The parent company of the Wyoming Behavioral Institute, Universal Health Services Inc. has offered a free on-demand webinar dealing with, what they call, 'The Cannabis Epidemic.'

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Mark Friedlander, MD, MBA is the Chief Medical Officer of UHS' Behavioral Health Division and, in the video, he explains "the forces driving the rise in use, risk factors, and the science related to cannabinoids."

According to Dr. Friedlander, there has been exponential growth in cannabis use in the United States. 15 states, as well as the District of Columbia allow the use of recreational use of cannabis, while 48 of the 50 states allow cannabis use for medical conditions.

He reported that 188 million people worldwide used cannabis in 2019, and that 30% of those who use cannabis may have some degree of cannabis use disorder. Additionally, he states that 1 in 6 users who start using cannabis before age 18 become addicted.

This disputes the theory that "weed isn't addictive."

Dr. Friedlander stated that "cannabis causes physical dependence as evidenced by tolerance and withdrawal. Heavy users who wish to reduce consumption often struggle. There is compulsive behavior and continued use despite consequences."

He also stated that "heavy cannabis use increases the risk of anxiety, depression, and psychotic syndromes."

The good doctor stated that cannabis dependence "results in declines in functioning," including: amotivation syndrome with anxiety, mood, personality, psychotic, and attention problems; criminal justice system involvement including participation in diversion programs and drug court, as well as family frustration. Dr. Friedlander used the example of a "young adult living in the basement." Which seemed like typecasting, but so it goes.

He does acknowledge that there are positives to cannabis use, including various medical benefits.

He stated that "multiple rigorous trials support the use of cannabinoids for chronic pain, including neuropathic pain," and he noted that the National Academies state that there is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis is effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults.  He also stated that the CBD in THC can help prevent seizures, and that it also prevents chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. It also serves as appetite stimulation.

Dr. Friedlander stated that retail sales of marijuana increased dramatically in March of 2020, due to the COVID-19 outbreak; so much so that marijuana dispensaries were declared "essential businesses" during the pandemic.

Though there are benefits to marijuana use, Dr. Friedlander stated, there are many risks as well. He stated that cannabis is the most common illicit drug found in drivers who die in vehicular accidents (accounting for 14% of drivers), noting that it's frequently combined with alcohol or other drugs. Additionally, he said that the risk of a serious vehicle accident is up to 3 times higher when under the influence of cannabis.

Dr. Friedlander offered many more facts, statistics, and opinions on the pros and cons of cannabis use. Recreational marijuana use is still illegal in Wyoming, though there are some who are fighting for its legalization.

Read More: Say It In Art: The Bourgeois Pig in Casper Holding Art Show to Protest Marijuana Prohibition

To find out more about cannabis use, visit the link to watch Dr. Friedlander's presentation.

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