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Lecture Notes - Drugs & Behavior

by: Kristi Dorsey

Lecture Notes - Drugs & Behavior PSY 245

Kristi Dorsey
GPA 3.871

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Here are the lecture notes from last weeks lecture combined in one document (3.29.16 and 3.31.16).
Drugs and Behavior
Mark Galizio
Class Notes
PSY 245; Drugs and Behavior; UNCW; Mark Galizio
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This 16 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kristi Dorsey on Monday March 21, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSY 245 at University of North Carolina - Wilmington taught by Mark Galizio in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 18 views. For similar materials see Drugs and Behavior in Psychlogy at University of North Carolina - Wilmington.


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Date Created: 03/21/16
****Important Information: Tuesday Afternoons 3:30-5 (Office Hours) th Thursday, April 14 , we won’t have class (going to be at a conference) st Movie Review Papers are due Thursday, April 21 – grades by making sure you address all of the questions in the instructions Extra Credit: Identify a website on drugs that interests you and write a paper very similar to the movie reviews (adds an extra point to your final grade) Final Exam is at 8am-11am on Tuesday May 3 rd _____________________________________________________________________________ 3.31.16 Marijuana  Primarily comes from the plant cannabis sativa (genus cannabis) o Hybridized strains that have been cultivated over the years for their psychoactive properties are all descended from this original species  Some botanists and many Marijuana growers insist that there are multiple species of cannabis  Some cannabis strains have higher potencies than others  Cannabis plant native to Asia (modern day China and India)  Contains many different biologically active chemicals and these chemicals (nearly 100 can be identified) are sometimes called the cannabinoids o Most important chemical that may be the only one responsible for psychoactive effects is Tetrahydrocannabinol (referred to as THC) Early History  Earliest use goes back to China o Used the fibers of the Marijuana plant (sometimes called hemp) at least 10,000 years ago o Found in ancient Chinese pottery  Oldest use of Marijuana was as a structure for pottery  That’s why they call it pot o Not sure if ancient Chinese were aware of the psychoactive properties of marijuana, but there’s no record of it  Origins of psychoactive marijuana use go back to India where the preparations of marijuana were used to make a liquid tea that was called Bhang-tea o Indians became first to eat and smoke marijuana o Made a preparation of dried leaves of the Marijuana plant that they smoked (called Ganja) – associated the term Ganja with the Rastafarian movement/religion o Ganja: Indian name that comes from the ancient Hindu use (became important in Hindu ceremony) o When the British colonized India, they discouraged marijuana use; no longer fundamental to modern Hinduism o Discovered that by drying the resins of the flowering parts of the Marijuana plant and drying them, they could produce an even more potent product that they called Charas (Hash/Hashish)  As the Western world began to move east, the practice of M began to be disseminated and the first non-Indians to begin to use Marijuana were Arab traders o The name that the Arabs gave to these very potent dried resins was Hashish/referred to as hash in the west o Arab traders who began to trade between Europe and Asia o Europeans finally became aware of the psychoactive properties of Marijuana through Arabs and the use of hashish  How did it get to the Caribbean? o Many of the British colonies, particularly Jamaica and Trinidad, brought indentured servants from India who came to the Caribbean to work the fields for the British and they brought with them Ganja and the Hindu religion o The Rastafarian sect was very much influenced by those Hindu roots and so the religious/almost worshipful use of Ganja by the Rastafarians derives from this ancient use  All of these uses of Marijuana are still in use today and vary dramatically in potency  Traditionally, preparations of Marijuana leaves contain about 4-6% of THC (level of potency for natural, organic Marijuana)  In modern America and Europe, underground Botanists have bred strains of Marijuana, selecting for Marijuana plants that are incredibly potent and produce lots of resin that have very high concentrations of THC o Modern strains-flower heads; Up to 30% THC o Hashish-dried resin is 10-30% THC (at one point in history was the strongest form of Marijuana)  In the last 3 or 4 years, there has been a development of chemical techniques to concentrate THC into incredibly powerful forms o Concentrates (BHO, hash oil, dabs) – 60-90% THC o These are usually named by the way that they’re created o BHO = butane hash oil and created w/a butane extraction process o Sometimes just hash oil, dabs, there’s a number of names for this stuff Middle History: Europe & America’s Hemp  Although the Europeans were not really aware of the psychoactive properties of M, they