Nevada County Public Health Officer Ken Cutler to discuss cannabis as part of Recovery & Wellness series in Grass Valley

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As part of an ongoing community Recovery & Wellness Series, Nevada County Public Health officer and physician Ken Cutler will lead a free presentation, “Marijuana & Mental Health,” from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on May 17 on the campus of Community Recovery Resources (CoRR) in Grass Valley.

Sponsored by the Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County and CoRR, Cutler will walk the audience through the history of cannabis use in the United States and explain why he thinks the public’s knowledge of the substance is somewhat “underdeveloped.” Cutler will also discuss the therapeutic effects of marijuana and promising therapeutic avenues, as well as known concerns — such as links between cannabis and psychosis — and the vital need for youth use prevention.

The presentation is open to the public, however registration is required.

According to 2017-2018 statistics gathered by the California Healthy Kids Survey, 13 percent of Nevada County ninth graders reported using marijuana within the past 30 days. Additionally, 60 percent of students in local non-traditional high schools also reported using marijuana within the past 30 days.

“CoRR is about building individual, family, and community wellness, and we know that prevention and treatment of substance use disorders is a critical strategy to create health and safety,” said Ariel Lovett, CoRR’s deputy CEO. “As grantees for the Coalition for Nevada County Youth, we are specifically focused on preventing youth substance use, and we know that 90 percent of people with substance use disorders begin using as children and teens.”

A 2009 study published by the National Institutes of Health found that many teens turn to marijuana for relief from “difficult feelings (including depression, anxiety and stress), sleep difficulties, problems with concentration and physical pain.”

Additionally, the study found that a majority of teens “were not overly concerned about the risks associated with using marijuana.”

“Young people sometimes use marijuana as a means of coping with pressures in their lives such as exams, deadlines, relationships, and stress,” said Shelley Rogers, director of the Coalition for Nevada County Youth. “One of the best things we can do to foster resilience in teens is to help them learn healthy coping skills. Young people who possess a variety of healthy coping strategies will be less likely to turn to marijuana or other drugs to deal with stress. What we as parents and caring adults do to model healthy resilience strategies is more important than anything we say about them.”

Rogers offered some coping strategies for teens who are feeling overwhelmed:

Get plenty of sleep. Between homework, activities and hanging with friends, it can be hard to get enough sleep, especially during the school week. Ideally, adolescents should get nine hours of sleep each night.

Focus on your strengths. Spend some time really thinking about the things you’re good at, and find ways to do more of those things.

Engage in physical activity. Physical activity is one of the most effective stress busters. Find activities you enjoy and build them into your routine such as biking, swimming, going for a run, yoga, hiking, skateboarding or walking.

Do things that make you happy. Besides physical activities, find other hobbies or activities that bring you joy. That might be listening to music, going to the movies or drawing. Make a point to keep doing these things even when you’re stressed and busy.

Talk to someone. It’s so much easier to manage stress when you let others lend a hand. Talk to a parent, teacher or other trusted adult. They may be able to help you find new ways to manage stress.

“Cannabis use, including concerns about use by children and teens, is an important topic in our community and state,” said Lovett. “With our Recovery and Wellness series, we create a forum for health experts to share information so community members are empowered with knowledge and resources to care for themselves and their loved ones.”

To sign up to attend “Marijuana & Mental Health,” RSVP to Serenity Madison by calling 530-273-9541, ext. 217 or emailing sjolley@corr.us.

By: Cory Fisher, The Union

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