September marked the 10th anniversary of my son Justin’s death at age 17 from an accidental drug overdose. The medical examiner’s report months later said it was heroin that killed him. But I have to say for Justin it all began with marijuana, and I’m angrier at marijuana than I am at heroin. Here’s why.
Justin was a good student, an extremely talented musician and songwriter on the verge of completing the recording of his first original music album. On Sunday, Sept. 7, 2008, Justin spent the afternoon with people we didn’t know and came home later than expected as he readied for his first full week as a senior at Yorktown High School. He never woke up that Monday morning. Somewhere along the way that Sunday he had snorted heroin. Continue reading New York Dad says marijuana complicit in son’s heroin overdose death→
There is a blanket of lies covering America’s eyes to the hazards of marijuana use. One group of people knows all to well the fatal consequences of cannabis use and abuse. These are the men and women who have lost their children or siblings to the scourge of the encroaching cannabis culture. They now stitch together their tragedies into a quilt of lives lost….but never forgotten. The MomsStrong.org quilt project aims to educate the public. Yes, marijuana does kill. It kills the ones you love. And, in many different ways.
Marijuana kills with mental health impacts that lead to illness and suicide. Cannabis kills behind the wheel. It can cause heart problems which lead to death. It can addict the user. And, most notably, it can lead to fatal poly-substance abuse or to drugs that kill by overdose, like heroin, fentanyl and opioid pharmaceuticals. Continue reading MomsStrong.org Quilt Project Will Wake Up America→
This testimony is from a mother in California who spoke in front of the capital in Sacramento with Moms Strong on October 4, 2016.
Today’s pot can be far more dangerous than it used to be. There is “weed” 300-800 times stronger than it used to be, “edible cookies and candy,” and honey oil or “dabs” sometimes called hash oil, which is up to 90% THC.
I learned all of this the hard way. Thankfully, I’ve joined a group no parent would ever want to belong to called Moms Strong. How does one become a member of this group? You don’t want to know …It began 5 years ago with my gifted son who went off to college. His elite state college on the central coast warned us of the dangers of alcohol but nothing about the dangers of drugs.
He was seeking a way to belong by joining a fraternity and a consulting club, tutored students and lived in a dorm with roommates. He tried drinking, despite the warnings, but found he couldn’t handle it.
Friends in the dorm offered him pot and he thought it would be safer. That first hit took him down a long path into darkness.
He was able to obtain a medical marijuana card from a doctor over the phone–to treat insomnia. The doctors rarely suggest which type of THC product the patient should use. Here in California, marijuana edibles, as well as weed and “dabs” (butane hash oil) are delivered to medical marijuana cardholders via the Internet dispensaries.
By his 2nd year, there were early warning signs that things were not going well. The changes were:
Falling off the Dean’s list
Disconnecting from close friends and family
Increasing fears, paranoia, insomnia and stress
Breaking the law by selling pot to friends
Fighting with roommates and quitting the frat
Decreased feelings of self-worth
During his 3rd year, he went from a casual to an addicted user. From weed, he went to edibles and onto dabs which triggered psychosis within a few months. He noticed he couldn’t carry on a normal conversation or work math problems. His college friend contacted me via FB reporting my son’s disturbing voice mail:
“Hey..I’m not sure if I want to live. I’m seeing flying mustaches. So call me if you think I should live.”
We brought him home, took him to our local ER where we hoped to get help for him. The doctor thought he was having a 1st time schizophrenic outbreak, tested his blood and found “just pot” and placed him on a 72 hr. involuntary hold. It was the worst night of my life seeing my son so afraid and being powerless.
A psych expert sent him to a behavioral hospital to rule out bipolar mania.
At that hospital, the experience was a nightmare. They had no knowledge of cannabis-induced psychosis, instead diagnosed him as bipolar and prescribed Lithium. He forced to be among people trying to harm themselves or others.
That doctor suggested he take a leave from college and go into an outpatient therapy program. Within 3 days, he started smoking pot again. In a couple months, he stopped taking the Lithium as he hated how it made him feel. We were powerless over his drug use.
He returned to college for his fourth year, but then withdrew with failing grades. Just a year and a half after his 1st psychotic break, he experienced symptoms for 3 days reported by this same friend:
Hearing voices, distrusting everyone (including his best friends)
Getting lost in his head and then suddenly saying “That’s what they want you to believe” or “They’re coming for me.”
Running from friends through traffic, scaring bystanders, with his friends trying to make sure he didn’t hurt himself or anyone else.
They waited for him to snap out of it, to no avail. They took him to the Emergency Room where he got no help; they called me AGAIN. We had 2 more ER visits which resulted in a medication to help the psychosis, advice on how to stop smoking pot.
