9 Reasons Why Mental Health Professionals Need to Know More About Cannabis

9 Reasons Why Mental Health Professionals Need to Know More About Cannabis

by Laura Geftman, LCSW 

In 2006, I made a choice that changed my whole life. I gave up my career in advertising and I returned to graduate school to learn about supporting people and their mental health. I had been working in television & radio production from a cubicle for many years. Once I had an office, I I studied an open door policy, and told my coworkers to come in any time. I found that everyday I was fielding questions from coworkers and providing advice I wasn’t qualified to give. Our conversations included everything from production to dating/marital advice and family dynamics to grief.I decided that I wanted to know more about the support I was providing. It wasn’t anything I ever thought I would do. I just knew I had the ability to connect with others, provide a safe space to explore their concerns, and create the support they needed to create meaningful change in their lives. Recognizing this strength, I knew there was a better career path for me.Now 10 years into my career as a mental health warrior, I’ve recognized some support I would like to provide providers. Having worked in addiction and lived in places where laws have already changed, I know that we need to know so much more about cannabis. There’s is tons of new information and to best support our clients, you must understand more.I’ve seen many professionals shy away when I start talking about cannabis. So if you feel inclined to do so, this is for you. Please consider the following reasons why you need to know more about cannabis:


1. The general public doesn’t require their research to be peer reviewed.

Certainly having peer reviewed mental health information is preferable to ensure the quality of research and adherence to ethical standards. The rigorous review process lends to the validity and creditability of the findings. The peer review process is integral to scholarly research subjecting methods and findings to the scrutiny of other experts in the field.

Due to the aspects of it’s history in the United States, cannabis research has not been subjected to this type recorded of trial. (Need to brush up on your knowledge of Cannabis History, click here.)

While science is trying to catch up on all the years lost of valuable research time, the cannabis industry is booming with earning projected at $57 billion by 2027. According to Arcview Market Research, the recreational market will cover 67% of the spending; medical cannabis will take up the remaining 33%.

A new study from Yahoo News and Marist University reports that more than half of Americans have already tried cannabis at least once in their lives and close to 35% report regular use of at least once of twice a month. So while you maybe waiting for proper research to be completed, millions of cannabis users aren’t.

Whether you support the legalization of cannabis or not, your clients will be using it for all kinds of reasons- with and without difficulties. If you don’t know about the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids, and terepenes- it’s time to start learning!


2. More people are trying cannabis.

It’s true the number of people using cannabis has increased. In 2012, a study found that 10.4% of participants had used cannabis in the past year. Now in 2018, a recent study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine found that 14 percent of adults in the United States have used some form of marijuana in the last year. In states with legal recreational cannabis, use was the highest at 20 percent. States with only medical cannabis legalized was 14.1 percent and in states where no marijuana is legal, only 12 percent of respondents said they consumed cannabis (source.)


3. Articles like this one are telling people to find other providers if they can’t talk to you about using cannabis.

That’s right the media is encouraging people to seek mental health professionals who will best support their cannabis use. If that’s not you, you could be losing out.

From traditional to social media and everything in between- there are reports about CBD, visiting a dispensary, and treating illnesses with medical cannabis. The new emerging cannabis market is constantly developing and making headlines. 

Your clients struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD, schizophrenia, bipolar, ADHD, addiction and more… are seeing more and more information about how their disorder maybe best treated cannabis. Can you answer their questions about this?


4. PTSD is one the most common qualifying conditions for medical cannabis use.

The 31 of the 50 states permit medical use fo cannabis for the disorder.That’s more that half of these United States. So if a client struggling with PTSD hasn’t yet come to you asking about medical cannabis, it’s just a matter of time. Do you know how best to answer their questions? Cannabis is proving to be a very effective treatment for PTSD. So get the facts and give them to your clients!


5. If your clients struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD, schizophrenia, bipolar, ADHD, addiction and more…

All of these mental health disorders are now being treated by cannabis experts, and your clients are reading more and more information about how their disorder maybe best treated cannabis. There is a lot to know about cannabis and the endocannabinoid system. And sure it’s okay if your clients know more then you do, but it’s better if you can meet them where they are. It’s important to learn about cannabis treatment methods.


6. Thousands of research projects are underway.

Cannabis is currently one of the most popular medicines researched. There are currently thousands of research project underway. Their findings could rapidly change the way cannabis is used. This is a topic you need to stay in-the-know about.


7. Navigating the information.

Let’s be honest. Reading scientific research isn’t a joy. The general public isn’t inclined to read anything scientific. Those of us you know how to read mental health research studies, extract pertinent information, and provide more digestible explanations are needed when it does to cannabis. Many of the media sources providing information about cannabis are biased. Be the unbiased source of info your clients need you to be.

