Alyssa (Aly) Rudy received her PhD in Health Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. She recently moved to Benzonia and is involved in the Benzie Area Youth Initiative.

Aly described the history, use and health issues connected with cannabis.  Cannabis has been used for centuries and has been banned by the federal government as a Schedule 1 drug since 1970.  On the other hand states have legalized cannabis first for medicinal use then for recreational use--including Michigan in 2018.
The biggest users of cannabis are young adults (ages 12-29).  In Michigan in 2017 some 24% of young adults aged 18-25 had used cannabis in the past month.  And in 2014 almost half of young adult past-month cannabis users used cannabis daily.  Most cannabis users in Michigan initiated use when they were adolescents or young adults.
Is cannabis bad for you?  Aly says the answer is yes and no:
  • The bad news:
    • Cannabis addiction and abuse is real.
    • Cannabis negatively affects the brain.
    • Cannabis use raises blood pressure.
    • Cannabis use is related to psychosis and schizophrenia.​​​​
  • The good news:
    • Some evidence suggests that cannabis can help those with chronic pain.
    • Cannabis use can decrease nausea and increase appetite.
In terms of what do we do next, Aly says research, educate and protect.  Aly's timely presentation elicited a number of questions concerning not only cannabis, but also CBD products.