MONDAY, Aug. 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) — States that have legalized medical marijuana tend to experience an unexpected benefit — fewer overdose deaths from narcotic painkillers, a new study suggests.
Access to medical marijuana is associated with 25 percent fewer prescription drug overdose deaths each year compared to states where medical pot is illegal, according to findings published Aug. 25 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
What’s more, states that pass medical marijuana laws see their overdose death rates decrease dramatically in the years immediately afterward, researchers reported.
The study authors believe that people suffering from chronic pain tend to rely on medical marijuana when they have that option, which reduces the risk of addiction and overdose that accompanies use of narcotic medications.
“We think that people with chronic pain may be choosing to treat their pain with marijuana rather than with prescription painkillers, in states where this is legal,” said lead author Dr. Marcus Bachhuber, a researcher with the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
But some experts caution against drawing conclusions from the study.
“I don’t know what to make of the paper. I’d be very, very careful saying that medical marijuana laws decrease risk of opiate [narcotic] overdose,” said Dr. Bradley Flansbaum, a hospitalist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “It’s a very loose association.”
The study used data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine the prescription painkiller overdose death rate for each state between 1999 and 2010, and then took into account whether and when each state had passed a medical marijuana law.
Overdose deaths from prescription painkillers have skyrocketed over the past two decades, increasing 118 percent between 1999 and 2011, according to the CDC.
The agency estimates that every day 113 people die from drug overdoses in the United States, and another 6,700 land in the emergency room from an overdose.
Currently, 23 states allow medical marijuana to ease chronic pain and other conditions.
The researchers reviewed death certificates from all states between 1999 and 2010, when 13 states had legalized marijuana.
Since 2010, another 10 states and Washington, D.C., have adopted similar laws, the researchers said.
While overdose deaths have risen in all states, Bachhuber and his colleagues found that the annual average number of deaths caused by painkillers is nearly 25 percent less in states with medical marijuana laws.
“In absolute terms, states with a medical marijuana law had about 1,700 fewer opioid painkiller overdose deaths in 2010 than would be expected based on trends before the laws were passed,” Bachhuber said.
States’ overdose death rates decline an average 20 percent in the first year following the passage of a medical marijuana law, the researchers found. By the second year, overdose death rates on average decline 25 percent, and as much as 33 percent by five years after legalization of medical pot.
Medical marijuana laws also are associated with a more dramatic decrease in overdose death rates than other means commonly used to tackle prescription drug abuse, the study noted.
For example, prescription drug monitoring programs are associated with an average 3.7 percent increase in overdose deaths, compared with a 24.8 percent decline associated with medical pot legalization, according to the study.
Increased state oversight of pain management clinics is associated with a 7.6 percent decline in overdose deaths, while laws requiring patients to show ID when picking up a prescription are associated with a 5 percent increase in overdose deaths, the study authors found.
Bachhuber cautioned that the exact mechanism underlying these study results is unclear, and that the findings don’t prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship between medical marijuana laws and overdose deaths.
Flansbaum agreed. Although he called the paper “provocative” and “stimulating,” he said it doesn’t prove that medical marijuana reduces drug overdoses.
“There are so many things going on in states, whether it be cultural or through laws, it’s hard to say what’s the effect of the medical marijuana law versus everything else that’s happening,” Flansbaum said. “You don’t know what causes what. The data is not that clean.”
But these findings support previous studies that showed people who receive a prescription for medical marijuana tend to reduce the amount of other pain medications they use, said John Thomas, a health law expert and professor at the Quinnipiac University School of Law in Hamden, Conn.
There are some concerns that those patients might start abusing their medical marijuana, as they would a prescription painkiller, Thomas added.
“The good news about that is that marijuana doesn’t tend to kill you, and it isn’t as physically addictive as other medication,” he said.
It sounds like every scam diet you’ve ever had advertised at you, but physiologists at the University of California, San Francisco are working on a way to cause fat to burn more calories. So far their success is restricted to rodents, but it’s a start.
Humans have two types of fat, the white adipose tissue that dominates in adults, and brown adipose tissue which provides babies protection against the cold by burning food. Adults exposed to cold will produce a mixture known as beige fat. Ajay Chawla says cold is “the only stimulus we know that can increase beige fat mass or brown fat mass.” Strangely, among all the marketing one thing you don’t see is people offering you an icebath for a low, low price.
However, Chawla wondered if there was a way to trick the body into thinking it was being exposed to cold. In 2011 he revealed the role of immune cells called macrophages in the process, with low temperatures activating the macrophages to turn fat brown. Mice lacking the interleukin-4 and 13 proteins develop fewer beige fat cells when exposed to cold than other mice.
While this may be a great way to produce obese mice, the far more pressing question is whether the process can be reversed. That is, would extra IL-4 or IL-13 result in more brown fat, and therefore less fat in total.
Now Chawla has announced his results in Cell. “The events that lead from the sensing of cold to the development of beige fat remain poorly understood,” the paper notes. Nevertheless Chawla and his colleagues report that, “administration of IL-4 to thermoneutral mice increases beige fat mass and thermogenic capacity to ameliorate pre-established obesity. Together, our findings have uncovered the efferent circuit controlling biogenesis of beige fat and provide support for its targeting to treat obesity.”
