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On October 6, 2022, President Joe Biden pardoned all people convicted previously of federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. He encouraged state governors to do the same. 

Skeptical about whether marijuana should continue to be categorized as a Schedule I drug, the President asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to review the classification of marijuana. The Biden administration has not yet decided whether it plans on removing marijuana from the drug schedule entirely (de-scheduling) or placing it on a less-restrictive tier (rescheduling). 

Schedule I drugs have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” LSD, ecstasy, and heroin are examples of Schedule I drugs. 

“The current classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug doesn’t make sense. … It does have medicinal properties and a pretty low potential of abuse,” said Carrie Cuttler, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at Washington State University and a researcher involved with the University’s Center for Cannabis Policy, Research, and Outreach. 

Let's explore the rationale for removing marijuana as a Schedule I drug and the pros/cons of rescheduling or de-scheduling it. 

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Global Epidemic of Cancer for People Under 50

Cancer is not just a disease plaguing older adults today. Some types of cancer, such as colorectal, bile duct, breast, endometrium, gall bladder, kidney, pancreas, stomach, and thyroid cancer, are appearing in younger adults at increasing rates each year. 

Among people under 50, the diagnosis of colorectal cancer is rising. The elevated cancer epidemic among young adults worldwide has elevated concerns among researchers, providers, and public health experts. 

Increasing Cancer Rates Among People Under 50 

A review of cancer data from 44 nations, recently published in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology, reveals that incidences of colorectal and other types of cancer are growing at significant rates. Moreover, these rising rates are occurring in middle- and high-income countries. 

Early-onset cancer, which occurs before 50, is becoming more frequent. The data in the review point to a cohort effect where the risk for early-onset cancer increases for each successive generation. For example, people born in the 1990s are generally at greater risk than individuals born in the previous decade. 

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BA.5 COVID-19 Variant: What We Know

BA.5 is currently the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the U.S. Here’s what you need to know about this latest COVID variant and how to best stay protected. 

What Is the BA.5 COVID Variant? 

BA.5 is one of the newest sub-variants of the COVID-19 Omicron virus. It made up 85.5% of all COVID cases in the U.S. between July 24 and July 30, reports the CDC. At present, the three most common variants of Omicron are BA.2, BA.4, and BA.5. 

How Is BA.5 Different From Other Strains of COVID? 

The BA.5 variant currently represents the highest number of COVID cases, and therefore may be more contagious than other strains of this disease. It also appears to “evade protection from vaccines and previous infections more easily” than previous variants, according to a report from NBC News.

David Montefiori, a professor at the Human Vaccine Institute at Duke University Medical Center, says BA.5 is approximately three times less sensitive to neutralizing antibodies from COVID vaccines than the original version of Omicron. It is also four times more resistant to antibodies from COVID vaccines than BA.2, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature. 

In June, the U.K. reported that the majority of people who were testing positive for COVID were experiencing symptoms including fever, abdominal pain, sore throat, and muscle aches. BA.5 and BA.4 accounted for the majority of new COVID cases in the U.K. during that time. 

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