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Singing Your Song

Singing Your Song

~~~Written By Amy Wilson

 

The first time I met Bill, I stood on the steps of a stately white home taking deep breaths to calm my racing heart before pushing the doorbell. What could I possibly offer a highly successful, well-connected man suffering from a rare neurological condition? Facts from journal articles and textbooks bounced around in my thoughts as I waited for someone to answer the door. 

 

What Can Music Do?

As a board-certified music therapist (MT-BC), I have seen how music from a person’s young adult years can provide orientation to the present moment in spite of Alzheimer’s or stroke (Gomez & Gomez, 2017). Intense pleasure responses to music can excite pathways in the brain involved in motivation (Zatorre & Salimpoor, 2013; Stegemöller, 2014). Preferred music can focus and sustain attention resulting in lower pain perception and increased relaxation (Bradt et al., 2021; Hirokiwa & Ohira, 2003; Lee, 2016)

But Bill did not need theories or statistics. He needed me to see him as a whole person through the music he loved. Over the course of many weeks as he received hospice care, I learned his favorite Irish tunes and sang Sinatra classics like, “New York, New York,” as Bob’s wife held his hand and recalled trips they had enjoyed together.

Amal spoke softly, thanking me for the smallest of kindnesses. I met him while working in behavioral health. His features remained calm and his voice low and steady. He recognized his situation and problems as he worked through the evils of a childhood in the Sudan. One afternoon I noticed how his body relaxed as I improvised music on the keyboard, so I continued playing as he and the other group members sat quietly with closed eyes. As he slowly emerged, Amal said the music brought him to a place of peace.

 

A Connection To God

Then there was Hannah, who two minutes into an assessment said, “I don’t want to answer any more of your #@$%* questions!” I received her message clearly. A week later, she was in my group requesting “This Little Light” and writing a beautiful song about finding strength in God and prayer. Initially I thought she was mocking the exercise. But as I was leaving that day, she stopped me and said, “When I came here, I was really high on drugs. I’m doing better now, and I really enjoyed your music group. Thank you.”

One morning, I led a group on the behavioral health unit in activities to encourage spiritual wellness. I had no idea how people would respond, and fully expected them to tell me this was stupid or to simply walk out. After many years as a worship leader and hospice music therapist, I know the power music holds for our faith and connection to God. But I did not know how people suffering from acute psychiatric symptoms would receive spiritual support. 

I created a group session that was patient-led and allowed them to choose spiritual or gospel songs they found meaningful. There were eight men in the group, including several who exhibited disorganized thoughts and behaviors, often speaking in disjointed words that were hardly understandable. These men chose songs like “What a Wonderful World,” singing every word clearly. Near the end of the group, a young man I had not yet met requested “Amazing Grace.” 

I  never sing this song without a request, as it can hold strong memories of funerals and loss. I asked everyone present if they wanted to sing it, and they all affirmed the choice. These men sang “Amazing Grace” with more conviction than I have ever seen in 20 years of worship leading. I have become very good at “bracketing” my own feelings when working, but this caught me off guard, especially “I once was lost, but now I’m found.” No matter their past or future, in that moment these men were clearly connecting with God and with one another.

When I first started working in behavioral health, it seemed to hold no similarities to hospice work. Now I think that in a spiritual sense, these two environments have much in common. The people I meet are often facing the most intense period of physical, emotional, psychological, and relational hardship they have ever endured. Perhaps because of their desperation, many of the people receiving care are open to God and recognize their deep need for him. With the simple offering of an acoustic guitar and my voice, I can share the light of Christ through music that reaches the soul.

 

A Source Of Healing

1 Samuel 16 tells the story of Saul in one of his darkest seasons. This story first captivated me as a middle schooler. How could it be that of all things, music is prescribed to ease Saul’s torment? Saul’s servants seem confident that beautiful music will relieve his suffering (I Samuel 16:16). Indeed, when David is found and plays his instrument for the king, Saul is “refreshed.” What exactly was the nature of Saul’s torment? Did he perhaps have a form of mental illness, or was the suffering entirely spiritual? A few details interest me. The healing Saul received did not occur in isolation, but in the context of a caring relationship. The illness or spiritual suffering was not a one-time event, but recurred. David played the lyre skillfully. He practiced his craft over time and the work of his hands was used to comfort. And the people of this ancient time expected music would provide the “cure.” Maybe they understood more fully how music reaches the whole person’s mind, body, and soul than we do in our modern thinking.

As a music therapist, I have the honor and privilege to know patients by their music. Songs connect us and build lasting memories. I witness restoration in the places where beauty meets brokenness. After studying music as a performer and music therapist for most of my life, I am increasingly amazed by this gift God has given us. Music can calm an infant, begin a teenage romance, inspire a team, tear down walls, unify a nation, share ideas, tell stories, and allow us to worship the Lord of All. May we give thanks for this good gift and use it to “build one another up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Amy Wilson, MA, MT-BC is a board certified music therapist who regularly leads worship at our Leawood Campus. Amy and her family have attended Christ Community since 2012. She is currently a doctoral student at the University of Kansas and works in behavioral health. 

