January 25, 2005

True Story of Cannabis-Induced Schizophrenia / Psychosis

The following is a true story, appearing in the Nationwide News Pty Limited Sunday Mail (Queensland, Australia).

It is written by a mother who lost her son to (what she believes was) drug-induced schizophrenia. Her story is a frightening and sad reminder of what scientific studies are revealing to us - that recreational drug use significantly increases the risk of developing schizophrenia and suffering dire health consequences.

The most relevant portions of the story are excerpted below.

Source: Nationwide News Pty Limited Sunday Mail (Queensland, Australia). Jan 22, 2005.

HEADLINE: My son Liam was a brilliant student, but his first puff of
cannabis was the start of a terrifying descent into depression and
paranoia that cost his life

BYLINE: Clare Campbell


As a child, Liam had been bright, gifted and extremely energetic.
Looking back I would say that he always found it difficult to
communicate his feelings, and even when obviously distressed would tell me he was "fine". At the time I just thought this was a typical male reluctance to reveal his emotions.


As his mother, my instinct tells me he would eventually have worked
these through by himself if only he had never touched drugs. From the
moment he smoked his first joint of cannabis to try to make himself feel better, Liam had started on a road that would lead him to severe mental disturbance.


Although by nature a shy boy, Liam made several lasting friendships
at the local school he attended. He did brilliantly academically. Graham and I knew Liam found his first year at university difficult, although he rarely confided in anyone. He told me he hated his first lodgings.

I phoned a student counsellor, who went to see Liam, but our son
simply told him he was fine. Liam later said that he had some of the
best, and the worst, times of his life at university. But it was during the beginning of his second year that I discovered, to my horror, how he was using cannabis to try to solve his confidence problems.

I was appalled when he told me. Liam had always seemed sensible and I had trusted him not to do anything stupid. How could he behave like this? I know that thousands of students go out every weekend and use drugs, but knowing how highly-strung Liam was, I was terrified of the effect cannabis might have on him.

I had read about use of the drug being linked to psychosis and felt
desperately afraid for him. What would these drugs do to his health and his future? I only hoped these feelings of low self-worth would pass, but I don't believe Liam ever really got over his lack of self-esteem, even though he was tall, good-looking, and very clever. He had
everything to live for if only he'd known it.


His father and I were out of our minds with worry. If he had been
defiant or arrogant about his drug-taking, we could have shouted and
threatened him. But Liam wasn't like that at all. All we saw was an
unhappy, disturbed boy who needed our help as he had never done before.


We realised he was in danger both of becoming dependent and psychiatrically disturbed by the drugs.

Yet all the time Liam claimed that he was only doing it to "make
himself feel better". I tried my best to persuade him to see the
counsellor -- but he was deeply suspicious of any attempts to help him
and hated talking about himself or his feelings to anyone.


In 2000, he finally admitted to us that his use of cannabis and
ecstasy had triggered a deep depression -- ironically the very thing he had been battling all along. I said I'd do all I could to help him. At my request, Liam went to see our family GP and was prescribed an antidepressant. For a few months I hoped Liam might be getting better, but then in early 2001 I made a horrifying discovery. Liam had been ordering prescription-only medications over the Internet and using them in combination with cannabis and ecstasy.


Later I found out from the local pharmacist that hundreds, if not
thousands, of unsolicited e-mails offering on-line drugs are sent to
Internet users all over the world every day.


He didn't even attempt to deny what he had been doing, but broke
down, telling me over and over how sorry he was, and repeating: "I'm
evil, you don't really know me, Mum." When I asked about the
prescription drugs, he told me Valium was used to soften the come-down
after taking ecstasy. I was appalled and, as any parent would be,
dreadfully frightened that my son's life was out of control. I kept
thinking: "If only he had never started smoking cannabis, none of this
would be happening."

