Weed Doesn’t Deserve its “Chill” Reputation

Recent news stories of homicide prove that marijuana does not deserve its reputation as the “chill” drug.  Otherwise, why would people do such stupid things and even kill others after smoking weed and then not remember why?  Are blackouts from weed similar to alcohol-fueled blackouts?

In Illinois on August 14, a father apprehended his son for smoking weed at breakfast, claiming he should not go to work at a coffee shop while stoned.   The son, Isaac Thurston, got out the kitchen knife and killed his father, Perron Thurston, 50.  “I don’t know why I did it,” he said according to bond proffer of the Cook County prosecutors.  Isaac Thurston had never been arrested before, and his uncle posted bond for him.

A disturbing story out of Ohio

Also on August 14 last week, a teen girl from Ohio received two concurrent life sentences for killing her boyfriend and another friend in a crash. The threesome had been smoking marijuana together before Mackenzie Spirilla drove her car into a brick wall at a speed of 92 miles per hour. 

Spirilla was unconscious, but she survived the crash. Her boyfriend Dominic Russo, 20 and his friend Davion Flanagan, 19, died instantly.  Despite the shock and violence associated with this story, most news articles leave out a crucial piece of evidence, the role of marijuana.  The THC in Spirilla’s system was over the state’s legal limit, but prosecutors decided not to pursue charges of driving under the influence. 

Videotape evidence introduced at the trial led the judge to believe that the teen girl acted intentionally. Either drug abuse or Borderline Personality Disorder * could have influenced the way she behaved. Detectives also found hallucinogenic mushrooms near her body at the scene of the crash.

Why is weed important in this case?

The three friends smoked marijuana before the tragic incident.  What did the marijuana do to Mackenzie’s mind?  Why would the two young men get into her car after getting stoned?  News articles ignore many critical questions.  The attorneys and judges also appear to ignore the evidence.

What causes a teen to do something so crazy?  Teens engage in risky behavior often, but how much more risk are they willing to take when they use marijuana which messes with their decision-making process?

This case combines the worst traits of The Pretty Little Killers, which we wrote about previously, and the death of Kevin Ward, Jr.  Kevin Ward, Jr. drove in a stock car race and confronted another driver while cars around him were going 100 mph or more.  He thought another driver had wronged him, but the toxicology report showed he was under the influence of cannabis.

The Trial of a Road Rage incident

Seven months ago Devaunte Hill was on trial, explaining why he fired a gun from his car and killed Caitlyn Kaufman, 23, on December 3, 2020.  According to Hill, the victim cut off James Cowan, the driver, while they got an I-440 near Nashville.  His buddy slammed on the brakes and Hill shot the gun.  When asked why he did it, he answered that he just “reacted.   

Hill had been smoking marijuana in the car, a crucial fact that many news reports leave out.  Yet many states have passed laws to make it illegal for the smell of weed to be used as a reason to stop a driver. Such laws please social justice advocates, but make roads less safe. (Hill also had cocaine and Xanax in his blood, and mixing cannabis with other drugs intensifies the dangers.)  

How many incidences of road rage or violence in airplanes are caused by people under the influence of marijuana?  Or people with a substance abuse disorder?  These are questions for the FDA and the NHSTA.

Does Weed really make you chill?

Lazier — yes weed can make one lazy, as a user loses interest in school, sports and activities that he previously enjoyed.  Psychologists call this phenomenon amotivational syndrome.  

First-time users may experience a calming effect, but it’s not for certain.  Other people experience paranoia with first-time use, especially with today’s high-potency products. For those who recently initiated marijuana use, weed may calm anxiety, but only for a limited time.  Habitual weed users with a Cannabis Use Disorder — those who initially thought marijuana helps with anxiety — eventually become more anxious without the drug than they had been before the start of using cannabis.

The CBD in marijuana is said to balance out the psychoactive effects of THC and calm a person.  However, today’s marijuana generally has very little CBD in proportion to THC.  

One “chilling” factor of marijuana use is the lack of empathy that long-time users have for their fellow human beings.  We see this in the case of Mackenzie Spirilla, the Pretty Little Killers and the many child abuse deaths we’ve tracked, particularly cases of neglect.  The lack of empathy explains Mackenzie’s Spirilla’s statement on TikTok, “I’m just one of those girls who do a lot of drugs and not die.”  What a chilling comment!

People who take marijuana are affecting the delicate balance that nature intended.  They’re messing with the prefrontal cortex which controls judgment, planning and executive function.  The chill doesn’t last very long, and it turns into fire very quickly.


*Joseph Santoro, The Angry Heart: Overcoming Borderline and Addictive Disorders, explains the difficulty of determining the difference between drug abuse and Borderline Personality Disorders. It is difficult to determine where the one ends and the other begins.  We recommend the book for those dealing with family members engaged in substance use or abuse.