Tag Archives: mental health

Rip the Pot Van Winkle wakes up

When I was 17 my BFF Lisa was in a single car accident.  She was prone to smoking bong hits and driving with her knees.  She was in a coma for a year and died.  I first smoked pot with her and her mom. Lisa was her only child. 

I blamed a faulty car for her death, not pot.

In my 30s, I partied with a young 20s co-worker from UMass.  She had smoked strong pot, AK-47 for years.  I stopped hanging out once she became paranoid, delusional and agoraphobic.  She later was in a mental hospital for schizophrenia and has been on disability ever since. 

I blamed her genes for her debilitating mental illness, not pot.

The rose colored glasses of denial.

I dated a patient,  also named Lisa, at the dispensary who had extreme psychotic episodes whenever she smoked high potency Sativa.  She would almost collapse, regress into a two-year-old state of mind, scream at the top of her lungs and then go into loud, joyous religious rapture singing.  

The scariest experience was when in psychosis she uttered in a guttural deep voice so unlike her’s, “Choke her!”  It was an alarming Sybil Stephen King moment that sent chills down my spine. I didn’t know if her split personality was talking about choking herself or me. 

Needless to say, it was very hard being with her, we were not a good match whatsoever and broke up.  I later learned that she committed suicide at 52. 

I blamed her diagnosis of bipolar for her suicide, not pot.

Rip the Pot Van Winkle

Bong rips: “A noun that refers to the action of smoking from a bong. So named for the sound that air makes when it bubbles through the bong water.”

One time in college my friends had too much water in a bong – really dirty, unchanged, high potency bong water.  The too high water level caused me to unintentionally swallow a huge mouthful of bong water when I released the carburetor.   
 
I immediately started to hallucinate, almost passed out.   Was lucky to stay conscious long enough to make it to the bathroom and vomit profusely.  Took a heck of a long time for my mind to clear and body to recover.  But I saw no problem with continuing to use pot.

For years I discounted all of those signposts showing that marijuana is dangerous  because I was so enmeshed in my pot denial.

When, finally, I experienced such terrible physical and mental effects myself, this Rip the Pot Van Winkle woke up out of a pot slumber.  The truth could no longer be denied. Horrible psychosis woke me up.  I am SO lucky I survived.

I had the epiphany that pot caused my BFF’s death via DUI; pot caused my friend to become schizophrenic, and pot caused psychosis and suicide with my ex-girlfriend.  Pot caused me to think violent thoughts like shooting people, and brought me to the brink of suicide.

Pot almost took me out.  I couldn’t perceive the damage because I was high on pot.  

By Anne Hassel,  a new friend of Parents Opposed to Pot.

 

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The risks of marijuana need to be included in teen mental health

Teen marijuana use

By Heidi Swan, published in The Beach Reporter, May 23.

My brother had good grades, friends and played sports. He came from a loving home and got his graduate degree at USC. He also liked to get high. After graduate school, he became homeless, mentally ill and went to jail many times.

Many parents simply haven’t heard about the association between teen cannabis use and psychosis and adult schizophrenia. Many aren’t aware these negative mental health effects often don’t emerge for several years. Continue reading The risks of marijuana need to be included in teen mental health

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Marijuana killed my son David in only a couple of years

Our son’s story is a warning to other parents

Our son was happy and healthy before he started using marijuana at age 14.  A friend introduced him to marijuana during a time when our family was supporting my wife in her fight against breast cancer.  We noticed David changing rapidly, but attributed the change to   puberty. 

After being kicked out of the private school he had attended for many years, he became a heavy user and seemed to lose motivation for school and for life. He graduated from high school at the bottom of his class and started work as a plumber’s assistant. With his paychecks, he would buy more weed.

As his use became even heavier, he became increasingly removed from our family. He spoke of seeing aliens. By last Thanksgiving he appeared catatonic. The next day he stabbed his right palm with his pocket knife. He was hospitalized in a local mental health facility and diagnosed with depression and psychosis, and only tested positive for marijuana. 

After a 6-day inpatient stay, David was discharged with no discharge planning. Notes from the facility reveal that David filled out a questionnaire on the day of discharge expressing that he “often” felt panic or terror and that he had made plans to end his life. This was not made known to the family, and he was discharged anyway.  

After discharge he started an outpatient program. On the fourth day he smoked cannabis in the woods behind our house. Then he came inside, got a gun from the safe and shot himself.

Marijuana kills! It killed my son. We will never escape David’s loss, but we hope that by telling his story we can help other parents and children understand that marijuana is far from harmless.   (We published a testimony by David’s sibling who described the effects of his death on the family.)

We have other articles that explain how the mental health system often fails in treatments for marijuana addiction, part 1.  Mental health care fails at addiction treatment, part 2

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Talent Riddled with Tragedy: Suicide, Mental Health and Drugs

Anthony Bourdain. Kate Spade. You know their names and you know the unfortunate circumstances surrounding their untimely passing. Bourdain, 61, and Spade, 55, took their lives in suicides by hanging. Their deaths marked an immediate response from mental health advocates while pushing mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety to the forefront of the news cycle.

Prior to their deaths the CDC’s (Center for Disease Control), Vital Signs report found that suicide rates have been rising in nearly every state. In 2016, nearly 45,000 Americans age ten or older died by suicide. Even more alarming, suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death and is one of three leading causes that are on the rise. But what does this mean for states where drug use runs rampant? Colorado saw a 34.1 percent increase in suicides while Washington and Oregon saw increases by 18.8 percent and 28.2 percent. Take into consideration that these states have legalized marijuana for recreational and/or medicinal use and it’s clear that mind-altering drugs can aggravate those with and without mental health conditions.

suicide

Bourdain was a long time pot smoker and made countless marijuana jokes, often alluding to smoking weed in the restaurants he visited. The “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” Twitter account once tweeted an elaborate illustration detailing “how to roll a joint.”

Did copious amounts of THC play a part in Bourdain’s death? At this point we don’t know for sure, but we do know that his weed addiction began in his younger years right before the publication of his best-selling book, “Kitchen Confidential,” in 2000. “Weed was a major expense. Before I reached the point where weed made me paranoid and agoraphobic, it was costing me a few hundred dollars a week,” the chef recalled. Fast forward to becoming a successful star, and Bourdain was using cocaine to offset the effects of weed. It’s important to note that cannabis is playing a role in many suicides by causing mental health disorders, including depression and psychosis. One has to wonder if a cocktail of drugs played a part in his untimely death.

Kate Spade suffered from mental illnesses for several years. She was seeking help during the last five years, “seeing a doctor on a regular basis and taking medication for both depression and anxiety,” widower Andy Spade said in a statement. It’s worth nothing that we don’t know if any drug use triggered her problems. The CDC’s Vital Signs report found many factors contributing to the various suicide cases across the country. It’s eye-opening that more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death.

What a shame it is that thousands of Americans are advocating to legalize a drug with the potential to severely damage the brain? There’s absolutely no sense in burdening our country with a mental health crisis.

Cannabis is know to cause mood disorders, and mood disorders are a leading cause of suicide.

MomsStrong.org is  a website started by two parents who lost their sons to marijuana-related suicide. Read Shane’s story, and Andy’s story. PopPot.org is also sounding the alarm about the cannabis-suicide risk. See our many articles on suicide related to cannabis use.

To learn more about the CDC report and the rising suicide rate across the United States click here: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/p0607-suicide-prevention.html

 

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