https://www.sprucehealth.com/
top of page
  • Writer's pictureSarah F. O'Brien, LCSW, LCSW-C, CCATP, CTMH

Misconceptions of Cannabis...The Real Deal

Updated: Aug 26, 2023


Part 2


In Part 1 of this Blog series, we learned about the history of cannabis use and the history of use in America followed by the prohibition of cannabis in America, and cannabis' toxicity compared to 19 other over the counter and illicit substances--and boy was that one eye opening! In case you missed it, you can find it here: https://www.sarahobrienlcsw.com/post/misconceptionsofcannabis.


Now, here in Part 2, were are going to learn more about cannabis, its different properties and components, benefits of use, risks of use and some facts about how it works in the body. I assure you, you'll get as much new information and interesting bits about cannabis as in the last blog!


Keep reading to grow your cannabis knowledge, and hopefully, reflect on current biases you have held about cannabis...and the people who use it.




Cannabis Fun Fact: 420 (aka 4:20, 4/20) is a cannabis culture idiom for ‘time to meet up and smoke weed.’ “420” started out as secret code in the prohibition-era 1970s in Northern California, but spread throughout the world in the subsequent decades. Today, 420 is a well-known signifier for marijuana culture, a time to light up each day (4:20 p.m.), and a major cannabis holiday of the year, April 20.


Cannabis & The Body

Humans have a Endocannabinoid System...did you know that? What does that mean? It means the human body has receptors for cannabinoids ALREADY! We come like this. This system comprises of two types of receptors (CB1 & CB2), which serve distinct functions in human health and well-being. CB1 receptors are mainly found in the brain and central nervous system (to lesser extent, also in other tissues). CB2 receptors are mostly in the peripheral organs, especially cells associated with immune system. CBD (cannabidiol) and CBN (cannabinol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)--I know, I know, all the acronyms, what do they all mean? We'll get to that later, hang tight!--fit like a lock and key into existing human cannabinoid receptors. The receptors are part of the human endocannabinoid system which impact physiological processes affecting pain modulation, memory, and appetite plus anti-inflammatory effects and other immune responses.


How do we get to the effects we FEEL from cannabis?


The active ingredient, THC, in cannabis travels all through the body in a circuitous route due to the widespread locations of the endocannabinoid system. THC attaches to those receptors (CB1 & CB2) on nerve cells in the brain affecting the way those cells work. Cannabinoid receptors are abundant in parts of the brain that regulate movement, coordination, learning and memory, and higher cognitive functions such as judgment and pleasure. Below are other areas of the brain and how THC affects those parts, both positively and negatively.

Area of Brain

Pros

Cons

Hypothalmus

​Action here explains: Stress Relief & Increased sexual arousal

Also area of the brain where "munchies" cravings kicks in

Microglia

aids in reduction of the circulation of neuroinflammatory products

Unknown

Hippocampus

regulates neurons that allows to place ourselves in context (both mind and physical enviroment)

​CB1 receptors here lead to euphoric effects (maybe a con? Probably not to some!)

Reward Circuits

Provide or add positive feelings to learning

Can also lead to maladaptive learning (think dependence)

Amygdala

Inhibits memories from negative experiences (or trauma). Also inhibits learning from negative experiences. Explains PTSD/Trauma relief.

If used too early in life, can lead to learning deficits and dependence on substance

Basal Ganglia

With these CB1 receptors, explains relief from OCD, tourette's

Again, can display learning deficits in chronic users/users that started when under 18

Allow me to provide an example of how a receptor in the brain works with another substance/drug: fluoxetine, otherwise known as Prozac. We naturally have serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine etc already occurring in the brain (just like we already have cannabinoid receptors in the brain). The way Prozac works is by binding itself to the serotonin receptor and then mimics serotonin, enhances or increases the body and brains' recognition of more serotonin in your body, therefore, producing affects that would be similar to having that much serotonin naturally in your brain (more motivation, positive outlook and mood). What do we know about serotonin? So glad you asked! Too little serotonin can cause depression, high anxiety, and suicidal ideation. But too much serotonin causes signs and symptoms that can range from mild (shivering and diarrhea) to severe (muscle rigidity, fever and seizures). Severe serotonin syndrome can cause death if not treated. Cannabinoid receptors and cannabis operate in much the same way. Cannabis ingested, inhaled, or absorbed binds to CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors and mimics and otherwise enhances the effects of cannabis in the body, resulting in benefits to mind, body, health, mental health, and wellness just like Prozac! And let's remember, Prozac was made in a lab and comes with beaucoup (a lot of) side effects! Cannabis has fewer side effects, and most can be mitigated with proper dosing.


