Discovered: FedEx and UPS won't ship research animals anymore; marijuana may slow aggressive cancer; smoking doesn't come cheap in New York; why rats binge on M&Ms.
Low-income New York City smokers are getting gouged. Science's number one point about smoking is: don't. We all know it's incredibly unhealthy and leads to all sorts of nasty cancer. But still, you have to feel for addicted smokers living in New York City, where cigarettes cost $14 a pack, give or take. New data collected by RTI shows that low-income New York City nicotine fiends spend a quarter of their income on cigarettes alone. That's about twice the national average, due in large part to New York state and city cigarette taxes, which are the highest in the country. Much of that money goes to noble causes such as cancer research, but some wonder if cigarette taxes place too high of a burden on low-income residents. "Although high cigarette taxes are an effective method for reducing cigarette smoking, they can impose a significant financial burden on low-income smokers," says lead author Matthew Farrelly. [Chicago Tribune]
Marijuana might mellow out aggressive cancer. Here's another reason for pot-smokers to defend their drug of choice: a marijuana-derived compound might be able to stop metastasis of aggressive forms of cancer. That would be a huge finding, allowing people with advanced cancer to stave off death. Pierre Desprez, one of the scientists from California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco behind the findings, says "It took us about 20 years of research to figure this out, but we are very excited." They discovered that Cannabidiol could effectively 'turn off' the ID-1 gene, thought to be culprit in spreading cancer. The researchers hope to take clinical trials from animals to humans soon. [Huffington Post]