Tag Archives: mental health

Stop Living in Denial of the Marijuana – Mental Health Crisis

Wake Up, America, to the Looming Mental Health Crisis

by Lori Robinson, co-founder of Moms Strong    After losing my own kid, I caution parents not to live in denial of marijuana, as I did.  Your child will be exposed to marijuana and is likely to experiment with it.  It is my mission to prevent other young people from going down the same path my son did.

Just because something originates in nature doesn’t mean it’s safe.  Like some people die from a bee sting, a part of mother nature, some people die from the consequences of using marijuana, or they spiral out of control.

If a person who uses today’s highly potent marijuana goes into psychosis (or depression, panic attack, other psychiatric presentation), please get the proper treatment.  The mental health system needs to first address the drug effects and assess the need for addiction treatment.  Next, wait for the drug-induced mental illness to run its course.   Then educate about brain health.

Our California Problem

In California, it’s common to rope young marijuana users with psychotic symptoms into the label of a permanent, debilitating mental illness rather than give them addiction treatment.  When it comes to strong males like my son, they also flood them with powerful, unnecessary pharmaceutical drugs.  In the case of cannabis-induced psychosis, the anti-psychotics are often ineffective against the psychosis.

For some youth, the diagnosis of bipolar disorder may also be devastating.   After all, everyone else is using marijuana and it’s a sign of weakness not to be able to handle pot.   As reported recently in the Desert Sun, “Despite robust scientific research about the negative potential effects of marijuana use, young adults tend to underestimate the risks……Nearly two-thirds (60.5 percent) of young adults surveyed who use marijuana do not think it’s addictive, and just as many (60.8 percent) do not think marijuana can damage the brain.”

Our children and teens need to learn the true harms about today’s pot, especially to their, young, developing brains. The marijuana financiers should stop pretending they know about medicine. Medical marijuana practitioners are doing far more harm than good, as the one who gave pot to my friend Leah’s son, Brandon.

If marijuana is legalized nationally, the need for mental health treatment will explode.  Psychiatry is a tricky field with less success than other medical specialties such as heart disease or emergency medicine. The fallout will be huge.   Wake up, America. We are in uncharted waters.  Marijuana use is growing nationwide and your kid may be the next casualty.

How do We Know Who is Vulnerable?

We don’t know.  There’s no genetic test to discover who is susceptible to adverse mental health problems from pot.   Those who have fancy educations and six-figure incomes frequently brag about their ability to use without negative consequences.  (Their families may see it otherwise.)

This boasting shames people — particularly youth — into feeling they should be just as powerful.   Some people continue even when they know it’s bad for them.

As a child, I was stung by bees several times.  Each time my reaction got progressively worse. The last time it happened was at age 16; the doctor told me I could die if it happens again.  Why is marijuana use like a fatal bee sting that makes some people swell until they implode?

Stop the Denial

So many young  people develop adverse effects from using today’s high-strength pot.  The marijuana advocates are pushing it because there’s so much money to be made.  The don’t want potential users to become aware of these problems.  They preach that nationwide legalization is inevitable and foster denial.

Research around the globe proves that marijuana causes panic attacks, paranoia, severe anxiety and/or depression.  American hospitals often don’t consider marijuana a factor in the picture of mental health, and that’s a tragedy.  There’s an urgent need for psychiatry to train more addiction specialists.  If users quit after the first episode of psychosis or mental health disorder, they probably can avoid a permanent psychological problem.  However, these users must never go back to pot again.  It’s like avoiding the bee stings if someone who’s allergic doesn’t want a fatal reaction.

How many American families have lost a member to suicide, and now suspect it was undiagnosed bipolar disorder?   How many of these loved ones have been marijuana users, or former users?  Rashaan Salaam, the Heisman Trophy winner who killed himself last week, suffered from marijuana addiction which destroyed his career.

Maybe these families placed their denial in the wrong diagnosis.   Youth who use marijuana are 7x more likely to attempt suicide,  as reported in Lancet Psychiatry Journal in September 2014.  How many of these loved ones have been marijuana users, or former users?

Colorado’s Pot Greed and My Son’s Psychiatric Hospital Surprise

Marijuana Keeps Psychiatric Hospitals in Colorado Busy

(Excerpts edited from a letter written by a Colorado resident to the state’s marijuana regulatory board. If you are a Colorado resident with a similar story, please write editor@poppot.org and we will get you into a group of parents who are dealing with similar, urgent problems.)

When Colorado’s Amendment 64 passed, my son and his friends celebrated it. They wrote 4/20 all over their bodies and clothes.  He was only 12, and now he’s 15.  I was familiar with the problems with smoking marijuana and educated my son about it. However I was not prepared to deal with a near-death experience due to him smoking marijuana.

My husband and I were not aware that my son started smoking marijuana and eating THC-laced edibles when he was in 8th grade. He had his first suicide attempt in January 2014 over a break up with a girl. My husband and I thought he was just broken-hearted. He started spiraling down a dark path of mental Continue reading Colorado’s Pot Greed and My Son’s Psychiatric Hospital Surprise

The War on Drugs is Defense of Our Brains

defenseofourbrains
A man in Gotland, Sweden, proudly wears his drug-free motto, a quotation from Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Bertha K. Madras.

It’s not a war on drugs . It is a defense of our brains.

Letting massive numbers of children and young people to fall into drug addiction, as we are doing today, is an outrage. Nearly all those who die of drug overdose began their drug usage with marijuana.  How many more millennials will we allow to die by drugs and addiction, while we continue to lack good drug education? Continue reading The War on Drugs is Defense of Our Brains

Help Save My Son — for Himself and Others

My son suffers from schizophrenia and marijuana addiction. He has become severely depressed and psychotic smoking marijuana, and talks of ending his life. He has been hospitalized 6 times since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana.  He was not hospitalized the year before the legalization of marijuana.

How could Colorado legalize marijuana without any consideration for the mental heath community?  Amendment 64 is a travesty. I need help. I am so afraid for my son who just leaves his home and is in a state of confusion. He gets so paranoid and believes everyone is out to kill him. It has only been two weeks since his last hospital stay, in which he refused substance abuse treatment.  He wants to drive high while being psychotic and talking to his voices.

He is a veteran and receives his treatment through the Veterans Administration. He has a case manager and I have been trying to have his psych doctor sign a paper from the department of motor vehicles that would pull his license to drive. I don’t want him to kill himself or someone else. He has already had several accidents and now has a careless driving ticket. The police have even told me not to let him drive, but how can I do that when he is actively psychotic?

My neighbors wrote a letter for the doctor who’s had this paperwork from the DMV for two months and still refuses to sign the papers. My son almost hit our neighbor’s car head on. as he was driving down the wrong side of the road, and he almost backed into them.   Does he have to kill himself or someone before this doctor will take any action?  He keeps telling me the VA has to call their legal team.   They don’t make the call, and its so frustrating.

He won’t listen to his doctor’s advice or to anyone. Every day is so very challenging and stressful, and it has been very devastating to my family.   (The author lives in Adams County, Colorado)