USA: Pregnant & Nursing Mothers – Should Avoid Cannabis!

August 30, 2018
CONTACT: Colton Grace

American Academy of Pediatrics Urges Pregnant and Nursing Mothers to Avoid Marijuana Use
(Alexandria, VA) –  In response to growing evidence that more pregnant and breastfeeding women are using marijuana and concerns about the potential risks to developing fetuses and infants,, the American Academy of Pediatrics (A.A.P.) released a recommendation this week that women avoid the drug altogether when they are pregnant or breast-feeding. 

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) president, Dr. Kevin Sabet, released the following statement:

“We applaud the American Academy of Pediatrics’ decision to shed light on the dangerous implications of marijuana use during pregnancy. This sends a clear message to the Big Marijuana industry that the scientific community and others will not fall for the blatant falsehoods and misinformation used to suggest that marijuana is safe.

“Based on the research, we know that marijuana use in utero can lead to a whole host of issues ranging from low birth weight to developmental problems. Even worse, marijuana use during pregnancy has been linked to a rare, fatal developmental disorder known as anencephaly.

“Marijuana can have incredibly deleterious effects on young minds and it is absolutely shameful, though not surprising, that the industry would push its wares and pseudo-science on young mothers.

“It was recently reported that nearly 70% of dispensaries in Colorado were recommending high potency THC products to expectant mothers to “treat” symptoms of morning sickness. This is especially concerning given these dispensaries are not staffed with medical staff and are not able to give accurate medical advice.

“As research grows and the painful lessons are being learned from states that have legalized marijuana, more and more are moving to reject pot. Lawmakers in Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire have said no to legalization and commercialization bills so far this year.”

A recent study published by the journal Pediatrics found that THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana, was detectable in 63 percent of samples of breastmilk collected from women who claimed to have used the drug prior to pumping.


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Australia: ‘Winking a Weed’ not ethical, wise or helpful in prisons!

Prison guards warned not to turn blind eye to pot-smoking inmates

August 2018

Prison guards who turn a blind eye to “low-level” recreational drug use among inmates such as smoking marijuana can expect “significant consequences”, the Queensland Corrective Services Commissioner has warned.

In evidence to the Crime and Corruption Commission’s Flaxton inquiry, Dr Peter Martin said while he supported the “sensible, pragmatic application” of local decision-making by prison managers, it did not extend to turning a blind eye to unlawful behaviour.

“I have responsibilities to government and under the Corrective Services Act, as a … commissioner, I need to act always (sic) consistent with law,” Dr Martin said.

Dr Martin told the inquiry that unlike academics who could put forward suggestions on how best to manage prisons, he was responsible for justifying his actions.

“Turning a blind eye to unlawful behaviour, having regard to the fact that in my position … representing government when the law reflects the will and perspective of government, is a non-negotiable hard limit that knocks up against not only what I can do, but also my personal hard values, ” he said.

“And I’m unflinching, completely unequivocal on that point, notwithstanding the fact that the sensible pragmatic application of a local policy for very good and valid reasons is a very different issue… I have the responsibility, I have to act in accordance with the law and I take my responsibilities very seriously.”

The Commissioner said an example of good, discretionary decision-making by prison staff would be keeping a TV on beyond the normal finish time to let inmates watch a sports match that had gone into extra time… “But that does not extend to turning a blind eye to corrupt, unethical behaviour. I absolutely draw a very, very hard line … and there would be very significant consequences for those who chose to take a different approach.”



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USA: Legalizing Weed Wont Increase Use, said no sober person ever!

Legalize will not see an increase in cannabis uptake!  So the pre-legalization mantras went – despite axiomatic principles that accessibility, availability and accessibility ALL increase consumption. And, look who the largest demographic of toxin takers are? The most vulnerable to harm – the young!

One in seven U.S. adults used marijuana in 2017

(Reuters Health) – With more and more states legalizing marijuana, whether for medical use, recreational use, or both, increasing numbers of Americans are using cannabis. A new survey finds that one in seven had used marijuana in 2017, with smoking being the most common manner of consumption, according to a report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

People were more likely to vape or to consume marijuana as an edible in states where recreational use has been legalized, researchers found in the nationally representative survey of 16,280 U.S. adults.

