Let everyone be clear, federally, marijuana is still prohibited in the United States.  With that said there are tons of variations within local law states that apply to marijuana.  For Washington DC, The Marijuana Policy Project dated July 2017 stated the following   “In November 2014, D.C. voters overwhelmingly approved Initiative 71, which legalized the possession and cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana by adults 21 and older. Due to the fact that D.C. cannot control its own budget, Congress has been able to block the District from legalizing, taxing, and regulating the sale of marijuana. The lack of any lawful place to purchase non-medical cannabis has led to a proliferation of “grey market” operators and a significant increase in arrests for the distribution of marijuana, which have returned to pre-legalization levels. It also means D.C. is losing out on millions of dollars in tax revenue and hundreds of good jobs”.

As a therapist I often am asked if I believe that marijuana is a gateway drug.  Well it’s a complicated question.  I know some people who have smoked weed for one reason or another or recreationally for 30 years and would not think of touching other drugs.  I know individuals who have experienced significant amounts of trauma and smoke to alleviate anxiety.  I am often told that the medication their doctors want to prescribe them for their medical conditions have too many side effects and they do not like how the medication makes them feel, on the other hand they state there are little sides effects from using marijuana and enjoy the feeling they get from marijuana.  I also know individuals with medical conditions that fit the various criteria for medical marijuana and use it medicinally and it works.

Now I am surely not saying that there are not individuals that started with marijuana and graduated to other drugs.  Of course there are.  But as a therapist the arguments that are made for the medicinal use of marijuana are compelling particularly the use of CBD oil.

There is a tremendous amount of material on marijuana but not a lot of research conducted to date. Interesting articles are:                                https://nccih.nih.gov/health/marijuana, https://www.leafscience.com/2017/11/03/marijuana-and-autism/, https://www.leafscience.com/2017/10/11/10-facts-cannabidiol-cbd/

Personal choices are just that, personal.  One should be aware however of the legal implications, effects of marijuana, both long and short term and if there is an individual propensity for further drug use.

As always, be mindful

The DC Therapist

Karen DeValera is the Founder and President of C.E. Nassi Consulting Group, LLC a behavioral health consulting company.  A native of New York, Karen is a former Special Agent for the Department of Justice and currently works in the field of behavioral health disaster services.  She received a Juris Doctorate from the David A. Clarke School of Law and a Master's Degree from Trinity University.       Follow on twitter:  kd@thedctherapist>