And although drug use has declined over the past decade, new and potentially life-threatening trends continue to appear. Most recently, doctors have warned of an “emerging crisis” relating to Xanax use among young people.
Evangeline Mantzioris, University of South Australia
Protein supplements for athletes are literally sold by the bucketful. Protein supplements are expensive, and might not be doing much for you. The marketing that accompanies them persistently promotes the attainment of buff biceps and six-pack abs.
From our western perspective, crickets do not look appetizing, but neither did lobsters at one point in time, and in fact they used to be known as the cockroaches of the sea. Now lobster is considered a scrumptious delicacy.
Tony Rao, King's College London and Ian Hamilton, University of York
When most people think of cannabis users, they probably think mainly of the younger generations. But it’s actually the 45 to 64 age group who show the highest proportion of household spending on cannabis.
On January 4 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole memo, a 2013 document that limits federal enforcement of marijuana laws. This opens the door for a crackdown in the nine states with legal recreational marijuana.
Supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry. But, unlike pharmaceutical companies, manufacturers of these products don’t have to prove that their products are effective, only that they are safe – and that’s for new supplements only.
Given the opioid addiction crisis, it would seem preposterous that an opioid is legal for use in the United States and can be purchased at tea stores, convenience stores, over the internet and, yes, even from vending machines.
The drugs used to treat cancer after surgery can help to slow disease progression, but they don’t always stop cancer cells from spreading, nor do they help with pain associated with some cancers such as sarcomas (rare bone cancers). Cannabis, however, potentially does both of these things.
Stephanie Lake and M-J Milloy, University of British Columbia
As a young child I recall my grandmother giving me the largest spoonfuls of cod liver oil, coaxing me with the promise of an equally large spoonful of golden syrup. It was probably a throwback to her own childhood when the post-war government sought to provide infants with a cod liver oil supplement.
Suppose you discovered that some past prescription a GP gave you was actually a placebo. The treatment made you feel better, but now you know that the perceived benefit was really a placebo effect. Would you be upset at the deception, or pleased the doctor had found a way to help you?
Joseph Palamar, New York University Langone Medical Center
In a study published last week, researchers at Harvard University examined 21 brands of dietary supplements containing an herbal stimulant called Acacia rigidula. More than half of the brands analyzed contained an untested amphetamine isomer called β-methylphenylethylamine (BMPEA).
Nick Fuller, Research Fellow, Clinical Trials Development and Assessment, University of Sydney
The list of over-the-counter dietary and weight loss supplements is exhaustive, with the majority based on scant supporting evidence from studies conducted in humans to support their claims. Weight-loss products make up one of the largest growing markets in the world.