This would be good time to pause...and reflect on your own views and potentially negative biases towards cannabis. What is it in you that accepts synthetic, lab-made substances to help with mood, MH symptoms, physical health symptoms, discomfort, pain, insomnia etc. but won't, or otherwise, has difficulty accepting naturally grown cannabis that can have many of the same beneficial effects--with less harm overall to the physiological system and without the uncomfortable side effects that come with many synthetic medicines?

Most CB1 receptors are found in the brain. And most CB2 receptors are found in the body, more specifically, the immune system. With these receptors, cannabis aids in anti-inflammatory response. (www.cbdoil.life). Because of these receptors, and how widespread and abundant they are in the brain/nervous system, then it makes sense that too much THC may hit tryptophan in the brain, mimicking psychedelic drugs/substances. However, THCB lowers psychoactivity in the brain, so you must know not all THC is created equal. And between terpenes, sugars, proteins, enzymes, amino acids, cannabinoids (etc etc etc!) there are 483 known compounds and many other chemical constituents of cannabis! We'll discuss a few, read on to keep that learning flowing!


Check out the short video to learn about the Endocannabinoid System here: https://www.leafly.com/news/science-tech/what-is-the-endocannabinoid-system


Components of Cannabis

There are so many components and properties of a cannabis plant. Examples include CBD, THC, CBG, CBN--all of these are types of cannabinoids, and cannabinoids are just one of many elements in cannabis. Terpenes are the scent compound. Like cannabinoids, there are hundreds of terpenes in cannabis and other plants. For purposes of understanding medical cannabis the following cannabinoids are the most abundant whose effects are well-known (but there are probably 100 more!)


THC is the psychoactive component of the harvested cannabis plant--this lends to feeling "high."

CBD is the largely medicinal component of the harvested cannabis plant--does not lead to feeling "high" when used alone.


RAW-- CBGA, THCA, CBDA, CBCA

HEATED--THC, CBD, CBC, CBG (heating when smoking it)

AGED-- CBNA, CBN, DELTA 8 THC, CBL, CBLA


"Believe it or not, CBD is present on growing cannabis plants in only very small amounts. In growing plants, CBD exists as cannabidiolic acid (CBDa). It isn’t until the plant is cut, dried, and heated that CBD is formed. CBD is a calming phytochemical that does not cause a psychotropic experience." (https://news.green-flower.com/category/cannabinoids/ viewed on August 25, 2023).

THCA

  • The acidic parent of THC found in the raw cannabis plant.

  • When exposed to heat, sunlight, or time, the THCA in the harvested plant will convert to THC.

  • THCA is non-psychoactive and is particularly useful for reducing nausea, reducing seizures, reducing muscle spasms, and fighting tumor and cancer cells.

CBDA

CBN

CBGA

CBG

CBC

THCV

This website has lots of good information about cannabis. Click here for more information about the different cannabinoids and additional education about cannabis all around.


Other Important Cannabis Facts

In this section I'll discuss other category areas of cannabis and provide some more facts and figures. Read on to learn more about The Strains, Ways to Use, Addiction Potential, and Kids Today.


The Strains

There are indica strains, sativa strains, and hybrids. There is even a wild cannabis, Rudderalis, that contains little to zero THC content and it can be found growing in the northern hemisphere. Most indica varieties first originated in western Asia, India, Himalayas and Hindu Kush regions. Sativa strains mostly originate from Africa, South and Central America, and Asia. Hybrids are a mix, and as a result have widely varying effects. The environment in which cannabis is grown can alter terpene and cannabinoid effects.

INDICA

SATIVA

Shorter, stout plants, broader leaves, shorter flowering periods due to climate

Taller, thinner plants, skinny leave, longer flowering times.

Said to produce more sedating, hypnotic effect. Often preferred for nighttime use and as pain reliever. The more predominant sedative effects makes indicas a better choice for anxiety.

Said to produce more stimulating effects, as well as, mood enhancing effects. Many prefer it for daytime use, and to manage mood symptoms (like depression, for instance).

Despite reports, indicas are NOT more or less likely to have more or less THC, or CBD. What produced their different effect is likely a different terpene profile, some enhance cannabinoids getting carried to the brain. Myrcene is one of these in particular, found more often in indica strains.

