Original Webinar Friday, May 7, 2021

Marijuana: State of the Science

Featured expert: Bertha K Madras, PhD
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This session will provide an overview of marijuana:

  1. Marijuana: how does it act in the brain?
  2. Risk factors for adolescent use: parents, peers, problems.
  3. The risks of adolescent use:
    * “BAD-APS” (Brain changes, Addiction, Deficits-cognition, Amotivation, Psychiatric problems, Safety issues)
    * Frequent use, high potency marijuana adds to risks of developing addiction, psychosis and schizophrenia, depression.
  4. Marijuana and pain

Learning Objectives
At the end of this session, participants will learn

  1. Marijuana biology
  2. The contribution of parents, peers, problems  in offspring drug use
  3. Evidence that the consequences of high potency marijuana or more frequent use confers greater risk
  4. Is there quality evidence that marijuana can “solve the opioid crisis”?

Speaker Bio
Bertha K Madras, PhD, is a Professor of Psychobiology at, Harvard Medical School (35 years of service) based at McLean Hospital and cross-appointed at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Her research focuses on the neurobiology, imaging, and drug discovery for neuropsychiatric disorders. She also engages in research relevant to public policy. She is author of more than 200 scientific manuscripts, articles, book chapters and co-editor of books: “The Cell Biology of Addiction”; “Effects of Drug Abuse on the Human Nervous System”; “Imaging of the Human Brain in Health and Disease” and is recipient of 19 U.S. and 27 international issued patents, with collaborators. In public policy, she served as Deputy Director for Demand Reduction in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Executive Office of the President, a presidential appointment confirmed unanimously (99-0) by U.S. Senate. Recently, he was appointed as one of six members of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis along with Governors C. Baker, MA; C. Christie, NJ; R. Cooper, NC; Former Cong. P. Kennedy, RI; AG P. Bondi, FL; Professor BK Madras. For the World Health Organization, she was sole author of a commissioned report, “Update of Cannabis and its Medical Use” and co-authored “The Health and Social Effects of Nonmedical Cannabis Use”. For the U.S.  Department of Justice, she was sole expert witness in a landmark CA Federal Court decision on marijuana re-, or de-scheduling, which sustained the position of the Controlled Substances Act. Dr. Madras recently served as a panelist at the Vatican Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and currently serves on the National Academy of Medicine Collaborative on the Opioid Crisis. In service to the public, she developed a museum exhibit and a CD (licensed by Disney Corp.) in collaboration with the Museum of Science, Boston.  She is recipient of research awards (NIH MERIT award, CPDD Innovator Award, Fischman Award, McLean Mendelson award, The Better World Report 2006, cited her brain imaging invention as “one of 25 technology transfer innovations (university to industry) that changed the world”) and public service awards (from NIDA, American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, CADCA, CPDD, Sweden, others). Her experiences in neuroscience research, drug discovery, education, government and public service, offer a unique perspective at the intersection of science, public policy, education and leadership.

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