Tag Archives: David G. Evans

COVID-19 + Pot: Lung Issues, Suppression of Immune System, ER Problems

By David G. Evans, Esq

Hundreds of businesses in cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.  However, “medical” marijuana stores remain open as officials revise public health orders to include cannabis as an essential medicine.

Who is Vulnerable to Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Is keeping marijuana stores open a good policy? The science shows that it is not.

The Centers for Disease Control states that the people at high risk of getting very sick or dying from COVID-19 include:

1. Older adults

2. People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:

Heart disease

Diabetes

Lung disease

Asthma – People with asthma may be at higher risk of getting very sick. COVID-19 can affect your respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs), cause an asthma attack, and possibly lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease.

What does the science say about marijuana use and impaired immune function or lung and respiratory problems?

A comprehensive study of the dangers of marijuana smoke by the Hazard Assessment Branch of the California Environmental Protection Agency concluded in part that: Marijuana smoke is genotoxic, immunosuppressive, and can alter endocrine function. Studies of 9-THC and other cannabinoids provide evidence for alterations of multiple cell signaling pathways, in endocrine function, and suppression of the innate and adaptive immune response. Prolonged exposures to marijuana smoke in animals and humans cause proliferative and inflammatory lesions in the lung.

Immune function impairment

One of the most serious findings in marijuana research was the effect of marijuana on various immune functions. Cellular immunity is impaired, pulmonary immunity is impaired, and impaired ability to fight infection is now documented in humans. This impairment leaves the patient unable to fight certain infections and fatal diseases. The potential for these complications exists in all forms of administration of marijuana. Habitual smoking of marijuana has a number of effects on the respiratory and immune systems, including alterations in lung function, increased prevalence of acute and chronic bronchitis and airway injury.

A study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine states: “We conclude that smoking marijuana, regardless of tetrahydrocannabinol content, results in a substantially greater respiratory burden of carbon monoxide and tar than smoking a similar quantity of tobacco.”

Guy Cabral, author of the book, Marihuana and Medicine, pp. 317-325 concludes in the chapter on marihuana and the immune system:  “Marihuana has been shown to decrease host resistance to bacterial, protozoan, and viral infections in experimental animal models and in vitro systems. Recent immuno epidemiological studies suggest that marihuana may also influence the outcome of viral infections in humans. The main substance in marihuana that exerts these immuno depressive effects is its major psychoactive constituent Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).”

Marijuana Contamination Poses Serious Risks to Health

Contaminants of marijuana smoke include bacteria, molds and fungi. Those at particular risk for the development of infection due to inhaling marijuana smoke are people with impaired immunity. For example, Aspergillus is a group of molds that can cause allergy-type illnesses to life-threatening generalized infections. Aspergillus is found in marijuana and can cause illness in marijuana users. This is thought to be due to the direct inhalation of fungal spores that are present on the surface of the plant. The heating of cannabis buds may not be sufficient for sterilization and so users (particularly those with compromised immune systems) are potentially exposed to life threatening pulmonary infection.

A study done at the University of California, Davis, discovered that medical marijuana from 20 dispensaries contained multiple fungal and bacterial contaminants that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections among marijuana users. Smoking, vaping or inhaling aerosolized marijuana is a serious health risk, especially for people with chronic conditions or other conditions requiring immunosuppressing therapies. The study revealed a multitude of microorganisms, many of which are known causes of serious lung infections, including Cryptococcus, Mucor, and Aspergillus fungi.

The authors of the study concluded:  “Our results suggest that handling marijuana in any form might expose the patient to a number of both bacterial and fungal pathogens well known to cause serious infections in the immunocompromised population. Smoking or vaporization provides a direct portal of entry into the terminal bronchioles and alveoli. Moreover, the recovery of these organisms in a symptomatic patient would be unlikely to initiate a search for unusual exposures. Aspergillus and other molds may therefore be attributed to breakthrough infection, and recovery of Gram-negative bacilli would be attributed to healthcare-associated pneumonia and/or a failure of prophylaxis.”

Vaping

Use of vaping devices such as those used for vaping marijuana cause a serious, potentially fatal lung disease called Vaping Associated Lung Injury (EVALI).  Most of the sick EVALI patients used THC extract products in their vaping devices.  THC is the addictive psychoactive mind-altering compound of marijuana that produces the “high.” Having vaping lung injury will hurt your chances of survival if you get CONVID-19.

