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April 4, 2002

Past Pot Use Has No Negative Impact On Intelligence, Canadian IQ Study Says

Ottawa, Ontario:  Marijuana smoking, even long-term, does not harm intelligence, according to findings published this week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Researchers report that former pot smokers who had, on average, consumed an estimated 5,793 marijuana cigarettes over 38 months experienced no negative measurable effects on intelligence quotient (IQ).  Researchers did note a minor decrease in IQ among current heavy users (those who smoke more than five joints per week), but noted that their scores still remained above average for their age group.

Authors called pot's minimal negative impact on IQ striking.  "We conclude that marijuana does not have a long-term negative impact on global intelligence," they wrote.

Previous assessments of marijuana use on cognition have reported similar results.  Most recently, a study published in The Archives of General Psychiatry found that marijuana smokers who abstained from pot for at least a week performed no differently on cognitive tests than non-smokers.  In addition, a 1999 study of 1,300 volunteers published in The American Journal of Epidemiology reported "no significant differences in cognitive decline between heavy users, light users, and nonusers of cannabis" over a 15-year period.

For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751.  The CMAJ study is available online at:

Over One In Five State Nursing Associations Say Medical Pot Should Be Legal

Atlantic City, NJ:  The New Jersey State Nurses Association (NJSNA) unanimously passed a resolution last week urging the state legislature to move expeditiously to legalize the medical use of marijuana.  The NJSNA is the eleventh state nursing association to formally endorse the legalization of medicinal pot for qualified patients.

The NJSNA resolution "recognizes the therapeutic value and safety of medically recommended marijuana," and "supports legal access to medically recommended marijuana for patients in New Jersey who are under the care of a licensed health care provider."  The NJSNA represents the interests of the state's 110,000 registered nurses.

Similar resolutions have been passed by the state nursing associations of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin.

For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation at: (202) 483-8751.  A complete listing of national and state health organizations that support immediate patient access to medical marijuana is available on NORML's website at:

Pot Ingredient Eases Tourette's Symptoms, Study Says

Hannover, Germany:  Tourette-Syndrome (TS) patients administered a single oral dose of THC experience a significant reduction in symptoms compared to placebo, according to the findings of a study in this month's issue of Pharmacopsychiatry.

"The effects were clear," lead researcher Kirsten Mueller-Vahl of the Medical School of Hannover told Reuters Health.  "What was also interesting was that some patients experienced far greater effects than others, ... but generally the level of tic activity was reduced as were the compulsions, such as [the urge] to shout, spit or swear."  Twelve patients participated in the study.  None of the volunteers reported any serious adverse reactions to THC, which is one of the primary compounds in marijuana.

Tourette-Syndrome is a complex neurological disorder characterized by sudden spasms - so-called "tics" - that occur especially in the facial muscles, neck, shoulders and extremities.  A previous study of 12 volunteers by Meuller-Vahl's team found that THC significantly reduced tics and obsessive-compulsive behavior in TS patients.  A follow-up, placebo-controlled crossover study of 24 patients yielded similar results.

"There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that the consumption of marijuana clearly and continuously benefits Tourette patients," Mueller-Vahl said.  "There is also a strong suggestion that the plant cannabis is more effective than synthetic THC, and that patients taking [a combination of the two] experience fewer unpleasant side effects."

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751.

Marijuana's Anti-Tumoral Effects To Be Studied In Humans

Tenerife, Spain:  A Spanish research team has announced that they will commence the first human study examining THC's potential to protect patients against the development of certain types of cancerous tumors.

Five volunteers suffering from malignant brain tumors - known as gliomas - will participate in the three-year patient trial.  Researchers said they do not expect THC to cure the condition - for which there is currently no effective treatment - but do hope to extend the patients' survival.  Volunteers will be administered THC intracranially.

Animal studies indicate that marijuana may stave certain types of tumors.  A previous Spanish study published in Nature Medicine found that injections of synthetic THC eradicated malignant brain tumors in one-third of treated rats, and prolonged life in another third by up to six weeks.  In addition, a two-year federal study by the U.S. National Toxicology Program found that mice and rats administered high doses of THC had greater protection against malignancies than untreated controls.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751.

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