Ask Me Anything About Marijuana, CBD, and Mental Health

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

The brain is a complicated organ. When introduced to substances, their functions can be either enhanced or impaired. Depending on the person and their use of marijuana, the mind—and the body—can be impacted in a variety of ways.

While every person’s response to marijuana or cannabinoid (CBD) products is different, there is growing evidence that cannabis can have a major impact on mental health.

So how do we separate the facts from the hype? What products can help us with mental health symptoms? And is there a major difference between recreational and medical marijuana use?

Audience Questions

Dr. Staci Gruber addresses the myths and misconceptions of marijuana, discusses groundbreaking research on cannabis, and answers audience questions about the intersection of marijuana and mental health.

  • What does it mean when we talk about cannabis? What are the differences between all the parts of the plant and the role they play in medicine?
  • Can you explain the differences between the major chemical components of cannabis and the differences in psychiatric effects they may have on a person?
  • Is there a lot known about the interaction between typical pharmaceutical drugs and marijuana use?
  • What is the truth about marijuana being physically or mentally addictive?
  • What do you define as a “low dose” or “high dose” of cannabis?
  • There are many studies out there about marijuana use in younger people. Is anyone studying the effects of regular marijuana use in older adults?
  • There are so many cannabis-related products available out there. How am I supposed to know which product is right for me and my conditions? How can I know which are quality brands and products?
  • Performing studies related to THC and CBD has proved to be challenging with regulatory standards in place. Is that changing with increased legalization at the state level, or does the federal scheduling continue to make things difficult?
  • Even though we’ve made progress, it seems that the old “reefer madness” mentality continues to persist with many people. When we talk about the work being done in this space, many believe that all cannabis proponents are just people who want to get high. How can we help educate people in positions of power to the value of research like yours?
  • Where can we find reputable studies about THC and CBD? There’s a lot of information out there, but a lot of the news appears contradictory and even untrustworthy.
  • Would you please explain in layman’s terms the difference between THC and CBD?
  • Since most primary care physicians are not knowledgeable in this area, what are some resources for people wanting to try cannabis products to treat anxiety? There is a lot of content that suggests different dosages. How do we know where to start?
  • When considering using marijuana to treat anxiety, it seems that edibles and smoking are the common options. I was told that the dose in an edible can vary, and it does not seem that there is a lot of control in terms of dosage when it comes to smoking. Is this accurate?
  • Could you briefly touch on the existing evidence around the medical use of THC for psychiatric disorders?
  • Can you speak to what has been scientifically proven about the connection between marijuana use and the onset of psychosis?
  • A lot of folks tuning in to this session work with children and their families. Do you know of a user-friendly review of the impacts of cannabis on children and teenagers?
  • I work in child welfare, and case managers are seeing an increase in parents with medical marijuana prescriptions. There do not seem to be many resources to help people judge if a parent’s use of marijuana is affecting their caregiving capacities. Do you have suggestions?
  • Are there any studies looking at the effects of natural cannabis versus genetically modified cannabis?
  • Are there ways for people in recovery from drugs and alcohol to successfully use cannabis products as part of their care plan?
  • You mentioned that people take cannabis commonly by eating it, smoking it, or vaping it. Is one way of taking it more effective than other ways?
  • Aside from epilepsy, is anyone doing research on the positive impacts of young people using cannabis-based products as part of a treatment plan?
  • Is there actual research to back up that cannabis is helpful in treatment plans for physical pain, whether chronic, like fibromyalgia, or sporadic but recurring, like menstrual cramps?
  • What’s happening at the MIND program? How do we get involved?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.


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About Dr. Gruber

Staci Gruber, PhD, is the director of the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core and director of the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery (MIND) program at McLean Hospital.

Dr. Gruber studies the impact of marijuana on the brain and works to educate policymakers and the general public about the neurobiologic differences between adults and adolescents as well as additional factors that contribute to the impact of marijuana on the brain. In 2014, Dr. Gruber launched MIND, the first program of its kind designed to clarify the specific effects of medical marijuana use on a number of outcome measures.

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