From: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html; https://www.psychologytoday.com/za/blog/balanced/202001/vaping-and-evali (Posted Jan 31, 2020); https://www.fda.gov/tobacco-products/products-ingredients-components/vaporizers-e-cigarettes-and-other-electronic-nicotine-delivery-systems-ends

This may be especially true with young people who vape marijuana.

Can marijuana use open your body up to a virus?

A study from Harvard Medical School showed that marijuana use opens the door for the virus that causes Kaposi’s Sarcoma. This is a serious life-threatening problem for people with HIV infection. The major active component of marijuana could aid the Kaposi’s sarcoma virus in infecting cells and multiplying, according researchers. They report that low doses of THC, equivalent to that in the bloodstream of an average marijuana smoker, could be enough to facilitate infection of skin cells and could even foster malignancy. “These findings raise some serious questions about using marijuana, in any form, if you have a weakened immune system,” said lead study author Jerome E. Groopman, M.D., professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “

Damage to Our Emergency Health Care System

In addition to the damage to marijuana users that results from marijuana use, marijuana user causes problems for our health care system, especially the emergency medicine system. We do not need more overloading of our health care system.

Emergency rooms in states that have legalized marijuana have to deal with Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. CHS is a condition with recurrent bouts of severe nausea, vomiting, and dehydration. It can lead users to make frequent trips to the emergency room, but can be resolved when a person stops using marijuana. CHS which can result in kidney failure. 

Marijuana users flood the Emergency medicine system when users become paranoid and psychotic. 

Marijuana related emergency room visits by Colorado teens is substantially on the rise. They see more kids with psychotic symptoms and other mental health problems and chronic vomiting due to marijuana use.

Marijuana Exposures Increase

The rate of marijuana exposures among children under the age of six increased by 610% in the “medical” marijuana states according to a study published in Clinical Pediatrics. The data comes from the National Poison Data System. 75% percent of the children ingested edible marijuana products such as marijuana-infused candy. Clinical effects include drowsiness or lethargy, ataxia [failure of muscle coordination], agitation or irritability, confusion and coma, respiratory depression, and single or multiple seizures.

In Colorado one in six infants and toddlers hospitalized for lung inflammation are testing positive for marijuana exposure. This has been a 100% increase since legalization. Non-white kids are more likely to be exposed than white kids.

Conclusion

In these times of peril from infection by the COVID-19 virus, it’s  unwise to use marijuana.  Anyone at risk of getting COVID-19 should not use it as a medicine. Marijuana use hurts the users and contributes to overloading our health care system.

See also: www.civel.org, submissions to the FDA,” The Failures of the States to Regulate Marijuana, Studies Show That Marijuana Products Have High Levels of Contaminants Including Pesticides, Fungus and Heavy Metals and Solvents”

From our website, there’s much more medical documentation on the dangers of marijuana.

For more information, go to the website, www.aalm.info  

Contact  Americans Against Legalizing Marijuana

POB 158 Carmichael, CA 95609 Phones 916-708-4111, 619-990-7480

The Truth About Prisons & Marijuana

by David Evans   I worked in the New Jersey criminal justice system for years, setting up programs for addicts and alcoholics.    Prison programs for addiction do not work as well as programs outside prison. There’s too much game playing to get out sooner.  Instead, we set up a program so that inmates would be released and had their parole date but had to spend the last month or so in a residential treatment program.  It worked better.   You never know what will work with somebody.

Drug legalization advocates claim that prisons are overflowing with people convicted for only simple possession of marijuana.  This claim is aggressively pushed by groups seeking to relax or abolish marijuana laws. Continue reading The Truth About Prisons & Marijuana

Marijuana Puts Education, Kids Futures at Risk

Heather Mizeur naively campaigned for the governorship of Maryland by supporting universal pre-Kindergarten and paying for it by legalizing marijuana.  Her support came from NORML and the marijuana industry.

What good does earlier education do for child welfare when you introduce a whole set of new problems?

Look at what is going on in Colorado and Washington, and the unusual types of child endangerment that have gone on with legalization.   Many very young children have gotten into marijuana edibles which look like cookies and candy.