It seemed so obvious that it had led him on to more serious drugs.
From then on, I was constantly trying to prevent Liam's access to drugs. Sometimes I would go through his room and get rid of them. On one occasion I threw away as many as 200 Valium tablets. After confiding in both my local pharmacist and our GP, I started handing any drugs I found to them. I couldn't understand how it could be possible young, vulnerable people could obtain prescription-only drugs online. Surely it was illegal?

I was beside myself with worry and stress, and made sure I had the
chance to intercept the mail before Liam got it.

Looking back, I wonder how I managed to stay sane.


Partly as a result of my increasing stress about Liam, as well as the fact that I was also caring for my elderly mother, my husband Graham and I separated in May 2001. We remained loving friends, but simply had no reserves of energy left to put into our own relationship.

Liam continued to live with his father while Ros came with me. I
noticed that Liam did not show any emotion at this time, either over our separation, or my mother's death shortly afterwards. During the
following year, Liam continued to be very unstable. I knew he was still experimenting with drugs obtained over the Internet, and he admitted that he was still using cannabis "occasionally".

Yet all the time he claimed not to be doing this for thrills, but
simply to feel better about himself. I asked him what we could do to
help. He decided he wanted to live on his own and rented a unit close to his father and me. But he continued to act in a very frightening way.

In June 2002, he came to my house in a highly disturbed and paranoid state. Terrified, I took him to the local hospital, where he was eventually seen by the duty psychiatrist. An out-patient appointment was made for a few weeks later.

But Liam's behaviour was deteriorating too rapidly for this to be of use. He barricaded himself into his room so that communication became impossible. It was agonising to see my brilliant child's mind
unravelling before my eyes.

Two weeks later, I had a phone call from Graham to say Liam had been taken to hospital after running in front of a bus. I felt almost faint with relief when he said Liam had not been hurt.


I went straight to the hospital, where the doctor on duty
administered an anti-psychotic drug. Liam suddenly showed a dramatic
improvement, proving the doctor's diagnosis of a drug-induced psychosis to be correct. Yet a urine test showed he had taken only six codeine tablets.

When I talked to a drugs helpline, I discovered that psychosis does
not have to be the result of drugs present in the body, but may be the
result of drug abuse from years earlier. This is particularly linked
with the long-term use of cannabis.

Recent medical research has established a strong link between the
use of cannabis and the development of psychosis and schizophrenia in
vulnerable young people. Scientists say that by disrupting the delicate chemical balance of the brain, the drug causes changes leading to long-term mental illness.

I kept Liam with me as much as possible for six weeks after that.

He seemed to be improving steadily, and appeared brighter and more
optimistic about the future. I even persuaded him to see a counsellor.
But a diary he kept shows his mood swings: "Still getting delusional
thoughts -- worst fears -- dying painfully, having to relive my life
again and again, voices encouraging me to kill myself."

In the autumn he got a permanent job. He had moved back to his
father's, but frequently came around to me for dinner.

HE saw his psychiatrist regularly and was prescribed various
anti-psychotic drugs.

Liam had complained of hearing voices and had been diagnosed as
suffering from schizophrenia from all the drugs he had taken.

By June last year, Liam was more active: swimming, cooking and
playing the piano at home. I began to have hope. When I said he could
live with me, he said he loved my house but felt there was something
missing inside him.

He complained of an emotional numbness, described by psychiatrists
as the "negative symptoms" of schizophrenia. He asked how he could go on for another 50 years feeling like this. On the day he died, he was due to come for lunch but he didn't turn up and we were all worried. If he was not at his father's house, where was he?

Even as I took that first call from Graham, I knew the answer. But it was not until about 20 agonising minutes later that Graham rang again: "Sue, come straight away. The police are here . . . Liam has thrown himself under a train."

I didn't ask whether our son was dead as I could not bear to be told over the telephone. Instead, after driving to the house in minutes, I ran up the path crying: "But he is all right, isn't he?" Of course, in my heart I knew he wasn 't. Later the police told us that Liam had thrown himself under a train at 11 that morning.