~~~~~

Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality.

For more information about music therapy, please visit musictherapy.org

RELATED RESOURCES: 
For additional information listen to theFormed.life podcast (links below)
Episode 19: Exploring the Profound Impact of Music Therapy with Amy Wilson or Episode 20: A Body of Praise with W. David O. Taylor. Taylor highlights the significance of the physical body in our worship of God. 

 

CITATIONS:

Bradt, J., Dileo, C., Myers-Coffman, K., & Biondo, J. (2021). Music interventions for improving psychological and physical outcomes in people with cancer. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 10(10), CD006911.

Gomez, G. M., & Gomez, G. J. (2017). Music therapy and Alzheimer’s Disease: Cognitive, psychological, and behavioral effects. Neurologia, 32(5): 300-308.

Hirokiwa, E., & Ohira, H. (2003). The effects of music listening after a stressful task on immune functions, neuroendocrine responses, and emotional states in college students. Journal of Music Therapy, 40(3), 189-211. 

Lee, J. H. (2016). The effects of music on pain: A meta-analysis. Journal of Music Therapy, 53(4), 430-477.

Stegemöller, E. L. (2014). Exploring a Neuroplasticity Model for Music Therapy. Journal of Music Therapy, 51(3), 211-227.

Zatorre, R. & Salimpoor, V. (2013). From perception to pleasure: music and its neural substrates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – PNAS 110(2), p. 10430-10437 

 

Are You on the Path to Burnout?

Are You on the Path to Burnout?

I enjoy catching up with congregation members at a favorite coffee shop. I not only really like a bold cup of coffee, I also enjoy unhurried conversations where joys, hopes, dreams, and fears bubble to the surface of our often too busy lives. A conversation I am having more frequently is around the stressful work world so many are experiencing in the fields of health care, mental health, education, business, and non-profit worlds. For many there is a lingering post-COVID exhaustion, staffing pressures, mental health challenges, increasing workloads, longer work hours, economic pressures, and a host of disruptive technological changes. This amount of stress is putting more people on the path to burnout. Finding themselves physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually depleted, the cry of the heart I often hear is articulated with these words: “I don’t think I can do this anymore.”  

In addition to the high stress of the workplace, we live in a cultural context with increasing macro-pressures that are also fueling burnout. We sense in unsettling and disorienting ways what the writer of Psalm 11:3, declared, When the foundations are destroyed what will the righteous do?The worldview and ethical foundations we have stood upon are fast crumbling around us. The organization Renovare convened 35 leaders from many societal sectors including the arts, media, technology, politics, mental health, higher education, non-profits, and clergy. Four macro themes emerged around our cultural moment. First, we are in a time of deep instability manifesting itself in panic, isolation, and loneliness. Second, polarization and breakdown are increasing across our culture and institutions, including the church. Third, many people don’t know who they are, what is true, and where they belong. Fourth, there is a loss of confidence in leaders because of abuses of power and tragic character flaws. 

In addition, to these macro cultural pressures, the orthodox Christian faith we hold dear is not only marginalized, it is increasingly ridiculed and vigorously opposed. The increased overload in many workplaces, the broader cultural pressures, the overwhelming bombardment of information, the gnawing isolation and loneliness, and the dizzying amount of technological and cultural change are all contributing to the emotional, spiritual, relational, and physical depletion of burnout. How do we navigate our cultural moment and our challenging Monday worlds so that we can flourish and not face burnout? As a starting point, I suggest carving out some time to evaluate your pace, your patterns, and your people. 

