Tag Archives | Addiction

New 20-Year Study Shatters Myths About Marijuana Use

Professor Wayne Hall has published the results of a 20-year study of the use of marijuana in the journal Addiction (PDF of Full Study article here), which summarizes his findings as follows:

Adverse effects of acute cannabis use

  • Cannabis does not produce fatal overdoses.
  • Driving while cannabis-intoxicated doubles the risk of a car crash; this risk increases substantially if users are also alcohol-intoxicated.
  • Cannabis use during pregnancy slightly reduces birth weight of the baby.

Adverse effects of chronic cannabis use

  • Regular cannabis users can develop a dependence syndrome, the risks of which are around 1 in 10 of all cannabis users and 1 in 6 among those who start in adolescence.
  • Regular cannabis users double their risks of experiencing psychotic symptoms and disorders, especially if they have a personal or family history of psychotic disorders, and if they start using cannabis in their mid-teens.
  • Regular adolescent cannabis users have lower educational attainment than non-using peers but we don’t know whether the link is causal.
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Extinction Burst

Other than Filmspotting, the only podcast I listen to regularly is You Are Not So Smart. Out of all of the episodes, I felt compelled to share “Extinction Burst” because it’s filled with useful information about addictions and why they’re so difficult to overcome. Whether it’s food, alcohol, smoking, or some other vice, most of us struggle with addiction to varying degrees.

Via You Are Not So Smart’s Soundcloud page:

Why do you so often fail at removing bad habits from your life?

You try to diet, to exercise, to stop smoking, to stop staying up until 2 a.m. stuck in a hamster wheel of internet diversions, and right when you seem to be doing well, right when it seems like your bad habit is dead, you lose control. It seems all too easy for one transgression, one tiny cheating bite of pizza or puff of smoke, and then it’s all over.

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Pythagorean Cup: The Cup For Gluttons

I’d venture to say there’s a glutton hiding inside all of us. Some of us are gluttons for food, some for money, and some for that enchanting nectar – alcohol. Alcohol addiction has plagued human kind since we first discovered the joys of that sweet, fermented liquid. The ancient Greeks were no less immune to gluttonous drinking and Pythagoras of Samos cleverly designed a cup that would expose the greedy: the Pythagorean Cup.

Pythagorean cup, (Author: Nevit Dilmen)

Pythagorean cup diagram, (Author: Nevit Dilmen)

From Wikipedia:

A Pythagorean cup (also known as a Pythagoras cup, a Greedy Cup or a Tantalus cup) is a form of drinking cup that forces its user to imbibe only in moderation. Credited to Pythagoras of Samos, it allows the user to fill the cup with wine up to a certain level. If they fill the cup only to that level, the imbiber may enjoy a drink in peace. If they exhibit gluttony, however, the cup spills its entire contents out of the bottom (onto the lap of the immodest drinker).

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Altered Microbial Enzyme Digests Cocaine

Pic: Willis Kent Productions (C)

Pic: Willis Kent Productions (C)

Bioengineered enzyme that eats cocaine and can survive in the human body… sounds like the makings of a low-budget but entirely awesome cocaine zombie movie. (Please let the epidemic begin in Hollywood.)

Bacteria that live in the soil near coca plants make an enzyme called cocaine esterase, which rapidly breaks down the drug. The enzyme could theoretically be useful to  destroy cocaine ingested by people before it takes effect, but the half-life of the enzyme–which was isolated years ago–is only about 12 minutes at human body temperature, according to Chemical & Engineering News. “It would be hard to use this enzyme for therapeutic purposes,” University of Kentucky researcher Chang-Guo Zhan says.

So scientists decided to tinker with it. What if the enzyme could be made sturdy at high temperatures? In a 2008 study, Zhan and colleagues first figured out how to extend the half-life to six hours, possibly enough to treat an overdose.

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How Much Do You Drink? Liar!

