Marijuana, SMI, and Violence: Practical Guidance for Practitioners
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Credit Offered
No Credit Offered

Marijuana is the most used psychotropic drug in the United States after alcohol. Marijuana is now legal in 15 states and D.C. for adults over the age of 21 and legal for medical use in 35 states and D.C. This webinar will review the psychoactive components of cannabis and their relationship to key brain receptors in producing a range of emotional and physical responses. Common delivery methods of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis products will be discussed with descriptions of emerging and higher risk cannabis products. Key research studying the relationship of cannabis use to psychosis and the adverse impact of cannabis use in persons with serious mental illness will be highlighted. Long term outcomes for chronic cannabis use will be discussed. The panelists will highlight the relationship of cannabis use to violence with an emphasis on identifying risk factors for aggression and violence in persons with serious mental illness who use cannabis.


Recorded webinar, non-interactive, self-paced distance learning activity with post-test.

This presentation was recorded on April 9, 2021.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify emerging forms of cannabis products with increased THC potency.
  • Describe the relationship of cannabis use to psychosis.
  • Discuss specific factors that increase the risk of violence in persons with serious mental illness who use cannabis.

Target Audience

Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Nurse/Nurse Practitioner, Physician (Non-psychiatrist), Physician Assistant

Instructional Level


Estimate Time to Complete

Estimated Duration: 1.0 hour
Program Start Date: June 1, 2021 
Program End Date: June 1, 2024

If there are any topics covered in this webinar that you would like to discuss with colleagues in the mental health field, post a question or comment on SMI Adviser’s Webinar Roundtable Topics discussion board ( is an easy way to network and share ideas with other clinicians who participate in this webinar.

How to Earn Credit

Participants who wish to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™, CE credit for psychologists, or a certificate of participation may do so by completing all sections of the course, including viewing the full video and submitting an evaluation. A multiple-choice quiz is provided based on the content. A passing score of 75% must be achieved. After evaluating the program, course participants will be provided with an opportunity to claim hours of participation and print an official CME certificate (physicians), CE certificate (psychologists), or certificate of participation (other disciplines) showing the completion date and hours/credits earned.

Continuing Education Credit


The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The APA designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


The American Psychiatric Association is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. American Psychiatric Association maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Faculty and Planner Disclosures

All financial relationships relevant to this activity have been mitigated.


  • Debra Pinals, MD is a forensic psychiatric expert in the interface with the civil and criminal justice system and mental health system as well as working with co-occurring substance use disorders. She has worked in and consulting to states on systems issues and the interface for persons with SMI and corrections, reentry services, specialty courts, police interface and training and integrated healthcare with mental health care. She has served in an academic role teaching and training psychiatry trainees, lawyers, judges, social workers, psychologists, and other professionals, about SMI. She has been the PI or co-PI of over 10 grants funded by SAMHSA or by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Dr. Pinals reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Charles Scott, MD is Chief, Division of Psychiatry and the Law, Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Training Director, and Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the University of California, Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California. He is Board Certified in General Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and has Added Qualifications in Forensic Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry. Dr. Scott is a Past-President of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (AAPL) and is also Past-President of the Association of Directors of Forensic Psychiatry Fellowships. He lectures nationally on the topics of malingering, violence risk assessment, juvenile violence, substance use and violence, the assessment of sex offenders, correctional psychiatry, DSM-5 and the law, and malpractice issues in mental health. Dr. Scott reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.


  • Teri Brister, PhD, LPC, National Alliance on Mental Illness. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Amy N. Cohen, PhD, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Tristan Gorrindo, MD, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.  

Accessibility for Participants with Disabilities

The American Psychiatric Association is committed to ensuring accessibility of its website to people with disabilities. If you have trouble accessing any of APA’s online resources, please contact us at 202-559-3900 for assistance.

Technical Requirements

This internet-based CME activity is best experienced using any of the following:

  • The latest and 2nd latest public versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari
  • Internet Explorer 11+

This website requires that JavaScript and session cookies be enabled. Certain activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of the content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be:  Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player.

Optimal System Configuration:

  • Browser: Google Chrome (latest and 2nd latest version), Safari (latest and 2nd latest version), Internet Explorer 11.0+, Firefox (latest and 2nd latest version), or Microsoft Edge (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Operating System: Windows versions 8.1+, Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) +, Android (latest and 2nd latest version), or iOS/iPad OS (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Internet Connection: 1 Mbps or higher

Minimum Requirements:

  • Windows PC: Windows 8.1 or higher; 1 GB (for 32-bit)/2 GB (for 64-bit) or higher RAM; Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content
  • Macintosh: Mac OS X 10.5 or higher with latest updates installed; Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (867MHz or faster) processor; 512 MB or higher RAM; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content

For assistance: Contact for questions about this activity | Contact for technical assistance

Funding for SMI Adviser was made possible by Grant No. SM080818 from SAMHSA of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, SAMHSA/HHS or the U.S. Government.
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