My first real high on marijuana was the most frightening experience of my life (I’m now 49). Pure terror, more like a bad LSD trip than the mild alcohol-like experience I was expecting. I could best describe it as 100% max’d out terror, with the belief I was trapped for eternity in my state. Profound terror.
Because I came to believe it must’ve been laced with PCP or something similar (despite the fact that the person with whom I smoked had no abnormal reaction), I tried pot again. I had a few OK times with pot, (but more creepy times). Then I had a full-blown LSD-like experience with it (again, my “co-smokers” were OK, so it probably wasn’t laced), complete with very “real” hallucinations sent me to the hospital.
These experiences involving marijuana psychosis had a devastating effect on my adolescence, and a lingering effect my whole life both from the psychotic episodes themselves and from wondering: “Why did this happen to me? Is something wrong with me?”
This is how I see this whole issue. People who are pro-pot see this type of research as propaganda, an attack on their right to use this drug. These people enjoy the drug and don’t want anyone dictating what they do to their own body and mind, and I understand that. But they really do not understand what it is like for the fraction of people who have had psychotic episodes from marijuana. Pro-pot people want to dismiss it, saying the person was predisposed to mental illness, the drug was laced, their story is “made up”, etc.
People who can smoke marijuana and never have a bad experience need to know: marijuana-induced psychosis is real. It is not propaganda. People must know these risks.
Editor’s note: More recent studies suggest that not just a fraction of people, but a more significant number, about 15% of pot users are susceptible to pot psychosis. It is humiliating for those people who experience it. We need to overcome our fear of speaking up. Pro-pot people need to stop silencing those voices, and shaming people.)