8. Do no harm.

We are all sworn to this ethic. While we might not fully have the extensive research we may want, we know cannabis is preventing death.

9. Who’s using cannabis and also getting therapy.

After all we are all seeking ways to create change, feel better and heal. Cannabis maybe able to help you and your clients achieve their goals.


So that’s all the nine reasons I’ve come up with but let’s support each other. In the comments below feel free to add other reasons…


About Laura Geftman, LCSW

Laura Geftman, LCSW

Laura Geftman, LCSW is the Founder of The Calm, Cool & Collected and a practicing therapist. Beyond all things cannabis and mental health, Laura is passionate about developing greater understanding for kindness and acceptance. In her free time, Laura can be found on her yoga mat, in a kayak or singing karaoke.

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This Post Has 36 Comments

  1. Nikki

    Excellent article and resource. Many people are trying to catch up and learn about the benefits of cannabis and some will never budge from their “no” stand point. I know people who have struggled with a variety of mental issues over the years that now swear by cannabis. For me sometimes – the personal outcome – is all I need to believe in something. Again great article

    1. WelcomingWeed

      Thank you Nikki! Agreed wholeheartedly! I’m hoping this can nudge the “no” people at least a little bit! Thank you!!!

  2. Dawn

    It seems that cannabis has a lot of undiscovered benefits for medicinal use. It’s too bad that so few doctors are open to the possibilities for their patients.

  3. Katie Mitchell

    I’m all for this. I agree 1000%. My mom used it during chemo treatments to calm down side effects and help calm her anxiety. My sister uses it for anxiety as well.

    1. WelcomingWeed

      So glad to hear cannabis is working well for your loved ones! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Karie

    I don’t know much about this but I think anything to help is worth looking further into. Knowledge is power.

    1. WelcomingWeed

      Knowledge IS power! Thanks Karie! Stay tuned…more knowledge coming your way weekly!

  5. Angela Greven

    Great article and resource! I have a friend who suffers from anxiety and this is the only thing that has given her relief. Thank you, much luck on your continued path. 🙂

    1. WelcomingWeed

      That’s so awesome! Please tell your friend if they’re ever interested in being interviewed for a blog post, I’d be happy to speak with them! And thanks for the luck! Back at ya!

  6. Great information. There are so many people who are unwilling to learn more about cannabis and it’s uses. I’ll admit, I don’t know a lot about it, but I’m absolutely open to learning more.

  7. Katie

    My brother killed himself about 2.5 years ago because of depression. I learned after he had been asking friends about weed. I don’t know if he ever tried it, but if weed can help lower depression, and therefore suicide, I think it should be explored!

    1. WelcomingWeed

      Katie- I’m so sorry to hear about your brother. I, too, lost my father to suicide. We have to find more ways to help people manage their mental health. I’m glad to hear you are open to cannabis. I hope others will be, too!

  8. Flor

    I think it is important to do research if it’s been proven to give results and it’s sad that so many people wouldn’t move from their position. Mental health is every day a bigger concern to our society and anything that can be done to help, it needs to be taken into consideration. Thanks for the information

  9. Michele Vadnais

    I 100% agree with you on this! Anyone in the mental health profession, whether they agree with using Cannabis or not, should stay up on the current studies and understand its uses. They owe it to their clients/patients to be able to intelligently answer their questions.

    1. WelcomingWeed

      SO MUCH YES!!! It’s our obligation! But you’d be surprised how little folks know. I hope more mental health practitioners read this and study up!!!

  10. Laura Hardman

    medical cannabis was just approved in my state. I am curious to see how this works and to learn more about how this helps others

  11. Nicki

    Great information. Again. Thank you!

  12. Lauri

    I believe no matter what side of the debate one falls on, it’s important to stay informed. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Rosanna

    Thanks for the information. I leaned some new stuff. Thanks for sharing..

  14. Monica

    Cannabis usage is becoming more and more acceptable. We are not allowed to do any drugs or alcohol while on duty at my job, but the medical benefits for people with diseases is huge.

    1. WelcomingWeed

      Very good point Monica! I feel a blog post coming on! Stay tuned!

  15. Dennis

    Many people don’t understand the healing power of cannabis. But it can be life-changing.

  16. Kirsten

    Great information! People need to be educated.

  17. Kathy Phillips

    Thank you for posting this. Being informed is extremely important. I learned a lot from your post.

  18. T.M. Brown

    Thank for you the information. I do know those who use it for pain and for anxiety with success.

    1. Thank you so very much! Always happy to be a great resource for mental health professionals’ continuing education!

  19. Pretty! This has been an extremely wondereful post.Thank you for supplying
    this info.

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