Marijuana IQ Study Successfully Defended by Scientists

CADCA Jan 24, 2013

A highly-publicized study finding that marijuana use is linked to a severe drop in IQ has been successfully defended by the scientific community overseas and in the United States, including the National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Dr. Nora Volkow.

The original study, published last August in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Dr. Madeline Meier of Duke University, and colleagues, was the strongest evidence yet that teen use of cannabis could cause a drop in IQ. Opponents of the study claimed that socio-economic factors are to blame.

Around 1000 people all born in the same year in the New Zealand city of Dunedin were interviewed at ages 18, 21, 26, 32 and 38 about their marijuana use. The participants were also tested for their cognitive abilities at age 13 before starting to use cannabis, and at age 38. The study found persistent cannabis use during teenage years was associated with a drop in IQ of seven or eight points by the age of 38.

A new paper contesting the interpretation of the large-scale marijuana study was published in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Norwegian Dr. Ole Rogeberg of the Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research in criticizes Meier for failing to control their study for socio-economic status: Poorer kids were getting an initial boost in IQ when they first went to school but that this declined once they left school.

“Indeed, when discussing traits like IQ, it would be surprising for one factor to be 100 percent causal. The strengths of the Meier et al study are that it is longitudinal in nature and that it controlled for a number of factors including years of education, schizophrenia, and other substance abuse. That said, observational studies in humans cannot account for all potentially confounding variables. In contrast, animal studies—though limited in their application to the complex human brain—can more definitively assess the relationship between drug exposure and various outcomes. They have shown that exposure to cannabinoids during adolescent development can cause long-lasting changes in the brain’s reward system as well as the hippocampus, a brain area critical for learning and memory,” Dr. Volkow wrote on NIDA’s website.

“The message inherent in these and in multiple supporting studies is clear. Regular marijuana use in adolescence is known to be part of a cluster of behaviours that can produce enduring detrimental effects and alter the trajectory of a young person’s life—thwarting his or her potential. Beyond potentially lowering IQ, teen marijuana use is linked to school dropout, other drug use, mental health problems, etc. Given the current number of regular marijuana users (about 1 in 15 high school seniors) and the possibility of this number increasing with marijuana legalization, we cannot afford to divert our focus from the central point: regular marijuana use stands to jeopardize a young person’s chances of success—in school and in life,” she concluded.


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Fast Facts on Injecting Rooms:

“Fast Facts on Injecting Rooms:
1. there has a been a dramatic decrease in drug deaths from before the opening of the injecting room due to the ‘heroin drought’ from John Howard’s crackdown on the drug industry and enforcement of laws stopping drug dealing that went on unhindered.
2.In Sydney there would be some 40,000 injections/day (20,000 heroin addicts injecting twice): only 160 injections/day in the injecting room (their figures); 60% are morphine (0.06 of 1% heroin injection in Sydney).
3. At least 99.6% of all addicts still inject where and when they can and not in the injecting room.The injecting room makes a mockery of drug laws and is a part of the campaign to decriminalise or legalise drug use. Check the facts and not support this propaganda.”

Dr Ross Colquhoun, D H Sc, M App Sc (Neuroscience), B Sc Hons (Psych), Grad Dip Counselling and Psychotherapy, Clinical Director, Addiction Treatment and Psychology Services

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Quick Response to Drug User is key to change…

“The key in Rapid Referral was offering sticks and carrots and compressing everything to provide a compact experience and rapid response,” explained Ramniceanu. “If the judge got the defendant to agree to treatment, they were given a map with little footprints leading them right to our door.” At both Spectrum and Howard, 95 % of defendants showed up.Rapid Referral doesn’t involve bureaucracy or additional costs… Spectrum employs a well-tested protocol called MET/CBT5 (Motivational Enhancement Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). The treatment is concentrated; many youths respond to six weekly sessions; others need 12 or more. For homework, they’re asked to write about their substance use. They have to undergo weekly urinalysis and continue counselling until they “sample sobriety.”This June, researchers from the Vermont Centre for Justice Research published an evaluation of Rapid Referral. Of 171 participants who went through Spectrum’s program since early 2009, the recidivism rate was just 18.7 %. For a follow-up evaluation published this October, researchers generated a test control group of 394 people (selected from 14,000 whose criminal records closely matched those of program participants). They found that the recidivism rate among the control group was 84.3 %. Many people were amazed. For more info read ‘Rapid Referral a better way.’

