"Highs & Lows": Cannabis Use, Genetics, & Mental Illness

Though cannabis use increases risk of psychiatric illness for all,
approximately 1 in 3 individuals in the general population are 7 times
more susceptible to the pathological effects of marijuana. As Canada
moves to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes, public education
in these matters is a public health priority requiring increased public
investments in prevention programmes, research, and healthcare supports
and services across the population. Come to this Café Scientifique to
listen to experts explain risks of mental illness associated with
cannabis use in combination with certain predisposing genetic factors.
Find out and join the discussion regarding the role of genetic
counseling in understanding, preventing, and effectively treating these


Jehannine Austin
(Royal Society of Canada College Member) is an Associate Professor in
Psychiatry & Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia
where she holds the Canada Research Chair in Translational Psychiatric Genomics.
She is President of the National Society of Genetic Counsellors. Her
research investigates the effects of genetic counselling for people with
psychiatric disorders. In addition to writing a book on this subject,
she has founded the world's first specialist psychiatric genetic
counselling service, which has now helped about 500 families in British
Columbia. Dr. Austin is extremely experienced in speaking with lay
audiences (including innovative initiatives with youth) not only through
her work as a counselor but also through her strong presence in the media and on social media groups that she has created: Translational Psychiatric Genetics Group, The Adapt Clinic, Understanding Mental Illness.

Rudolf Uher (Royal Society of Canada College Member) is Canada Research Chair in Early Intervention in Psychiatry,
Associate Professor (Psychiatry) at Dalhousie University, and clinical
senior lecturer in affective disorders at King’s College London, UK. Dr.
Uher's primary research areas include early interventions to prevent
severe psychiatric illness, classification of psychopathology, the
treatment of depression, the use of clinical assessment and genomics to
personalize and optimize treatment, and the interplay of genes and
environment in the causation of psychiatric illness. Dr. Uher is
experienced in communicating everyday as a staff clinician with patients
and families; he is described on "Organized Curiosity" as someone who interviewed "brilliantly" and was "personable and thoughtful."

Moderator & Organizer

Timothy Krahn is
a researcher at NTE Impact Ethics (Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie). NTE
has hosted or co-hosted over 100 public education events since 2005,
including a film series (2007-2011) on the ethics of mental health,
annual film and panel discussions during Brain Awareness Week, and
several Cafés Scientifiques and Open Academies. Timothy has worked as a
knowledge translation consultant for the Faculty of Medicine; as a
programmer, lead organizer, and repeat moderator for many of NTE's
public education events; and as a published researcher in the fields of
neuroethics, disabilities studies, film, and mental health ethics. He
also edits the film review section of the Journal of Ethics in Mental Health.


Lectures, Seminars




The Nook, 2118 Gottingen St, Halifax NS