The Complexities of Cannabis Use

As psychotherapists, how do we think about clients who use cannabis? I suspect our opinions vary, based on factors such as race, culture, upbringing, value systems, personal experience, age, education, and so on. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, “cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in the country,” and the Bay Area has the highest rate of use in the nation (Hughes, Lipari, & Williams, 2016). I believe that many of our perceptions of cannabis have been shaped by the prohibition and criminalization of this substance in the United States since the beginning of the 20th century. I also believe we have an ethical duty to educate ourselves on this history, as it informs both the collective and the personal unconscious and is largely unknown.

Why Psychotherapy?

I truly believe that there is nothing more important than our mental and emotional health. We can often lose track of what we're actually striving for in life. Society leads us to believe we will get love and acceptance with things such as beauty, status and financial success. We get what we think we want and then there's something else missing... another void. The void is an emotional one - a lack of connection to self and other - a false belief that our worth is attached to what we do as opposed to who we are. Then we may not even know who we are because we've been trying to be something else. We may even believe that we are somehow intrinsically bad.