Month: June 2014

A Deadly Cloud of Smoke: Tobacco Use Disorder and Withdrawal

While there’s been a steady decrease of cigarette use in the United States for the last ten years, it is still the leading cause of preventable death in the country. More than 400,000 people die each year from smoking-related disease. Twenty-eight states have enacted smoking bans in public places, but there are loopholes within those anti-smoking laws and people are still being exposed to secondhand smoke as a result. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 42 million Americans smoke cigarettes. 16 million people in this country suffer from diseases caused by smoking, and the American Lung Association attributes 3,400 lung cancer deaths annually to secondhand smoke. Nicotine falls into the stimulant class of drugs. It occurs naturally in the nightshade family of plants, such as tobacco. In fact, nicotine is the tobacco plant’s organic protection from insects. It is such a powerful toxin that the agricultural industry once used it as an insecticide. Like other addictive stimulants, such as cocaine, methamphetamine or even caffeine, nicotine absorbs into the blood stream, causing the brain to release a host of chemicals, most notably dopamine. These dopamine neurotransmitters control areas of the brain related to reward motivated behavior, pleasure and mood alteration. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) published the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in May 2013. The DSM-5 includes the...

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Brain Mapping May Pinpoint the Path to Disease

In April of 2013, President Obama unveiled a $100 million research effort called the BRAIN Initiative, which stands for Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies. The goal of this program is to revolutionize the understanding of the human brain, and discover new ways of treating, preventing and even curing complex neural and mental disorders. One year after the release of the White House’s BRAIN Initiative, two studies were released in the journal Nature. Both are in regard to brain maps that could possibly help scientists understand the differences between healthy and impaired brains. Dr. Hongkui Zeng, from the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, is the lead author of one these studies. She helped publish the most detailed brain map ever completed on a mouse. While a mouse’s brain is far from the human brain, the importance in this map is in brain connectivity. The researchers suggest that this map is the first ever to show the detailed connections of neurons in a whole brain of any mammal. The second study, also at the Allen Institute, explored genetics in the developing human brain. This map shows where various genes are turned on and off in a fetus during pregnancy. Lead author, Ed Lein, says that this information can be used “to pinpoint where a set of genes associated with a disease may have a common action.” While these...

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Is Dabbing The New Crack of Marijuana?

If you haven’t heard about it already, “Dabbing” is the process of inhaling butane Marijuana hash oil for a faster and stronger high. Users place a dab of the hash oil on a super-heated piece of metal and inhale the smoke as the oil evaporates. Both the method of ingestion and the intense effect it produces are why some are calling it the “crack of pot.” The phrase “dabbing” refers to the method of placing marijuana in a tube and forcing solvent through it, usually butane. Once the solvent dissolves, it leaves only the marijuana plant’s resins, with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels approaching a powerful 80 percent, or almost 4 times the amount found in the strongest strains of pot. The U.S. government estimates that domestic marijuana production has increased tenfold in the last twenty-five years. This might be attributed to the growing number of states that have legalized the use and sale of medicinal marijuana, as well as Colorado’s landmark passage of Amendment 64, in November 2012. This made the recreational use and sale of marijuana legal. The state claims to closely monitor all growing operations within its borders. The pot business boom has also meant that sellers of the drug are getting more creative to stay ahead of their competition. Hence, marijuana dabbing. The hash oil created by the “dabbing” process goes by different names, such as “ear...

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RSS Addiction News

  • Polysubstance Abuse: Addicted to the ‘High’ Rather Than the Drugs February 21, 2018
    Until there’s a social consensus, it bears repeating that addiction is a complex and complicated disease of the brain. People develop the condition for a variety of different reasons, which makes plotting out an effective treatment approach a challenge for patients, physicians, therapists and other addiction healthcare specialists. That said, the treatment of addiction continues […]
  • Driving Under the Influence Just Got a Lot Weirder February 14, 2018
    In all 50 states, the legal blood alcohol limit (BAC) for anyone operating a motor vehicle is .08, though advocates continue pressuring legislators to bring it down to a .05 BAC. Public awareness campaigns, new laws and stricter penalties regarding DUI violators were launched in the mid 1970s. The original campaigns highlighted the gruesome realities […]
  • Hygge [hew-guh] to Beat the Winter Blues and Improve Mental Health: The Danes Know What They’re Doing February 7, 2018
    As the grip of post-holiday wintertime clamps down on North America, it’s all too common to allow the shorter days, frigid temperatures and stress of getting back to work push us into isolation, both physically and mentally. In Denmark, where the average temperature in January is about 28 degrees Fahrenheit and 0 degrees in February, […]

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