Overall, 14.6 percent said they had used cannabis in the past year, while 8.7 percent said they had used the drug in the past 30 days. A greater proportion of people, 20 percent, reported using marijuana in the past year if they lived in a state where recreational use was legal, as compared to just 12 percent in states where it was completely illegal. In states where medical marijuana was legal, 14 percent of those surveyed said they had used in the past year.

While 12.9 percent reported smoking marijuana, 6 percent said they had consumed edibles, 4.7 percent reported vaping, 1.9 percent said they had used concentrates and 0.8 percent reported using topical versions of cannabis.

“There are increasingly novel forms of marijuana available and the risks of these products to health are unknown,” said study coauthor Dr. Salomeh Keyhani of the University of California, San Francisco. “THC (the psychoactive component) is very high in some forms of marijuana, the concentrates, for example. We don’t understand the impact of products with high THC.”

Keyhani is concerned about the rapidly changing landscape. “It seems like the current regulatory structure is not keeping pace with commercialization,” she said. “There is commercialization without uniform standards on the types of products that can be sold or marketed to the public.”

Cannabis use was inversely related to age. Younger people were more likely than older ones to use, with those between 18 and 34 reporting the highest use.

Smoking was the most common form of cannabis use, at 55 percent.

For more


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Global: Mother Marijuana Milk May Mess with Bubs!

Marijuana found in breast milk up to six days after use

Researchers report 63 percent of breast milk samples from mothers using marijuana contained traces of the drug


With the legalization of marijuana in several states, increased use for both medicinal and recreational purposes has been documented in pregnant and breastfeeding women. Although national organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that breastfeeding mothers do not use marijuana, there has been a lack of specific data to support health or neurodevelopmental concerns in infants as a result of exposure to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or other components of marijuana via breast milk.

Cannabinoids — marijuana’s active compounds, such as THC — like to bind to fat molecules, which are abundant in breast milk. This stickiness has suggested that, in women who use marijuana, these compounds can end up in breast milk, raising concerns about their potential effects on nursing babies.

“We found that the amount of THC that the infant could potentially ingest from breast milk was relatively low, but we still don’t know enough about the drug to say whether or not there is a concern for the infant at any dose, or if there is a safe dosing level,” said Chambers, co-director of the Center for Better Beginnings at UC San Diego. “The ingredients in marijuana products that are available today are thought to be much more potent than products available 20 or 30 years ago.”

For complete story–mfi082318.php



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Recovery Month: On the Road to Recovery

On the Road to Recovery: Ben Cort


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USA: Opioid Addiction Needs Serious Recovery Focus

Opioid addiction isn’t going away and it will continue to grow for several years

The etiology of the current opioid epidemic can be traced to a series of events which began around 2000. The perfect storm. First, pain pills became stronger, impacting the neurobiology of the brain significantly. Second, the pressure was placed on physicians to treat pain as one would treat an abnormal vital sign (rating of pain became a common question).

Third, pain clinics opened to better treat pain but just made patients more addicted to the opioids being prescribed. By 2013-2014 in Tennessee, where I see patients, there were 333 pain clinics and more than 8.5 million prescriptions written for pills such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and oxymorphone.

The United States was the leading user of oxycodone, and this placed Tennessee as one of the prominent users of oxycodone in the world. Against this backdrop of pill availability, was an unawareness by many providers that opioids could be as addictive as they are.

One of the most significant problems that currently exists is a lack of access to care. Opioid addiction is a chronic condition that does not respond to short-term treatment. It requires long-term, recovery-oriented services. The occurrence of withdrawal from opioids, as well as the triggers to use opioids, are so severe that relapse is typical in an individual who tries to maintain abstinence.

It is for this reason that medication is used as a maintenance treatment to prevent withdrawal, keep engagement and allow the individual to participate in behavioral therapies to build on strengths and address needs. This life course perspective changes the treatment concept from a short stay and discharges to a more integrated long-term recovery.