First, how is your pace? The late Dallas Willard, whose now-famous advice to pastor John Ortberg to ruthlessly eliminate hurry, was once asked what one word he thought best described Jesus. Dallas paused for a moment and then said, “relaxed.”  As yoked apprentices of Jesus, are we like Jesus in that manner? Are we learning the importance of healthy pacing in our lives?  Let’s remember that Jesus, although facing innumerable demands and having many important things to do, lived a wise pace of an unhurried life. He often said no and we should, too. Looking back at your week, month, and your year, what pace have you been keeping?  We know that when a car speeds, it can kill, but do we grasp that when we speed through life, important things can be missed, souls can wither, and relationships implode. What is your weekly schedule telling you? Are you trying to do too much?  Are you trying to say yes too much and no too little?  

Second, what are your patterns? We are all patterned people whose habitual daily and weekly rhythms form us either for flourishing or spiritual, emotional, and relational impoverishment. Varying seasons of life often require adjustments to life patterns. Yet regardless of our life season, God built into creation a rhythm of six days of work and one day of rest. Weekly sabbath rest is God’s great gift to us in every season of life. Sabbath is not to be seen as the end of an exhausting week, but the climax of the week. God had all this in mind when keeping the sabbath became an integral part of the Ten Commandments. Abraham Joshua Heschel who wrote one of the most insightful books on the Sabbath puts it this way, “The Sabbath is not for the sake of the weekdays, the weekdays are for the sake of the Sabbath. It is not an interlude, but the climax of living.” How are you building a sabbath day within your weekly planning and patterns? What changes do you need to make to observe a consistent weekly sabbath day? While a sabbath is about much more than avoiding burnout, I know of few better antidotes to burnout than regular sabbath day practice. 

Another pattern to pay attention to is our daily sleep. In Psalm 4:8 we read, In peace and safety I will both lie down and sleep for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.  Getting adequate and regular sleep is foundational for flourishing and avoiding burnout. This year at our Leawood Campus we had a seminar on sleep. Let me share a few practical tips that were offered. First, we must realize there is a relationship between good sleep and regular physical exercise. Daily exercise has multiple benefits, and good sleep is one of them. What is your physical exercise pattern? Second, avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening, and create a regular pre-sleep routine, including a consistent time you go to bed and when you get up. Third, stay away from screens and your phone prior to bedtime. What they do to your brain and the light they emit affects melatonin and hinders good sleep. Keep your phone and computer screens out of your bedroom. Keep all work out of your bedroom. Your body has memory and it will function best when that bedroom space is associated with sleep.  How are you sleeping? What is your sleep pattern? 

Third, who are your people? Inevitably, when I interact with someone approaching or facing burnout, I ask them about their close friendships. Do they have a handful of people in their lives who they do life with, that know them well? Do they feel seen, safe, soothed, and secure in the context of a few close friendships? Christian psychiatrist Curt Thompson points to isolation and loneliness as a major factor in burnout. Peering through the illuminating lens of interpersonal neurobiology, Curt writes, “We know the brain can do a lot of really hard things for a long time as long as it doesn’t have to do them by itself. We only develop greater resilience when we are deeply emotionally connected to people.What close friendships do you need to cultivate and give more attention to? 

In the midst of the many stresses of our Monday worlds and in a culture that is increasingly hostile to our faith and worldview, we can avoid burnout and instead flourish. As yoked apprentices of Jesus, may we pursue daily intimacy with Jesus, keeping a sustainable pace, embracing wise patterns, and cultivating close friendships. Let’s pursue a path of flourishing, not burnout.

Exploring the Profound Impact of Music Therapy with Amy Wilson |  POD 019

Exploring the Profound Impact of Music Therapy with Amy Wilson | POD 019

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LISTEN

RESOURCES

HOSTS & GUESTS

Amy Wilson – Guest

Paul Brandes – Co-Host

Bill Gorman – Co-Host

Show Notes

Exploring the Profound Impact of Music Therapy with Guest Amy Wilson

Amy Wilson, a passionate music therapist with a unique career journey, joins us on theFormed.life podcast today. Amy shares her experiences working in the field of music therapy, highlighting the impact of music on individuals in various settings, including hospice care and behavioral health. In this episode, we get a glimpse into the beauty that can unfold as we begin to more fully integrate our faith and work.

