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On this episode of Let’s be Blunt with Montel, Jesse shares with Montel his journey back from the brink of severe depression and anxiety through Ayahuasca therapy. Jesse Gould graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Economics. After graduating college, he worked briefly in investment banking before deciding to join the Army. He became an Army Ranger and served in 3 combat deployments. After his military service, professionally he went back into high finance, but personally struggled with severe anxiety and depression. He is the President and Founder of the Heroic Hearts Project, a non-profit dedicated to educating and connecting veterans to psychedelic treatment options.
We’re all blind in some ways—blind to our biases, blind to our needs, blind to our habits. That’s what good journalism is for—not for reaffirming our beliefs, but for challenging us to consider new ones that are based on facts. That is the mission statement behind the magazine Double Blind. On this episode of Let’s Be Blunt, Montel talks with the Editor in Chief of DoubleBlind Magazine, Shelby Hartman.
In this Special Edition episode of Let's Be Blunt, Montel Williams and fellow veterans speak out in support of medical cannabis in a virtual press conference organized by MPP in hopes of furthering the Compassionate Cares Act introduced by lawmakers earlier this year in South Carolina. According to the Veterans Affairs National website, veterans will not lose access to benefits if they use medical cannabis through a state sanctioned program, but they cannot allow use or possession at any VA facility due to federal laws, “Veteran participation in state marijuana programs does not affect eligibility for VA care and services. VA providers can and do discuss marijuana use with Veterans as part of comprehensive care planning, and adjust treatment plans as necessary.” https://youtube.com/watch?v=lBrQGXLY95Q
Heavy Pot Use Tied to IQ Drop Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner Action Points Individuals repeatedly diagnosed with cannabis dependence during young adulthood had noticeable declines in IQscores by age 38, especially when the heavy use started in their teens. Note that the study findings are consistent with speculation that cannabis use in adolescence, when the brain is undergoing critical development, may have neurotoxic effects.[/background] Individuals repeatedly diagnosed with cannabis dependence during young adulthood had noticeable declines inIQ scores by age 38, especially when the heavy use started in their teens, researchers said. A small to medium decline in mean between tests taken on the eve of adolescence and again at age 38 was seen in those diagnosed at least three times with cannabis dependence, according to Madeline Meier, PhD, of Duke University, and colleagues, who reported on data from 1,037 participants in a New Zealand birth cohort. In the small group of participants who became cannabis dependent before age 18 -- a total of 23 cohort members -- the decline translated to an average of about 8 points, whereas 14 participants who also showed heavy cannabis use but only beginning in adulthood showed only a very small in full-scale scores (P=0.02), Meier and colleagues indicated online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers also reported that the size of the mean decline increased with the number of cannabis dependence diagnoses that participants had received in five evaluations conducted from ages 18 to 38 (P<0.0001 for trend). "Collectively, [the study's] findings are consistent with speculation that cannabis use in adolescence, when the brain is undergoing critical development, may have neurotoxic effects," Meier and colleagues wrote. Study participants were members of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study. It attempted to track all children born in Dunedin, New Zealand, from April 1972 to March 1973 starting at age 3. At age 38, the investigators had data on testing and cannabis dependence diagnoses on 874 cohort members. Besides assessing cannabis use, the five structured interviews in adulthood also elicited information on use of other illicit drugs and alcohol. tests were conducted initially at ages 7 to 13 and again at age 38. Among participants included in the current analysis, 242 never reported cannabis use in the structured interviews nor were they ever diagnosed with dependence; 479 indicated some use but never received a diagnosis; and 80, 35, and 38 had received one, two, or three or more dependence diagnoses in the adult evaluations. Baseline mean scores were similar and close to the standardized population average of 100 in these cannabis-use subgroups. However, at age 38, the mean scores had diverged considerably. The change from baseline was as follows (P values not reported): Never used, never diagnosed: +0.80 Used, never diagnosed: -1.07 One diagnosis: -1.62 Two diagnoses: -2.47 Three or more diagnoses: -5.75 Meier and colleagues reported other changes over time in "standard deviation units," in which changes of 0.20, 0.50, and 0.80 should be considered small, medium, or large, respectively. For participants with three or more diagnoses, the change was -0.38 units. The researchers also stratified participants into two groups according to whether, at a given interview, they reported using cannabis at least once a week on average ("regular user"). Individuals classed as regular users at least three times in the study also showed the largest declines in between tests (mean -5.23 IQ points, -0.35 standard deviation units, P value not reported), whereas little change was seen in those never reporting regular use. Similar patterns were seen in subdomain scores. These small to medium declines were also seen in this participant group in tests of memory, processing speed, and executive function. Meier and colleagues sought to rule out potential confounding factors, taking educational attainment and use of alcohol and other drugs into account. When they restricted their analysis to 278 participants who did not get beyond high school, again those with three or more dependence diagnoses showed medium-level declines in (mean -0.48 standard deviation units) whereas those in the never-used, never-diagnosed category had essentially no change (mean -0.03 units, P=0.0009 for trend). The pattern also held up when the researchers excluded participants with persistent dependence on tobacco, alcohol, and "hard" drugs, and also those with diagnoses of schizophrenia. However, the strongest relationships between persistent dependence and decline applied to those who began heavy use in adolescence. Meier and colleagues suggested that, actually, the relationship between dependence and decline may be entirely driven by this group. The 23 participants with adolescent-onset dependence and at least three diagnoses overall showed a mean decline of about 0.53 standard deviation units, compared with a of about 0.13 among those with three diagnoses that all came during adulthood (P=0.02). Nonsignificant trends toward greater declines in were also seen in those teen-onset dependence but fewer total diagnoses of dependence. "In fact, adult-onset cannabis users did not appear to experience decline as a function of persistent cannabis use," Meier and colleagues wrote. They cautioned that their data did not prove that heavy cannabis use actually caused the decline. "There may be some unknown 'third' variable that could account for the findings. The data also cannot reveal the mechanism underlying the association between persistent cannabis dependence and neuropsychological decline," they wrote. They also acknowledged that their data relied on self-report of cannabis use, without confirmation from blood or urine testing. But these caveats did not stop them from speculating on causal mechanisms and the implications of a causal relationship. Meier and colleagues noted that animal studies as well as theories of neural development during adolescence support a neurotoxic effect of cannabis in the young adult brain. Moreover, they argued, their findings should inform public health programs. "Prevention and policy efforts should focus on delivering to the public the message that cannabis use during adolescence can have harmful effects on neuropsychological functioning, delaying the onset of cannabis use at least until adulthood, and encouraging cessation of cannabis use particularly for those who began using cannabis in adolescence," they wrote. Duke University, in a press release, was even less circumspect in a press release headlined, "Adolescent pot use leaves lasting mental deficits." Its first sentence claimed that "the persistent, dependent use of marijuana before age 18 has been shown to cause lasting harm to a person's intelligence, attention and memory" in the study. The Dunedin cohort study was funded by the New Zealand Health Research Council. The current analysis was supported by the U.K. Medical Research Council, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and the Jacobs Foundation. No potential conflicts of interest were reported. Primary source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Source reference: Meier M, et al "Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife" Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2012; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1206820109.