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Man gets 4 years in Calif.-to-Ohio pot scheme

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A man has been sentenced in a federal court in Ohio to four years in prison and must pay a $10,000 fine for his role in a scheme to fly thousands of pounds of marijuana from California to Ohio in suitcases.

Six people have either pleaded guilty or indicated they’ll plead guilty since authorities broke up the $3 million operation last year.

 Thirty-three-year-old Christopher Cash was sentenced Friday. Cash was from Los Angeles at the time of his arrest and later living in Louisville, Ky. He pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana.Awaiting a July 29 sentencing is 44-year-old Frank Edwards of Hacienda, Calif. He previously pleaded guilty to drug charges

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Marijuana Use Associated With ‘Superior’ Cognitive Performance in Schizophrenic Patients

Toronto, Ontario–(ENEWSPF)–April 8, 2011.  Schizophrenic patients with a history of cannabis use demonstrate “superior neurocognitive performance” compared to non-users, according to the findings of a meta-analysis to be published in the journal Schizophrenia Research.

Investigators at the University of Toronto, Institute of Medical Sciences, performed a meta-analysis to determine the magnitude of the effect of cannabis consumption on cognition in subjects with schizophrenia. Eight studies met inclusion criteria, yielding a total sample of 942 subjects. Three hundred and fifty six of these participants were cannabis users with schizophrenia, and 586 were patients with no history of cannabis use. Neuropsychological tests were grouped into seven domains: general cognitive ability and intelligence; selective, sustained and divided attention; executive abilities; working memory and learning; retrieval and recognition; receptive and expressive language abilities and visuo-spatial and construction abilities.
Authors determined, “[R]elated statistics of differences in performance … all suggest superior cognitive functioning in cannabis-using patients as compared to non-using patient.”
Researchers stopped short of attributing subjects’ cannabis use to the improved outcome, noting that patients with superior cognitive skills may simply be more likely to acquire cannabis than subjects with lesser abilities.

Marijuana Allergies May Be More Common Than Thought

Marijuana hypersensitivity might be more common than previously thought, according to the results of a case series.

Though there are only a few case reports in the literature, “Marijuana allergy, I think, is fairly common,” said lead investigator Dr. Gordon Sussman, acting division director of clinical allergy and immunology at the University of Toronto. Even so, “It’s something physicians don’t really generally ask about. People should consider it in the diagnosis of rhinitis [and other allergic symptoms], and even in people that have asthma and anaphylaxis.”

The 17 patients who were included in the series reported that marijuana gave them runny noses or other problems; all ended up having positive marijuana skin prick test results, he reported. One patient in the series had an anaphylactic reaction after drinking marijuana tea.

That was the first patient in whom Dr. Sussman diagnosed a marijuana allergy. “I asked him in a detailed history what it could have been, and he actually had drunk marijuana tea. We knew at that point he had an IgE-mediated reaction to marijuana,” he said.

Curiosity piqued, and Dr. Sussman began asking allergy patients about marijuana use and reactions. A significant percentage reported symptoms from both contact and inhalation.

To confirm the diagnosis, he and his colleagues did skin-prick tests on the 17 patients between 21 and 58 years old, mostly men. They extracted buds or flowers in 5 mL of water for 15 minutes and pricked beneath drops placed on patients’ skin.

After 15 minutes, the 17 patients had wheals of 4-19 mm and surrounding flares. Fifteen presented with inhalation symptoms, including rhinitis and conjunctivitis, periorbital angioedema, wheezing, sinusitis, and throat swelling. Thirteen also reported hives from contact.

The anaphylaxis patient presented with anxiety, chest tightness, wheezing, GI cramping, and vomiting after drinking the tea.

“I don’t think it’s a contaminant; I’m pretty sure it’s an allergen in the marijuana they are reacting to,” Dr. Sussman said, adding that such reactions shouldn’t be a surprise because “marijuana is a weed, and weeds are generally known to be allergenic.”

Asking about marijuana use and past reactions should be a routine part of allergy work-ups, especially with expanding medical marijuana use. “People could actually be sensitized to marijuana and have a serious reaction. It’s important for people to recognize this,” Dr. Sussman said.

The researchers’ next step is to identify the actual allergens responsible for the reactions using a marijuana extract from a U.S. federal laboratory, serum from positive patients, and Western blot assays.

There was no outside funding for the study. Dr. Sussman said he had no disclosures.

http://medicalmarijuana411.com/mmj411_v3/?p=8594

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