certainly became aware of the sturdy fibers of the hemp plant and used them to make rope, cloth, sails, etc. th th as they began to trade with the Arabs in the 15 and 16 century  Marijuana began to be cultivated in Europe and brought over to the Americas  Marijuana seeds and plants were present on the Mayflower o There’s no evidence that they were interested at all in the psychoactive effects of Marijuana o They were bringing Marijuana to the New World because they were attempting to develop a colony and they knew they needed to grow materials to make other essentials  In Europe by the 1600s, it was an essential product; doesn’t grow well in Europe o So, in the British Colonies (VA, Carolinas) where Marijuana grew quite well, it became a very important crop  In fact, the very first Marijuana laws in America were set by King George of England  He demanded that all Americans grow Marijuana o Because half of the Marijuana you grew was taxed and had to be sent back to England for their use in making rope o Became an important product (but not as far as we can tell from psychoactive use) o George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew Marijuana and some notes suggest that TJ may have used it for psychoactive properties o There were notes in the apothecaries of the era, that there may have been some use for M in treating certain types of pains  The colonists/Europeans became aware of the psychoactive properties of Marijuana but no evidence of recreational use; if they used it at all, it was for medical purposes When did people start using it recreationally? th  The Hashish Club – (19 century/1800s-turn of the century) where the European intelligencia (artists and poets and novelists of the time) began to get very interested in the East (what east meant to them was mostly the Middle East; trade beginning to come and many Europeans would visit the Middle East)  What they discovered was that in the Middle East that alcohol was not often used; in fact, alcohol, banned in the Quran, was a drug that was frowned upon, particularly by Muslims in the Middle East, but use of Hashish was widespread and also opiates  Europeans who traveled to these areas brought back an interest in opiate drugs (opium) and hashish  Interestingly in Europe, in fact in Paris, a group of the greatest writers, musicians, artists, etc. of Europe met in a loose-knit organization in the Hashish Club; they would meet regularly in Paris  Guy who rewrote the Three Musketeers – during chapters where Arabic assassins smoke hashish when they go to commit their fowl deeds; talk about the delirium produced by hashish – he was a member of the hashish club  Not many American names were in this club/wasn’t catching on in American o One name of an American writer in the club was the mother of M use in the U.S. – Louisa May Alcott (she wrote “Little Women”) o Marijuana is not a theme in her popular literature, but she wrote short stories in which Marijuana is thematic th  Marijuana use in the 19 century was a fad in Europe and in the U.S. o It didn’t really catch on and didn’t become a mainstream or popular phenomenon o In fact, you don’t see much in the way of recreational Marijuana use in the U.S. until the 1930’s/late 20’s  During Prohibition, interest in Marijuana began to develop in the US, but still not a widespread or popular phenomenon  But at the end of Prohibition in 1933, Henry Anslinger began a campaign to ban Marijuana o 1920-1933 Alcohol was illegal but you could smoke Marijuana legally o When Prohibition ended, Marijuana was still legal and alcohol became legal again and this is when the Reefer Madness period occurred; Henry Anslinger, the head of the body that we now call “The Drug Enforcement Agency,” set his sights on Marijuana o 1937 Marijuana Tax Act – put Marijuana on same footing as heroin, cocaine, and drugs regulated by the Harrison Narcotics Act o Marijuana use was not very widespread in the American east or mid-west, but very popular in the south west and particularly among Mexican Americans  Some people have dubbed this era “Reefer Racism” because it was strongly focused on the evils of Marijuana and the dangers of living among Mexican Americans who were using this deadly drug Why did this “Reefer Racism” target Mexican Americans?  When the Spanish began to colonize South and Central America, they brought the Marijuana plant with them to make essentials  The native peoples of those areas have a long history of using psychoactive plants and they began th to use Marijuana for psychoactive purposes as early as the 17 century  By the time Prohibition was repealed, Marijuana use was widespread in Mexico  Marijuana was embedded in children’s song and well accepted in that region; there was a clash in Texas and the South Western states, in particular against the Mexican Americans and the use of Marijuana to the white settlers in that region  Crimes that were committed by Latinos were often blamed on Marijuana by the officials o Anslinger thought that Marijuana was responsible for these things; at this time, there was very little scientific evidence about what Marijuana did o Suddenly hearing there were tales of people under the influence of Marijuana committing murders, going