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Navigating Marijuana Use: Expert Insights from Mohab Hanna, MD, Board Certified in Child + Adolescent Psychiatry

Updated: Feb 26

Navigating Marijuana Use: Expert Insights from Dr. Mohab Hanna, Board Certified in Child + Adolescent Psychiatry, Bergen County Moms

Having practiced psychiatry since 2002, I've witnessed a significant shift in how we, as clinicians and as a society, perceive and discuss marijuana use. This change in perspective has prompted me to reevaluate my approach to this complex issue.

In my early years of practice, conversations about marijuana with high school and college students were straightforward – it was illegal, and therefore, they should stop. However, I quickly realized that the threat of legal consequences was often missing the mark. Many youths weren't getting caught, and the mere illegality of marijuana didn't resonate with them as a strong enough reason to abstain. 

As we continue to experience changes in legislation and societal attitudes, I believe it's important to shift our focus from legality to understanding the motives behind marijuana use. People use marijuana for various reasons – recreation, self-medication, or as part of their social routine. As a psychiatrist, my goal is to understand each individual's relationship with marijuana. Is it being used for relief or reward? How does it fit into their overall mental and physical health?

In my practice, I encounter many patients who believe their marijuana use is under control and not causing any harm. While I respect their perspective, I emphasize the importance of considering the potential risks. Research has indicated that marijuana use, especially at a young age, can trigger the early onset of mental health symptoms or seriously exacerbate existing conditions.  

For those considering medication for mental health treatment, it's essential to evaluate how marijuana use might affect their condition and treatment outcomes. Wisdom dictates that we explore all avenues, including the possibility of abstaining from marijuana, to understand its actual impact on our well-being.

It’s worth considering, or reconsidering, the social narratives about marijuana use being a normative part of certain lifestyles or age groups.  As a society, we need to engage in honest, informed conversations about marijuana, focusing on wisdom rather than blanket judgments of good or bad.

As we navigate the complexities surrounding marijuana use, let's approach it with a mindset seeking wisdom.  Let’s carefully weigh the reasons behind our choices, understand the potential risks and benefits, and make decisions prioritizing our long-term health and well-being.

Dr. Hanna Will Host a Live Webinar on "Psychiatric Medications for Kids and Teens"

Live Q&A With Dr. Hanna

Friday April 12, 2024

12pm - 1pm

Mohab Hanna, MD is Board Certified in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and is the founder of MedPsych Behavioral Health with offices in Ramsey, Old Tappan and Montclair. Dr. Hanna specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety, depression and ADHD. MedPsych provides psychiatry, psychotherapy, autism and ADHD testing, and other services with in-person and virtual appointments available. MedPsych is offering a Teen Anxiety Group in their Ramsey office.  For more information, please visit or email us at

MedPsych Behavioral Health, Bergen County Moms

545 Island Road, Suite 2B & 3D, Ramsey, NJ 07446

180 Old Tappan Road, Building 3, 2nd Floor, Old Tappan, NJ 07675

MedPsych Behavioral Health provides psychiatry, psychotherapy and testing services to children, teens, and adults. MedPsych has offices in Ramsey, Old Tappan and Montclair, and offers in-person and tele-based services. For more information visit, email or call (551) 271-1506.


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