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The President And The Drug Czar Should Be More Active.

The President And The Drug Czar Should Be More Active.
The Drug Epidemic Is What Is Killing America. Plus Have You Noticed That All The Recent Mass Crimes Committed Were By Marijuana Addicts ?
Two In Colorado (Colombine And The Theater) ,Tucson Arizona A Pot Head Shot Congresswoman And Killed Other 6, The Student At Virginia Tech Was Also A Pot Head, And I Dont Doubt They Will Find The Connecticut Killer Is Also A Marijuana Addict  Jose Carranza , M.D

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High risks: cannabis and psychosis

Both the Mental Health Review Tribunal in NSW and the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre have said publicly that if cannabis was removed from the chemistry of young brains, the incidence of schizophrenia in this country would be dramatically reduced. Adolescents who start to use cannabis at any time are considered particularly vulnerable because the human brain does not complete its development until the early to mid 20s


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P scene pressured through Government plan

Mike Sabin, MP for Northland has welcomed news that Government measures continue to put pressure on the P trade, with very encouraging trends showing through in the latest Methamphetamine Indicators and Progress Report.

“Since the implementation of the Government plan to tackle P in 2009 there has been a far more comprehensive and sustained crackdown on methamphetamine (‘P’), which is continuing to stifle the spread of the drug among New Zealanders,” Mr Sabin says.

“When this plan was launched, this country had one of the highest prevalence of P use in the world, something I had been working to address from a policy and education standpoint, both here and internationally,” says Mr Sabin, former Police detective and specialist in the area of methamphetamine and founder of a drug education and policy company dealing with this area.

“In 2009 Prime Minister John Key took a leadership role and, through this plan, mobilised government to confront the P problem using the full force of their arsenal, carefully implementing a number of approaches which I had certainly seen effective results with in other countries.

“Three years on, it is pleasing and very heartening to see the P trade has been persistently squeezed as new measures to combat the drug – as well as improved rehabilitation and support services – have been brought to bear.

Since the Tackling Methamphetamine Action Plan was launched in October 2009, the data from the latest Indicators and Progress Report shows:

  • The prevalence of P has more than halved, from 2.2 per cent of New Zealanders using the drug in 2007/08 to just 0.9 per cent in 2011/12
  • The price of P has remained high, at around $100 per ‘point’
  • Over 500 people have been through the 60 additional dedicated residential treatment beds for methamphetamine users since November 2009
  • Participation in prison-based drug treatment programmes has almost doubled, from 499 prisoners in 2009/10 to 907 in 2011/12, and over that period of time the proportion of prisoners completing the courses has risen from 58 per cent to 82 per cent
  • P users are better at seeking help – since August 2010, the MethHelp website has been visited over 25,000 times, and over 10,000 copies of the MethHelp booklets have been ordered.

Mr Sabin says the action plan’s emphasis on greater awareness of the drug, in addition to better support and easier access to treatment, is showing encouraging signs and brings far better balance to preventing use, healing users and reducing supply.

“There has been a steady demand for information and support as people become aware of the damage P can do, something I strongly support in terms of providing a greater platform for deterrence and prevention. The latest prevalence figures show that awareness is bearing out, as fewer people are trying the drug.

“There are of course still areas of concern for law enforcement agencies, and the need for on-going vigilance is paramount,” says Mr Sabin.

“The report shows the price of P is remaining steady, which is good news, as lowering prices generally indicates higher prevalence and use. However, there is significant regional variation as the market and supply is disrupted and softening prices in parts of the upper North Island are of concern.

“New Zealand is being increasingly targeted by offshore criminal groups involved in P, but the targeted efforts of the New Zealand Police and Customs, and cooperation with their counterparts in China and other Asian countries, have significantly improved the results in combating the methamphetamine trade.

“The changes in the methamphetamine scene in New Zealand and results achieved since 2009 are impressive and something I know is being noticed by other countries struggling with this insidious drug.

“It is an on-going challenge in this country and something  requiring vigilance from us all as we move forward. However, 15 years on from its genesis, the P problem is being significantly impacted through the leadership of this Government since the introduction of the 2009 plan, something I’m proud to be involved in,” Mr Sabin says.