Like any distraught mother, I blamed myself. Whatever I had done had not been enough. All I can do is hope to prevent other vulnerable people from being harmed by drugs in the way Liam was. I only wish with all my heart that I had been able to save my own son.


I read your story and I am heart sick. This may be my son as well. He was bright and happy and going to a university . I believe cannibas caused my son's mental illness as well. He can not stop. He is on anti-psycotic drugs but still taking. I don't see hope for his future. I am so sad.

Posted by: LeeAnn at May 3, 2005 02:09 PM

I am 21 years old from the UK i sufferd from the same effects as your son and took Canabiss and Extacy to. It is strange that i had the same thought as what he wrote in his diary like fears of diying a painfull death and voices in my head. I trully thought i was evil i luckly managed to stop taking cannabis and exticy about a 1 year ago. I still get what i would explain as flash backs but they are getting further and further apart. I only wish that more young people would take this sort of matter more seriously. I am trully deeply sorry about your loss i am just glad i stopped before it was too late.

Posted by: Alex North at May 31, 2005 12:59 PM

my son is also in his second year of college. he has not admitted to taking cannabis, but the symptoms you mentioned are similar. he speaks of thinking that people are talking about him, that people know he's been on the phone talking to his family, and that when he watches tv, things pertain to him, or he can fortell the outcome or for ex. basketball/baseball games. always an a student, this year an f. also goes into mood swings and insomnia, although sleeps better since he's been home. daydreams alot and is definitely seems depressed. he was seeing a girl but it's not working out, and i thought that might be the problem, but i think it may be what you are all talking about. i'm very concerned.

Posted by: gigi at June 5, 2005 03:38 AM

I am a 19yr old girl who too smokes cannibis, and is trying so hard to quit.I use it to calm down since i am so highly strung myself.I feel fine now,no voices or anything, but im terrified i'll get that way.Half my family smoke the drug, but it's my big brother in particular that i am so afraid for his health.He wont leave the house, he thinks that everyone including me is against him.And he also believes that oprah,dr phil,david letterman and a few others speak to him through the tv.According to him there are cameras everywhere in his house and that his private life is displayed on tv for everyone to watch.He talks of killing himself and other people...im so scared.It has been getting worse over the years, and now my family and i dont know how to help him.If he wont leave the house we cant get him to seek help, besides the fact that he refuses to believe that anything is wrong with him!i am now taking the steps to quit, seeing how bad it really is. The withdrawal symptoms are so hard to get through and its so easy to just have "one" smoke to ease the strain on my brain..What should i do, how can i help my brother and myself?????..

Posted by: Teela at June 12, 2005 03:23 AM

My 45-year-old brother has smoked marijuana since age 13. Now he is having psychotic attacks. He stalks his ex-wife and all her relatives, calls them and describes how he is going to kill them. I don't know what we will do with him.

Posted by: jackie at June 22, 2005 08:30 PM

I am a 32 year old male who has smoked cannabis since I was about 16, at a rate of about 20 joints a day. I can identify with all the things the original poster made from a personal point of view - as a child at school, I was technically the brightest person in my year of 200 (by IQ test), and until the age of about 13 or 14 I was in all the top sets. I am pretty certain that blaming cannabis for your sons ills is a red herring.

If you are male, intelligent and highly strung, life at school starts to get really difficult at about 13. Its all about image, and coolness, and you find that integrating with people (especially girls) is difficult and makes you blush, shake, etc. After living it for a year or two, you will take any exit out - and cannabis just happens to be available. You quickly realise that this is not going to make you find integrating any easier, but it relaxes you - the first time you have felt OK since before puberty, and all the self doubt that it brings. Thats hard to turn down. Since then, more drugs have become available, and I discovered like your son that valium worked wonders - but its not sustainable since its so addictive.

