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Detailed Descriptions

Lessons Learned from Science and Legalization: Implications for Health, Mental Health and Prevention
Keynote: Instructor: Jason Kilmer, PhD

When Washington and Colorado legalized cannabis for non-medical/personal use, both states had a 30 day window after the November 2012 election to prepare for legalization in December 2012.  Communities and college campuses made their best guess as to what was needed for public health and prevention, and learned that a great deal of the science had to play catch up with what people were actually using.  Now, over 7 years after legalization, a great deal of science has caught up, and lessons learned from legalization have emerged.  In this keynote, we will review research on changing potency, placebo effects, scientific findings related to physical effects and mental health, and implications for prevention and intervention.

Afternoon Breakout sessions:

  • The Potential Benefits of CBD
    Instructor: Mary Clifton, MD

Research support the potential benefit of CBD and other cannabinoid formulations for use in the treatment of individuals going through addiction treatment and maintenance of remission. With a small but rapidly growing body of literature, professionals and clinicians can find it complicated and overwhelming to find the studies and keep up with the rapidly changing and recently published literature, go support their clients and patients. The purpose of this workshop is to equip the clinician with essential data gleaned from recent published literature that is designed to address a variety of common challenges faced by those who work with individuals in various stages of addiction treatment.  This essential information is intended to guide effective institutional practice. Participants should learn about the medical community’s involvement in the development of the opioid crisis, the developing research around CBD and othe cannabinoid formulations in the management of withdrawl from opioids and maintenance of sobriety.

  • Weeding Through the Pros and Cons of Cannabis Use When Debating Legalization
    Instructor: Thomas Etts, LCSW, LCADC

Before I begin my presentation, I will give out a short survey on whether participants believe cannabis use should be legal, illegal, or only used for medical reasons and why. At the end, I will ask participants to share if they have had any changes from their original view. By the end of this course, participants will be able to explain the basics of the endogenous cannabinoid system. I will provide a worksheet defining the role of CBD1, CBD2, THC, and the effects on mind and body. I will show data explaining the benefits of cannabis use for anxiety, PTSD, and pain reduction, as well as the disadvantages. I will discuss research claims that cannabis use treats an array of psychological disorders, medical problems, and the side effects from using the drug. I will define what is a “gateway drug” and “exit drug” when debating marijuana use and the research supporting or debunking these theories. I will show risk factors associated with the increased THC levels cultivated in today’s marijuana and how this higher potency effects teen use, brain growth and prenatal development. I will explain how different ways of administrating cannabis impacts THC potency and the possible dangers that come from it. I will show data on the relationship between cannabis use and psychosis, cardiovascular problems, and addictive behavior.  Finally, how do we approach legalization of cannabis and how will it impact different racial groups, the marginalized and disenfranchised.

  • The Highs and Lows – Let’s Talk with Clients About Their Cannabis Use
    Instructor: Stephanie Field LCSW, LCADC

In an open dialogue, round table setting therapists and counselors will explore clinical methods for working with clients who use marijuana.  How can we effectively facilitate safe spaces for our clients to have conversations about marijuana usage?  In this workshop we will exchange ideas in regard to this changing field, specifically about how to best work towards client self- determination and greater understanding of what the client’s use of marijuana means to them. This will be an interactive workshop, and participants will be encouraged to present a brief case study for the purpose of practicing the stated learning objectives.

  • Trends in Young Adult Cannabis Use after Legalization: Findings from the Young Adult Health Survey
    Instructor: Jason Kilmer, PhD

The Washington Young Adult Health Survey has collected data on 18-25 year olds every year since 2014, and the first year of data collection launched before the first marijuana retail stores opened in Washington.  In addition to collecting cross-sectional data from new cohorts each year, longitudinal data have been collected by following up with cohorts over time.  In this breakout session, findings related to cannabis use, perceived norms, sources of marijuana, driving after use, simultaneous use, and perceived harm/risk will be presented.  Factors affecting norm perception (and the importance of correcting misperceived norms) will be reviewed.  Implications for prevention in a changing legal climate will be discussed.

  • Screening, Assessment, and Treatment Planning for Cannabis Use Disorder
    Instructor: Lesia M. Ruglass, Ph.D.

With increased legalization of recreational cannabis across states and reduced perception of harm, cannabis use and cannabis use disorder (CUD) are expected to rise in the general population. Clinicians in the field need to remain up to date on the science of screening and assessment of CUD in order to provide timely and appropriate treatment. This brief course will review evidence-based screening and assessment instruments, the clinical interviewing process to determine a diagnosis of cannabis use disorder, and preliminary questions to begin to develop a case formulation and treatment plan.

  • The New Jersey Medical Cannabis Program & the Role of Mental Health Providers: Updated Information to Safely Obtain Medicine in This Time of Crisis
    Instructor: Laura Geftman, LCSW *Pending CE approval

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, concerns about mental health have been of the utmost concern. The state of New Jersey includes anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, and opioid use disorder as qualifying conditions for medical cannabis, and has seen an increase in enrollment to the Medical Cannabis program in the past month. Mental health providers can play an important role in ensure their clients receive the proper treatment regarding cannabinoid therapy. This program will provide information specific to the New Jersey Medical Cannabis program to help mental health providers understand the terms of the program, their role in the process, and any updates due to crisis.