It is this need for long-term recovery management that makes opioid addiction comparable to other chronic primary health disorders. Recovery over a lifetime must be maintained, and to do so requires a high standard of quality of care and engagement in behavioral counseling and medication-assisted treatment (MAT). To accomplish this requires more access to care that is committed to sustained recovery.

For complete story


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USA: Online Giants – Purging Pot?

Cannabis cleanse? Why big tech is giving pot businesses the boot

YouTube and others are erasing the accounts of marijuana brands, limiting their ability to advertise themselves

Neither Google nor Facebook, the two most important internet companies, accepts marijuana advertising and both have been known to erase cannabis-related accounts without warning. Both companies say they want to allow discussions around the drug but not facilitate commerce. While attitudes about cannabis have been changing, it remains illegal almost everywhere they reach.

That approach has created problems for the marijuana companies trying to get their brand out.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, is the dominant platform in the cannabis world. It’s where aficionados go to discover the latest pipes, the dankest crops and endless memes of cartoon characters getting high. For those in the know, Instagram can also be a place to search for unsanctioned cannabis markets.

Facebook and the cannabis industry have more or less reached a detente where companies can post but not advertise. But there are exceptions, and enforcement can be spotty or arbitrary. A Facebook spokesperson said the company has been cracking down on opiate sales, which has probably resulted in a “shadow ban” that can make cannabis-related pages harder to find through Facebook searches, including those from mainstream media sources and government agencies.

The lack of receptiveness from Facebook and Google is a serious concern for pot companies, which are limited in their access to traditional advertising through print media, radio, television and billboards.

For complete article


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GLOBAL: S.A.M. News Update

News Roundup

August 2018
We hope you had an amazing Labor Day weekend!
Thank you all for the great work you are doing to defend public health and safety. Here is a brief rundown of what we have been up to over the last month.

New Report: Colorado Tests Thousands of Drivers for Pot, Two-Thirds are Positive Phillip Morris Execs Admit They Are “Looking Into” Expanding Into the Marijuana Industry
In one of the most concerning developments to date, a published report by the state of Colorado found that in 2016,  73% of some 4,000 drivers charged with driving under the influence tested positive for marijuana. The report, by the Division of Criminal Justice, also revealed that half of the drivers who tested positive were over the legal limit of THC in their blood. And  53 percent admit they smoked marijuana within two hours of getting behind the wheel .
“I have read thousands of research reports over the last 25 years – and this one is one of the most alarming.To make matters worse, marijuana impairment is most likely underrepresented in data due to the fact that it is so hard to gauge. Other states considering legalization must pump the breaks and take note of such damning reports.”
During an interview with Barclays Investments on September 5, 2018, tobacco industry executives from Altria (the parent company of tobacco giant Philip Morris) indicated their interest in taking advantage of marijuana as a new product line:
Q: ” Were it (marijuana) legalized, is there any reason to believe that you would have a competitive advantage in the cannabis business, say, relative to a booze company?”

Murray Garnick (Altria):
“Well, it’s a hypothetical and actually we’re exploring our options. There’s nothing more… I can’t really go beyond that. We’re exploring our options. We’re studying and evaluating market opportunities. And obviously, that question is one of the questions we’re looking at.”


September is  National Recovery Month. We at SAM celebrate this month with the whole country. It is a time to remind everyone that marijuana use disorder is real, and recovery happens.
In order to help you join in the discussion of the importance of recovery from drug addiction, SAM has put together a toolkit full of helpful links to studies highlighting marijuana addiction, inspirational stories and blog posts discussing recovery from addiction, examples of letters to the editors and opinion pieces, one-pages on drugged driving and the link between marijuana use and opioids, and even sample tweets and facebook posts.
For some inspiration, click here to view “On the Road to Recovery” by Ben Cort or here to view #MyTruth by Justin Luke Riley.
Click here to check out the comprehensive toolkit packed with material to keep you informed and active in the discussion all month long.  Please use this information to promote the message that marijuana use is on the rise, and recovery is possible with the right tools.