“Encouraging marijuana commercialism and consumption to fund and support education are two inconsistent goals,” explained Diane Carlson, a co-founder of Bravetracks, a non-profit devoted to encouraging youth activity, employment and engagement in Colorado.  “Even before Coloradans voted in 2012 to legalize marijuana, Denver, where marijuana was first commercialized, had some of the highest youth use rates in the nation,” she said.

“The THC content of marijuana is extremely potent with levels reaching 20% and above in Colorado, due to competition in the industry.  Highly potent pot has become incredibly commercialized here and yet our kids have been told it’s benign. Increased access and use is a huge issue for Colorado teens who have no idea how such highly potent products can impact their health and their futures,” according to Carlson.

Since legalization, the pot problem only seems to be getting worse. “Disturbingly, Colorado kids will suck on lollipops, chew on gummy bears, or munch on granola bars without anyone knowing highly potent marijuana is being consumed. They have ‘vaped’ on pens, asthma inhalers or highlighters loaded with a concentrated form of THC that can go undetected in class.”

One high-school teacher in Denver, who wishes to remain anonymous, exclaimed, “Our job is so difficult and there are so many challenges to educating kids well in the best circumstances.  She added, “So why did the state add this other layer of challenge to our jobs and make it harder for our students to achieve success?”

Marijuana Money

“Where Commerce Meets Revolution” is how the Marijuana Policy Project (MMP) describes the Cannabis Business Summit held yesterday and today in Denver.  This title leaves no doubt that the MMP and other pot advocacy groups are about the money.

Amendment 64 passed in Colorado despite warnings of the teachers’ union and a persuasive letter from teacher Christina Blair to the Huffington Post.  It is probably because big money paid for the win in Colorado, with most of that money coming from the industry’s out-of-state lobbying groups.

One year later, by December 2013,  school administrators and law enforcement noticed the changes that came into the schools.  Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has warned the governors of other states not to follow Colorado’s example.

Revolutionary ideas grab attention, but Heather Mizeur didn’t win her primary.  She only promoted an idea which was heard all over the nation’s capital region.

Most likely the children who heard Mizeur’s TV commercials about marijuana will end up believing marijuana is completely harmless and could indeed be tied to education.

The pot industry regularly promotes it as a way to fund education.   It is an ironic that they would suggest a solution that only makes a problem worse.

Beware that many local candidates and representatives in Congress are taking money from the marijuana industry.   We need to watch out for the fallout from this “green rush.”  It could be worse than the mess left by the mortgage industry.

Marijuana and Teens

With the push to legalize and expansion of medical marijuana, children and teens have gained an erroneous perception that pot is harmless, studies show.  Surveys of teens indicate use would definitely go up, if marijuana is legalized.

According to David G. Evans, executive director of the Drug Free Schools Coalition,  “Studies indicate that usage will increase to levels near between those of tobacco and alcohol users.”   The annual survey show that all teen marijuana use, and daily marijuana use, have consistently gone up over the last five years.  As a nation and for our individual children, we need to be concerned.

There is a connection to regular marijuana usage, gaps in college education and dropping out of high school, which often hinders future success.  “Chronic/heavy marijuana users are twice as likely to experience gaps in college enrollment as minimal users, ” according to  Dr. Robert DuPont, Director of the Institute for Behavior and Health,  in Rockville, MD.

Marijuana use in the young often creates a-motivational syndrome and apathy, in addition to and apart from the affects of addiction.  It is not a way of saying “yes to life, yes to love, yes to opportunity and yes to education,” as recommended by the Pope Francis in a recent address at the International Drug Enforcement Conference in Rome.

Dr. DuPont and Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University, wrote an article to suggest that changing policy necessitates a large, multi-year study using technology that has developed over the past 2 decades.  The study would aim to understand more about the effects of marijuana on the adolescent brain.  Researchers at Northwestern University recently published their studies indicating the changes on specific parts of the brain, and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) has written about some of those findings.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry gives  a warning about  marijuana and young minds:  “Marijuana’s deleterious effects on adolescent brain development, cognition, and social functioning may have immediate and long-term implications, including increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, sexual victimization, academic failure, lasting decline in intelligence measures, psychopathology, addiction, and psychosocial and occupational impairment.”