat that smoking weed can be just as difficult to kick as heroin.
“We haven’t invested enough in helping people who use cannabis use more safely – or stop,” he said.
Dr. Winstock said in the last 20 years services have focused too heavily on treating heroin and crack cocaine addicts “because they’re the people the government sees as causing crime and disruption.”
“I don’t think people with problems with cannabis have easy access to services,” he explained.
Cannabis use is falling across the UK but the number of people getting help with addiction is rising. Drug experts say that this is due to cannabis strains becoming more potent and therefore users are more likely to admit they have a problem with it.
In 2005 the number of 18 to 24-year-olds in England seeking treatment was 3,328. In 2013-14, that number had risen to 4,997, accounting for nearly half of all new treatment cases.
Marijuana Anonymous – It Does Exist
Newsbeat gained exclusive access to Marijuana Anonymous (MA), a group which helps cannabis addicts.
“John,” a 25-year-old, explained how his marijuana use took over his life.
“I would sit willing myself not to smoke even as I rolled a joint. My brain said no but my hands kept rolling and smoking. The drug wasn’t making me happy, the weed was the cause and I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t stop. I have a hole inside me that I tried to fill. Weed fit the hole.”
Of attending the anonymous support group, John says, “It was the perfect match, it filled all the gaps and that’s why I went back to it. Now I fill that with MA.”
“Lee, a 23-year-old marijuana addict, also sought help from MA after his life was a blur of “joint after joint.”
“Cannabis was my drug of no choice,” he said.
“I found myself smoking even though I didn’t want to be doing it. Physically it drained me, it made me very unhealthy. I was a broken man. I wasn’t eating and I was just over five-and-a-half stone. Eating got in the way of my smoking. And I would go a week without having a bath or shower. I would smoke before work, during work, after work, I would lie to people just so I could be on my own smoking.”
Do Rehabs Overlook Marijuana Addiction by Focusing on ‘Hard’ Drugs?
A Case for Marijuana Addiction
Dr. Winstock says that 50% to 60% of users who are dependent on marijuana experience serious withdrawal symptoms when they stop using.
“Some people become violent, some young people can’t sleep and get very irritable.”
It’s a wide-held conception that weed is a “soft” drug and therefore can’t cause its users to become addicted. But Dr. Winstock says that argument misses the point.
“I think people get confused with physical withdrawal symptoms and equating those to being addicted. Addiction for me is a loss of control and when you stop you feel uncomfortable. [It] could be you feel miserable, you can’t sleep, you lose your appetite or it can be very physical as it is with heroin or alcohol.”
He said the younger someone starts using weed, the more likely they are to have a problem with it in the future.
“About 10% of people who use cannabis are dependent and two-thirds of those people, when they stop, will experience withdrawal symptoms. They last seven to 10 days for most people. You are more likely to run into those problems if you start using early.”
If you think you’re struggling with marijuana addiction, there is help available. Marijuana, whether it’s considered a soft drug or even legal where you live, is still a psychoactive substance that can cause people to become both physically and psychologically dependent. Call us toll-free at 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist who can answer your questions, day or night.
Author: Justin Mckibben
Publicly most people will tell you that there is a huge difference with the severity of your addiction and the drugs you are using, and some would even insist that certain drugs are not at all addictive. Most marijuana enthusiasts stick it out and claim that weed is not addictive, but experts are very persistent in stating there is absolutely an addictive element to marijuana. While previous research has revealed the addictive nature of marijuana, one new British study claims the drug marijuana’s grip can actually be just as potent as heroin!
Those who have dealt with the disease of addiction long enough to understand the nature of addiction can honestly say that the particular substance does not matter, as long as it can be abused and destructive to the life of an addict, it is not to be trifled with. That being said, those same people may still carry reservations about how seriously they consider marijuana to be as an addiction because it has become more socially acceptable, but this new study intends to question all of that reasoning.
The Study Suggests
According to a 20-year study conducted by an adviser to the World Health Organization by the name Professor Wayne Hall, who is also a leading expert at King’s College in London, marijuana is massively addictive, not to mention it is harmful to mental and physical health! That is a bomb to drop many may not want to take serious, but Professor Hall suggests his study is very conclusive.
Professor Hall established that 15% of teenagers and 10% of adults who regularly smoke marijuana are dependent on the substance and have extreme difficulty quitting. He stated,
“If cannabis is not addictive, then neither is heroin or alcohol. It is often harder to get people who are dependent on cannabis through withdrawal than for heroin. We just don’t know how to do it.”
