Tag Archives: mental health

Latest survey raises concern about pot

On August 20, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released the 2018  Annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the most comprehensive survey on drug use. According to the survey, 45,000 more teenagers are regularly using the drug, marijuana users are more likely to abuse opioids than non-users, and levels of marijuana use disorder continue to rise. 

According to the study, approximately 4.4 million people aged 12 and older had a marijuana use disorder in the last year. Breaking this out further, 2.1 percent of youths aged 12-17, 5.9 percent of young adults aged 18-25, and 0.9 percent of adults 26 and older suffered from a marijuana use disorder. The percentage of young adults with a marijuana use disorder is significantly higher than last year and is the highest it has been since 2004.

At the same time, the mental health problems in young adults ages 18-25 are growing. This age group that suffers the most from cannabis use disorder.  It’s hard not to see the mental crisis is related to the increasing use of marijuana and the increased potency of the marijuana that has come with legalization.  Mental health care is the weakest link in our health care system and the increase in drug use exacerbates the issue. Last year it was found that

The latest statistics

The data on use in American youth aged 12-17 show an upward trend in use rates over the last few years, with use among this population at 12.5 percent. According to the report, about 1 in 8 (or 3.1 million) adolescents were past year users of marijuana. Almost 12 million young Americans 18-25 (34.8 percent) reported past year use. This percentage is on par with 2017 levels and continues to represent the highest level of use in the past 25 years. 

Additionally, the study found 15.4 percent of past year daily marijuana users reported past year opioid misuse, 19.1 percent reported past month heavy alcohol use, 17.1 percent reported past year cocaine use, 4.1 percent reported past year methamphetamine use, 17.9 percent reported a major depressive episode, and 14 percent reported a serious mental illness.  Continue reading Latest survey raises concern about pot

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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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