insane, sexual assaults o Anslinger created a propaganda campaign (i.e. film) to get his point across o The films have been gathered (Netflix) Reefer Madness is a compilation the propaganda o 1930s – Marijuana prohibition in the US Events that led to Marijuana Prohibition  Marijuana use was never very common in the US and after the Marijuana Tax Act, it became less so o Except in certain regions of the country; if you go to NYC and New Orleans, in a subculture of the 30s and 40s that might be described as the Jazz subculture or by 1950s the beat culture o Particularly, jazz musicians were using Marijuana underground; if you listen to old Jazz, many of their songs have references and themes that are related to Marijuana o But Marijuana was called muggles (individuals who smoked muggles in the 1930s were called vipers) in the Jazz culture o These kind of code words that were used illustrate the underground nature of it; wasn’t a mainstream phenomenon at all; subculture of the jazz or beat culture  Remained a relatively rare phenomenon in the US until the 1960s – Marijuana use exploded; became tangled up in the counterculture (youth movement which was partly a reaction to the war in Vietnam; protest movement of that but also a protest of mainstream American values at the time and it embraced psychoactive drug use; the most important symbol of membership in the Hippie/counterculture movement was the use of Marijuana)  In the late1960s (abrupt phenomenon) went from being almost an unknown drug to being really widespread (relatively speaking) 1960’s College Student Surveys/Data  About 1% of American students had ever tried Marijuana o Mostly veterans of the Korean War who had tried it in Asia  1967 – Peak of the Marijuana movement; year of the summer of love in San Francisco when Americans were becoming aware of this o Richard Nixon declared Marijuana use the number 1 problem in America o 15% of America’s college students reported they had tried Marijuana  1975 – 47% of American students had ever tried Marijuana o 40% of seniors reported using Marijuana during their Senior Year o In the late 70s through early 1980s it peaked at about 50% o The decline that you see in the late 1980s were the Regan years; Nancy Regan was launching her “Just Say No” campaign and there was a great deal of concern about Marijuana and the impact of that was that the student use of Marijuana didn’t go away but it did decline; o However; it popped back up; even today it’s not at the level it reached in the late 70s early 80s  It really hasn’t changed much over the last 15 years; about 1/3 of America’s high school students that report using it  From a period (1960) where Marijuana use was almost unheard of in the US it’s become a widespread phenomenon  Beginning to see an enormous change in attitudes about Marijuana as well as laws about Marijuana Attitudes about Decriminalization of Marijuana in the USA  Large scale national survey in 2010 o 81% approve of medical use of Marijuana o 72% say that Marijuana possession should lead to fine, not jail o 44% support outright legalization o 47% say that they have tried M at least once  Gallup 2015: 52% support legalization of Marijuana  Largest cash crop in USA at > $35 billion/year  Enforcement of Marijuana laws costs > $7/year (not just to enforce drug laws, but specifically dealing with Marijuana)  Decriminalized in many states, but remains illegal; Schedule I in federal system  Legal recreational Marijuana passed in Colorado and Washington Nov. 2012  Alaska had legalized recreational M use in the 1990s and didn’t last long  Use of Marijuana in NC is a misdemeanor but selling of Marijuana in NC is a federal offense o Sales of Marijuana remains a felony Legalization  Marijuana in Colorado and Washington - those laws not only made possession of Marijuana for recreational purposes legal, they also created laws that would license Marijuana producers and Marijuana vendors; that’s what’s really changed the game Federal Government Response to Legalization  What would the federal government do to respond?  Aug. 2013: US Attorney General Eric Holder announces no federal interference with CO/WA laws if they implement strong regulation o Wanted to make sure the states were going to control this drug and prevent access to youth; regulations will prevent it from crossing state lines  Jan 2014: President Obama “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol”  Both states license producers and sellers  Both tax Marijuana Effects of Legalization in WA and CO  WA – sales began July, 2014  CO (Jan 1, 2014) o Sales limited to adults (> 21 years old) o 160 licensed vendors (50 in Denver) o Residents may purchase 1 oz (28 g) o Fodor’s guide to pot tourism (handbook that tells you where to go; where the good shops are; what to buy; legal M has changed the game in very interesting ways; has been controversial; is prohibited in public places; can buy M in CO but it’s illegal to smoke/use it in public and some cities, in fact several cities/counties in CO banned M): non-residents only ¼ oz (7 g) o Prohibited in public places; some cities/counties (i.e. Vail Ski Resort; didn’t like the idea of pot vendors in Vail; several other parts of CO have decided to opt out of the