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Mini Symposium: Emerging Cannabis Research and Treatment for Psychiatric and Other Priority Populations

With increasing legalization and societal acceptability, cannabis use is increasingly prevalent. To date, 39 US states have legalized cannabis for either medical and/or recreational use, and this number is growing. The consequences of cannabis use are not yet fully understood, but available data indicate that while occasional cannabis use may offer analgesic benefit for some individuals, others struggle with adverse effects such as cannabis use disorder (CUD), cannabinoid hyperemesis, or incident or emerging psychosis. Certain patient populations are uniquely susceptible to cannabis use and/or its negative consequences. People with mental illness are significantly more likely to use cannabis and develop CUD. Furthermore, certain racial/ethnic minoritized populations are at a higher risk of co-use of cannabis and tobacco as well as exclusive cannabis use. Youth and adolescents are another priority population at high risk for both cannabis use and negative associated consequences over the lifespan. In an era of increasing legalization, Addiction Psychiatrists must be knowledgeable about and attuned to clinical implications of policy changes, individual patient risk factors, and treatment methods for problematic cannabis use. This symposium will present epidemiologic data, policy-to-practice implications, and cutting-edge evidence-based treatments for cannabis use disorder in priority populations such as people with psychiatric illness, racial/ethnic minoritized populations, and youth.

Learning Objectives
  • Discuss disparities in cannabis use and cannabis and tobacco co-use by race/ethnicity and psychiatric comorbidity in the era of cannabis legalization in the US and Canada.
  • Describe the current prevalence of recreational cannabis use among US adolescents and associated mental health, academic, and social outcomes.
  • Understand the rationale and preliminary results of an evidence-based brain stimulation intervention for cannabis use disorder in schizophrenia.
Keywords / Topics
  • Cannabis
  • Inequities
  • Adolescent
  • Mental Health
  • Tobacco
Dana Rubenstein, Chairperson


Dana Rubenstein is a medical student at Duke University School of Medicine completing a concurrent MHSc in Clinical Research through an NIH TL1 grant. Prior to medical school, she received BAs in Public Health and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. She is passionate about cannabis and nicotine/tobacco research, as well as intersections with pain, disability, health equity, and policy. Her recent work uses epidemiologic techniques to analyze national survey data. She also works on clinical trials and human laboratory studies in these subject areas. Her work has been published widely in journals such as Nicotine and Tobacco Research, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, and Addictive Behaviors. Dana has also received two service fellowships, the North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellowship and the Duke Chancellor’s Service Fellowship. She has given oral presentations at Duke Family Medicine and Community Health Grand Rounds and multiple national conferences. Dana will be applying for psychiatry residency in Fall 2024 in her pursuit to become an addiction psychiatrist. 

Tony George, MD, Co-Chair

Dr. George is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and Clinician-Scientist at CAMH in Toronto, Canada. 

Ryan Sultán, MD, Presenter


Dr. Ryan Sultán is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center/New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Sultán is an expert in the areas of ADHD, substance use, and anxiety/mood disorders. Dr. Sultán works closely with fellow Columbia faculty, Drs. Mark Olfson, Frances Levin, and Harvard faculty Tim Wilensas both a privately and NIH-funded researcher. Dr. Sultán’s work has been published in academic journals and presented both nationally and internationally. Dr. Sultán’s work has been published in academic journals and presented both nationally and internationally.

Dr. Sultán completed his training as a physician at Emory School of Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical College, and the Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Dr. Sultán has been featured in Time Magazine and on NPR's Morning Edition.

In addition to his work as a researcher, Dr. Sultán also is the director of the Integrative Psych in Manhattan, which provides ground-breaking individualized mental health treatment for adults, youths, and families. He specializes in advanced psychotherapy and psychopharmacology for individuals with ADHD, anxiety, and substance use disorders. 

Howard Padwa, PhD, Presenter


Howard Padwa is a health services and qualitative researcher at UCLA's Integrated Substance Abuse Programs (UCLA-ISAP). He has led qualitative data collection and analyses for mixed-methods studies of mental health system transformation, behavioral health service integration, evidence-based practice implementation, and the creation of a full continuum of care for substance use disorder treatment under California's Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System (DMC-ODS) Medicaid 1115 Waiver. In addition, he has conducted historical research on drug policy in the United States and overseas, and facilitated stakeholder engagement for several projects. Currently, Dr. Padwa is leading initiatives to better understand the dynamics of homelessness in Los Angeles County, an evaluation of Proposition 64’s impacts on substance use disorder treatment in California, and the creation of an online resource to facilitate the utilization of promising and evidence-based practices in youth substance use disorder treatment. He is also co-investigator on an evaluation of California’s Recovery Incentives pilot program. 

Frances Levin, MD, Discussant


Frances Rudnick Levin, MD is the Kennedy-Leavy Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University and Chief of the Division on Substance Use Disorders at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Levin graduated from Weill Medical College-Cornell University, completed her psychiatric residency at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital (NYPH) and then she graduated from a 2-year combined clinical/research fellowship at the University of Maryland and the Addiction Research Center at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). For 22 years, she served as the Director of the Addiction Psychiatry Residency at NYPH and for 19 years, she has been the Director of a T32 NIDA-funded Translational Clinical Research Fellowship. Dr. Levin, working with Columbia University faculty, inaugurated the university-wide Center for Healing of Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders (CHOSEN) in 2020 and is one of the senior Directors. A critical mission of this Center is to address addiction treatment inequities among minority populations. Dr. Levin is also the Principal Investigator of several NIH grants and is the Medical Director of two SAMHSA-supported grants, the Providers Clinical Support System and the Opioid Response Network which focuses on providing education, mentoring and technical assistance in the areas of prevention, treatment, and recovery. She is dedicated to encouraging addiction training of underrepresented minority predoctoral students through her involvement with a NIDA R25 TRACC (Translational Research Training in Addiction in Underrepresented Groups) and support of a summer training in addictions with CUNY underrepresented minority premedical students. 

Larissa Mooney, MD, Moderator


Larissa Mooney, M.D. is a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Director of the Addiction Psychiatry Division in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA. She is the Director of the UCLA-VA Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship Program and previously served as the Section Chief for Substance Use Disorders at the Greater Los Angeles VA. Dr. Mooney is the President of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). She is one of two Principal Investigators for the Greater Southern California Node of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Clinical Trials Network. 
Availability: On-Demand
Cost: FREE
Credit Offered:
No Credit Offered
American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
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