Six Million Experienced Marijuana Use Disorder

Study: Almost Six Million U.S. Adults Experienced Marijuana Use Disorder in Past Year


Almost six million American adults experienced marijuana use disorder in the past year, according to a study by scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Symptoms of marijuana use disorder include cravings, developing a tolerance, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms, including inability to sleep, nervousness, anger, or depression, within a week of stopping heavy use, according to Medical Daily.

The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, found 6.3 percent of adults acquire a dependence on marijuana at some point in their lives, and 2.5 percent of adults have experienced marijuana use disorder in the past year. The researchers interviewed more than 36,000 adults about their drug and alcohol use, and related psychiatric conditions.

They found marijuana use disorder is about twice as common in men than women. Younger people are much more likely than those over 45 to experience the disorder. The researchers note cannabis dependence is strongly and consistently associated with mental health disorders, as well as other substance use disorders.

The study found people with marijuana use disorder, particularly those with severe forms of the disorder, experience considerable mental disability. The researchers found only about 7 percent of people with past-year marijuana use disorder receive any marijuana-specific treatment, compared with slightly less than 14 percent of people with lifetime marijuana use disorder.

“These findings demonstrate that people with marijuana use disorder are vulnerable to other mental health disorders,” Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said in a news release. “The study emphasizes the need for such individuals to receive help through evidence-based treatments that address these co-occurring conditions.”

NIH scientists say because many people use marijuana and alcohol together, more research is needed on the effects of their combined use.



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Graduation Party Do’s and Don’ts

Spring is a great time for celebration!  Whether you and your teen are planning a graduation party, attending a graduation party or will be out-of-town and leaving your teens alone, there are several tips for a safe and fun time for all . 

Planning  a Party:  Plan your party in advance and create a guest list. 

  • No uninvited guests.
  • You should agree to specific rules ahead of time.  These rules should include, no drugs, alcohol or tobacco. 
  • Guest should not be allowed to return after leaving.  This encourages people from leaving with the intent of drinking or using drugs in their cars or elsewhere and then returning to the party.  
  • Designate certain rooms as off-limits. 
  • There should be a responsible adult visible at all times.  
  • Notify any parents if their teenager is acting like they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 
  • Notify the police when giving a large party. Discuss with them an agreeable parking plan. Let police know whom to contact in case of complaints. 
  • Serve food and non-alcoholic drinks. 
  • Make sure you have lots of activities ahead of time, such as movies, dancing, sports, etc.

You may be liable both to criminal charges and for monetary damages in a civil lawsuit if you furnish alcohol and other drugs to a minor. 


Attending a Party:  Make sure that you discuss all the details of the party with your teen, what your expectations are about alcohol, drugs and tobacco. 

  • You should contact the host of the party and let them know that your teen is not allowed to drink or smoke.
  • Find out if there is any alcohol at the party.
  • Ask if the party supervised by an adult and provide your phone number to the party host.  
  • Set a curfew. 
  • Know how your teen will get to and from the party, tell your teen to call or text you when they have arrive at the party and when they leave the party. 
  • If there is a change in plans it requires your prior approval. 
  • If necessary offer them a  safe ride home. 
  • Create a plan if there is alcohol, tobacco or drugs are present at the party. 
  • Tell your teen that is never acceptable to get into a car with someone who has been drinking or using drugs.

Going out of Town:  Homes of absent parents become frequent party sites. 

  • Tell your teens they are not allowed to have guests when you are not home.  
  • Let them know what their responsibilities are and what the consequences of their actions will be. 
  • Make sure that there is a responsible adult staying at your home when you are out-of-town and that they know your rules. 
  • Tell your teen they cannot attend a party when there is no parent home.  
  • Let your neighbors know that you are out-of-town and to call the police with suspicious activity and be clear that there are no parties allowed. 
  • Call the parents of your teen’s friends and let them know the dates you will not be home. 
  • Lock up all your medicines, alcohol and tobacco.

Click here for more of Informed Families:  Safe Homes’ article.

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Legalizing marijuana gets hazy

This was a column written by Jenilee Wallskog and published in the Kanabec County Times on February 13, 2014. Click here to view the original column.

Marijuana is a hot topic on Capitol Hill, in the media and among peers. The daily news is bombarded with confusing messages surrounding its legalization and the desperation of people who are seeking access to its medical properties. Even President Obama was recently quoted saying, “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol” referring to pot as a “bad habit and a vice.” Nowadays, if you are against the legalization of marijuana you are looked at as someone that is behind the times, a crazy radical or someone without empathy for the seriously ill that need the medicinal properties of marijuana.