I’m not too sure the methods of weed withdrawal treatment they were measuring during this study. The paper also noted the health dangers of long-term use of marijuana, which apparently include:
- Heart attacks
This seems strange, since medical marijuana is currently being approved in several states to TREAT cancer, not cause it. Hall also claims in the study cannabis use doubles the risk of psychosis and schizophrenia, and those trying to wean off the substance can experience withdrawal symptoms that include:
- Loss of appetite
Coming to Conclusions
Professor Hall insisted in accordance with his data,
“There is no doubt that heavy [marijuana] users experience a withdrawal syndrome as with alcohol and heroin.”
Although some chronic marijuana users (go ahead and giggle) are able to successfully quit, more than half of those who do return to the drug within six months. Hall found that the rates on record of recovery from cannabis dependence among those seeking treatment are similar to those for alcohol. So this is one of the reasons that Hall suggests that the addiction to marijuana is similar to Heroin, because the success rates of recovery match so closely.
In light of the new study, Mark Winstanley of the Rethink Mental Illness charity confronted the government, insisting that there be more action taken to properly and effectively educate the public on the dangers of marijuana use, especially in relation to habitual users, and long-term risks associated with marijuana dependence. Winstanley said,
“The common view that smoking cannabis is nothing to get worked up about needs to be challenged more effectively. Instead of classifying and reclassifying, government time and money would be much better spent on educating young people about how smoking cannabis is essentially playing a very real game of Russian Roulette with your mental health.”
Now given the nature of the ‘cannabis climate’ and how there has been continuous reform and avocation for medical and recreational marijuana to be used as a positive, this study is not being met with much wide-spread support or approval. While there is not yet enough information to support all these claims, there is still some truth to the health effects of chronic marijuana use. Many would say that Hall’s study has been taken by media outlets and closely compared to Reefer Madness-style hysteria and fear mongering. Either way the substance is not the issue for the addict, it will always be part of the bigger problem. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
By Cheryl Steinberg
If you are habitually using marijuana – that is on a daily basis – and feel like you can’t face the day without it, you might be asking yourself: “Should I go to rehab for marijuana?”
And that’s a very valid question. More and more people are seeking help in the form of drug treatment such as inpatient rehab for their constant marijuana use. Even though weed isn’t considered to be a “hard” drug, like cocaine and heroin, it’s still proving to be a problem for many.
Drug Dependence and Drug Addiction Defined
Being drug dependent, no matter what the drug is – it can be sleeping pills, painkillers, cocaine, or even OTCs – means that you experience uncomfortable, unwanted physical and psychological symptoms when you stop using the drug. The physical symptoms – depending on the drug of abuse – might include physical discomfort, even pain, achiness, nausea, headache, and restlessness. Psychological symptoms of drug cessation include irritability, anxiety, and depression. If you experience anything like this when you try to stop smoking weed, then you might want to consider rehab for marijuana.
Similarly, drug addiction involves two parts: a mental obsession and a physical compulsion to use. People with a drug addiction experience this with a variety of substances, again even OTCs and even marijuana. If you find that your thoughts are mostly consumed about the getting and using of pot and then feel compelled to get and use it, then you might be experiencing marijuana addiction. Rehab for marijuana is available to treat this condition.
Rehab for Marijuana: What to Expect
Inpatient rehab for marijuana dependence or marijuana addiction involves a couple phases of treatment.
Rehab for Marijuana: Detox
Depending on your condition – how long you’ve been smoking weed and your particular symptoms – you may be medically detoxed. That is, especially if you are experiencing a lot of anxiety and depression, you could be administered medications that will ease these symptoms. You will be under the care of both a medical doctor as well as a psychiatrist. If you have a dual diagnosis, such as preexisting anxiety and/or depression, as many people who self-medicate with marijuana, then you will be treated for that, as well.
Rehab for Marijuana: Inpatient
The rest of the time you spend in rehab for marijuana – about 28 days in all – will be time well spent learning from peers and your therapist about your condition as well as healthy coping methods so that you can continue on with your life, outside of treatment, without the crippling need to use pot.
There will be group meetings, simply called ‘groups,’ that will either be led by a facilitator and have an educational approach, while other groups will be a time to talk things out with your peers and get feedback, facilitated by a licensed therapist. You will also have one-on-one sessions with your therapist in order to address your specific concerns and needs as well as what you plan to get out of treatment. You and your therapist will also develop a treatment plan for after rehab, called an aftercare plan.
Rehab for Marijuana: Aftercare
Aftercare refers to any ongoing treatment that you take advantage of after you complete your inpatient program. This might include attending an intensive outpatient program (IOP) that offers some structure but with a lot more freedom – sort of as a stepping stone to returning to your daily life after treatment. At the IOP, you will attend groups, like in rehab, as well as have an individually-assigned therapist. This program is a great way to continue to get support while attending to your other responsibilities, such as family and work.
If you are struggling with your marijuana use and/or facing any legal charges related to your marijuana use, going to rehab for marijuana is a helpful and effective opportunity for recovery and for getting your life back on track. Call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist who can answer your questions day or night.