Helpful Information

DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria for Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD)

Click here to listen to:  The Huberman Lab’s “The Effects of Cannabis on the Brain & Body”

This is quite long, but has some very important information about mental health at around 2 hours, 18 minutes in.

Click here to find:  Marijuana Anonymous meetings

Click here to find:  Mar-Anon meetings (for family members) for friends and families whose lives are affected by a loved one’s marijuana use.

Clinical management of cannabis withdrawal

Connor JP, Stjepanović D, Budney AJ, Le Foll B, Hall WD. Clinical management of cannabis withdrawal. Addiction. 2022 Jul;117(7):2075-2095. doi: 10.1111/add.15743. Epub 2022 Jan 10. PMID: 34791767; PMCID: PMC9110555.

If cannabis becomes a problem: How to manage withdrawal from Harvard Health Publishing

Cannabis: Discovering its effects on the body and brain

Learn about “Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome”
National Institutes of Health/US National Library of Medicine

Marijuana consumers are 2.7 times more likely to abuse harder drugs.

Marijuana has been shown to lower pain threshold.

FDA & Marijuana:  Questions & Answers
U.S. Food & Drug Administration

Dr. Nora Volkow Discusses Marijuana’s Effects on the Brain, Body & Behavior
NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

  • More from NIDA:

The Black Market in States with Legalized Marijuana

  • Narcotics officers in Colorado have been busy responding to the 50% increase in illegal grow operations across rural areas in the state (Stewart, 2017).
  • In 2016 alone, Colorado law enforcement confiscated 7,116 pounds of marijuana, carried out 252 felony arrests, and made 346 highway interdictions of marijuana headed to 36 different U.S. states (RMHIDTA, 2017).
  • The U.S. mail system has also been affected by the black market, seeing an 844% increase in marijuana seizures (RMHIDTA, 2017).
  • A leaked police report in Oregon revealed that at least 70% of marijuana sales in 2016 were on the black market and around three to five times the amount of marijuana consumed in Oregon leaves the state for illegal sales (Hughes, 2017; Associated Press, 2017, August 14; OSPDES, 2017).
  • The U.S. Attorney in Oregon reported in 2018 that “Oregon has a massive marijuana overproduction problem,” with 2,644 pounds of marijuana in outbound postal parcels and over $1.2 million in cash seized in 2017 alone (Williams, 2018).

Rocky Mountain HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Report

September 2019  |  The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact Volume 6

“Legal Marijuana Coming into Focus” – Colorado Health Institute

Updated: April 11, 2017

National Institute on Drug Abuse:  Is marijuana addictive?

Mental Health Consequences:  Does Cannabis Cause, Exacerbate or Ameliorate Psychiatric Disorders? An Oversimplified Debate Discussed

Lessons Learned from Marijuana Legalization in Four U.S. States and D.C.

Marijuana for Anxiety in Teens

It’s Hard to Stay in Recovery as a Teen
Recovery Research Institute

Marijuana worse for teen brains than alcohol, study finds.
NBC News, October 3, 2018
View the full article, published by The American Journal of Psychiatry here.

National Adolescent Drug Trends in 2017: Findings Released
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research

> The Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addiction published the Cannabis Communication Guide for Youth Allies.

> How to Talk About Marijuana

> Learn about Motivational Interviewing

> Free Audiobook: How to Talk to Your Kids About Drugs & Alcohol
by Dr. Sharon Levy

Why You Should Talk With Your Child About Alcohol and Other Drugs
SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

Talk, They Hear You
SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

Center for Parent and Teen Communication
Division of Adolescent Medicine at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Conversation Tips for Every Age
Partnership for Drug-free Kids

How to Explain Addiction to a Child
Tips for Talking to Kids About a Parent’s Drug Addiction

How to Talk to a Child About a Parent’s Addiction
by David Sack, MD for The Huffington Post

> PA Medical Marijuana Program Metrics as of 3/1/2024

> Number of Medical Marijuana patients associated with each of the Serious Medical Conditions: 2017 through 2023