SAM Founder Sits Down With CBC in Canada

” When most people talk about Canada’s impending legalization of marijuana, they talk about the future. When Kevin Sabet talks about it, he worries about history repeating.
“There are huge misconceptions, I often feel like we’re living in 1918, not 2018,” he said.”When I say 1918, I mean 1918 for tobacco when everyone thought that smoking cigarettes was no problem and we had a new industry that was just starting.”
“We hadn’t had tobacco related deaths before the 20th century because we hadn’t had a lot of cigarettes, which actually gave us the most deadly form of tobacco we’ve ever seen. I feel like we’re like that with marijuana.”
To read the full story and watch the interview, please click here.

Op-ed in Washington Examiner: Beware of Increasingly Common Drugged Driving on Labor Day
A new report on marijuana production, distribution and consumption in Oregon is finding major problems since the legalization of the drug. The Idaho/Oregon High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) report finds there is so much pot in circulation, it’s being shipped to more than half the states in the nation. The study also discovered many illicit growth sites are in impoverished counties that could one day see their economy collapse due to falling pot prices.
“The effects of commercialization on Oregon are painfully clear: more use, more advertising, and more Big Tobacco playbook tactics. There is no potency limit on pot in Oregon, and Big Marijuana is already producing multiple times the demand for pot, which is fueling a massive black market. It’s time we held the industry accountable for its actions.”
SAM president and founder, Dr. Kevin Sabet recently penned an oped in the
Washington Examiner warning Americans to be alert and aware to the dangers of drugged driving over the Labor Day weekend.
Large increases in DUI cases often coincide with holiday weekends, and drugged driving is becoming more and more common — particularly in states that have legalized marijuana.
“In Colorado, the first state to legalize marijuana, the number of drivers under the influence of pot involved in fatal crashes increased 88 percent since legalization. Also, collision claims in Colorado are 14 percent higher than in nearby states that have not legalized pot.”

American Academy of Pediatrics Urges Pregnant and Nursing Mothers to Avoid Marijuana Use
I n response to growing evidence that more pregnant and breastfeeding women are using marijuana and concerns about the potential risks to developing fetuses and infants, the American Academy of Pediatrics (A.A.P.) released a
recommendation recently that women avoid the drug altogether when they are pregnant or breast-feeding.
“We applaud the American Academy of Pediatrics’ decision to shed light on the dangerous implications of marijuana use during pregnancy. This sends a clear message to the Big Marijuana industry that the scientific community and others will not fall for the blatant falsehoods and misinformation used to suggest that marijuana is safe.
“As research grows and the painful lessons are being learned from states that have legalized marijuana, more and more are moving to reject pot. Lawmakers in Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire have said no to legalization and commercialization bills so far this year…”

Oped in CalMatters: One Last Drink for the Road?
SAM’s Will Jones Debates Author of Bill to Legalize Marijuana in Illinois
“One last drink for the road,” once a widely-used phrase, is thankfully out of vogue now, as we have learned the painful lessons of drinking and driving.
And though science has shown that another intoxicant – marijuana – should be added to the list of no-nos while driving, not everyone has gotten the message.  State Controller Betty Yee and her husband were unfortunate victims of California’s lax attitude toward pot.
They were rear-ended on July 13 by a driver who allegedly was high on marijuana. Although everyone survived, this incident brings into focus the facts of marijuana-impaired driving.
A recent study out of Washington state found that almost 17 percent of marijuana users admit to using the substance every day. More than half of daily users aged 15 to 20 believe marijuana made them better drivers. Science says otherwise
At an event in Chicago, SAM’s Outreach Associate Will Jones debated Illinois State Senator Heather Steans on the merits of marijuana legalization. Senator Steans is the author of the bill to legalize the drug in the state.
Will raised serious concerns over the impact legalization would have on communities of color:
“The closest store to my house is a liquor store. The next closest stores are convenience stores so plastered over with signs for cigarettes and beer that you can’t see inside,” Jones said.
“Maybe you heard we should regulate marijuana like liquor. And perhaps if you live in another neighborhood that’s not mine, that might sound like a good idea.”

