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Alliance For Youth hosts speaker to discuss underage cannabis use

Posted at 5:16 PM, Apr 17, 2024

Cannabis policy expert and author Ben Cort has been sober since 1996. Now, on a professional level, he is CEO of NRT Behavioral Health and educates communities on the harmfulness of weed and other addictive drugs.

“The most important thing to me in my world is how addiction manifests and the different things that we can do to both have less addiction in the world and to help people who suffer from it to recover as quickly as we can,” Cort said. “My entire world is really focused around trying to help people like me who are drug addicts and alcoholics.”

Cort held a community conversation on Wednesday at Alliance for Youth about underage cannabis use. They are seeing an increase in the use of drugs such as weed by adolescents. Minors are beginning to use stronger drugs at an earlier age.

“The conversation that we hope to have with folks is to enlighten them a little bit more about what's happening from a mental health and addiction standpoint, and to help them understand the products that people are consuming, which a lot of the times isn't what people think other folks are consuming,” Cort explained.

Oftentimes, people are under the impression that marijuana is a non-addictive drug; however, experts like Cort want to help individuals understand the reality of its addictive qualities.

“It would be the same thing as saying that Montana is not north of Wyoming,” said Cort. “It's not debatable. There are objective criteria to determine whether someone has an addiction or substance use disorder, and THC absolutely can be [addictive]. It isn't for everyone, In the same way alcohol isn't for everyone, or all drugs aren't addictive for everyone. But to take away the reality that there are so many people, so many people in my world who suffer from an addiction from this is, it's cruel and it's inappropriate. We have to recognize that truth.”

Cort himself was an addict and has been sober for 28 years.

“We can go back to a simple surgeon general's statement on this, which is ‘there is no safe amount of THC in the adolescent brain,’ and we have to remember, adolescent isn't 18 or 21, when we've decided we can do things, adolescent is when our frontal lobe is fully developed and that happens in our mid-twenties,” Cort said.

Ben Cort has written a book about these topics titled Weed, Inc.: The Truth about THC, The Pot Lobby, and the Commercial Marijuana Industry. His second book, which will be a more in-depth part two to his current book, with more updated and recent data, will be coming out sometime in May.