law; counties and cities can create their own ordinances) o More than $1 million brought in on the first day in business! > $30 million in first 6 months 6 Months CO Report Card  Over 100 retail stores, 37 cultivation facilities & 13 product manufacturers (edibles – best sellers/controversial)  $53 million in tax during the first year  Generated over $1 billion in sales in 2015  10% decrease in crime rate in Denver Elections since CO and WA  2015 recreational Marijuana o Yes in Oregon, Alaska, and DC  On the ballot 2016 o Arizona o California o Nevada o Vermont o 6 other states where there’s a chance that it may be on the ballot Banking Issues re Legal Marijuana  Can’t use banks if you’re a Marijuana dealer  Because M remains Schedule I, banks can face possible charges for money laundering, for handling $$ related to a Schedule I drug  Talking about an industry that has to deal with cash; to this new generation of Marijuana entrepreneurs, it’s not comical at all; they believe this is the government’s way of undermining the states because they will create a criminal element that will make it hard for others not to say we can’t do this  Cash business invites crime o People are becoming targets because they have so much money in their cash registers o EX: Shut down store and you have $100k in the cash register, you’re frightened Cannabis Concentrates  New methods of THC delivery are exposing users to very high doses  Experienced users of Marijuana, if they haven’t used these concentrates before are a lot of the times shocked/experience adverse effects  CO2 Oil- carbon dioxide extraction – purest form o Historically you can extract the THC from a resin concentrate with alcohol o The extraction produces 20% pure THC o Butane hash oil is pretty new and by using a butane as a solvent, you can extract a much higher concentration  Legal in CO and WA/used there  Dangers with BHO extraction because it’s highly flammable o Can afford CO2 (Carbon dioxide extraction) in CO; can create an incredibly pure/safe concentrates of hash oil o This had led to a new way of using M (called dabbing) Butane Hash Oil o Dabbing – BHO is vaporized on hot nail or in glass pipe and smoked producing rapid intense high  Produces wax/crumble budder (80-90% THC)  User places it on a piece of metal that’s been heated until it’s red hot and that metal piece is called a nail; basically it vaporizes this wax or crumble which is captured in a glass beaker or container and then the person breathes in these vapors and an incredibly high amount of THC is absorbed in a very brief time through the lungs  Produces a rapid intoxication (matter of seconds) o Some bars have these things for you to smoke  People standing around to catch you if you pass out after your first hit because it’s so intense and so fast  Another form where it becomes kind of glass-like; Shatter/glass (like) – basically the same substance; depends on how you make it whether it comes out in the waxy form of the glassy/hard form; method of using it is the same Dabbing Rig  Dab bars popular in CO  Dabbing rig – individual use a glass wand to place crumble or wax, use torch to heat up the metal nail, the nail would allow the vapors to go into this class tube and you would breath it through the oil rig  Very high doses can lead to adverse effects Issues re Legal Marijuana  Marijuana Edibles o Used by children (attractive/look like candy) – federal government is not pleased with this  CO legislators are studying these laws; worried because the federal government may get involved o High dosage problems (large quantities of THC in them) Administration  Smoking a dab and taking it into your lungs; within 20 seconds or less you know you’ve had enough because you’re about to pass out; will stop smoking until THC wears off  When you take Marijuana orally, it doesn’t hit in 20 seconds; absorbed slowly; might be a half hour before the THC is reaching your gut where it can be absorbed; maybe a half hour and 45 mins before you start feeling effects; may depend if your stomach is full or not 4/4/16 Issues re Legal Marijuana  Illegal exports of Colorado Marijuana have been sized in more than 40 states o One of the things that the Attorney general warned CO and WA about o The only formal comment from the Attorney general has been that we aren’t going to prosecute the Federal Marijuana laws in CO or WA as long as they regulate it and keep marijuana away from under aged children (edibles issue) and make sure that Marijuana was regulated to keep it in the state in which it’s legal Lawsuit  2 neighboring states, Nebraska and Oklahoma brought suit against CO, charging the federal government with helping them keep Marijuana away from their borders o Their suit demanded that the federal government step in and ban Marijuana and begin to prosecute Marijuana vendors and producers in CO o This lawsuit went all the way to the supreme court o March 21, 2016: Supreme court rejected the case 6-2  Didn’t want to hear it; didn’t rule one way or the other; they’re leaving the status quo in effect Future of Marijuana Legalization  The rights of the states (CO, WA, Oregon)  those rights will be recognized under the Obama Administration o The next President of the U.S. and