Friday Roundup – Children and Mental Health, the (Non)Relationship of Cannabis and Lung Cancer, and Prison Spice

Attention lovely readers! We at Healthshire will be providing you with a weekly Friday roundup of the latest in mental health news. Let us do all the work and be your one-stop-shop for all things current!

Children and Mental Health, the (Non)Relationship of Cannabis and Lung Cancer, and Prison Spice

The Latest  in Mental Health Research (and other stuff)

Increasing Numbers of Children with Mental Illness

One in five US children has a mental health disorder, according to a recent report conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Beginning in 2005, the comprehensive report followed the mental health of children over the span of seven years. The CDC gathered data on a number of mental health disorders in children between the ages of 3 and 17.

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The reports show that  Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most prevalent mental health disorder in children, occurring in almost 7% of the population. Behavioral issues (3.5%), anxiety (3%), and depression (2.1%) were also prevalent. Almost 5% presented with a substance use disorder while 4% reported experiencing an alcohol problem within the last year. One of the more significant statistics highlighted that suicide was the second leading cause of death in individuals aged 12 to 17. The estimated cost of these mental and behavioral disorders is $247 billion.

The study is the first of its kind on the state of mental health in US children. It stresses the importance of proper mental health care access and treatment to children, their families, and the surrounding community. According to the CDC, “more comprehensive surveillance is needed to develop a public-health approach that will both help prevent mental disorders and promote mental health among children.”

Study Finds No Link Between Cannabis Smoke and Lung Cancer

From the American Association for Cancer Research, a study aimed to assess the relationship between cannabis smoking and lung cancer. As the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, lung cancer is often the focus of research. Tobacco smoking has been established as the main risk factor in its development.

Because cannabis smoke contains similar carcinogens as tobacco smoke, some in the field contain that it has a carcinogenic effect in the lungs. Epidemiologic studies, however, provide conflicting information. The aim of this particular study was to provide a risk assessment of the role cannabis smoke plays in lung cancer.

Researchers collected and studied data on over 2 thousand cancer cases. The results demonstrated no significant relationship between “the intensity, duration, or cumulative consumption of cannabis smoke and the risk of lung cancer overall.”

The study did note that cannabis smoke at extremely high dosages may still pose a risk for lung cancer.

DEA Schedules More Synthetic Cannabinoids

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is continuing its war against manufactured substances targeted to mimic marijuana. The DEA recently announced that for the next two years, three more synthetic cannabinoid drugs will be classified as Schedule I under the Controlled Substance Act. Synthetic cannabinoids act on the brain in a similar fashion as does delta-9 THC, the principal psychoative constituent of the cannabis plant.


In recent years, synthetic cannabinoid drugs have been sold as “herbal blends.”  Usually targeted toward young adults and teenagers, they are marketed as legal and have become increasingly more popular.

According to statistics released by the University of Maryland’s Substance Abuse Research program, synthetic marijuana is the third most frequently abused substance by American teenagers after alcohol and cannabis.

Unapproved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the long-term physical and psychological effects of these synthetics have not been studied. Short-term effects, however, indicate the development of psychotic and violent behavior.

A report released by the  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates that synthetic cannabinioids were involved in over 11,000 Emergency Department (ED) visits in 2010.

In the next few years, the DEA will continue work to determine if these substances should be made permanently illegal.

Telling Our Stories

In an effort to reduce stigma, as part of Mental Health Awareness Month (and also forever after that), we are especially interested in hearing about you and your stories related to mental health. Be sure to visit Healthshire’s “telling our story” section. Spend some time reading the stories or submit your own!


Here’s a picture of Beyonce. Just because. And you’re welcome.



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