Data as of January 1, 2024:

  • Active Patient Certifications: 436,018
  • Approved Practitioners: 1,920
  • Active Carded Caregivers: 9,286
  • Operational Dispensaries:  177
  • MMAP Phase 3 Financial Benefit Given: $400,587.09
  • Operational Grower/Processors:  33

> PA Medical Marijuana Card and Anxiety: What the research says  |  WHYY – January 4, 2024

Lessons Learned from Colorado with Ben Cort

Recorded on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. We were grateful to have Ben Cort back with us to have a conversation about “Lessons Learned from Colorado.”

Chester County Department of Drug & Alcohol Services

Following up on the Friday, April 5, 2024 Program

A Program for Pennsylvania Changemakers! This video is intended for… ✓ Elected Officials ✓ Members of Law Enforcement ✓ Community Leaders ✓ All Changemakers As we navigate medical marijuana, and the potential for the legalization of adult use cannabis, it is essential that we mitigate any negative impact of cannabis use on our youth. Our guest speaker was Jonathan P. Caulkins, PhD


This program was funded by the
Montgomery County Office of Drug & Alcohol.

Following up on the Thursday, April 20, 2023 Program

What was once a relatively simple plant, cannabis has inspired everything from fear to fierce loyalty. We had a conversation about the science of today’s cannabis and its impact on young people’s developing brains. We need to learn all we can about this evolving substance, which bears little resemblance to a plant. This program addressed the effects of increased THC levels, social norms, availability, and the impact on a young, developing brain.


This program was funded by the
Montgomery County Office of Drug & Alcohol.

Thank you to the following school districts for sharing this program with their families:

  • Abington School District
  • CAST/Upper Merion Area
  • Hatboro-Horsham School District
  • Lower Moreland School District
  • Perkiomen Valley School District
  • School District of Springfield Township
  • Upper Dublin School District
  • Upper Moreland School District

“Cannabis. Who Knew?”

On October 12, 2021, we had an illuminating conversation about today’s cannabis and its impact on young people.

We were joined by Laura Offutt, MD, FACP, physician and teen health advocate, and Michael Blanche, MSS, LCSW from Ethos Treatment, LLC. We also heard from Andrew, an individual who previously used cannabis.

Here are some helpful recordings and links addressing cannabis.

Brian Jenssen, MD, MSHP and Eric Marsh, MD, PhD on July 15, 2020

Experts in the fields of pediatrics, pediatric neurology and substance use disorders presented their perspectives on the impact of marijuana on the developing adolescent brain.

Dr. Joseph Garbely, DO, DFASAM on July 16, 2020

Dr. Garbely is the Chief Medical Officer at Caron Treatment Centers

“Clearing the Air: Vaping, Nicotine & Marijuana” presentation on June 16, 2020

Featuring David Fialko, BS, ICPS, NCTTS, Certified Prevention Specialist with the Council of Southeast Pennsylvania

Visit our Youth Marijuana Prevention Project (YMPP) Page

A 5-Year Initiative funded by the Montgomery County Office of Drug and Alcohol

Watch Ben’s TEDx talk from November 2017.

Here is the book written by Ben Cort in 2017, Weed, Inc.

Learn about Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome from the DSM-5

See the DSM-5 criteria for Substance Use Disorder (Addiction)

Here is the book that Ben mentioned, Cannabis in Medicine: An Evidence Based Approach. Ben helped to write the recovery and treatment chapter.

Meet Our Presenters

Below are some of the presenters and panelists who have shared their expertise and experience related to cannabis at various programs.

Be a Part of the Conversation programs do not provide behavioral health advice and are for informational purposes only. Our programs are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding substance use disorders or related family needs. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen in any Be a Part of the Conversation program or video.

Jonathan Caulkins, PhD

Patrick Dowling, LPC

Laura Offutt, MD, FACP

Michael Blanche, MSS, LCSW

🤍 and special thanks to the many individuals in recovery for sharing their personal stories!