New Study on Marijuana Use by Children Uses Data From Before Legalization

The Healthy Kids California Survey purported to find that teen use of marijuana in California was down in recent years. Pro-marijuana talking heads were quick to pronounce that this supported their claims that legalization does not lead to increased youth use of the drug.
“The reality is the majority of the data presented in this study were collected at a time when recreational marijuana use was not legal, let alone retail sales (which did not begin in limited locations until the first of this year).
“The report itself states: ‘Data on important correlates of [substance] use, perceived harm, availability, and personal, peer, and parental disapproval of use, were mixed.’ This means the raw data doesn’t back up the spin from the pot industry.”

Contemporary Health Issues on Marijuana :
New Book Co-Edited by Dr. Kevin Sabet Available Now

Hot off the presses of Oxford University, Contemporary Health Issues on Marijuana  is now available for purchase.
This new book, co-edited by Drs. Kevin A. Sabet and Ken C. Winters, comprises chapters by other experts hailing from a wide range of fields including psychology, epidemiology, medicine, and criminal justice. It is a balanced, data-driven volume highlighting new theory and clinical evidence pertaining to marijuana.
The volume features a comprehensive review of research into marijuana’s impact on public health, including how it affects cognitive and neurological functioning, its medical effects, suggested treatment approaches for marijuana use disorders, marijuana smoking and lung function, and marijuana-impaired driving.
Supplies are limited, so place your order today!


Big Marijuana is borrowing the playbook of Big Tobacco in search of the same deep profits at the expense of addicted users. It is time to combat their game with the facts! To help you do so, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) has partnered with Communities for Alcohol and Drug Free Youth (CADY) to offer a comprehensive media campaign prevention toolkit.

As always, thank you for being a SAM supporter. If you can, please chip-in with a small donation by clicking here.

If you can’t chip-in, then at the very least,  and help grow the SAM community.

In Health,

Colton Grace

Communications Associate

Smart Approaches to Marijuana

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Canada: Great to go after one drug, but actively promote another, hmm?

B.C. files lawsuit against opioid makers and distributors for deceptive marketing



OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. The B.C. government has announced a lawsuit against Purdue and dozens of other companies for their role in fuelling Canada’s opioid epidemic.


British Columbia is suing Purdue Pharma and dozens of other opioid manufacturers for what the government alleges was “corporate corruption and negligence” that fuelled the overdose crisis, killing thousands of Canadians.

The lawsuit, first reported by The Globe and Mail, is the first case against opioid manufacturers filed by a government in Canada. Attorney-General David Eby said he would be asking other provinces to join.

The lawsuit targets 40 manufactures and distributors, including Purdue, whose OxyContin pain pill has been implicated in triggering Canada’s opioid epidemic. The list of defendants includes brand-name and generic manufacturers and alleges they deceptively marketed opioids as both being less addictive than actually known and for conditions they were not effective in treating.

“While much attention has been focused on the effects of street drugs contaminated by illicit fentanyl and carfentanil, there is another side of this crisis,” Mr. Eby said Wednesday outside the Supreme Court of British Columbia. “We allege that Purdue was not alone in their illegal actions to drive profits.”

The allegations have not been proven in court and the companies have not yet filed statements of defence.

For complete article


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Global: Cannabis Use Disorder – tougher to shift than you think!


  1. Full remission from cannabis-related problems is possible and probable (67-90% rates in short-term and lifetime rates).
  2. CUD remission rates are similar for men and women, but women experience a more rapid onset and stabilization of remission than men.
  3. Remission takes time—an average of 32.5 months from CUD onset to one year of remission.
  4. CUD remission styles vary, with some people with CUDs achieving remission through deceleration of the frequency and intensity of cannabis use rather than through total abstinence.
  5. Abstinence styles of CUD remission are more likely to produce greater enhancements in global functioning than non-abstinent remission patterns.
  6. CUD remission can be fragile during its early stages but strengthens over time, suggesting the need for assertive and continuous management, particularly during the first months and years of remission

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