THREE KEY TAKEAWAYS:
  • Music therapy’s profound impact in various settings: Amy Wilson’s work, particularly in the context of hospice care and behavioral health demonstrates how music can bring beauty and connection to individuals facing challenging circumstances and provide moments of joy and reminiscence, even in the face of deep pain and difficulty.
  • The integration of faith and work: Amy’s relationship with Jesus and her work as a music therapist is part of her greater calling to connect with and serve others on a deeper level. Her  journey from a performance degree to music therapy is a testament to the value of integrating faith and work.
  • The importance of personal connection and storytelling: Amy shares specific stories that illustrate the impact of music therapy in real people’s lives, highlighting the significance of building relationships, learning favorite songs, and using music to access long-term memories and foster connection. She reminds us of the power of live music and its ability to create intimate and personal moments that can be key elements in anyone’s healing process.

#musictherapy #careerinspiration #integratingfaithandwork #hospicecare #therapeuticsounds #beautyinthebrokenness #musicandmemory #thehealingpowerofmusic #findingpurpose #joyofconnection

 

GUEST BIO:

Amy Wilson grew up in Oklahoma, with both of her parents working in the medical field. Yet, she found herself drawn to a different form of therapy – music therapy. Amy discovered music therapy by chance and was captivated by its ability to combine music with a therapeutic relationship to achieve learning or health goals. Intrigued by this unique approach, Amy felt a strong calling to pursue a career as a licensed music therapist. With her passion ignited, Amy embarked on a journey to learn and understand the power of music in healing and education. Inspired by her own story and the potential of music therapy, Amy is now dedicated to using music as a tool to bring about positive change and support individuals in various settings.

 

QUOTES:

“Music Therapy: Essentially, it’s applying music in the context of a relationship, And the goal is either some kind of learning objective, like in schools, or it’s a health objective as in a medical setting.”
— Amy Wilson

 

 “I did some volunteer work in hospitals and had a really significant experience, actually through my church and our Sunday school class. I was with a group of girls from 7th grade to 12th grade in our Baptist church at the time, and I don’t remember the context or why, but we started visiting a woman in the hospital who was pretty much alone and essentially dying of cancer. And we visited her on Sundays for months, and I don’t think this would ever happen now. But we got to be a part of Just her journey.”
— Amy Wilson

 

“Because of the way memory is stored in the brain and how we can access some of those long term memories through music, Even in the case of disease or injury,  it’s really amazing What can happen.”
— Amy Wilson

 

RESOURCES:

BLOG – Two Tools To Fight The Darkness – Paul Brandes

BOOK – Music Is Medicine – Deforia Lane

 

 

CHAPTERS:

[00:06:24] God guided me to hospice care, and music therapy.
[00:08:02] Music therapists in the United States: credentials, ethics, education, job opportunities.
[00:12:53] Impact of music therapy on real lives.
[00:13:56] Music therapy for degenerative neurologic disease patient.
[00:17:34] Connection, music, memories, creator – a beautiful gift.
[00:21:38] Evil person says music connects to relationships.
[00:25:57] Various ways to access music; importance of live music.
[00:29:11] End of work liturgy podcast for transition.
[00:30:22] Switching careers, what profession would you choose?

Sleep, Rest and Renewal: God’s Rhythm in Creation and Our Lives |  POD 008

Sleep, Rest and Renewal: God’s Rhythm in Creation and Our Lives | POD 008

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RESOURCES

HOSTS & GUESTS

Dr. Gayln Perry – Guest

Paul Brandes – Host

Liz Nelson – Guest

Show Notes

Sleep, Rest and Renewal: God’s Rhythm in Creation and Our Lives

How important are rest and sleep for renewal and spiritual growth? In this episode, we discuss how God’s design for rest affects all of creation, with sleep being a crucial element. Dr. Gayln Perry and Liz Nelson regularly work with patients who struggle with sleep disorders. They share their expertise, clarifying and addressing common contributors to sleep and rest issues. We talk about practical ideas for improving sleep quality and how inconsistent sleep schedules, napping in the afternoon, and engaging in non-sleep-related activities in bed can negatively impact the quality of sleep. Other negative contributing factors emphasized are caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Exposure to bright light in the evenings from electronics can also confuse our circadian rhythm. We find out more about the importance of understanding and prioritizing sleep and rest for our physical and spiritual health.

In the latest episode of theFormed.life, we explore the importance of rest and sleep in our lives.

 

THREE KEY TAKEAWAYS:

Join us in this conversation about the importance of rest and sleep in our daily lives.

