Study: Significant number of young men could have been spared schizophrenia had they avoided marijuana

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New research has provided additional support for the previously established link between marijuana use and schizophrenia, further revealing that thousands of young men with a predisposition to madness have needlessly lost their minds.

A team of Danish researchers associated with the Copenhagen Research Center for Mental Health executed a deep dive into Danish health histories from 1972 to 2021, examining the health records of roughly 6.9 million people.

Their analysis has fleshed out additional insights into the role that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC: the primary psychoactive component of cannabis) has in the triggering and/or worsening of mental illness, schizophrenia in particular.

The team indicated in their study, published Thursday in the journal Psychological Medicine, that not only are young men especially susceptible to the effects cannabis has on schizophrenia, but up to 30% of schizophrenia diagnoses could have been averted had men in the 21 to 30 age range not abused cannabis.

Carsten Hjorthøj's team noted that among the broader age range of 16 to 49, "approximately 15% of recent cases of schizophrenia among males in 2021 would have been prevented in the absence of CUD [cannabis use disorder]; by contrast, among females, 4% of recent cases of schizophrenia would have been prevented if they did not have CUD."

The researchers indicated this is not a problem soon going away, granted the recent liberalization of laws around the drug, massive uptake worldwide, and ever-increasing marijuana potency alongside a rising rate in schizophrenia diagnoses.

"For example, in Denmark, the incidence of schizophrenia steadily increased from 2000 to 2012, and the schizophrenia population attributable risk fraction (PARF) for CUD increased three- to fourfold over the past two decades, parallel to increases in THC concentration," wrote the researchers. "The increased THC content may thus, along a potential increase in the prevalence of CUD, be a main driver of the population-level increase in PARF between CUD and schizophrenia."

Hjorthøj underscored that "while this isn’t proving causality, it’s showing that the numbers behave exactly the way they should, under the assumption of causality."

The researchers stressed that prospective pot users should not take the drug lightly, reported Scientific American.

"People are their own agents," said Hjorthøj. "They can decide for themselves. But they should, if they do use cannabis, decide based on proper data and not from a story that cannabis is completely harmless and maybe even something everybody should use, which I think is the way the public discourse is moving."

Nora Volkow, a co-author of the study, said that the results should prompt "urgent action" and reconsideration of marijuana use, reported the Daily Mail.

"The entanglement of substance use disorders and mental illnesses is a major public health issue, requiring urgent action and support for people who need it," said Volkow. "As access to potent cannabis products continues to expand, it is crucial that we also expand prevention, screening, and treatment for people who may experience mental illnesses associated with cannabis use."

Recreational marijuana is fully legal in 22 states and Washington, D.C. In 37 states and D.C., there are comprehensive medical marijuana programs in place, enabling Americans to acquire the drug.

According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 300 people are affected by schizophrenia worldwide.

The National Institute of Mental Health indicated that it is one of the top 15 leading causes of disability worldwide and those afflicted with it have an increased risk of premature mortality.

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Green progressives pushed for pot legalization for years. Now marijuana is posing a major 'inconvenient' threat to the climate.

Left-wing progressives have spent literally decades calling for the legalization of weed, and their efforts have seen a lot of successes. Dozens of states have legalized or decriminalized pot — and ganja has likely never been more popular than it is today.

But as the popularity of cannabis has grown, so has the drug's impact on global warming, Politico reported this week in a write-up headlined, "An inconvenient truth (about weed)."

According to the outlet, Mary Jane's "carbon emissions have never posed a bigger threat to the climate."

What's happening?

The growth of dope's acceptance in American culture and the state-by-state rules governing its cultivation has made it "one of the most energy-intensive crops in the nation," the paper said, adding that "as states increasingly embrace marijuana, a growing source of greenhouse gases is going essentially unnoticed by climate hawks on Capitol Hill."

A big reason for grass' inordinate levels of energy consumption is the fact that it's grown mostly indoors with special lighting and environmental controls that consume up to 2,000 watts of electricity per square meter, Politico said — 40 times what it takes for leafy greens like lettuce to be grown indoors.

The reefer industry is responsible for more than 1% of all U.S. electricity consumption, Politico reported, citing citing a research report titled, "Energy Use by the Indoor Cannabis Industry: Inconvenient Truths for Producers, Consumers, and Policymakers."

The outlet provided a few specific examples:

  • researchers estimate that Massachusetts' new blaze industry accounted for 10% of the state's entire industrial electricity consumption last year;
  • a study reported that the energy required to grow enough bud for a single joint (one gram) was equivalent to the energy used to drive a fuel-efficient car 20 miles;
  • another report out of Europe found that each average indoor grow operation uses more power than 14 typical homes; and
  • the illegal drug market goes through fossil fuels at an even greater clip, "using standalone generators or stealing power from neighbors to fuel their operations."

