Weed is everywhere. Let's talk about it.
Marijuana is legal in several states and can be smelled day and night all over Boston. There’s been a recent media buzz about its potential to cause harm and the need for more information about its health impact. Adding to this controversial discussion, in my recent Op-Ed in USA Today, I take a look at the specific research highlighting the increased risks for psychotic disorders with regular, potent marijuana use and how those with mental illness in their families are at even higher risk.
I find that families benefit from having open conversations about weed. If young people are aware of their genetic predisposition to mental illness, they can make informed decisions about their marijuana use. Parents would ideally first get as clear as possible about their own family mental health history and then develop a strategy to talk to their kids about it. I know from personal experience how challenging these conversations can be given the pain, fear, and stigma surrounding mental illness. Yet this conversation could potentially change the course of kids’ lives. I’m hopeful that legalization will allow for increased public awareness, further research, and guidance for families to help them approach this sensitive topic. If you’d like to read the piece, the link is below.