  1. God designed us to need rest, and resisting a Sabbath rest can prevent us from experiencing the joy, beauty, hope, peace, and calm that God intended for us to flourish.
  2. Sleep disorders, such as insomnia, can be triggered by life stressors, but prioritizing rest and building connections with others can lead to improved sleep.
  3. Best practices for improving sleep quality include consistent wake-up times, avoiding non-sleep-related activities in bed, and minimizing exposure to caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.

#TheFormedLife #RestAndRenewal #SleepQuality #SabbathRest #MentalHealthAwareness

 

GUEST BIO(S):

Dr. Gayln Perry is a pulmonologist dedicated to helping patients with all aspects of sleep, including sleep disorders. Her passion for this field stemmed from her personal struggle with insomnia over 30 years ago. She understands the importance of getting proper, restful sleep and empathizes with those who are facing life stressors that make it difficult to do so. With her expertise and compassion, Dr. Perry strives to help her patients achieve the restful sleep they need to live healthy and happy lives.

Liz Nelson earned her MA in Counseling from MidAmerica Nazarene University. She is a Clinically Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Kansas. Her areas of focus are adult counseling for individuals and couples. Elizabeth works from a psychodynamic theory and the attachment perspective that honors the client’s experiences of personal and relational struggles that interfere with well-being. Together with the client, Liz explores the symptoms and causes of distress. She works with a wide variety of needs and in diverse populations. Elizabeth also has over two decades of experience serving the non-profit community in Kansas City, and is deeply committed to coming alongside these leaders, caregivers, and volunteers.

 

 

QUOTES:

“…the circadian rhythm is driven by… the master clock. Every cell in our body has a clock and… it lines up with the master clock… and that clock again wakes us up when the sun comes up and puts us to sleep at night… In the morning when we wake up, we really should get bright light exposure and that resets that clock every day.”
– Dr. Gayln Perry

 

“I would prioritize sleep because it impacts your immune system, it impacts your emotional margin with your family, it impacts your productivity at work… it’s extremely important.”
– Dr. Gayln Perry

 

“[We need to] schedule times of holistic rest prior to other priorities, like where are the walks, where is nature, where is community, where are the sunsets? Schedule that ahead of other priorities or it disappears.”
– Liz Nelson

 

“…there’s an understanding that rest is designed by God, and we are designed by God to need rest.”
– Liz Nelson

 

 

RESOURCES:

The Body Keeps The Score: Book

Reading Resurrection in the Book of Nature: Blog from The Gospel Coalition

How Shorter Work Weeks Could Save The Planet: BBC Blog

 

CHAPTERS:

00:01:49 “Pulmonologist tackles a wide range of sleep issues”
00:02:24 “Doctor’s Insomnia Struggle Inspires Patient Care Approach”
00:12:16 “The Divine Importance of Sleep for Health”
00:14:58 “The Importance of Sleep for All Ages”
00:16:01 “The Fascinating Biology of our Circadian Rhythm”
00:18:16 “Improving Sleep Quality Through Addressing Mental Health”
00:26:30 “Tips for Better Sleep: Consistency is Key”
00:28:53 “Prioritize Sleep: Impact on Health, Family & Work”

Addressing Sexual Brokenness: Clues to Healing Through Story and Curiosity |  POD 007

Addressing Sexual Brokenness: Clues to Healing Through Story and Curiosity | POD 007

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RESOURCES

Hosts & Guests

Jay Stringer – Guest

Paul Brandes – Co-Host

Bill Gorman – Co-Host

Show Notes

Addressing Sexual Brokenness

Unwanted sexual behaviors are not random but reflect unaddressed parts of one’s story. Dealing with these underlying issues can lead to wider stories of healing. In this podcast episode, we talk with Jay Stringer about bringing the problems, heartache, brokenness, and sin into the foreground and get really curious about the origins of how that all began. And then, with curiosity and kindness, that’s how we are able to heal and grow.

 

Three key takeaways from this episode:

  • Insights into the journey out of unwanted sexual desires and behaviors
  • The church can be a significant place for sexual shame to develop due to secrecy, silence, and judgment. Christians need to open up about the realities of sexual brokenness and renew their sexual mind by submitting and being curious about it.
  • Sexual brokenness can be a roadmap to healing rather than a life sentence of shame or addiction. By addressing underlying issues, we can experience wider stories of healing.

