Recent Articles:

Below are past articles previously published in Drugs & Addiction Magazine. These are filled with current and relevant information and statistics and can be used as great conversation starters with youth.

A “gold standard” study finds deleting Facebook is great for your mental health

January 31, 2019

It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day!

January 30, 2019

FDA’s opioids adviser accuses agency of having ‘direct’ link to crisis

January 25, 2019

New York Passes a Ban on ‘Conversion Therapy’ After Years-Long Efforts

January 22, 2019

Former Insys CEO pleads guilty to opioid kickback scheme

January 17, 2019

Resolve to Detox Your Social Circle

January 16, 2019

Easing test anxiety boosts low-income students’ biology grades

January 15, 2019

Craving insight into addiction

January 14, 2019

New book looks at the heart of Edmonton’s opioid epidemic through stories and art

January 11, 2019

People with low self-esteem tend to seek support in ways that backfire, study finds

January 10, 2019

Ban on cigarette sales in NYC pharmacies starts Jan. 1

January 9, 2019

Too many problems? Maybe coping isn’t the answer

January 8, 2019

Muslim youth group cleans up national parks amid government shutdown

January 7, 2019

For-profit college cancels $500M in student debt after fraud allegations

January 4, 2019

Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14

January 3, 2019

Sexting Teens

December 19, 2018

Screen Addiction: Today’s Biggest Threat to Schooling?

December 19, 2018

Texting Etiquette & Safety: 5 Rules for Keeping Your Kids & Teens Secure & Drama-Free

December 17, 2018

Amnesty International: Indigenous Peoples’ rights

December 17, 2018

New Canadians sworn in as Winnipeg museum celebrates International Human Rights Day

December 13, 2018

Statement by the Prime Minister on Human Rights Day

December 12, 2018

Fentanyl is the deadliest drug in America, CDC confirms

December 12, 2018

The Illustrated Version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

December 11, 2018

Homeless man with terminal cancer donates to holiday toy drive

December 10, 2018

Malala Yousafzai Honored by Harvard for Her Work Promoting Girls’ Education

December 7, 2018

Boy gets Colorado town to overturn snowball fight ban

December 6, 2018

Fortnite addiction is forcing kids into video game rehab

December 5, 2018

Clarity on Cannabis

December 4, 2018

Mental health education recommended for RCMP members following inquest

November 30, 2018

Social Media – 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

November 28, 2018

Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence

November 27, 2018

#GIVINGTUESDAY TODAY ONLY YOUR GIFT CAN BE MATCHED

November 27, 2018

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

November 26, 2018

#ENDViolence in schools

November 23, 2018

Statement by Minister MacLeod on National Child Day

November 22, 2018

November 20th marks National Children’s Day across Canada

November 21, 2018

National Child Day

November 20, 2018

Facts & Figures

November 16, 2018

The Push For Change®

November 15, 2018

Winter Giving 101

November 14, 2018

First came the stroke, then the inspiration…

November 13, 2018

Canadian Youth Speakers Bureau: Scott Hammell

November 9, 2018

John Connors’ brilliant IFTA Award speech

November 9, 2018

Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone

November 8, 2018

This teen pizzeria employee traveled 3 hours to deliver pizza to a man with terminal cancer

November 6, 2018

Video captures joyful law student’s reaction to passing her bar exam

November 5, 2018

More teens in Sask. are smokers than in any other province: Health Canada survey

November 5, 2018

MADD Canada launches annual red ribbon campaign in Halifax

November 2, 2018

Young cannabis users who quit see improvements in memory, ability to learn

October 31, 2018

Nova Scotia’s Health Department says talks underway for province’s first overdose prevention site

October 31, 2018

Crystal meth eclipsing opioids on the Prairies: ‘There’s no lack of meth on the street’

October 29, 2018

Opioids Don’t Discriminate: An Interactive Experience.

October 26, 2018

Guelph police warn drug users of spike in purple fentanyl

October 25, 2018

Canadians share powerful stories of teachers who made lasting impressions

October 24, 2018

What exactly are you inhaling when you vape?

