Mental health experts, advocates disagree on effects of medical marijuana

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CONCORD (KRON) — Medical marijuana is commonly used these days to treat a host of physical and mental ailments

There are some mental health professionals who question cannabis consumption being safe for people diagnosed with mental health disorders

Mental health professionals at John Muir Behavioral Health in Concord are warning about the potential risks of using today’s highly potent forms of marijuana

 “20 or 30 years ago, the average strain of marijuana had about 2 percent to 3 percent of THC. Today it can have more than 10 times that amount,” said Jeremy Taubman, director of John Muir Behavioral Health. 

Taubman is a licensed clinical social worker, certified addiction specialist and director of John Muir Behavioral Health outpatient programs in Concord. 

He explains why certain age groups are particularly vulnerable to powerful cannabis strains

“Between ages 18-to-26 transitioning from adolescence to adulthood their brain is still developing,” he said. 

He talks about the mental health disorders associated with exposure to cannabis

“There are clear links in scientific research between marijuana use and vulnerability to developing all kinds of mental illness, including psychotic disorders, mood disorders like major depressive disorders like bipolar disorders and anxiety disorders,” Taubman said. 

David Goldmen with the Brownie Mary Democratic Club on San Francisco disagrees that there’s a connection between such disorders and marijuana.  

“To assume that there is an association between using cannabis and having psychotic or schizophrenic episodes is scientifically false,” he said. 

Medical marijuana advocates Goldman and Michael Hoehn of the Brownie Mary Democratic Club of San Francisco say there is no proof linking today’s potent strains of cannabis to any mental behavioral disorders

“It’s just not true that high does cannabis causes psychosis. It’s just not true,” Goldmen said.  

Both mental health professionals and medical marijuana advocates agree however that people should consult with their primary doctor before consuming cannabis products to treat any mental health symptoms.

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