Don’t just take our word for it; listen to the entire episode to discover more insights about the journey out of unwanted behaviors.

 

Guest bio:

Jay Stringer is a clinical researcher, author, and speaker best known for his work on the topic of unwanted sexual behavior. Jay’s research looks at the origins of this behavior, which often results from unresolved childhood trauma and present-day issues such as a lack of purpose, depression, and anxiety. His book, Unwanted, challenges the traditional approaches of shame and lust management, instead encouraging people to embrace their brokenness as a roadmap to healing. Through his work, Jay is committed to helping people understand their stories of brokenness, and ultimately find healing and growth.

 

Episode quotes:

“The danger of purity culture is that we can’t fail to educate, and then also try to trap and convict people of sin. I think that’s very sinful behavior…”

– Jay Stringer

“Become your child’s Google.” “The reality is that the average age of initial exposure is nine to eleven with porn; the parent has the choice to either say I’m going to be the primary sex educator of the child or [it will be] porn or my middle school peers.”

– Jay Stringer

“Deprivation and Entitlement: We live with a lot of deprivation. We don’t feel like our needs are that important. We don’t take care of ourselves well. And so then when we actually get the opportunity that we sign off for the night, we move from this place of deprivation and then seesaw into entitlement of, “I deserve this thing.””

– Jay Stringer

Chapters

02:19 Unwanted sexual behavior is not random
07:59 Renewing the sexual mind
14:38 Harm of the Purity Culture
21:20 Primary sex educators for children
26:31 Finding calm in healthy ways
28:04 Emotional and physical calming and healing
31:02 Deprivation and entitlement
34:57 Swim toward fear
38:47 Churches provide education

Legalization of Cannabis: How Should Christians Respond? |  POD 006

Legalization of Cannabis: How Should Christians Respond? | POD 006

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Hosts & Guests

Todd Miles – Guest,
Professor of Theology at Western Seminary

Paul Brandes – Co-Host

Bill Gorman – Co-Host

Show Notes

 

The cannabis debate is raging, with some countries legalizing it and others banning recreational use. In this episode of theFormed.life Podcast, Dr. Todd Miles joins us to discuss the legalization of cannabis and how Christians should respond. We explore a biblical framework, the different elements in cannabis, and some wisdom questions that can help us make informed decisions. Todd is a pastor and author with a beautiful Christian perspective on this topic

Is recreational marijuana a sin? What are the risks and benefits of cannabis use? How should Christians respond to the legalization of cannabis? This is an important topic, and we want to ensure we offer a biblical perspective. Whether you’re a Christian or not, this episode is a must-listen! We hope you enjoy the conversation and find it helpful as you continue to think about your response to cannabis.

Dr. Todd Miles is author of Cannabis and the Christian: What the Bible Says about Marijuana, and a Professor of Theology at Western Seminary in Portland, OR. He also serves as an elder at his local church.

The health risks of cannabis are not discussed at length in this conversation; however, in his book, Dr. Miles points out the increasing risks that are often overlooked or minimized. In fact, he cites a study showing that “while marijuana use is on the rise, perception of the risk is on the decline” (pg.33). We’ve included a short summary of some of those risks here, and Dr. Miles has a whole chapter on these risks in the book, so check it out there. Of note, marijuana is the most commonly used federally illegal drug in the United States, due in large part to the health risks. 

 

Health Risks Associated with Cannabis Use (from the book)

Four main categories of risks:
  • Addiction: While it is true that marijuana has been shown to be less addictive than nicotine and alcohol, less addictive doesn’t mean not addictive. Of particular concern, studies show that 17% of adolescent users develop an addiction.
  • Lung and heart issues: Both the American Heart Association and American Lung Association warn against smoking or vaping any substance, including cannabis, because of “potential harm to the heart, lungs, and blood vessels.” (pg. 38)
  • Teen use interferes with brain development: He writes, “THC has been proven to interfere with brain development [in teens], and the losses created by that interference cannot be restored… The evidence is overwhelming, and there is no credible disagreement with that conclusion” (pg. 40).
  • Psychosis and mental illness: Since the late 1980s, “study after study has been performed showing that marijuana use increases the risk for psychosis in general and schizophrenia in particular” (pg. 45)

RESOURCES:

Cannabis and the Christian – by Todd Miles (book on Amazon)

More information about health risks can be found here:
https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/health-effects/index.html