eNewsletter - August 2016
Behavioral Health Partners
Marijuana? Yes, it is a drug.
Justin Wolfe, LCPC, CADC, CRC
Weed, cannabis, hashish, dro, kush, wax, the devils lettuce, are just a few of the different names for marijuana. In any form, marijuana continues to dominate the news cycle with talk of wide spread legalization and marijuana being marketed as a miracle drug that “cures” all ailments, even those highly researched, tried and tested medicines have been unable to cure.
The increased public demand for legalization has led to dispensaries opening up throughout the country and even in Naperville and our surrounding communities. And, it is no surprise that this shift in attitudes has reinforced the increasing minimization of the negative effects of marijuana. It has led to an increase in cannabis use among adolescents, who are already experts when it comes to minimizing the negative impact.
One of the challenges in educating people about the dangers of marijuana use is combating the notion that today’s marijuana is safe and similar in potency to the marijuana of the past (think Cheech and Chong).
In fact, the marijuana of today is typically composed of 13-15 percent tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (the psychoactive component of marijuana) compared to just 3-5percent THC in the early 2000’s. The increased potency has a stronger, more significant impact on the brain which increases its addictive properties. This combination has contributed to the now nearly one in six adolescents who have become dependent upon cannabis.
In addition, marijuana is being used in different ways to increase its effects including dabbing, vapping and edibles. Dabbing has increased in popularity due to the high levels of THC extracted in the process; Butane Hash Oil (BHO) is extracted from the marijuana plant reaching 40%- 80% THC. Dabbing is a quick, yet highly dangerous way, to ingest a large amount of THC in a very short period of time. Dabbing has led to an increase in the number of 911 calls from fires and explosions in attempts to extract hash oil using butane.
BHO can also be placed into e-cigarettes to smoke undetected in public places such as school, bathrooms and while driving. Dabbing does not come without great risk. BHO is a neurotoxin to the brain which, when used, destroys connections within the brain. The neurotoxic effect of marijuana has been well documented and researched. In fact, use during adolescence has been linked with a seven point drop in overall IQ.
Vaping (inhaling a vapor) is another popular way to smoke marijuana and it is also difficult to detect in e-cigarettes or foods due to the odor being lost through the extraction process. With marijuana not having the distinct “skunk” smell, it makes it difficult for parents, teachers and law enforcement to be aware when someone is vaping marijuana. Vaping is much easier to conceal, and it makes it more difficult to tell if someone is getting high.
Marijuana edibles are now big business and are increasing in popularity as there are sodas, candies, baked goods and granola which resemble the real authentic items, so much so that at a glance it’s difficult to tell if marijuana is present. This has led to a significant increase in the number of children being taken to the ER due to marijuana intoxication.
The challenges with edibles is that there is no clearly defined serving size, they tend to be on average 10 times stronger than traditional joints, and the effects are dramatically different than effects one gets from smoking marijuana. Due to the delayed effects from the edible, one may consume more than intended and not notice the full effect until he or she feel unwell or are at a crisis point due to the intensity of the THC triggering increased paranoia and anxiety.
A big topic of debate is whether or not marijuana is addictive. While marijuana use continues to increase, it remains the most common drug for which people seek treatment. Regardless of the personal perception of the addictiveness of marijuana, trends show that there has been a significant increase among users of marijuana in the issues that fracture interpersonal relationships, mental health, motivation and access to recovery.
Adolescents are our most vulnerable and impressionable population and are more easily influenced by media, peers and even adults who may ignore the negative impact marijuana use has on natural development which can negatively impact the course of their lives. Our adolescents are already facing an uphill climb towards adulthood. We need to acknowledge marijuana for what it is doing to our society and not allow it to continue robbing adolescents of living a life that is worth living.
Justin Wolfe, LCPC, CADC, CRC
Justin is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. Justin is a clinical therapist in the adolescent Chemical Dependency/ Dual Diagnosis Outpatient Program at Linden Oaks Naperville Outpatient Center (1335 N. Mill Street, Naperville).
Linden Oaks Hinsdale Outpatient Center is now open
Linden Oaks Behavioral Health is proud to announce the opening of our new outpatient location in Hinsdale. The Linden Oaks Hinsdale Outpatient Center, located in the new Edward-Elmhurst Health Center (8 Salt Creek Lane, Hinsdale), features behavioral health services including outpatient programs, on-site assessments, and psychiatric services.
Levels of care at the Hinsdale site include: Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and psychiatric services/counseling. We offer specialized programs for adults and adolescents with a variety behavioral health issues including but not limited to anxiety, depression, mood disorders, and addictions.
Our PHP level of care offers five hours of structured programming each day to address relevant life issues and/or additions. Patients participate in group, individual, and family therapy. Like PHP, IOP consists of similar programming which typically last three hours a day. In addition, the psychiatrists and therapists of Linden Oaks Medical Group offer psychiatric services including medication management and/or therapy.
Our experienced staff of psychiatrists, counselors, nurses, and other behavioral health professionals use a multidisciplinary, individualized approach to treatment which focuses on coping mechanisms, stress management and skill building.
These hospital based services are an important resource for those in Hinsdale community who may be struggling with mental health and addition problems.
“We look forward expanding our geographic footprint into the Hinsdale community and to working with patients, families and referring providers to help adolescents and adults with mental health issues obtain critical treatment and move forward in recovery” says Amit Thaker, Director of Marketing at Linden Oaks Behavioral Health.
For information about the Linden Oaks Hinsdale Outpatient Center or inquire about a free and confidential mental health assessment, contact our Help Line 24/7 at (331) 221-2520.
Linden Oaks New Director of Addictions
Aaron Weiner, Ph.D. has joined Linden Oaks Behavioral Health as the new Linden Oaks Director of Addictions.
Dr. Weiner is a licensed clinical psychologist. He earned a doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in addiction psychology with the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.
Prior to joining Linden Oaks, Dr. Weiner served as the Clinical Director of the Spectrum Health Addiction Rehabilitation Program in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is a strong advocate for evidence-based care in treating chemical dependency and behavioral addictions. He is also a strong proponent of integrating behavioral health services into medical settings.
Dr. Weiner will focus on expanding Linden Oaks addiction services and coordinating addiction treatment protocols across all levels of care. He will provide a public face for the community and government leaders on issues involving substance abuse and opioid addiction, and help build partnerships to improve community access to addiction services.
Dr. Weiner is passionate about educating both health care providers and the general public about the nature and treatment of addiction—to help medical teams provide compassionate, competent care, and empower patients to be informed consumers about their addiction treatment options.
Dr. Weiner is excited to join the Linden Oaks team, and looks forward to advancing our mission to become the regional leader in addiction treatment.