Are you lying about how much you drink or just grossly underestimating? It’s pretty much going to be one or the other for the average person writes Keith Humphreys at New York Mag’s Science of Us blog:

One of the enduring mysteries of alcohol research is that when you tally up all the booze that people report consuming when they are surveyed about their drinking habits, it rarely adds up to even half of the alcohol sold.  So either we pour half of the liquor we purchase into the sea (could this be the origin of the phrase “drank like a fish”?) or we tend to forget — or intentionally lie about — how much sauce we imbibe. A clever new study in the journal Addiction provides clues about who is worst at owning up to the full extent of their drinking.

Alcoholic beverages montage

The researchers surveyed over 40,000 people with standard alcohol survey questions about their quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption — “How many drinks have you had in the past month?” and so on.

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Heroin Addicts: Powerless to a Flower

Opium Poppy:  Papaver somniferum

Opium Poppy: Papaver somniferum

Editor’s Note: This opinion piece was written by a contributor. It examines substance addiction, a controversial topic. No endorsement is implied by its publication. The Disinformation Company encourages you to speak with your medical provider(s) regarding this or any other health-related topic.

An old drinking buddy of mine overdosed on heroin recently. He moved out to the Pacific Northwest to skate or die, and wound up doing both, joining a hundred other Americans who go out that way every day. I hadn’t seen or thought about him in years, but by coincidence, I was in town when he passed. A mutual friend told me there would be a memorial at a local skate park. I stopped by to pay my respects.

I found a bundle of droopy balloons hovering over beer can tabs, a condom wrapper, and a melted candle. Mourners had written dedications all over the squeaky balloon skins.… Read the rest

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Indian Man Is Addicted To Eating Nothing But Bricks

Is this the ultimate hearty, raw diet? Via Metro News:
Pakkirappa Hunagundi suffers from a rare eating disorder and says he is addicted to eating only bricks, gravel and mud. "I only like mud and bricks, nothing else," he told Barcroft TV. "I will eat it because it is my habit. I need it every day. I can’t stop." The 30-year-old has been eating bricks since the age of ten. He now eats up to one brick a day and three kilos of mud and gravel to fulfill his craving. It is believed he suffers from a condition known as Pica, the persistent eating of non-food items with no nutritional value. Mr Hunagundi has ignored pleas from friends and family to change his diet and now plans to travel across India to show off his brick-eating abilities. He says he hasn’t suffered any ill-effects from his unusual diet.
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Facebook Strike as Self-Awareness Course

Pic: Rishibando (CC)

Pic: DKalo (CC)

More than once I’ve been struck with the desire to abandon Facebook, and at least one of those times I actually deactivated my account. The reasons for my frustration have varied over the last six years or so, from their sudden formatting changes to prioritize business interests, to the way they mine user data regardless of privacy settings. Other reasons have been more personal, like not having a sufficient method for determining who gets to see the more eccentric or extreme parts of my personality, or simply feeling like I waste too much time on the site.

At the end of 2013, a new kind of Facebook frustration began creeping over me. My attempts to explain it to people only seemed to make it worse, especially because – as I realized – I was creating a paradox by using Facebook to denounce Facebook. Then in late December, I simply stopped posting.… Read the rest

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Playing Tetris Stops Food Cravings

TetrisAre you battling the urge to eat? Or addicted to cigarettes? Gotta have Sex? No problem, just play Tetris and you’ll find the urge lessens! Report from Discovery News:

If cravings are running your life, try playing Tetris. The computer game can lessen the urge for a doughnut, chocolate, a cigarette or maybe even sex, finds a new study published in the journal Appetite.

“We know that cravings are associated with drug use, and early dropout of weight-loss programs,” said Jackie Andrade, a psychology professor at Plymouth University’s Cognition Institute in the U.K. “They make life difficult.”

“It’s not pleasant to be craving,” agreed psychologist David Kavanagh of Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia.

“It’s great to really want to eat or make love, if that’s possible right now. But it’s a torture if you can’t. So, if we can help people deal with craving — blunt it a bit, or give them some time out — it can not only help them stay in control, but it may make them feel a bit better as well.”

The Plymouth researchers, led by Jessica Skorka-Brown, tested the effects of Tetris on individuals who reported “natural” cravings of varying degrees — as opposed to cravings deliberately generated by researchers with chocolates, for instance.

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