Attorney General is going to have a tough decision to make  is it possible that the next president may make it illegal in the US or will it allow legality everywhere? o This creates international issues Single Convention  The US is a signatory of a convention called the Single Convention (agreement by all major countries, minus a few rogue nations, that all will agree to ban certain drugs in their countries and will enforce international agreements regarding those drugs, so that drug smuggling across borders can be controlled o Marijuana is one of the drugs that every nation virtually in the world has agreed to ban and prosecute international smugglers of marijuana  Over the years, any time a country (i.e. Holland – coffee shops that sell legal marijuana)  The US wagged our fingers at them and said that maybe it’s okay if you give those coffee shops licenses in Amsterdam, but if you make marijuana legal in Holland, you will be violating the Single Convention and the US will censor you and provide some sanctions o Several countries lean towards legalizing Marijuana, hence the US generally that keeps them in line o Interestingly, with legal marijuana in some of our states, there’s an international ripple that’s beginning to happen  In recent years, several countries (Holland/Amsterdam, Argentina, Colombia, Czech Republic, Mexico, Uruguay) have legalized marijuana o Most of our European allies have backed off from making it legal o In England, Canada, and several other European countries, there’s debate about legal status of marijuana and it puts the current situation of the US is putting us in a very awkward position as the US has always been the heavy enforcement of the Single Convention  It’s legal in CO, is that part of the US or not? What we know about marijuana Marijuana and the Brain  Mechanism of action?  Has led to a major new discovery in how the brain works (discovery of THC receptors) o That mystery was solved in the late 1990s with the discovery that the some neurons contain receptor sites that no known neurotransmitter would bind to o Assert that if there’s a receptor site for neurons that responds to THC, then there must be a natural neurotransmitter that binds to those receptor sites o THC receptors are found in the hippocampus (brain region involved in memory) o Hippocampus profoundly affected by marijuana  Two groups of THC receptors o Cannabinoid 1 receptors (in the brain) o Cannabinoid 2 receptors (found outside the brain/distributed throughout the body)  Anandamide: the brain’s Marijuana neurotransmitter (from the Hindu word for bliss – Ananda) o Why is there anandamide in the brain? These receptors are also important in mediating the Marijuana high, pain relief, and other effects associated with Marijuana Pharmacokinetics of THC  Absorption is different depending on administration  Rapid absorption in the lungs o Taking in a great deal of THC, depending on the concentration of the Marijuana you’re smoking, in a very short period of time o The high/psychological experience the user gets will be immediate and strong (feeling effects within 60 seconds) o Makes it very easy for the user to determine the dose o Easier to know when to quit o 2-5 hour duration of action  Erratic absorption after oral administration o A lot of the Marijuana that you eat/THC that is contained in a Marijuana edible, never gets absorbed at all/ is simply excreted o How much is absorbed depends on things like is your stomach full and what are you doing during that period? Things we aren’t sure about o How much THC is absorbed is much less efficient when taken orally Figure 2.5 Graph  Marijuana Absorption & Effects  Immediately after you smoke or inject Marijuana, the peak effect occurs o Your strongest high is within 5-10 mins after taking the drug; and the decline in the reported high is fairly rapid (an hour or 2) o Within 3-4 hours the person feels no effects at all or at least no high  Oral administration: same amount roughly, and an hour into it they’re barely feeling the effects, but those effects continue to increase to about 2 hours later and the peak is 3 hours after they ate the stuff (the peak here isn’t as high as it was because absorption is inefficient orally) o Most of the edible Marijuana (dose is 2 gummy bears) and they’ll pack in 60 or 80 mg per gummy bear (Very potent stuff) o If you took your proper dose of 2 gummy bears, you would be up at an 8 or a 9 but it wouldn’t be for 2 or 3 hours o Eat a whole bag of gummy bears and 5 hours later, they’re unconscious o Difficult to overdose on Marijuana; of the psychoactive drugs, pharmacologists will say that THC is one of the least toxic drugs because it takes enormous doses to be fatal overdoses o Historically, there’s never been a confirmed overdose death from smoking Marijuana o People don’t understand that the pharmacokinetics are different  A lot of people in CO and WA who don’t want to smoke are still attracted to the edibles Pharmacokinetics of THC  Great persistence in tissue (30 days after a single dose)  Because of its properties, Marijuana is absorbed into fat cells and can persist in tissue for a long time  In fact, THC metabolites persist in the body longer than any drug we’ve talked about so far (with the exception of anabolic steroids – body building chemicals that are also very long lasting in the system) o Most drugs clear your system in 24-48 hours, maybe 72 hours max o Detection in urine 10-14 days after a single dose; up to 24 days after chronic use  No evidence that this has any psychoactive effects (no meaningful physiological consequences); no longer psychoactive and we don’t know of any other consequences, harmful or otherwise Acute Marijuana Effects: Physiological Actions (moderate/low doses of THC)  Increases heartrate (but lacks many of the other feature of sympathomimetic drugs)  Lower blood pressure  Dilation of blood vessels in the eye o Produces the blood shot/red eye o Not the smoke that causes red eye, it’s this effect on the blood vessels so that they stand out and person looks like eyes are bloodshot  Dry mouth; physiological effect of Marijuana, not an effect of smoking  Increased appetite – lab animals treated with THC will eat more and people will too  High doses are sedating – you could classify it as a depressant but you don’t see depressive action until very high doses; not unlike what we see of depressant drugs o Unlike depressant drugs, where when you get to a dose that’s sedating or anesthetic, you’re getting into a danger zone in terms of cardiac depression o Marijuana is non-toxic and people can tolerate high doses without danger of death  There is an LD 50 for THC (overdose deaths associated with synthetic cannabinoids) Medical Use of Marijuana?  Recreational status has surpassed medical Marijuana as an issue  Some states have made medical Marijuana legal, while others have not  There are no approved uses of medical Marijuana by the American Medical Association o Marinol (synthetic THC) – oral use only; problems for use with nausea; approved by the government o Sativex – THC extract droplets taken in spray form (approved in Europe; Schedule III in the U.S.)  FDA trying to determine if it should be available as a Schedule II drug o FDA 2007 Review: : “smoked M has no currently accepted medical use in the US and is not approved for medical treatment” o 23 states have made some kind of Marijuana legal or available 1. Glaucoma – not effective a. Disorder can cause blindness (because of an increase in the pressure inside your eyeball – inter-ocular pressure) so it is thought to be of some benefit b. Not found to be effective because the American Medical Association has determined that other drugs that are used to treat Glaucoma are more effective than THC, so it’s not going to wind up being an important use 2. Nausea: in adjunct to chemotherapy a. Individuals with cancer/chemotherapy should eat, but usually feel nauseated and can’t hold food down or aren’t hungry b. THC can be useful here/this is one of the approved uses i. There are no approved uses of Marijuana medically (by the AMA), but there is some evidence that Marijuana may be as effective or more effective than other treatments ii. A lot of the treatments that are used are the pills that you take orally; if you’re nauseated and vomiting, you may not be able to keep the pill down so being able to smoke Marijuana and have the same effect is very beneficial here for some people 3. Cachexia: wasting in AIDS and cancer a. Similar to anorexia b. Person simply doesn’t want to eat or cannot hold the food down c. Begins to suffer from malnutrition d. Marijuana can be a valuable treatment 4. Multiple Sclerosis: reduce spasticity a. Recent data show that THC may be beneficial for some people that suffer from MS (severe progressive disorder) b. Certain kinds of pain that are hard to treat with other drugs, may be treated with Marijuana c. Many people claim it’s an effective pain reliever in MS and neuropathic pain Psychological Effects of THC  When users report the effects of Marijuana, there’s a lot of variability in how people describe the high (often described as a tingling sensations in body and head – buzz) o Subjective effects/how people describe intoxication: most users report euphoria/sharpened humor (giggling/laughing incessantly)/relaxation  As psychologists, we look at behavior of people with THC in the laboratory o There are changes in sensory perception that are produced by Marijuana and some people have historically classified Marijuana as a hallucinogen  Acute changes in sensory perception (i.e. time perception)  Doesn’t produce true hallucinations, at least not visual hallucinations, but it does alter your sense of time  Things seem to progress more slowly (measure with experimental techniques in terms of time estimation and the like in a psych lab) o Acute impairment of STM – most replicable and most robust side effect of M  Psychologists distinguish between LTM (permanent) & memories that are short lived (have a limited capacity/don’t last very long)  Digit Span Task – measure working memory o Have a list of numbers; called out one number at a time; goal is to remember all of the numbers in sequential order by the end of the task o Number used in class demonstration – 427699372815 o There’s a magic # (general capacity of STM or working memory) = 7 + 2 o Implications: if you’re under the influence of Marijuana, the magic # is reduced  Effect of Marijuana in the