The Counselor's Guide to Addressing Medical Cannabis Use in Treatment
Aaron Norton, PhD, LMHC, LMFT, CFMHE, CFBA, CFP, NCC, ICADC, MCAP, CCMHC, CRC, MAC, CTP
Dr. Norton is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy serving as Executive Director of the National Board of Forensic Evaluators, Visiting Instructor at the University of South Florida's Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, Southern Regional Director for the American Mental Health Counselors Association, Chair of the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association's Government Relations Committee, and the liaison between the American Mental Health Counselors Association's Ethics Committee and Board of Directors.
He has nearly 20 years of clinical and forensic experience in assessment and psychotherapy, was awarded Mental Health Counselor of the Year by the American Mental Health Counselors Association and Counselor Educator of the Year by the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association in 2016, Researcher of the Year by Florida Mental Health Counselors Association in 2020, and has been published in several social science journals and professional magazines in clinical mental health counseling.
Dr. Norton developed the Decision Matrix for CMHCs Encountering Medical Marijuana Use in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Settings.
Since medical cannabis was legalized in Florida, counselors have noticed an increased number of clients presenting with medical cannabis cards, especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many counselors were trained to be attuned to the dangers and drawbacks of potentially addictive substances such as cannabis, yet we also sometimes work with clients suffering from debilitating biomedical conditions who might benefit from medical cannabis. This training was designed to provide a summary of research on both the adverse effects and legitimate medicinal uses of cannabis, prepare professionals for differentiating between use and abuse of medical cannabis, and introduce mental health professionals to a decision tree for choosing an appropriate course of action when working with clients presenting with medical cannabis cards.
Attendees will receive a copy of a decision matrix that was developed by the presenter to implement practice guidelines and that was published in Counseling Today, Counselor, and The Advocate Magazine.
Objective 1 - Identify disorders that may be treated by medical cannabis.
Objective 2- Recognize potential adverse health effects and drawbacks of medical cannabis use.
Objective 3 - Assess for cannabis use disorders.
Objective 4 - Implement a decision tree involving best practices for how to address medicinal cannabis use by clients in a counseling setting.