Reporting on the key indicators of the Tackling Methamphetamine Action Plan will continue on a six-monthly basis.

The latest report can be found at:


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INCB President voices concern about the outcome of recent referenda about non-medical use of cannabis in the United States in a number of states

VIENNA, 15 November (UN Information Service)  – The President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Raymond Yans, has voiced  grave concern about the outcome of recent referenda in the United States of America that would allow the non-medical use of cannabis by adults in the states of Colorado and Washington, and in some cities in the states of Michigan and Vermont.  Mr. Yans stated that “these developments are in violation of the international drug control treaties, and pose a great threat to public health and the well-being of society far beyond those states”.   Noting that studies have shown that the abuse of cannabis can cause cognitive problems as well as contribute to mental disorders, the INCB President said: “Legalization of cannabis within these states would send wrong and confusing signals to youth and society in general, giving the false impression that drug abuse might be considered normal and even, most disturbingly, safe. Such a development could result in the expansion of drug abuse, especially among young people, and we must remember that all young people have a right to be protected from drug abuse and drug dependency.”   The limiting of the use of cannabis to medical and scientific purposes is laid out in the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which was agreed to by 185 States, who by  consensus decided to place cannabis under control and limit its use to  medical purposes.  “Since the adoption of this Convention, very potent new forms of cannabis have appeared on the illicit market, and technological advances have been used to increase the content of  the most ‘active ingredient’, so to speak, in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).  The cannabis on the illicit market today is much more dangerous than that seen in the 60s and 70s,” stressed the President of INCB, which is the quasijudicial body charged with monitoring the implementation of the international drug control conventions by Governments.  He went on to further state that for the international drug control system to function effectively, to achieve its aim of ensuring availability of drugs for medical purposes while preventing their abuse, the conventions must be universally adhered to and implemented by all States.  In this regard, Mr. Yans stressed that national laws, policies and practices in drug abuse prevention and control should be fully aligned with the conventions.  He further emphasized that States Parties have an obligation under the Conventions to ensure their full compliance with the conventions within their entire territory, including federated states and/or provinces. Mr. Yans recognized the commitment of the Government of the United States to resolve the contradiction between the federal and state levels in the implementation of that country’s obligations under the drug control conventions.  The INCB President requested the Government of the United States to take the necessary measures to ensure full compliance with the international drug control treaties within the entire territory of the United States, in order to protect the health and well-being of its citizens.

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Dear Stakeholder

Dear Stakeholder:

Thank you for your recent email.  The passage of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington remains under legal review by the Department of Justice.  However, our Federal laws prohibiting the use, production, and trafficking of marijuana remain unchanged.  To be clear:  the Obama Administration opposes the legalization of drugs because it runs counter to public health and safety).  Marijuana remains a Schedule I drug per the Controlled Substances Act.  Marijuana is illegal because research shows that increased drug use and availability negatively impacts our families, schools, our economy, and places obstacles in the way of raising healthy and safe young people.

ONDCP has received many inquiries in recent months requesting information on how individuals or organizations can educate their communities about the consequences of marijuana use.  As part of our efforts to help you prevent drug use among young people and provide evidenced-based information, please visit our online Marijuana Information Resource Center.  This toolkit includes Frequently Asked Questions about marijuana, a fact sheet, and up-to-date information on State laws pertaining to marijuana. You can find the toolkit at

Thank you for the work that you do to keep your communities safe, healthy and drug-free,

ONDCP Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison

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US Drug Policy focuses on prevention and healing

During his recent visit to Australia, the US Director of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske held a series of high-level meetings with government, researchers and advocates, including Drug Free Australia. Director Kerlikowske is the chief adviser on Drug Policy in the Obama Administration.

