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expert reaction to study on cannabis vaping using e-cigarettes

Cannabis is a class B drug in the UK but is in use for therapeutic purposes in a number of countries for various diseases, and a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports has reported that e-cigarette devices could be effective in administering therapeutic doses of the drug. read more

Psilocybin – an option for treatment-resistant depression?

Psilocybin, the active component of magic mushrooms, is being seriously considered as a therapy for people with treatment-resistant depression. One in five people suffer from depression at some point in their lives – a significant proportion of whom cannot be helped with any current psychotherapy or drugs. In 2012 researchers published a paper which used fMRI scans to show the effects of psilocybin on the brain. A related paper, published at the same time, suggested that psilocybin could be a useful tool in psychotherapy. The researchers have now gone on to test the safety of psilocybin in a small group of patients with treatment-resistant depression. They are publishing their new findings, funded by the Medical Research Council, in The Lancet Psychiatry. read more

expert reaction to psilocybin and treatment-resistant depression

Psilocybin, the active component of magic mushrooms, is being seriously considered as a therapy for people with treatment-resistant depression. Publishing in The Lancet Psychiatry journal a group researchers have now gone on to test the safety of psilocybin in a small group of patients with treatment-resistant depression. read more

expert reaction to study on e-cigarette use by teenagers

A new study in the journal BMC Public Health surveyed over 16,000 14-17 year-olds in North West England and asked participants about their alcohol and tobacco-related behaviors. The authors report that one in five had used e-cigarettes, and that they observed a link between alcohol consumption and the likelihood of e-cigarette access. read more

crowdfunding for LSD

Illegal drugs are gaining increased attention in the research community. A combination of complex regulations, differing requirements for clinical versus scientific research and limited funding opportunities have provided many obstacles for the research community, but some still feel it is worth attempting. Prof. David Nutt, former Chair of the ACMD, has been one of the most vocal proponents of research with psychedelic drugs. He and his team are now resorting to crowdfunding to get sufficient money to finish their basic research into the impact of LSD. read more

expert reaction to recreational drug use during pregnancy

A paper published in the journal PLOS One has analysed the use of recreational drugs in women with normal pregnancies and those with foetal abnormalities. In a small sample size, they reported an increased incidence of foetuses with gastroschisis born to younger mothers, and an increase in abnormalities of the central nervous system in foetuses born to mothers who used recreational drugs before conception. read more

expert reaction to cannabis and paranoia

A study in Schizophrenia Bulletin of the effects of THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, reported strong evidence that it can cause short-term paranoia and identified psychological factors that can lead to feelings of paranoia in cannabis users. read more

expert reaction to cannabis and potential brain abnormalities

Researchers in the US found a correlation between casual use of cannabis and the size, shape, and structure of brain regions involved with motivation, emotion and reward in a small sample of young adults. The report was published in the Journal of Neuroscience. read more

paying heroin addicts to be vaccinated

Around ¼ million people in the UK are injecting drug users and it is estimated that 50 – 60,000 of them are infected with hepatitis B (HBV), which can cause liver cancer or cirrhosis in chronic carriers of the virus. Researchers, publishing in The Lancet, have been assessing the benefit of paying heroin addicts to be vaccinated for HBV. read more

using ketamine for depression

In the search for new treatments for depression the spotlight has fallen on the class B drug ketamine. Experts came to the SMC to talk about the first UK research which investigates its safety and efficacy in a small trial and the implications of their findings. read more

ACMD report on ketamine

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs reviewed the evidence of the misuse and harms of ketamine and its analogues to inform the government’s public health response, as well as the classification of ketamine. read more

expert reaction to ACMD review of ketamine

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) recommended that ketamine should be upgraded to a Class B illegal drug and a schedule 2 substance for legal use by medics and vets. read more

volatile solvent abuse – the forgotten problem

Glue-sniffing seems a long-solved problem, but volatile solvent abuse still kills more people each year than legal highs. Researchers have been tracking the problems for years, striving to work out just how bad this forgotten problem is, why certain unexpected groups are prone to abuse and what needs to be done in the future. read more

BNA festival of neuroscience: the moody brain

The Science Media Centre and British Neuroscience Association joined together to run a pre-conference briefing on research being presented at the BNA Festival of Neuroscience at the Barbican Centre in London. read more

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