If you are seeking information or resources about cannabis in Washington State, the below links and help lines should provide a great starting point.
Washington State’s Initiative 502 was passed in November of 2012. It licenses and regulates marijuana production, distribution, and possession for persons over the age of 21; removes state-law criminal and civil penalties for specified activities; taxes marijuana sales; and earmarks marijuana-related revenues.
The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board has developed a webpage that offers information about both retail locations and regulations, but also medically endorsed locations. The Washington State Department of Health has a webpage that discusses qualifying medical conditions, and the authorization form that is needed to obtain medical marijuana.
The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington is a great resource for information regarding cannabis including fact sheets, information on the health risks around marijuana use, links to research studies, as well as information for parents who want to learn more about how to have conversations about marijuana use with youth and young adults.
Harm Reduction & Self-Screening
- The Cannabis Use Disorder Identification Test – Revised*
Some individuals may feel like their use of cannabis is presenting negative consequences in their lives. It can be hard to evaluate one’s use as problematic, which is why a screening test was developed specifically for cannabis use. If you answer these questions honestly and feel as though talking this through with a counselor or therapist would be beneficial, you can call the Recovery Help Line, 1-866-789-1511 for referrals to individuals or programs in your area.
- Tips for Cutting Back
Some individuals would rather take a more harm reduction approach and cut back on their use. There is a lot of information out there on the web with tips and strategies.
Other Online Resources of Interest
- Science Daily Marijuana News
- Scientific American – Medical Marijuana: How the Evidence Stacks Up
- National Institute on Drug Abuse – Drug Facts: Is Marijuana Medicine?
Things to Think About
(from the WSLCB-Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board)
- I-502 legalized marijuana in Washington State, but only for adults. Only those 21 and older can possess marijuana, with a limit of 1 ounce of usable marijuana, 16 ounces in solid form, and 72 ounces in liquid form.
- If you are under 21, you can be charged with Minor in Possession. If you have more than 40 grams, it is a Class “C” felony ($10,000 fine and/or 10 years in jail).
- Marijuana is not harmless. Marijuana impairs coordination and perception, affects learning and memory, and can increase anxiety, panic and paranoia. Research shows one in eight youth who use marijuana by age 14 become dependent.
- Marijuana use increases risk of academic problems. Marijuana’s effect on learning, memory, and motivation can lead to difficulties in school.
- Brain development continues through age 25. The use of any drug, including marijuana, can impair brain development.
- Most youth choose not to use marijuana. However, some will try it, and some will continue to use it.
Do I Need Treatment?
That’s hard to say without sitting down and talking with a substance abuse counselor. If you are concerned about your use, you might want to take the Cannabis Use Disorder Identification Test (CUDIT)* first and see how you score.
If you think you scored high, talking to a counselor about treatment options would be the next step. In Washington, there are both outpatient and residential treatment programs. However, determining which level of care you would benefit from would be up to you and your counselor. Certain criteria must be met to actually admit an individual into treatment.
Some individuals have been quite successful in being able to reduce or cut back on their use. While the majority of harm reduction research has been conducted among adults, there has been some recent research on what harm reduction would look like for adolescents.
What is Harm Reduction, Exactly?
Harm reduction is about accepting the fact that an individual is going to use/abuse a substance. Identifying parameters around healthy use, or healthier use, and strategies that reduce the risk of harmful consequences is really the goal.
“When applied to substance abuse, harm reduction accepts that a continuing level of drug use (both licit and illicit) in society is inevitable and defines objectives as reducing adverse consequences.”
Paediatr Child Health. 2008 Jan; 13(1): 53–5.
Looking for Support?
Feel like talking or want to chat online with someone your own age? Teen Link is a free resource where you can talk confidentiality with another teen about anything. Could be about your substance use, could be about your family or friends, or simply just how you are feeling at the moment. Visit 866teenlink.org or call 866-833-6546.
Do you want to connect with other marijuana users who are concerned about their use and want to quit? They offer in person and online meetings as well as a mobile recovery app. To learn more about this 12-step-based support group visit marijuana-anonymous.org.
SMART Recovery Teen and Youth Support Program
Are you interested in changing some of the harmful behaviors that are hurting yourself and those that care about you? SMART (Self Management And Recovery Training) offers a place where teens can get together to try to look into and change behaviors that hurts themselves and others like smoking, drinking, fighting, using drugs, and more. Visit smartrecovery.org/teens for more information.
Links & Articles of Interest
- NIDA Research Report
- SAMHSA’s Cannabis Info Page
- SAMHSA’s Tips for Teens Marijuana Facts
- Above the Influence: Marijuana Facts
- Facts about Marijuana
- Marijuana Drug Facts
- Marijuana Facts for Teens
- Marijuana: Know the Facts (Poster)
Resources for Parents
Youth Prevention Campaigns
- DBHR: starttalkingnow.org
- DOH: listen2yourselfie.org
- National – Partnership for Drug Free Kids: drugfree.org/resources/
- National – Above the Influence: abovetheinfluence.com/
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*Adamson SJ, Kay-Lambkin FJ, Baker AL, Lewin TJ, Thornton L, Kelly BJ, and Sellman JD. (2010). An Improved Brief Measure of Cannabis Misuse: The Cannabis Use Disorders Identification Test – Revised (CUDIT-R). Drug and Alcohol Dependence 110:137-143.