And the problem, Politico said, is just going to get worse, considering that, with recent successful legalization efforts in various states (including New York), a third of the country — 100 million people — live in a state where bud is legal for anyone 21 or order. And most suppliers in those states will be cultivating their crops indoors, "laying the groundwork for skyrocketing electricity consumption created by the new markets."

Adam Smith, who heads up the Craft Cannabis Alliance, told Politico, "New York, with 20 million people, growing every ounce of [cannabis] ... indoors, under lights, in temperature control, is neither economically sustainable nor competitive. Nor is it environmentally sane."

Unsurprisingly, many left-wing politicians who have advocated for legal herb and have watched it grow as an industry while also parading around the country touting a far-left green agenda are largely ignorant on the issue:

Despite the huge climate impact of the nation's fastest-growing new industry — legal sales jumped 50 percent last year, topping $20 billion, while the industry added almost 80,000 jobs — Biden, most lawmakers and many environmental groups, even those supportive of cannabis legalization, have largely ignored the issue.

“Honestly, I haven't thought a whole lot about it," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who made both marijuana legalization and climate change pillars of his 2020 presidential campaign, said in an interview earlier this year. “I'm not familiar with that issue."

And as Politico said, it's not just elected officials who have a blind spot: Environmental groups are bad on the issue, too.

So far, groups like the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Earthjustice have essentially ignored the topic.

(H/T: HotAir)

Outlet reveals 3 non-infrastructure items in the infrastructure bill that conservatives should know about: gender ID, pot, and alcohol monitoring

The U.S. Senate passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill Tuesday afternoon that was sold to the American people as an investment in the nation's transit, broadband, and water systems.

But the massive spending plan, which received the support of 19 Republican senators despite the fact that the Congressional Budget Office estimated it would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the federal budget deficit, has a few items in it that conservatives should be aware of, according to the Christian Post.

More than just dealing with roads, bridges, waterways, and communication lines, the bill also contains some "unexpected" items that many Americans likely didn't know had been inserted, the outlet said. Here are three provisions the Post noted:

No. 1: 'Gender identity is infrastructure'

Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley took to Twitter to reveal that the measure includes a "gender identity" passage.

"Now gender identity is infrastructure," Hawley tweeted with a picture of a page of the bill. "Can't wait to see what else is in this bill."

From the Christian Post:

[The bill] includes a declaration that “the term 'gender identity' has the meaning given the term in section 249(c) of title 18, United States Code." The mention of gender identity is included in Title III of Division F of the bill, which deals with broadband distribution and outlines a legislative initiative called the Digital Equity Act incorporated into the infrastructure package.

The Digital Equity Act also includes a nondiscrimination provision proclaiming that “no individual in the United States may, on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that is funded in whole or in part with funds made available to carry out this title."

The conservative Family Research Council sent out a letter declaring its opposition to the bill, Hawley tweeted.

FRC warned that the Digital Equity Act "elevates sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) to a specifically protected class status."

"[D]oing so," the letter said, "is unnecessary, has numerous tangential harmful consequences, and is coercive."

The goal of the Equity Act, FRC said, is "the total overhaul of our federal civil rights framework to mandate special privileges base on SOGI classes."

No. 2: Pot research

The so-called infrastructure bill also includes a provision that will allow states that have not taken the step of legalizing recreational pot to get "samples and strains of marijuana" for research purposes.

The bill will create a "national clearinghouse to collect and distribute samples and strains of marijuana for scientific research that includes marijuana and products containing marijuana that are lawfully available to patients or consumers in a state on a retail basis," the Christian Post said, quoting the bill's language.

No. 3: Required alcohol monitors in all cars

There were rumors floating around that the infrastructure bill would mandate that all new cars be equipped with alcohol monitoring systems. People on social media were concerned that the government was going to require carmakers to install monitoring technology in their cars.

And it would all be done in the name of "vehicle safety," the Post noted.

Turns out the rumors were true, WUSA-TV reported in a fact-check report.

"The bill mandates that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration must create rules mandating that alcohol monitoring systems be required for all new cars," the station explained.

According to WUSA, the bill orders the secretary of transportation to use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to "issue a final rule prescribing a Federal motor vehicle safety standard ... that requires passenger motor vehicles manufactured after the effective date of that standard to be equipped with advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology."

The technology, WUSA said, needs to:

  • "Passively monitor the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired; and prevent or limit motor vehicle operation if an impairment is detected;"
  • "Passively and accurately detect whether the blood alcohol concentration of a driver of a motor vehicle is equal to or greater than the blood alcohol concentration described in section 163(a) of title 23, United States Code; and prevent or limit motor vehicle operation if a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit is detected."
  • Or a combination of the two.