Said to be high in THCV content. This perhaps explain the more stimulating effects. *Ultimately* trying to divide cannabis into only two categories is a little misleading, as the plant and its compounds, and their effects are a little more complicated than that. Check out this article for more of a breakdown.

In addition to the strains offering varying effects, it's important to note that terpenes have an effect of their own. Terpenes provide odor and flavor. They can bind directly to CB2. Terpenes may also help modulate, or augment, the body's uptake of cannabinoids. All of these elements together are called the "entourage" effect. You can learn more about the entourage effect by watching this 10-minute video explaining it.


For all my nerds out there, here is a scientific article published from NIH's National Library of Medicine entitled 'The “Entourage Effect”: Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders.'


Ways to Use

There are four methods of ingestion for cannabis: oral, smoked/vaporized, topical, and sublingual. Oral ingestions usually are consumed as edibles. Using oral methods of cannabis have a 1-2 hour delayed effect. The dosage tolerated widely varies by person. When cannabis is consumed orally, it must be activated from THCa to Delta 9 THC in order to be psychoactive. When consumed orally, cannabis is converted into a much more potent form by the liver, which can explain intense or adverse reactions to edibles which have been described my many people. Effects can last 6-8 hours in duration. Edibles are often used for chronic pain. However, it's vital to remind everyone a piece of info from Part 1: some people cannot process cannabis in the form of edibles due to certain liver enzymes; once cannabis is processed in the liver it changes the make-up of cannabis and it doesn't always then deliver the same effect as smoking, per se. Another concept to get real clear on here: overdosing on cannabis (usually from edible usage) is not dangerous to life. The toxicity from too much cannabis cannot kill you in the same way toxicity from too much alcohol or heroin can kill you. The toxicity in your body system from cannabis leads to paranoia and mental (possibly some physical) discomfort ONLY. You cannot die from ingesting too much cannabis. But you might be really uncomfortable for a while.

If cannabis is smoked or vaporized (vape pen), it produces an immediate effect with high bioavailability. (Definition: "Bioavailability refers to the extent a substance or drug becomes completely available to its intended biological destination(s)" viewed on National Institute of Health website , August 26, 2023). Smoking cannabis does produce some irritants and carcinogens, this is reduced if using water-based smoking method (like a bong), as the water filters some of the tar from smoking, or using a filter on joints or blunts. Vaporizing cannabis reduces some of these adverse effects, but only if vaporized below 400 degrees Fahrenheit, which also leaves out some cannabinoids. The effect from smoking or vaping is usually 2-4 hours.

Using topical forms of cannabis provide benefits for muscle spasms, superficial aches and pain, and the effect is immediate upon rubbing it in. There is no psychoactivity effect with topicals. Using topicals could still lead to a positive drug screen for 3-6 hours after use.

Sublingual use of cannabis is consumed in the form of a tincture. Although traditionally tinctures have been known to have alcohol in them, the majority of cannabis tinctures are made with oil. There is a delayed effect using a sublingual form of cannabis of about 20-30 minutes. With this method of ingestion, there are similar effects to smoking cannabis, but these effects are delayed a bit. Also, tinctures are easily titrated up or down to manage proper dosing for an individual.

Method of Ingestion

Form it comes in

Oral

Capsules & Edibles

Smoking/Vaporizing

​Flower/Bud & Concentrates 1. Hashish 2. Oils 3. Keiff 4. Rosin

Topical

​Lotions & Balms

Sublingual

Tincture

Addiction Potential

How to determine if cannabis has addiction potential for users? Well, quantity and frequency may not be the best ways to differentiate because we've already learned quantity depends on person and their physiology--everyone is not made equal. Cannabis is also bidirectional because it can have opposite effects at different doses. A little bit of weed might calm you down, but a lot of weed might make you anxious. At one dose, it can help anxiety; at another, it can exacerbate it. The correct dose is different for every person based on their own body chemistry, a weed strain’s chemical profile, and how much they consume. One hit may be plenty for you, while your friend can burn down a whole joint without batting an eye. However, there are still some limits with amount and frequency to determine addiction or problematic use. The Natural Medicine Clinic of Richmond recommends ceasing use for 3 weeks every 3-4 months for a tolerance break, as you can still build a tolerance for cannabis, meaning over time you will need more to get the same effect. The methods of use and the reasons for use may be better indicators of addiction potential. For example, does someone use cannabis to manage chronic pain issues? Okay, not inappropriate or cause for concern. But then you learn they are rolling their cannabis into blunts with tobacco paper--which can add to negative health impacts, which would counteract using cannabis for a different health benefit. A more appropriate method of ingestion for chronic pain symptoms would be with tinctures (sublingual) or lotions (topical).