Mice given extra IL-4 produced 15 times as many brown fat cells as other mice. This increase their energy expenditure for a particular body mass and level of activty by 15-20% even at 30°C.
Chawla’s graphical representation of the way macrophages and cold temperatures produce energy burning brown fat cells.
The same edition of Cell carries another paper by a separate team at Harvard who have gone upstream, finding that the hormone Metrnl increases IL-4 concentrations, as well as some of the brown fat generating macrophages.
While the researchers are keen to see if the results can be repeated in humans, ads for a product claiming to be Metrnl will probably be appearing all over the web well before this is confirmed, let alone safety established.
Types of Collagen
Collagen consists of three protein chains bound together in a triple helix, and amino acids form together in a special sequence to make the helix stable. There are many types of collagen, but the most common are type 1, found in the skin, teeth, bone, ligaments and tendons; type 2, found in cartilage; type 3, which gives shape to organs, such as the liver, heart and kidneys; and type 4, found in the blood vessels of muscles and in the eye.
The Untethered Soul really is a great book that helped me to slow the minds over-thinking and be able to enjoy the smaller things. It has also helped me to overcome my anxiety in certain social situations.
Here is a bit about it:
What would it be like to be free from limitations and soar beyond your boundaries? What can you do each day to find this kind of inner peace and freedom? The Untethered Soul offers a simple, profoundly intuitive answer to these questions. Whether this is your first exploration of inner space or you’ve devoted your life to the inward journey, this book will transform your relationship with yourself and the world around you.
The Untethered Soul begins by walking you through your relationship with your thoughts and emotions, helping you uncover the source and fluctuations of your inner energy. It then delves into what you can do to free yourself from the habitual thoughts, emotions, and energy patterns that limit your consciousness. Finally, with perfect clarity, this book opens the door to a life lived in the freedom of your innermost being.
It’s no wonder that The Power of Now has sold over 2 million copies worldwide and has been translated into over 30 foreign languages. Much more than simple principles and platitudes, the book takes readers on an inspiring spiritual journey to find their true and deepest self and reach the ultimate in personal growth and spirituality: the discovery of truth and light.
In the first chapter, Tolle introduces readers to enlightenment and its natural enemy, the mind. He awakens readers to their role as a creator of pain and shows them how to have a pain-free identity by living fully in the present. The journey is thrilling, and along the way, the author shows how to connect to the indestructible essence of our Being, “the eternal, ever-present One Life beyond the myriad forms of life that are subject to birth and death.”
Featuring a new preface by the author, this paperback shows that only after regaining awareness of Being, liberated from Mind and intensely in the Now, is there Enlightenment.
Maca, a root that belongs to the radish family, is most commonly available in powder form. Grown in the mountains of Peru, it has been called “Peruvian ginseng.” Maca’s benefits have been long valued, and has recently been popularized as a supplement and food ingredient.
There are no serious known side effects of maca, but like any other supplement it should not be taken in large amounts. When you first start using maca, it’s best to begin by taking smaller amounts and building up; even 1/2 teaspoon is a good place to start. And at the other end, 1 tablespoons (of the powder) is an average daily dose. Rotating a few days on and a few days off is often recommended. Taking too much can lead to adverse effects and throw your hormones out of whack. If you experience this, you should take less or wean yourself off completely.
Maca is good in smoothies, salads, drinks, cooked foods, and juices. Don’t add it to anything that’s very hot because it will lose all its benefits. The taste can be a bit odd at first but it gets more tolerable and it depends on what you mix it with. Its flavor has been described as “malted” or like toasted oats. Smoothies, puddings, raw sweets, and juices seem to be the best ways to use maca powder. Capsules are best to get past the taste.
Please be aware that other than the nutritional benefits provided by the vitamins and minerals, the other benefits are anecdotal, as maca has not been formally studied.
Maca is rich in vitamin B vitamins, C, and E. It provides plenty of calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids.
2. Sexual function
Maca is widely used to promote sexual function of both men and women. It serves as a boost to your libido and increases endurance. At the same time it balances your hormones and increases fertility.
3. Women’s health and mood
Maca relieves menstrual issues and menopause. It alleviates cramps, body pain, hot flashes, anxiety, mood swings, and depression. If you are pregnant or lactating you should avoid taking maca.
Within days of using maca your energy level may increase. It is also known for increasing stamina. Many athletes take maca for peak performance. If you find yourself tired most of the time, experiment with maca to see if it helps. Just a small amount could be exactly what you need for a boost!
5. General health
Maca helps your overall health in a number of ways. It supplies iron and helps restore red blood cells, which aids anemia and cardiovascular diseases. Maca keeps your bones and teeth healthy and allows you to heal from wounds more quickly. When used in conjunction with a good workout regime you will notice an increase in muscle mass.
But be very cautious if you have a cancer related to hormones like testicular and ovarian, among others. If you have liver issues or high blood pressure you should ask your doctor before taking maca.
Many people take maca for skin issues, as for some people it helps to clear acne and blemishes. Another benefit for your skin is that is decreases sensitivity. In hot or cold weather, maca may help your skin withstand extreme temperatures.
7. Mood balance
If you find yourself overcome with anxiety, stress, depression or mood swings, maca may help alleviate these symptoms, though of the evidence is anecdotal. Some have reported an increase in mental energy and focus.
My Maca Powder of choice: Healthforce Macaforce Vanilla Spice, Powder, 350-Grams