Imprisoned pot perps use 4/20 to remind Biden of his campaign pledge to release them from jail and expunge their records

Tuesday is a big day for potheads — or marijuana enthusiasts: It's 4/20, the calendar day marking toke-up time. A number of Mary Jane aficionados are currently in the slammer for weed offenses — many of them as a result of the 1994 crime bill President Joe Biden slapped his name on when he was a senator from Delaware.

Now, hashish hounds stuck in the clink — and their advocates on the outside — are using 4/20 to remind Biden of his campaign pledge to get them out and get their records expunged, the New York Post reported.

What's this now?

The president received repeated criticism from the left during the 2020 Democratic primaries for his tough-on-crime stance in the 1990s — characterized by his mantra of "Lock the S.O.B.s up" — that led him to help draft and pass legislation that featured a crackdown on drug offenses with increased jail time for perpetrators, including a "three-strikes" provision that mandated life sentences for violent felonies and drug trafficking.

Biden attempted to appease critics on the left by saying he wanted free ganja prisoners and get their records cleared.

"I think we should decriminalize marijuana, period," he said during the Nov. 20, 2019, Democratic primary debate. "And I think everyone — anyone who has a record should be let out of jail, their records expunged, be completely zeroed out."

Biden, who has repeatedly claimed that he opposes pot legalization, added, "But I do think it makes sense, based on data, that we should study what the long-term effects are for the use of marijuana. That's all it is. Number one, everybody gets out, record expunged."

His campaign website largely echoed those sentiments, though it did say Biden wanted to "decriminalize" pot use:

Decriminalize the use of cannabis and automatically expunge all prior cannabis use convictions. Biden believes no one should be in jail because of cannabis use. As president, he will decriminalize cannabis use and automatically expunge prior convictions. And, he will support the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes, leave decisions regarding legalization for recreational use up to the states, and reschedule cannabis as a schedule II drug so researchers can study its positive and negative impacts.

End all incarceration for drug use alone and instead divert individuals to drug courts and treatment. Biden believes that no one should be imprisoned for the use of illegal drugs alone. Instead, Biden will require federal courts to divert these individuals to drug courts so they receive treatment to address their substance use disorder. He'll incentivize states to put the same requirements in place. And, he'll expand funding for federal, state, and local drug courts. [...]

Use the president's clemency power to secure the release of individuals facing unduly long sentences for certain non-violent and drug crimes. President Obama used his clemency power more than any of the 10 prior presidents. Biden will continue this tradition and broadly use his clemency power for certain non-violent and drug crimes.

Now marijuana users are pushing Biden to stick to his guns.

Corvain Cooper was jailed for life for pot under the "three strikes" provision, but he was released in January by President Donald Trump. He noted that the drug has been legalized in several states that are now raking in a lot of tax money from weed.

He told the Post, "No one should be serving a long prison sentence over marijuana when states and big corporations are making billions of dollars off of this plant," adding, "When the punishment doesn't fit the crime, the president has to step in and fix that."

Ismael Lira, who, the Post said, was convicted of distributing marijuana imported from Mexico, said in an email to the paper, "I believe President Biden truly sees the harm caused to the community of color, and I also believe President Biden will keep his promise to free all pot prisoners."

Pedro Moreno was convicted on similar distribution charges and sentenced to life in prison in 2001. According to the Post, he was a first-time offender and is now praying the president "will have mercy on me and my family":

All I want is to reunite with my children and my grandkids so we can become whole and put my past mistakes to bed. April is second chance month. I pray President Biden will consider me worthy of a second chance so my family can celebrate all the milestones we have missed over the years. I'm truly remorseful for my crime and pledge to devote my life to making up for the past. I promise I won't need a third chance.

Cooper's attorney, Patrick Megaro, who successfully got his client released, is putting pressure on Biden:

I would like to see President Biden honor his commitment to criminal justice reform by using the authority given to the president in the Constitution to right the wrongs of the past, especially the results of the 1994 crime bill he sponsored as a senator. I believe President Biden owes it to the people and the families this law negatively impacted.

And clemency advocate Amy Povah is pressuring the Biden-Harris White House to keep its promises, the Post noted.

"It's time to end the hypocrisy that allows some to rake in millions while others languish in prison even during a historic pandemic," she said. “Given that both President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took strong positions on the campaign trail to free the pot prisoners, decriminalize cannabis and expunge the records of those with cannabis convictions, we are anxiously awaiting to hear whether how that will come about.

"It adds insult to injury that literally millions of people will be celebrating what has become a national holiday for cannabis enthusiasts on April 20th while people serving time for pot continue to languish in prison for engaging in the same activity that is now legal [in many states]," Povah added.

According to the Post, Trump's First Step Act reduced the "Biden law's mandatory life sentence for a third serious drug conviction" to 25 years — however, the reduction was not retroactive.

The White House did not respond to the Post's requests for comment.