October 23, 2018

Study ADHD Medication Overdoses

June 14, 2018

A Cry for Guidance

January 18, 2018

Vaping 101 – Health Relation, Benefits, Dangers, Fun Facts and More

January 2, 2018

Your Friend’s Substance Abuse

September 15, 2017

Depression

September 15, 2017

Methamphetamines

September 15, 2017

Alcohol

September 15, 2017

25 Healthy Ways to Feel Better

September 15, 2017

Young cannabis users who quit see improvements in memory, ability to learn

October 31, 2018

By Sheryl Ubelacker The Canadian Press

Adolescents and young adults who regularly use cannabis but stop for 30 days have better memory and an improved ability to learn compared to peers who continue to smoke, vape or ingest pot, a study has found.

The study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital focused on two broad areas of cognitive function – attention and memory – in a group of 16- to 25-year-olds who were regular users of cannabis, indulging at least once a week.

Roughly two-thirds of the 88 subjects were randomly assigned to abstain from weed for 30 days, while the remainder continued routine use. Researchers completed regular assessments of thinking and memory of participants during the 2015-16 study period.

Frequent urine tests were given to verify those in the no-cannabis group had stayed away from the drug. Almost 90 per cent met the criteria for 30 days of continuous abstinence.

“Our findings provide two pieces of convincing evidence,” said lead author Randi Schuster, director of neuropsychology at the Center for Addiction Medicine at the Boston hospital.

“The first is that adolescents learn better when they are not using cannabis,” she said.

“The second – which is the good news part of the story – is that at least some of the deficits associated with cannabis use are not permanent and actually improve pretty quickly after cannabis use stops.”

That improvement occurred largely during the first week of abstinence, say the authors, whose research was published Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

However, the study found no difference in attention – the ability to remain focused on a visual task, for instance – between the two groups by the end of 30 days.

Schuster said there are a number of potential reasons, including the possibility that a longer period of abstinence is needed to see a reversal of attention deficits that occur with marijuana use.

The research was published on the same day as Health Canada released the latest national data on tobacco, alcohol and drug use among Canadians aged 15 and older, which shows that use of cannabis is highest among youth aged 15 to 19 years (19 per cent) and young adults aged 20 to 24 (33 per cent).

The study authors note that adolescence and young adulthood are critical times for brain development, specifically for brain regions that are most susceptible to the effects of cannabis, in particular the psychoactive ingredient THC.

A 2016 study from the same research team found that cannabis users aged 16 and under had difficulty learning new information, a problem that was not observed in that study among users aged 17-plus.

“When I see these data, I get worried that regular use in young users may negatively impact their ability to achieve at their highest potential,” Schuster said from Boston.

“One of my big concerns is how this plays out in a classroom and is it keeping them from achieving and learning?”

Dr. Romina Mizrahi, a clinician-scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, called the Boston research “important.”

“What was particularly surprising to me is the fact that these young people who are using cannabis were only (using it) at least weekly, which suggests that even … what you would call weekend recreational use is associated with some impairments, which are improved following abstinence,” she said Tuesday.

Schuster said there are still a lot of questions to be studied, including whether attention might improve and memory would continue to be enhanced with longer periods of cannabis avoidance.

Those are issues that will be addressed in two larger follow-up studies her team is conducting, including one that will look at younger participants – aged 13 to 19 – and a group that has never used cannabis, to help determine whether cognitive improvements produced by abstinence return participants to performance levels similar to those of non-users.

A second trial will follow young cannabis users who abstain for six months, investigating whether cognition continues to improve beyond 30 days and if those improvements can affect school performance.

The ability to learn or “map down” new information is a critical facet of success in the classroom, Schuster said.

“Young cannabis users who stop regular – weekly or more – use may be better equipped to learn efficiently and therefore better positioned for academic success,” she said.

“We can confidently say that these findings strongly suggest that abstaining from cannabis helps young people learn, while continuing cannabis use may interfere with the learning process.”

Mizrahi agreed, saying that it’s crucial that young people understand that their brains are still developing until about age 25, and that cannabis can interfere with the system that regulates that maturation process.

“In other words, you’re affecting the building blocks of the final brain architecture,” she said. “So it’s dangerous when your brain has not yet fully developed, because it may not fully develop as it would have had young people not used cannabis.”