You do not need to smoke or eat marijuana to benefit medically
I am not disputing that marijuana does contain a medicinal component known as CBD that is showing effectiveness in patients with epilepsy. However, you do not need to smoke or eat marijuana to benefit from its properties. The marijuana plant contains two primary cannabinoid components: CBD and THC. THC is the psychoactive ingredient that creates the “high.” CBD is the non-psychoactive ingredient that is currently being tested by the FDA to be formulated into a highly purified extract for its therapeutic potential.
Marijuana being sold is not grown for seriously ill

So, what is the big deal with marijuana then? The problem is that the weed that is being smoked today is not the weed of Woodstock. The marijuana being grown and sold today is the product of highly selective breeding process and genetic modification to induce that maximum high. The average THC level (the “high”) of marijuana in the ‘60s was below 4 percent. Today, most weed being sold has a THC level of 15-20 percent, with some strands in Colorado having a THC level of 30 percent and sold as “green crack.” How much CBD (the medical component) is being bred into these strands? Zero. CBD reduces the effect of the high and does not make a good joint. So, the “medical” marijuana being legalized and sold is not marijuana for the seriously ill. It is the marijuana for the consumer who wants the best product for his/her money and will keep coming back for it.

Less than 5 percent of card holders have life threatening illnesses or chronic pain

The average medical marijuana card holder is a 32-year-old white male with no history of chronic illness but a history with substance abuse. Less than 5 percent of all “patients” issued medical marijuana cards have life threatening illnesses or chronic pain.

One in 10 adults are addicted to marijuana

The higher THC levels in marijuana can also lead to addiction. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. According to the National Health Institute, one in 10 adults are addicted to marijuana and one in six adolescents who try pot before the age of 18 will abuse it or become addicted.

Consequences for youth

More teens are smoking marijuana now than tobacco. Persistent heavy use of marijuana has been scientifically shown to reduce the IQs of adolescents by 6-8 points. Here is some perspective: the average IQ score is 100, if that is reduced by 8 points, a person now falls to a 92 and is considered challenged. Marijuana abuse has also been linked to poor academic achievement and students who abuse marijuana are less likely to graduate from high school. There is also a growing body of research that marijuana may cause permanent cognitive damage in adolescents, impair memory and learning and emotional disorders.

For every $1 in tax revenue, $10 spent in societal costs

I lived in Colorado when marijuana was medically legal and during the passing of recreational legalization. I witnessed the culture shift among the youth and young adults. Marijuana was marketed to its young audience in any edible form that you could think of, including “pot tarts” and marijuana-laced energy drinks. Big marijuana companies came in and the pot shops and dispensaries soon outnumbered the coffee shops in my neighborhood. For every $1 in tax revenue is made, $10 is being spent in societal costs which include enforcement, health care and recovery resulting from addiction or marijuana-related accidents.

Learn the facts

Marijuana does not have to be an all or nothing debate. It is an opportunity to learn the facts, the current research and to be able to sit down and have a rational, honest conversation.

Jenilee Wallskog is a Coordinator of the Substance Abuse Coalition of Kanabec County (SACK). SACK is administered by Kanabec County Public Health. For more information about the coalition, visit


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Parents, Educate Yourselves About Drugs

Boise Police Alcohol Compliance Officer Jermaine Galloway speaks to a wide range of audiences about the latest trends in drug use. He spoke to police officers at the Toward Zero Death Conference in St. Cloud, MN on November 15, 2013. In an article and video published by Idaho Statesman, he speaks to parents. If you don’t know common drug terms such as “dabbing,” “double cup,” “pharm party,” or “molly,” read this article and watch Galloway’s video. He takes you through a teenager’s bedroom and will show you drug paraphernalia and drug references on t-shirts sold near you. Click here to read Galloway’s article.

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Letter to the Editor

This was a letter to the editor written by Judy Soderstrom, Former State Representative, and published in the Kanabec County Times on August 1st, 2013. Click here to view the original letter.

To the Editor:

Congratulations to the Pine County Sheriff’s Department on turning up the large marijuana growing operation.

Regardless of anyone’s views on this drug, the sheriff’s department’s work will prevent a lot of damage and heartache to a lot of people.

Some say marijuana is a harmless substance, but at best, it is a gateway drug that leads many people to seek a stronger high from drugs that are much more addictive and inflict much more damage to the abusers and the abusers’ families.

I noticed during the past Legislative session that Representative Tim Faust was co-author of the bill to legalize “medical marijuana.” The argument for this bill is to allow a small number of medical patients to use the drug for relief from pain and nausea.

However, many supporters of legalizing this “gateway drug” see this legislation as a “gateway bill” to broader legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Law enforcement is opposed to legalizing medical marijuana because they know it is a slippery slope, and Faust should know better, too.

Judy Soderstrom
Former State Representative

© 2013 Press Publications. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Marijuana still a drug with no accepted medical use

Marijuana will continue to be considered a highly dangerous drug under federal law with no accepted medical use, after a U.S. appeals court refused to order a change in the government’s 40-year-old drug classification schedule on January 22, 2012.  Three judges said they had a duty to defer to the judgment of federal health experts who had concluded they needed more evidence before reclassifying marijuana.  To read more on this issue click here.

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