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    Research News Roundup: May 16, 2024

    Risk of Adverse Neonatal Outcomes After Combined Prenatal Cannabis and Nicotine Exposure

    Journal: JAMA Network Open, 2024, doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.10151

    Authors: B. Adam Crosland, Bharti Garg, Gretchen E. Bandoli, Ava D. Mandelbaum, Sarena Hayer, Kimberly S. Ryan, Lyndsey E. Shorey-Kendrick, … Jamie O. Lo


    Importance: The prevalence of cannabis use in pregnancy is rising and is associated with adverse perinatal outcomes. In parallel, combined prenatal use of cannabis and nicotine is also increasing, but little is known about the combined impact of both substances on pregnancy and offspring outcomes compared with each substance alone.

    Objective: To assess the perinatal outcomes associated with combined cannabis and nicotine exposure compared with each substance alone during pregnancy.

    Design, setting, and participants: This retrospective population-based cohort study included linked hospital discharge data (obtained from the California Department of Health Care Access and Information) and vital statistics (obtained from the California Department of Public Health) from January 1, 2012, through December 31, 2019. Pregnant individuals with singleton gestations and gestational ages of 23 to 42 weeks were included. Data were analyzed from October 14, 2023, to March 4, 2024.

    Exposures: Cannabis-related diagnosis and prenatal nicotine product use were captured using codes from International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification, and International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification.

    Main outcome and measures: The main outcomes were infant and neonatal death, infants small for gestational age, and preterm delivery. Results were analyzed by multivariable Poisson regression models.

    Results: A total of 3 129 259 pregnant individuals were included (mean [SD] maternal age 29.3 [6.0] years), of whom 23 007 (0.7%) had a cannabis-related diagnosis, 56 811 (1.8%) had a nicotine-use diagnosis, and 10 312 (0.3%) had both in pregnancy. Compared with nonusers, those with cannabis or nicotine use diagnoses alone had increased rates of infant (0.7% for both) and neonatal (0.3% for both) death, small for gestational age (14.3% and 13.7%, respectively), and preterm delivery (<37 weeks) (12.2% and 12.0%, respectively). Moreover, risks in those with both cannabis and nicotine use were higher for infant death (1.2%; adjusted risk ratio [ARR], 2.18 [95% CI, 1.82-2.62]), neonatal death (0.6%; ARR, 1.76 [95% CI, 1.36-2.28]), small for gestational age (18.0%; ARR, 1.94 [95% CI, 1.86-2.02]), and preterm delivery (17.5%; ARR, 1.83 [95% CI, 1.75-1.91]).

    Conclusions and relevance: These findings suggest that co-occurring maternal use of cannabis and nicotine products in pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of infant and neonatal death and maternal and neonatal morbidity compared with use of either substance alone. Given the increasing prevalence of combined cannabis and nicotine use in pregnancy, these findings can help guide health care practitioners with preconception and prenatal counseling, especially regarding the benefits of cessation.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Evidence of Premature Vascular Dysfunction in Young Adults Who Regularly Use E-Cigarettes and the Impact of Usage Length

    Journal: Angiogenesis, doi: 10.1007/s10456-023-09903-7

    Authors: Chloe Matheson, Tijana Simovic, Allison Heefner, Marisa Colon, Enrique Tunon, Kolton Cobb, Christopher Thode, … Paula Rodriguez-Miguelez


    Background: Electronic (e-) cigarettes are increasingly popular tobacco products on the US market. Traditional tobacco products are known to cause vascular dysfunction, one of the earliest indicators of cardiovascular disease (CVD) development. However, little is known about the effect of regular e-cigarette use on vascular function. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of regular e-cigarette use on vascular function and cardiovascular health in young, healthy adults.

    Methods: Twenty-one regular users of e-cigarettes (ECU) and twenty-one demographically matched non-users (NU) completed this study. Vascular health was assessed in the cutaneous microcirculation through different reactivity tests to evaluate overall functionality, endothelium-dependent vasodilation (EDD), and endothelium-independent vasodilation (EID). Macrovascular function was assessed using flow-mediated dilation (FMD).

    Results: Our results suggest that regular users of e-cigarettes present with premature microvascular impairment when compared to non-users. Specifically, they exhibit lower hyperemic (p = 0.003), thermal (p = 0.010), and EDD (p = 0.004) responses. No differences in EID between the groups were identified. We also identified that individuals who use e-cigarettes for longer than 3 years also present with systemic manifestations, as observed by significantly reduced macrovascular (p = 0.002) and microvascular (p ≤ 0.044) function.