In addressing a gathering of political and community leaders in the NSW Parliament, Director Kerlikowske outlined the following key elements of current initiatives in the US to help prevent and reduce drug use:

1)     moving away from outdated (and misleading) terminology such as the ‘War on Drugs’:

2)     countering legalisation lobby activities, including so called ‘medical’ marijuana

3)     high priority given to prevention initiatives such as:

  • the National Prevention Strategy, which aims to prevent harms in a diverse range of areas including domestic violence and alcohol and other drugs.
  • drug-free communities: a $370 billion program which funds 700 small community organisations to educate young people about the effects of drugs.
  • $31 billion in funding for drug education and treatment programs.
  • new drug-driving initiatives; he complimented Australian effort in being world leader in this initiative
  • more emphasis on children’s rights to be protected from the wide range of drug harms and exposure. This included support for the World Federation Against Drugs (WFAD) and their efforts to promote the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

4)     moving towards a model combining health and law enforcement to prevent and reduce drug use. He gave the following examples:

  • the establishment of 2600 drug courts, which has encouraging data about reduced recidivism;
  • the HOPE project which works with former prisoners who fail the drug-testing conditions of their parole;
  • the May 2012 signing of the 5 nation Joint Statement (in Stockholm)  in support of  humane and balanced illicit drug policy

DFA Members raised the following issues related to illicit drugs and drug policy in Australia:

1)     The need for and benefits of, mandatory rehabilitation

2)     Continued efforts to publicise the dangers of cannabis use, including becoming dependent and mental health and social problems, which are now indisputable

3)     The value of effective, specialised drug education for all sectors of the community

4)     The demonstrable success of the Howard government’s ‘Tough on Drugs’ strategy and the need to return to this more restrictive policy platform

5)     DFA conclusions from data in government-funded evaluations of the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre and commentary similar research on Vancouver’s Insight injecting facility, showing minimal, if any beneficial effect in terms of drug related morbidity or mortaility, or reduction in drug use or increase in numbers entering treatment in the vicinity of these two facilities;

6)     needle ‘exchanges’ that are no longer ‘exchanges’ and the flawed research related to their so-called success in reducing HIV and Hep C. (This was acknowledged by the Kerlikowske team).

7)     The use of naltrexone implants as a successful recovery-based model for addictions to alcohol and opioids, including heroin and prescription morphine

8)     The lack of reporting or acknowledgement of the evidence base that support use of naltrexone for alcoholism and opioid dependence

9)     The spread of Harm Reduction philosophy and measures, including needle distribution in the Asia Pacific and the promotion of the use of needles among many who do not currently use needles and the prohibitive cost of using agonist treatment in poor countries

10)  DFA’s Position Statement on Illicit Drug Legalisation/Decriminalisation and Regulation

Parliamentary members raised a number of questions including:

  • ‘Medical’ Marijuana and the difficulties/anomalies between US Federal and State laws. Director Kerlikowske indicated that there is a continuous flow of Federal information other legal drugs on the market that are more effective in helping people with relief of pain and nausea than the so-called ‘medical marijuana’. The challenge is to reach people within communities which are being targeted by expensive pro drug lobby campaigns
  • The reality of being able to effectively push back against the global illicit drug ‘business model’; Director Kerlikowke’s response was that there are numerous examples of the success of current push-back efforts, including a 40% reduction in cocaine use in the United States; Globally we have kept use down in overall illicit drug use (now 5% down from 6.1% 2011).
  • In particular, he emphasized that current legalisation moves are NOT the answer and will only lead to an increase in use (example of increasing misuse of prescription drug, alcohol and tobacco was given).
  • DFA members commented that increased supply reduction measures have shown reductions in use of illicit drugs and harm as result of less availability and higher prices in Australia
  • The Human Rights argument that supports the right to use illicit drugs without constraint in Australian and forms the rationale for Harm Minimisation in Australia is not an argument that has much currency in the USA or elsewhere.


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Does robust drug enforcement lead to an increase in drug users coming forward for treatment?

Recent debate on policy options for tackling the use of illegal drugs has stressed the merits of viewing drug use as a health rather than a criminal justice matter.

However, there are strong reasons for avoiding an ‘either or approach’ to drug enforcement and treatment and viewing these as complementary rather than as competing approaches to tackling the use of illegal drugs.

This article draws upon data from an evaluation of three major drug enforcement operations to show that in the aftermath of those operations, the proportion of drug users contacting drug treatment services markedly increased.

The implications of these results are that those planning drug enforcement operations should involve staff within drug treatment agencies to ensure that any increased demand for their services, in the aftermath of drug enforcement operations, can be met.

Further, the research shows the merit of viewing drug enforcement and treatment as complementary elements of a comprehensive drug strategy.

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