Cannabis does not produce a physiological withdrawal of medical concern like alcohol or benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, Valium etc), however cessation of use may impact quality of life. Some symptoms a person could experience when stopping cannabis use include irritability, mild sleep disturbance, increased anxiety, few reports of nausea and stomach pain. The severity of these symptoms depend on the length of time someone was using and the amount used. Studies show women tend to report stronger symptoms. Cannabis effects can plateau at a certain point, and consuming more won’t necessarily make you more high. This is the opposite of many drugs, in which consuming more of the drug equals more experienced effects. Cannabis is referred to as biphasic because more weed can equal more effects to a certain point, but after that plateau, effects enter another phase where more weed doesn’t always equal more effects.

Like with any substances, drugs or medications, our brains can adapt to those over time, this has been proven with antidepressants especially. What about dependence then? If we can have increased tolerance does that mean we are dependent on cannabis? Well not necessarily. You have to use a lot of cannabis and over a long period without any breaks to develop a dependence, and this is more likely to happen with young people under the age of 18 using and then using into adulthood. Let's look at a few other substances and dependence rates. There is 20% chance someone using opiates will become dependent. There is a 12-15% chance someone will become dependent on alcohol. There is a 12-15% chance someone will become dependent on amphetamines with regular use. There is a less than 10% chance someone will become dependent on cannabis, even with regular use.

What about those with histories of addiction or problematic use of substances? Yes, this is important to consider when stepping into cannabis. I would recommend someone being completely substance free from whatever past addiction for at least 12 months before starting use of cannabis for other symptoms. Under accountability and monitoring, it has potential to assist with harm reduction and actually helping people come off of other more potent substances, and/or to manage the withdrawal symptoms. But I emphasize here, there must be a dedicated accountability partner (like a sponsor, pastor, lifecoach, therapist, and/or therapy group) dedicated to promoting recovery and/or harm reduction skills, in addition to use of cannabis to manage symptoms. It's important for any person using cannabis, and especially for those in recovery, to consider the reasons for their use, ways in which they ingest, amounts used, time when used, and consideration and execution of tolerance breaks. You can check out more information and tips about cannabis use for a person who is in recovery here.


Kids Today

We have to be honest about the potential harm for children and youth. Just as we should be honest and mindful about the potential harm of access to other drugs or substances on young people, like alcohol, tobacco, and prescribed opiates and benzodiazepines that may be in your medicine cabinet right now. I encourage people to consider safety around alcohol and these other harmful substances, just as they would for cannabis. It's true, with increasing access to cannabis and the rapidly changing laws across the country in individual states about growing, obtaining and using cannabis, children are having incidents of ingestions, usually of edibles (due to packaging that looks like candy or sweet treats). Effects of oral ingestions are stronger and more psychoactive/psychedelic for many. For example, 11-Nor-9-carboxy-THC has higher affinity for attaching to CB receptors. Children are more vulnerable to these effects and more likely to report visual hallucinations. Although, again, this is not life-threatening and will not cause physical harm, it could be a uncomfortable, scary, or even traumatic experience for a child-- and that is important. So, precautions should be taken to prevent youth from accidentally accessing cannabis and using it, for example, locked/inaccessible areas for growing at home, education about cannabis will help youth understand its properties, uses, and risks, and possibly reminding children that a parent, grandparent, aunt/uncle, family friend etc may be using cannabis in place of more impairing but accepted drugs like alcohol, benzos, and opiates.

How do we talk to kids and youth about cannabis? Especially now that is becoming more available and likely will be fully legal sometime in their lifetime. Things like abstinence only programs (Like D.A.R.E & 'Just Say No') do not work and sometimes actually confound the issue. If we only tell children one version of the story (i.e. marijuana = bad; bad people use marijuana; marijuana is worse than alcohol-- you may not SAY this, but certainly demonstrate this by actions and attitudes), eventually they will learn the other side and know the adults in their life lied to them, instead of giving them honest education about CANNABIS.

I emphasize the word cannabis here because cannabis is the scientific name for it; marijuana was the derogatory term purposely used by big money and policy makers in the early 1900s when they set out to discriminate the black and brown and other immigrant populations who used cannabis in a effort to ostracize them and ultimately led to the prohibition of cannabis. I personally DO NOT use the word marijuana when discussing cannabis, especially in educational or information-giving & gathering spaces, because it only perpetuates the stigma purposely created to accompany cannabis and those who choose to use it. For me, it's like using the n-word, or the c-word, or whatever derogatory word, and that does not align with my values of trauma-informed and inclusive language and communication. I would encourage you to consider your own use of this term in your reflection about biases as it comes to cannabis, and how language can harm others.

