Balancing risks and benefits of cannabis use: umbrella review of meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials and observational studies (Canada)

A groundbreaking Canadian umbrella review spanning 2008 to 2022 examined 101 meta-analysis of cannabis studies, revealing associations with poor mental health, impaired cognition, increased motor vehicle accident risk, and potential harm to offspring during pregnancy. The umbrella review emphasises the avoidance of cannabis, particularly in neurodevelopmentally critical phases like adolescence. Given the onset of mental health disorders and the paramount role of cognition in academic performance during this period, caution is urged. Additionally, medical cannabis warrants scrutiny due to adverse effects, urging a careful risk-to-benefit evaluation before considering its incorporation.


The American College of Surgeons issues a warning on the adverse effects of cannabis on surgery (USA)

Their comprehensive statement delves into the following impact of cannabis:

Respiration: Cannabis affects the airways making it harder to place a breathing tube for anaesthesia.

Cardiac effects: Cannabis affects heart rate and blood pressure and has the potential to increase risks of a heart attack and/or stroke.

Pain management: Cannabis interferes with pain control and the amount of pain medication needed to provide relief following an operation, necessitating higher post-operative pain medication doses.

It is important for patients to be honest with their surgical team about using cannabis products. For more in-depth information, you can explore the full statement on the American College of Surgeons’ website


UN Bureaucrats Pick Fight with EU Parliament on Prostitution (USA)

A new UN report counters that “any forms of criminalization of prostitution, including criminalization of clients and ‘third parties’ related activities” ultimately harms prostitutes. Besides standing in opposition to the European Parliament, the UN report is out of step with the UN General Assembly’s own recommendations to fight trafficking, according to Marcel van der Watt, Director of the Research Institute at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. He said a 2022 resolution of the global body called on governments to clamp down on sex buying. The UN human rights report omits or ignores a “vast” body of research that proves this definitively, according to the South African researcher. He also found it odd that the UN report did not mention policies to help women escape prostitution or address the links between the pornography industry, prostitution, and sex trafficking in women and children. The EU Parliament draws connections between prostitution, trafficking, pornography, and violence against women. While it criticizes criminal penalties for prostitutes themselves, it casts legalized prostitution in a negative light citing Europol reports that show a tenfold increase in trafficking where prostitution is legal.


Pennsylvania nurse linked to 17 nursing home deaths (USA)

Heather Pressdee faces grave charges for killing 17 patients by administering excessive insulin doses. She targeted both diabetic and non-diabetic patients, often choosing overnight shifts to evade immediate hospitalization. The victims’ ages spanned from 43 to 104. Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Michelle Henry, expressed profound dismay at a nurse betraying the trust of patients and underscored the paramount need for safety and care in medical facilities. Unreported murders may be occurring in care homes across Canada and the USA. Canada’s euthanasia law lacks adequate oversight, relying solely on the opinions of two medical professionals without robust checks. The substantial number of euthanasia-related deaths in Canada in 2022, totaling 13,241, raises concerns about the law’s oversight and implementation.


MAiD impacts the development of palliative care and society as a whole (Canada)

The legalization of Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) in Canada has significant implications for palliative care and societal attitudes. MAiD is presented as a therapeutic option to patients, even without their request. There is a concerning lack of development in palliative care, with only 15% of those who need it having access, and a shortage of pain management specialists. In 2022, nearly 20% of euthanized Canadians didn’t receive palliative care. The Canadian Cancer Society highlights the growing deficit in quality palliative care, particularly in homes with few beds. Canada has fallen 10 places in international palliative care rankings since legalizing assisted dying, and public approval of MAiD, even without conditions, has risen, particularly regarding economically vulnerable individuals.


Bereavement outcomes for family members of individuals who engaged in MAID (USA)

A study investigates bereavement outcomes following Medical Aid in Dying (MAID). Several studies found that bereaved family members or friends of individuals who chose MAID often experienced poor outcomes, including conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, complicated grief, depression, and anxiety. Protective factors for better bereavement outcomes included preparedness for death, place of death, a sense of control and autonomy, reduction in suffering, and the ability to support the patient’s end-of-life wishes. However, risk factors were also identified, such as moral concerns about MAID, ambivalence, poor end-of-life communication, social stigma, less time with the person choosing MAID, and the emotional burden of preparation for death. These factors contribute to a complex and multifaceted experience for bereaved individuals in the context of MAID.


Public School Partnered with HiTOPS (USA)

A New Jersey school district, Princeton Public School (PPS), partnered with the sex education group HiTOPS to provide “gender-affirming” kits, including items like chest binders and devices allowing girls to pee standing up. Parents Defending Education (PDE) obtained documents revealing the partnership and instructional materials. HiTOPS, a leftist sex education nonprofit, sent lesson plans promoting inclusive sex education and LGBTQ+ support. Critics argue the materials encourage secrecy from parents and present controversial views on gender. PPS Superintendent Carol Kelly stated the partnership aimed to comply with New Jersey’s LGBT inclusion and diversity law. Neither PPS nor HiTOPS responded to requests for comment.


How medical transition marked a young woman for life (Rhode Island)

Isabelle Ayala, a twenty-year-old woman, is suing her doctors and the American Academy of Pediatrics for allegedly promoting radical sex-change treatments. At fourteen, she was hospitalized for suicidal thoughts, where Dr. Jason Rafferty recommended hormonal transition. Despite negative effects leading to a suicide attempt, treatments continued. The lawsuit accuses the American Academy of Pediatrics of promoting a fraudulent model of treatment for children, contributing to Ayala’s suffering and claiming a conspiracy within the organization. Critics argue the Academy has been influenced by leftist activists, with a policy statement described as a “trans activism manifesto.” Isabelle is now marked for life and longs to have her healthy female body back.


Bill to ban acts such as drag queen shows (USA)

The Florida Senate passed a Protection of Children bill, which targets venues with a liquor license that allows children to be present during an “adult performance” where sexually explicit acts have occurred. Democrats argued that the bill specifically targeted drag shows and the LGBT community, and it would lead to violence and curtail freedom of expression. The bill is still going through the committee process in the House of Representatives, but Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign it into law after conducting an investigation into drag shows where children were present and exposed to sexually explicit acts.


Request for listing as “neutral sex” has been turned down (France)

In the question of whether it should be allowed to add other sexes than male and female on civil documents, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) states that it is important to preserve the consistency and security of civil status records, keeping the status either male or female. A request from an intersex person to change the official gender to “neutral sex” was turned down. The European Court of Human Rights supports France in their decision to keep the sexes binary and also said that each country should decide how it wants to handle the issue of gender on birth certificates.