My son just couldn’t kick smoking pot. Within a few weeks, his rock bottom hit when he had a car accident, totaled the vehicle, and got a DUI. Thankfully he did not harm himself or others.
He called me begging for help to quit smoking pot. We agreed he would go to a dual diagnosis drug rehab where he was first thought to be schizophrenic. But after proper medication, he was diagnosed with cannabis-induced psychosis.
My son learned he has a sensitivity to THC. He quit and is struggling to stay clean. He takes medication to counteract the THC cravings from his three-year marijuana addiction. He is still hoping to finish college and his future is still not set in stone. He doesn’t see flying mustaches any longer, or any other hallucinating visions, but it sure was scary. We are thankful that his whole life has not gone up in smoke.
Prop 64 will make it easier for anyone to try the “Russian Roulette” of today’s pot, without any warnings. Marijuana must be avoided, especially to those under age 25 — and maybe up to age 28 — because the brain is still developing, marijuana must be avoided.
Please vote No because of all the young minds that are at stake.
Is CBD from Marijuana for Epilepsy Really About Compassion?
Parents Opposed to Pot supports every effort to find cures for children who suffer, but it’s unclear if Pennsylvania legislators who passed a medical marijuana bill on April 13 really understood the subject. Dr. Michael Privitera, President of the Epilepsy Society urged legislators to vote “no” on SB-3, but the legislators voted to follow anecdotal evidence rather than the science. (Portions of the letter are below.)
The manipulations of the marijuana lobby are typical: give people false hope, play the “compassion” card to manipulate public opinion and shame people into adopting their view. Because there is so much drama behind the people who advocate for marijuana use to treat epilepsy, many parents are expecting miraculous cures that are not always forthcoming. The pro-marijuana advocates need to warn that any relief CBD oil gives for epilepsy is not necessarily permanent.
The Children Given Marijuana for Seizures who Died
A family in Arizona who was part of a lawsuit to get the extracts for their son saw a dramatic difference in the boy, an improvement in all levels of functioning. Yet the poor boy died. The family still advocates for marijuana extracts. We understand the view of the parents — they saw their son have a better life for a brief period before his death.
At the end of Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Weed 3, it was mentioned that Vivian, the little girl whose family moved to Colorado because to have extracts of marijuana not available in New Jersey, was no longer being helped as much as she had been at first.
We are sorry for the parents who must go through so much to help their children. We would hope they can be assured of purity — free from mold, fungi and pesticides.
Lori Robinson, co-founder of Moms Strong said, “Apparently, only young kids who have disorders that break the heart can move mountains because parents whose kids are suffering egregious consequences from this plant really don’t garner any attention by legislatures.” Compassionate Pennsylvanians should learn both sides of an issue.
So, MIchael Privitera MD, President of the American Epilepsy Society, who wrote a heartfelt letter on March 15, 2016, to Rep Matt Baker and the Pennsylvania Legislature, noting scientific studies and warning of the dangers of making law on such scant evidence. Legislators voted against Dr Privitera’s pleading of a “no” vote on SB-3. There are those kids who develop the adverse condition like status epilepticus. Here are excerpts from Dr. Privitera’s letter:
“Additionally, in 13% of cases reviewed seizures worsened with use of cannabis and in some patients there were significant adverse events. These are not the stories that you have likely heard in your public hearings or have read in popular press, but they are the reality of AES members who are practitioners at Children’s Hospital Colorado who have cared for the largest number of cases of children with epilepsy treated with cannabis in the U.S.
Unlike the product used in the GW Pharmaceutical study, the families and children moving to Colorado are receiving unregulated, highly variable artisanal preparations of cannabis oil prescribed, in most cases, by physicians with no training in pediatrics, neurology or epilepsy. As a result, the epilepsy specialists in Colorado have been at the bedside of children having severe dystonic reactions and other movement disorders, developmental regression, intractable vomiting and worsening seizures that can be so severe they have to put the child into a coma to get the seizures to stop.” (GW Pharmaceuticals is a British Company)
Lori Robinson stated: “Now that we have medicinal marijuana in 24 states, why is it that the federal government not demanding disclosure of marijuana’s adverse effects on mental health, particularly for those ages 25 and under?” Recently, Arizona’s governor signed a law stating that medical marijuana dispensaries must post prominent signs warning pregnant and breastfeeding women not to use.
She added, “I wish I believed this was more about compassion, but I don’t. More likely it’s about the money.”
We believe that presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who supports marijuana legalization, is disingenuous when he criticizes the Koch Brothers and Wall Street bankers while not calling out the fact that George Soros and Peter Lewis have given millions and millions of dollars for the legalization of marijuana. The marijuana lobby also donates to Congress.