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Daily use of marijuana increases risk of psychosis, study finds

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A British study released Monday suggested that the risk of psychosis was five times higher for regular users of cannabis, adding to a growing body of evidence linking drug use and mental health disorders.

The six-year study published in the medical journal The Lancet reported on 780 people living in south London, 410 of whom were being treated for conditions including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

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The report’s lead author was Marta Di Forti from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London, who warned about the growing use of “skunk” — a powerful type of cannabis.

“Compared with those who had never tried cannabis, users of high potency skunk-like cannabis had a threefold increase in risk of psychosis,” she said.

“The risk to those who use every day was even higher — a fivefold increase compared to people who never use,” she added in a statement.

Psychosis is a mental health problem and the symptoms include hallucinations and delusions.

In England, about one new case of psychosis is diagnosed for every 2,000 people every year.

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“This paper suggests that we could prevent almost one quarter of cases of psychosis if no-one smoked high potency cannabis,” said Robin Murray, professor of psychiatric research at King’s College London and a senior researcher for the study.

“This could save young patients a lot of suffering and the NHS (National Health Service) a lot of money,” he said.

The study was based on 410 patients who reported psychosis between 2005 and 2011. A further 370 healthy participants from the same area of south London were included for comparison.

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Researchers said Monday that it was important for doctors to ask not just about drug use but about frequency of drug use to assess the risk.

“This gives more information about whether the user is at risk of mental health problems. Awareness needs to increase for this to happen,” Di Forti said.

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A Home Office spokesman said the findings confirmed the government’s hardline approach, adding: “Drugs such as cannabis are illegal because scientific and medical evidence demonstrates they are harmful.”

Several major reports over recent years have pointed to a link between cannabis use and psychosis.

In 2010, a survey of 3,800 young adults in Australia found an increased risk of psychosis for those who started smoking cannabis at an early age and used it for several years.

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Nearly four percent of adults around the world use cannabis, according to a paper in The Lancet from 2009, which cited figures from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.


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‘Odd Radio Circles’ perplex astronomers studying the newly discovered phenomenon

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Astronomers believe they have discovered a new, bizarre type of cosmic object that is invisible to all wavelengths of light except radio.

This story originally appeared at Salon.

The strange circular objects in question have been unofficially dubbed "Odd Radio Circles" (ORCs); three of them were discovered in a recent data accumulated during a preliminary survey by the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, a radio telescope array in Western Australia. A fourth Odd Radio Circle was discovered when researchers sifted through old data from 2013.

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Bill Barr quietly pulls off a shake-up in a federal prosecutor’s office — but why?

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Attorney General Bill Barr’s attempt last month to push U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman out of his position at the Southern District of New York blew up in his face. While Berman was ousted, Barr didn’t get the replacement he wanted, and House Democrats are now investigating.

But last Friday night, Barr successfully pulled off a similar maneuver in the Eastern District of New York. Richard Donoghue no longer leads that office, as he has taken the position of principal associate deputy attorney general at Main Justice. Seth DuCharme, who had been principal associate deputy attorney general and worked under Barr, will now serve as the acting U.S. attorney for EDNY.

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Here’s the huge blunder Trump made against Jeff Sessions on the eve of the Alabama GOP primary

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On the eve of the Republican primary in Alabama, President Donald Trump may have committed a blunder that could backfire for his preferred candidate.

Trump is backing former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville in his campaign against Jeff Sessions, who held the seat until retiring to become Trump's attorney general.

In a campaign call with the former Auburn coach, Trump brought up current University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban. But Trump, who has repeatedly questioned Joe Biden's mental prowess, screwed up Saban's name.

https://twitter.com/kaitlancollins/status/1282866172778680320

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