hippocampus is to shorten or reduce working memory (typically goes down a couple digits)  The effect is present when the drug is present (short-term)  There may be some chronic effects (debate)  Certainly, there is no debate about/one of the most important effects of THC is that it produces an acute impairment in working memory capacity  Also reduces the duration of time that you can hold information  In experiments like this, I gave numbers to you at a certain pace, as the time is spread out, gets harder and harder; shortens duration and capacity of working memory Weil’s Study – Reverse Tolerance  With most drugs, the first time you take the drug, the effect is the strongest and if you take it again multiple times, you may develop tolerance (COMPEHENSIVE FINAL EXAM Q: when a drug is taken regularly, its effects have diminished; a given dose has less effect/takes more to produce a desired effect for a regular user ) o Some people have reported a different kind of effect o First time may take a substantial dose of Marijuana and they report that they don’t feel very strong effects  Most famous study of this is by Andrew Weil  He compared two groups in terms of their reactions to smoked Marijuana (college students) – 1970s o One group had never tried Marijuana but wanted to o The other group were experienced Marijuana users o Both groups smoked marijuana, then over a period of 2 hours they were given psychological and memory testing (questionnaires) and researchers measured subjective/physiological effects o Results  The experienced users reported they felt fairly high on a ten point scale (7)  Their heart rate was up dramatically from 70 bpm, well over 120 bpm  Scores on the memory tests were bad, so they definitely were getting the impairment of memory  At the same does, the individuals who had never tried Marijuana reported not feeling very high on the 10 point scale (rating of 1 or 2)  Although these individuals aren’t reporting feeling high, their heart rate was up 50 bpm  Fully achieving the physiological effects of Marijuana  Reverse tolerance: experienced smokers are more sensitive to effects of the drug than people who have never tried it (Sensitization)  Not in effect with the physical effects of the drug  They were just as bad on the memory test  When they were given the memory test, some of them began to recognize they were behaving abnormally  Most psychologists argue that the reverse tolerance that you do see with Marijuana is more an awareness of the way that Marijuana intoxication works; not the same kind of high as alcohol or some other drugs that the person may experience  Inexperienced user may not recognize the effects (most common explanation)  Now that we are having individuals with access to high dose of THC in a regular way, these individuals begin to be able to tolerate really high doses; although you might see reverse tolerance with occasional users, chronic users develop tolerance (like other drugs we’ve talked about) Issues and Concerns about Marijuana Adverse effects of Marijuana: Myth and Reality  Impairment of motor skills/driving performance  Reality: acute impairment of complex motor skills o 10% highway fatalities driver THC positive o Only 30% under THC fail field sobriety test o Huestis (2014 literature review)  Some research based on lab driving simulation tests and some of it’s based on work in the field  Huestis estimates that THC intoxication increases crash risk twofold (about level of 0.05 alcohol) and that’s a meaningful effect but for comparison, I want you to consider that’s about the increased risk that you get at a pretty low level of alcohol at the .05 level; not DUI; still legal dose of alcohol; small, but measureable increase in traffic risk  THC isn’t producing the same effects of alcohol; it’s not like THC is producing effects where someone becomes profoundly slow  In some of these driving tests, some of these effects are attentional  Attentional Problems o In classic early studies, a graduate student sits in a passenger sea while a participant who has smoked a couple of joints is driving a driver’s ed type car o Graduate student has an emergency brake in the passenger seat and directs participant with simple direction (“I want you to make a left turn at the corner here and don’t his any of the cones”) o Measure how did it go? How many hits? o Results: Individuals under the influence of THC hit more cones but what’s noted in these kinds of research is that participants often fail to follow the instructions  Show classic attentional failure (waiting at light, light turns green, waiting at the light) which can lead to hazardous conditions on the highway o Measure how did it go? How many hits? o Results: Individuals under the influence of THC hit more cones but what’s noted in these kinds of research is that participants often fail to follow the instructions  Show classic attentional failure (waiting at light, light turns green, waiting at the light) which can lead to hazardous conditions on the highway  Slower decision making  Impaired peripheral vision (computer tests) – data in lab suggest that you don’t drive fine; not impaired in the way that alcohol impairs you, but you are impaired  Skeptical: you can test