Honest, science-based education (like with sex education) with emphasis on safety, and how to make healthy choices consistent with their values is key to helping kids today avoid any dangers associated with cannabis. Avoiding the conversation only leaves kids today left to their own devices and channels to find the information. And back in my day, this was learning at school, from friends, or older siblings things that your parents didn't want you to know yet. Today's kids have access to all that and the internet! Where there is misinformation and opinion-backed pieces all over the place, not necessarily real science. Consider using these same methods to discuss your own cannabis use (or the cannabis use of Auntie, or Neighbor Joe, or best friend Vanessa) with your children to give clarity as to reasons you (or they) use, how you keep yourself in check, why you use, and how it helps. "It's Just A Plant" By Ricardo Cortes is a children's book explaining cannabis history and current use and risks in kid-friendly language. I encourage you to check it out here or consider other children-specific literature to begin the conversation with your kids about cannabis. (My only grievance with this book: consistent use of marijuana instead of cannabis, otherwise, short, sweet, and too the point. Illustrations are wonderful!)


Seriously, folks. If you are comfortable having kids of any age around alcohol, whether it's you (their parent) using it or friends, family, and neighbors using it, I need you to consider your bias about those same children of yours around cannabis. And, have you talked to your kids about the dangers and risks of alcohol use? Reasons they as children and young people should not use such a substance as alcohol? That adults can choose to use it or not, and hopefully safely, but children need to learn and grow and develop first? Oh you have?! Well then, it'll be easy to have the same conversation about cannabis! Oh you haven't?! Well, consider what it would look like to sit them down and discuss ALL substances with them and give them the real deal about everything! Without leaving out the toxicity and lethality of things like alcohol, as well as the low toxicity and different adverse effects from things like cannabis. 

Wrapping up + a Pros & Cons List


I hope you've learned something, maybe a lot, from these blog articles. I know I have certainly learned a lot. I have researched, studied, and taken continuing education courses for my clinical social work license on cannabis, its uses, risks and benefits. I did most of this before I started to use cannabis regularly myself. I am also the spouse of someone with an opiate addiction (6+ years clean now!) and have seen first hand how that destroys a person and their life and relationships (and it really really outrages me that the government condoned manufacture and distribution of opiates, while outlawing the incredibly less toxic, less dangerous, non-lethal option of cannabis, seriously, like blood boiling rage about this!). I am a mental health provider who specializes in Anxiety Disorders, PTSD/Trauma disorders, and Substance use/Addiction disorders, and besides other medical conditions and issues, like cancer or chronic pain, these mental health disorders are the ones whose symptoms are most helped by use of cannabis. And through my 15+ years of direct clinical practice, I have seen hundreds upon hundreds of adults struggle with managing symptoms and then managing the grueling side effects that come with most psychiatric medications. I have seen relief come to those who choose cannabis. And as a provider, I can educate and direct clients to accessing and using cannabis safely, and that's what I choose to do instead of shame them for using it. All I want for me, for my spouse, for my clients, and for all people, is to find relief from their mental health symptoms, relief and healing from their past trauma, relief and recovery from life-taking substances...and if cannabis is one tool that helps them achieve that, I am on board.


Here's a chart of varying risks and benefits of cannabis use to summarize most of what we learned:

Benefits/Up Side

Risks/Down Side

Helps with cancer tx side effects (nausea, appetite)

THC component of cannabis can make Thyroid tumors worse

Helps with sxs of TBI

THCO can cause lung damage if vaped

Regulates body's homeostasis

Street/Unknown cannabis can have pesticides, herbacides, human bacteria and waste

It binds to receptor sites that already exist in brain and body, just like antidepressants

Too much THC can cause hallucinations or other non-lethal discomfort

Low doses of THC, as well as, higher doses of CBD allows for anxiety relief

The earlier in life you start using THC/cannabis, the higher are your chances for risk with use and/or dependence

Dependence on cannabis carries a less than 10% chance, even with regular use

Those in recovery need to consider motivations and behaviors around use, transparency needed

Its use has been scientifically proven to reduce tumor size in cancer patients

Poor or adverse outcomes more likely if used with alcohol, increases effects of the alcohol

