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

Meet Our Guest Presenter, Patrick Dowling, LPC

🤍 and special thanks to Caden for sharing his personal story!

Recorded on Wednesday, December 7, 2022. We were grateful to have Ben Cort back with us to have a conversation about the “Lessons Learned from Colorado.”

Click here to watch:  The video with the animated kiwi bird, which helps us to understand tolerance.

Click here to read about:  The Association between Cannabis and Psychosis

Click here to find:  Marijuana Anonymous meetings

Click here to find:  Mar-Anon meetings (for family members)

Click here to learn about:  Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s)

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.

Running the numbers – Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania (as of 12/7/2022):

  • Almost 4% of Pennsylvanians (500,000) have a medical marijuana card and are active patients.

  • 6% of Pennsylvanians (800,000) are enrolled in the medical marijuana program

  • Most states with medical marijuana have about 2% of their population enrolled.

  • 2,000 physicians are approved to certify patients in PA

  • There are currently  168 medical marijuana dispensaries in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania medical marijuana is still working under temporary regulations. In October 2022, the Independent Regulatory Commission published permanent regulations, but they have not been adopted.

A comprehensive bill that will address both medical and adult use cannabis is expected in the next legislative session. Delta 8 THC, as well as the definition of intoxication will also be addressed.

Meet Our Presenter!

Ben Cort

Marijuana Policy Expert
Author, Weed, Inc.

“Cannabis, Kids & Solutions for Anxiety”

This is a really good time for parents and other caregivers to expand our understanding of cannabis, given the increased use of medical marijuana and questions about what works best for anxious or stressed out kids.

Just as adults may be drinking more to cope with these stressful times, adolescents may be smoking more THC products. Even before the pandemic, adolescent cannabis use was at its highest rate in 30 years.

We discuss healthy and effective ways kids can manage stress and anxiety – today and for a lifetime.

Meet Our Guest Presenter

“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.

Meet Our Presenters!

Here are some helpful recordings and links addressing cannabis.

Ben Cort’s full presentation on May 19, 2020

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

Recorded on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We were joined by Ben Cort, marijuana policy expert from Colorado and author of Weed, Inc.

View the November 2018 presentation by Ben Cort at Be a Part of the Conversation’s community event:

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.

Helpful Information

There is a great deal to understand about this very complicated substance. Below are just a few resources.

Marijuana for Anxiety in Teens

Mar-Anon Meetings
For friends and families whose lives are affected by a loved one’s marijuana use.

Cannabis: Discovering its effects on the body and brain

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

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

Some frequent questions about marijuana, and related responses.
SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)

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

Marijuana has also been shown to lower pain threshold.

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.

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

Kevin A. Sabet, PhD, Shares Important Lessons from Cannabis Legalization
“The Buzz,” Center on Addiction

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

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

The Lancet, Psychiatry:  Cannabis & Psychosis

May 2015

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.