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Thu, Aug 03

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Free Virtual Q&A

Treating Cannabis and Alcohol Addiction with Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy

Everything you ever wanted to know about Cannabis and Alcohol Addiction and how we can treat it.

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Treating Cannabis and Alcohol Addiction with Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy
Treating Cannabis and Alcohol Addiction with Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy

Time & Location

Aug 03, 2023, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM PDT

Free Virtual Q&A

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About the event

Everything you ever wanted to know about Cannabis and Alcohol Addiction and how we can treat it.

Alcohol - Cannabis - What’s the connection? 

Dr A. Ocana, our medical director, is certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine. His first posting was as medical director of the West Vancouver Addiction Day Program, during which time he was surprised to see how many teens and 20-somethings presented with cannabis addiction, while older patients were more likely to struggle with alcohol. The key to understanding both he says,  is the answer to the question: “How does (insert your substance or behavior of choice) help you?"

While both alcohol and cannabis have the ability to either speed you up or slow you down... Some people use alcohol /cannabis to speed up when they’re bored; Some people use alcohol/ cannabis to slow down when they’re anxious.

The way you use these substances, tells us the underlying emotions you are struggling with. Therefore it’s not the substance that matters, but how/why/ when you use it.

A deep dive into this poorly understood condition ensued and over the next 15 years he collected the data, and eventually published a paper, Cannabis use by adolescents: Practical implications for clinicians. BCMJ 2019, 61; 1:14-19.

In that article, Dr. Ocana laid out a pattern of use that surprised him and caused quite a stir within the addiction community by proposing that patients with cannabis addiction fell into two subtypes: (1) those who use Cannabis Sativa as a stimulant; and (2) those who use cannabis Indica as a mood-stabilizer with anti-anxiety and pain management effects.

After working in a major Addiction Hospital in Los Angeles, Dr. Ocana currently has a large private practice of patients of all ages who seek help to manage their cannabis and alcohol use. Not surprisingly, many of these patients also struggle with mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, ADHD and trauma.

Today, with the re-emergence of psychedelics as a treatment modality, he is repeatedly surprised how well, despite some risks, psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy fits into the overall treatment plan of cannabis, alcohol and other addictions.

Joining Dr Ocana is Barbara Heiman, Psychotherapist, LMFT. 

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