positive for THC for up to a month after you smoke; if you smoked Marijuana two weeks ago and you’re in a car today, you would test positive for Marijuana (may not be influencing driving at the point of the test); hard to know what to make of these kinds of data DUI in Colorado  In CO, they passed a law that sets a legal limit for THC  New DUI is in effect in Colorado which sets a legal limit for the amount of active THC in your system while driving: 5 ngs per ml of blood o Pretty high amount o It is controversial – blood levels of THC don’t correlate perfectly with the effects on behavior for probably a lot of reasons, but one of them is that THC is absorbed in fatty tissue and sometimes we’ll see that the brain and blood levels begin to drop while person is still really impaired; in fact, subjective and behavioral effects might still be increasing; impairment is still peaking  5ng/ml is very high and has been criticized as licensed to drive stoned (Dupont, 2014) o Dupont has argued that that level (5 ng) is way too high; should be made a lot lower, but again he says it’s a license to drive stoned  Has not been an increase in traffic fatalities in CO  Because THC is so persistent in the system, it’s tricky to have good laws to prevent driving under the influence of THC  94 traffic fatalities tested positive in 2014- up from 71 in 2013  Overall traffic fatalities were down in 2014 Myth and Reality  Studying under the influence of Marijuana is a bad idea because acute impairment of STM; ability to manage info is not what it should be or can be while under the influence of THC  Increased heart rate (for a young healthy individual the increased heart rate is not a risky thing) o For individuals with CHD or high BP or at risk for CHD, particularly older individuals, this increase in heart rate is not good  Paranoia/anxiety/panic – some individuals react with this o Particularly with high doses (seeing more and more with dabbing these butane hash oil concentrates) o ER visits for people who are in an acute panic are becoming increasingly common o Individuals who normally like Marijuana sometimes will experience these adverse effects (not sure about this)  Pregnancy? o THC and other cannabinoids will penetrate the fetus while pregnant o In mice and rats it causes problems o Not sure about humans Adverse Effects Attributed to Marijuana Use (Iversen, 2008)  Impaired memory (6.1%)  Paranoia (5.6%)  Amotivation (4.8%)  Respiratory (4.2%)  Anxiety/panic (1.8%)  Total reporting problems/reporting some sorts of adverse effects/heavy users (21.0%) Adverse Effects of Marijuana (chronic effects) – The Jamaica Study 1970s  In the study, a large group of Rastafarians, whose use of Marijuana was extreme/used daily were compared to less extreme users  Heavy user group had 30 users who smoked between 7 to 25 joints a day  NO doubt that the individuals in the heavy user group were heavy users; stoned all day and they had been using Marijuana at this level for between 10 and 25 years  Another 30 participants (who did not use Marijuana) were gathered who were matched for the heavy Marijuana users for income, SES, education, age, etc. o Throborn and colleagues compared them in terms of medical examinations and a battery of psychological tests o They found basically no differences between the heavy Marijuana users and the users who were not Marijuana users o Gave Marijuana use (even heavy Marijuana use) a clean bill of health, but there are problems with the study/problems w/evaluating the chronic effects of M in general Controversy of the Jamaica Study  Rastafarians in Jamaica are generally individuals with very low educational levels; in fact, the mean education was second grade level; have to find a control group of people who don’t use M and who dropped out in second grade  Does smoking Marijuana for10 years cause lung damage? Didn’t find differences  Control Group: many of the people in the control group were cigarette smokers and unemployed (most Rastafarians were unemployed, so you have to match them for SES)  Problem of the Jamaica study is that you’re not really looking at the upper class of Jamaica; you’re looking at people who are troubled people in poverty and so that’s been one of the big issues; as a result, some people have replicated Jamaica study and in US o Greece – found huge differences; lots more medical and psychological problems in the Marijuana users o In that study, the control group were well educated college students and Marijuana groups were people who were very poorly educated with low SES and it’s not clear that those differences should or could be attributed to Marijuana; this is hard research to do Adverse Effects of Marijuana (Carcinogens in smoke)  Marijuana smoke has some of the same compounds that are known carcinogens in tobacco smoke o In some cases, it’s got more of them  Some reason to be concerned that smoking Marijuana heavily might put you at risk for lung disease but the data don’t support this very well  Pletcher et al. JAMA (2012) – large scale study o Moderate pot smoking (2-3 times per week) did not impair lung function; some decline noted in heavier users – less lung toxicity than tobacco


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