    Conclusions: Our novel data suggests that young, apparently healthy, regular users of e-cigarettes present with premature vascular dysfunction in the microcirculation when compared to non-users. We have also identified systemic vascular dysfunction affecting both the micro and macrovasculature in those young individuals who used e-cigarettes for longer than 3 years. Taken together, these findings associate regular e-cigarette use with premature vascular dysfunctions and adverse cardiovascular outcomes.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Journal: PLoS One, 2024, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0302544

    Authors: John L. Havlik, Taeho G. Rhee, & Robert A. Rosenheck


    The association of subjective mental health-related quality of life (MHRQOL) and treatment use among people experiencing common substance use disorders (SUDs) is not known. Furthermore, the association of a given substance’s legal status with treatment use has not been studied. This work aims determine the association of MHRQOL with SUD treatment use, and how substance legal status modulates this relationship. Our analysis used nationally-representative data from the NESARC-III database of those experiencing past-year SUDs (n = 5,808) to compare rates of treatment use and its correlates among three groups: those with illicit substance use disorders (ISUDs); those with partially legal substance use disorders, i.e., cannabis use disorder (CUD); and those with fully legal substance use disorders, i.e., alcohol use disorder (AUD). Survey-weighted multiple regression analysis was used to assess the association of MHRQOL with likelihood of treatment use among these three groups, both unadjusted and adjusted for sociodemographic, behavioral, and diagnostic factors. Adults with past-year ISUDs were significantly more likely to use treatment than those with CUD and AUD. Among those with ISUDs, MHRQOL had no significant association with likelihood of treatment use. Those with past-year CUD saw significant negative association of MHRQOL with treatment use in unadjusted analysis, but not after controlling for diagnostic and other behavioral health factors. Those with past-year AUD had significant negative association of MHRQOL with treatment use in both unadjusted and adjusted analysis. If legalization and decriminalization continue, there may be a greater need for effective public education and harm reduction services to address this changing SUD landscape.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Digital Interventions for Recreational Cannabis Use Among Young Adults: Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis, and Behavior Change Technique Analysis of Randomized Controlled Studies

    Journal: Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2024, doi: 10.2196/55031

    Authors: José Côté, Gabrielle Chicoine, Billy Vinette, Patricia Auger, Geneviève Rouleau, Guillaume Fontaine, & Didier Jutras-Aswad


    Background: The high prevalence of cannabis use among young adults poses substantial global health concerns due to the associated acute and long-term health and psychosocial risks. Digital modalities, including websites, digital platforms, and mobile apps, have emerged as promising tools to enhance the accessibility and availability of evidence-based interventions for young adults for cannabis use. However, existing reviews do not consider young adults specifically, combine cannabis-related outcomes with those of many other substances in their meta-analytical results, and do not solely target interventions for cannabis use.

    Objective: We aimed to evaluate the effectiveness and active ingredients of digital interventions designed specifically for cannabis use among young adults living in the community.

    Methods: We conducted a systematic search of 7 databases for empirical studies published between database inception and February 13, 2023, assessing the following outcomes: cannabis use (frequency, quantity, or both) and cannabis-related negative consequences. The reference lists of included studies were consulted, and forward citation searching was also conducted. We included randomized studies assessing web- or mobile-based interventions that included a comparator or control group. Studies were excluded if they targeted other substance use (eg, alcohol), did not report cannabis use separately as an outcome, did not include young adults (aged 16-35 y), had unpublished data, were delivered via teleconference through mobile phones and computers or in a hospital-based setting, or involved people with mental health disorders or substance use disorders or dependence. Data were independently extracted by 2 reviewers using a pilot-tested extraction form. Authors were contacted to clarify study details and obtain additional data. The characteristics of the included studies, study participants, digital interventions, and their comparators were summarized. Meta-analysis results were combined using a random-effects model and pooled as standardized mean differences.

    Results: Of 6606 unique records, 19 (0.29%) were included (n=6710 participants). Half (9/19, 47%) of these articles reported an intervention effect on cannabis use frequency. The digital interventions included in the review were mostly web-based. A total of 184 behavior change techniques were identified across the interventions (range 5-19), and feedback on behavior was the most frequently used (17/19, 89%). Digital interventions for young adults reduced cannabis use frequency at the 3-month follow-up compared to control conditions (including passive and active controls) by -6.79 days of use in the previous month (95% CI -9.59 to -4.00; P<.001).

    Conclusions: Our results indicate the potential of digital interventions to reduce cannabis use in young adults but raise important questions about what optimal exposure dose could be more effective, both in terms of intervention duration and frequency. Further high-quality research is still needed to investigate the effects of digital interventions on cannabis use among young adults.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Excessive Alcohol Use and Alcohol Use Disorders: A Policy Brief of the American College of Physicians

    Journal: Annals of Internal Medicine, 2024, doi: 10.7326/M23-3434

    Authors: Ryan Crowley, David Hilden, Micah Beachy; Health and Public Policy Committee of the American College of Physicians


    Alcohol is used by more people in the United States than tobacco, electronic nicotine delivery systems, or illicit drugs. Several health conditions, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and liver disease, are associated with excessive alcohol use and alcohol use disorder. Nearly 30 million people aged 12 years or older in the United States reported past-year alcohol use disorder in 2022, but-despite its prevalence-alcohol use disorder is undertreated. In this policy brief, the American College of Physicians outlines the health effects of excessive alcohol use and alcohol use disorder, calls for policy changes to increase the availability of treatment of alcohol use disorder and excessive alcohol use, and recommends alcohol-related public health interventions.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.


    May 2024