Let's Talk About the Risk of Getting High
Mental Health Issues May Qualify for Medical Marijuana Treatment
How to Get a Florida Medical Marijuana ID Card
How Abusing Marijuana Can Lead to Suicidal Thoughts
Teens and young adults are known to experiment with marijuana. But, is that initial puff leading to a fatal result?

Join the next Conversations on Cannabis live virtual forum on January 27, 2023, at noon, and hear experts discuss how abusing marijuana is causing some teens and young adults to consider suicide.
Mental Health Issues May Qualify for Medical Marijuana Treatment
Under Florida’s medical marijuana law, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a qualifying condition for treatment as recommended by a qualified medical marijuana physician. But the law gives doctors some flexibility on treating ailments “of the same kind or class as or comparable to the others listed.” So, people struggling with, say, chronic bouts of anxiety, depression, or insomnia — symptoms of PTSD — may be eligible to receive a Medical Marijuana Use Registry identification card. 

“There's no one pharmacological agent or medication that has been deemed the gold standard treatment of PTSD because PTSD is just a combination of so many different symptoms,” explains Dr. Delvena Thomas, a board-certified psychiatrist and neurologist. Her private practice in Fort Lauderdale focuses on psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, and alternative health, which includes CBD products and medicinal cannabis certifications.

But, she adds, “medicinal cannabis has proven effective in treating PTSD, a very specific type of anxiety. We classify it as an anxiety disorder, it's very specific. Patients do well with medicinal cannabis in treating their PTSD.”

She and Dr. Alexys Hillman, who practices osteopathic medicine and is a qualified medical marijuana physician in Pensacola, agree that mental health problems may arise during holiday seasons, like the one many Americans just observed. What should be an occasion for joyous celebrations among family and friends may instead trigger feelings of loneliness and suicidal thoughts, they say. 

“A lot of what I encounter is anxiety, especially coming out of a pandemic. And we're seeing the rise of COVID cases, as well as flu and RSV [respiratory syncytial virus]. So, people are getting anxious again,” says Dr. Hillman.

Regardless of the cause of a mental health issue, the doctors strongly advise against self-medicating, including using illegal marijuana or alcohol. For someone who is being treated with medical cannabis to help alleviate PTSD-like symptoms, they also warn against drinking alcohol or taking prescription opioids at the same time. 

Drs. Hillman and Thomas are adamant that illegal marijuana is too dangerous to use for any reason, as it likely contains impurities and could be laced with deadly substances such as fentanyl. Dr. Thomas says people who use weed frequently beginning at an early age “can actually increase their risk of developing schizophrenia.”
Click here to watch MMERI’s Conversations on Cannabis Virtual Forum featuring Dr. Delvena Thomas, a board-certified psychiatrist and neurologist & Dr. Alexys Hillman, qualified medical marijuana physician discussing the pros and cons of using cannabis as a mental health treatment.
How to Get Medical Marijuana in Florida
Only a qualified physician can recommend medical marijuana in Florida. However, a patient still must get a Medical Marijuana Use Registry Card to obtain the drug from an approved treatment center.

The Consequences of Unlawful Marijuana Use in Florida
Marijuana is still illegal under federal law
It’s illegal to share your medical marijuana with others
Only use medical marijuana at home to avoid legal problems
Do not smoke or vape medical marijuana in your car; the smell may give police probable cause
Do not leave the state of Florida or visit any federal property with your medical marijuana
What People Are Saying About Marijuana
During each Conversations on Cannabis Virtual Forum, we ask audience members to share their views or experiences.
“I have found cannabis to help me in discovering my true self and have assisted with opening my mind and seeing life in a brand new way. I also credited therapy and the work outside of therapy in helping me to see life in a new way.” - E.G. in the United States
“I’m an over-thinker and suffer from high functional depression. Marijuana calms my mind and relaxes me. I overthink to the point it’s hard for me to sleep or stay asleep. But I sleep well with the help of marijuana.” - M.A. in the United States
FAMU’s Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative (MMERI) is the only program mandated by the state to engage minority communities and Florida’s diverse populations about marijuana for medical use and the impact of the unlawful use of marijuana.

We are providing credible information in a safe space for you to learn and talk frankly about cannabis in Florida. Learn more at
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