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Jerry Overman, PharmD, BCPP, CPNP Program Administrative Chair, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, NIMH, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

Cannabinoid receptors are widely distributed throughout the brain (e.g., hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, cerebellum) and play an important role in neurotransmitter release across neural systems. It has been suggested that these receptors increase during adolescence, have a role in genetic expression of neural development, and that alteration of the endocannabinoid system during adolescence may result in a cascade of neurochemical and neurostructural aberrations leading to poorer cognition and emotional outcomes in adulthood.

With the prevalence of cannabis use in youth, and increasing numbers of youth living in states with legalized medical or recreational use, concerns are raised as to the long term effects of cannabinoids on brain development and function. This #CPNP2017 keynote will educate the pharmacist dealing with these important issues of neurodevelopment by reviewing the literature to date related to marijuana use in adolescents and the young population, and discussing the deleterious effects marijuana may have on the development of the adolescent brain. 

Specific objectives include;

  1. Review the rates of marijuana use and marijuana use disorders, particularly with focus on the adolescent population.
  2. Describe and understand brain structure and function affected by the illicit use of marijuana among adolescents.
  3. Summarize negative outcomes of marijuana use including poor cognition, behavior, academic and social functioning and explain why the adolescent population still developing neural connections, is particularly susceptible to poor long term outcomes.
  4. Design a plan for the psychiatric pharmacist’s role in the education and treatment of marijuana use disorders and how better to identify and comprehensively manage teens using marijuana.

Dr. Susan Tapert, Professor and Associate Vice Chair of Academic Affairs in the UC San Diego Department of Psychiatry, will be delivering this keynote address for the CPNP audience on Monday, April 23, 2017 in Phoenix. Her focus on adolescence started during her graduate studies with Dr. Sandra A. Brown in the San Diego State University/University of California San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, where she specialized in neuropsychology and behavioral medicine. Following an American Psychological Association accredited clinical psychology internship at Brown University, she completed a post-doctoral fellowship at UCSD on functional magnetic resonance imaging under the mentorship of Dr. Gregory G. Brown.

Dr. Tapert’s research focuses on understanding neural sequelae of and risk factors for adolescents substance use. Her work uses a range of techniques, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), functional MRI, diffusion tensor imaging, and neuropsychological testing. Her studies evaluate adolescent brain development and gender differences. She has been awarded 20 research grants, most from the National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In 2008, she was honored with the APA Division 50 Distinguished Scientific Early Career Contribution Award, and in 2010 was elected to Fellow status in the American Psychological Association. Dr. Tapert is Scientific Director and a site PI for the National Consortium on Alcohol and NeuroDevelopment in Adolescence (NCANDA), and Associate Director and a site PI for the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, which launched in 2015 to study brain and cognitive development of over 10,000 children spanning 10 years.

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