Natural form works better than all 3 synthetic forms of cannabis that have been created by big pharma

Cannot be taken at the same time (co-administration) with some antidepressants/ could make antidepressants less effective

It's the least toxic of all illicit drugs and many over the counter drugs

CBD is not toxic, however it can cause liver not to filter other drugs/medications and makes those more toxic to person

Not lethal; used for thousands of years without report of a single death

CBD is not to be used with several other substances ("Clinical Medicine Potential Adverse Drug Events and Drug-Drug Interactions with Medical and Consumer Cannabidiol (CBD) Use" Journal of Clinical Medicine)

CBD component of cannabis is considered the "great green hope" offering most therapeutic uses (www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRLYV0_6zY8) Charlotte Figi Case

Person could experience sxs when stopping cannabis use like irritability, mild sleep disturbance, increased anxiety, few reports of nausea and stomach pain

Reduces body's overall inflammation

Cannabis has been shown to reduce sperm count in men, but proven not to be the cause of infertility

Helps with insomnia

Can't use while pregnant

Harm Reduction to more potent and lethal alternatives (opiates, benzos, alcohol)

​Inhibits memories and learning from negative experiences, this provides relief from past trauma

Offers relief for OCD and tourette's sxs

Often brings people together with light-heartedness and genuine kindness

Final Words & Thoughts


Allow me to speak to every skeptic out there, every concerned person. I get it. I really do. I have been a straight-laced, rule-following, goody-two-shoes all of my life (it's true, ask my best friend!). I used cannabis a handful of times my senior year in high school (after I turned 18) and that was it! Of course I drank alcohol, because that was "normal." I have never used or tried any other illicit substances or drugs in my entire life. I have been prescribed benzos before and used rarely (and I was prescribed it for my own panic attacks about providing crisis intervention services in the middle of the night without training or support at my public agency mental health job--we can call that workplace trauma and a complete lack of consideration for my nervous system response to job duties, don't get me started on how the system traumatizes clinical providers with invalidation, gaslighting, and unreasonable demands--another blog for another day!). I have been prescribed opiates before (after surgeries only, despite having chronic pain for over 10 years, opiates were never offered or prescribed during this time). As an aside, I have chronic pain from two things 1) Past trauma/sexual trauma which led to problems with pelvic floor and 2) injury due to fall from drinking too much alcohol! So I use cannabis now because I haven't slept all the way through the night uninterrupted for about 15 years, I can't remember the last time I had 8 hours of restful sleep in my life. I use cannabis now because of a very lengthy and extensive history of abuse, neglect and other trauma and I'm still not healed and those symptoms, memories and activations of my nervous system make it hard to function. I use cannabis now because I have anxiety which can be severe at times and really debilitating, and I gained 70 lbs on the last antidepressant I was prescribed for my anxiety symptoms, and have lots of difficulty regulating and maintaining a healthy weight for my body as a result. I also experienced other unpleasant side effects from antidepressant use. I use cannabis now because it's legal to grow your own plants and I eliminate many of the risks by using what my spouse grows at home, and I save a lot of money on other prescriptions and medications because cannabis is free when grown at home. I didn't start using cannabis with any kind of regularity until I was 35 years old, plenty mature and far enough along in life to make a well-educated and informed decision about choosing to use it, how I use it, when I use it, and why I use it. And for all these reasons, and more, many of my psychotherapy clients use cannabis, too. And if I support it for them and their symptoms, then I also support it for me and my symptoms--and there is no difference.


Cannabis is here, my friends. We better get used to it and learn to stop perpetuating false stereotypes and misconceptions about cannabis and cannabis users. Educate yourself, self-reflect, talk with a trusted individual to flesh out your views and previously held biases based on faulty information, learn, grow, transform your view of all substances, and their risks and benefits, but making a concerted effort to educate yourself about the real, science-based ins and outs of cannabis. I hope you enjoyed and/or learned something new in this blog article. I hope to educate and inform in trauma-informed and inclusive ways, while also driving attention to a hundred year old misconception in hopes to change the landscape, and how we treat/respond to folks, around cannabis use.


Helpful Links:

Norml.org (look up cannabis laws by state)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7324885/ (The 'entourage' effect academic paper)

https://www.naturalmedicineclinicofrichmond.com/ (offers medicinal cannabis evaluations in Virginia)

(www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRLYV0_6zY8) (case example of Charlotte Figi, who's like was transformed by cannabis, part of CNN Weed documentary)




17 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page