Cannabis did, I would say, delay my development for a few years. But there is no doubt to me that its had no long term effect (I am now a successful software engineer on 100k+ salary). The really terrible drug that I also took, and the one that I do believe had a permanent effect on me, is Ecstasy. This stuff is evil - its insidious, and once taken, leaves a dark shadow over you probably for life - so far, its about 8 years ago, and its still with me every day. The problem with Ecstasy is that once you have taken it, and experienced such a perfect peace with your own mind, reality will always seem a faded grey world in comparison. You long for it for ever - even though I would never take it again.

I am still a smoker (20 joints an evening still) but have passed through all the self doubt, to understand that people are made differently, and that my make up is just my lot. I now find that a quarter minimum dose of paroxetine (5mg - apparently such a low dose should not work - dont believe them, it does, once you have settled down for a few months) a day is what I always needed to take the edge off my lack of confidence, and all the things that that causes. Slowly, over a year or so since discovering it, I became fully rounded. Totally different to anything I have ever experienced since I can remember - this must be how 'totally normal' people feel. The memory of the Ecstasy will never leave me, but every day that I put in between the last time I took it, and now, makes it just a tiny little bit more blessedly distant. I can deal with all the social situations that always screwed me up. This was the original reason that cannabis was attractive to me - but of course, it was the wrong drug. Its like using alcohol to relax you - it works, but it has side effects, like anti-motivational syndrome. Coupled with the fact that cannabis is not effective at making you more social - all it does is numb the pain of being so different (in your thoughts) to everyone.

I mainly wrote this because I hope you can get a little peace from it. We are all neurologically different. We all have traits - and in all likelihood your son was unlucky, he got a highly strung lot too, and he was self medicating to kill the pain. The saddest thing is that probably there was a drug out there which would have slowly made life bearable for him again. But, in a way, he is in a better place now. I am well aware that every day is a challenge for me. I know that if the antidepressants stopped working, I would not be able to cope, and would eventually need to find a way out. That is a burden that you must stay aware of for life, and certainly I now have to live my life by it. What I went through on the road to discovering the realities of my mental illness was hell. Utter, pure hell. My life only started a couple of years ago really, at about 30. So in many ways I have lost that time.

I sometimes wonder what life would have been like if I had discovered paroxetine when I was about 14, when I really needed it. I am single now, after several almost fatal relationships. All that time passed with me in a partial state of insanity, during which one should learn so much about life. Is it too late for me now? Who knows.

But I am certain that cannabis was not part of this. Of course, you suspect that it is several times over the years, and you give up for a few months. But nothing changes - apart for the worse. There is less at your disposal when you feel so low that you want to commit suicide. Having a joint does keep you from that edge - but when you give up, things become worse. Its a journey of discovery - you are trying to find inner peace. Paroxetine was that inner peace. But until people such as me, and maybe your son, are spotted earlier, when its still catchable, when we are passing into puberty and having trouble, people such as us will continue struggling with our genetic makeup, our personal hell, and cannabis will be another drug we experiment with in the search for inner calm.

All my sympathies, Pete.

Posted by: Pete at July 18, 2005 09:21 AM

I have just re-read your article about Liam which was printed in our Sunday paper in Brisbane Australia in January.
I had kept it and now after reading it again it has made me feel very sad and cry. I can feel only some of your pain. Your mention of the dream reminded me of a dream I had once about my daughter and how real it had seemed. At the time I could actually feel the pain and was trying desperately to turn back time and undo what had happened.
My daughter Carrie has always been a moody and sometimes difficult person. Last year at age 24 she had a breakdown and was subsequently diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
This came as a shock to no one as I had often suspected this in her younger years however a traumatic time when her father has been battling leukaemia, her use of ectasy and a stressful work position tipped her over the edge and she is now a different person.
She has had good treatment and is doing okay and the medication seems to be helping but I fear greatly for her future as she can still be quite unpredictable and risque in her behaviour which can lead to problems. I think it is a feeling of grief that I suffer at the loss of my daughter as I have known her and also sadness that she will have to battle with this all her life. She still gets very depressed at times although she says she does not get the highs like she used to.
Carrie has always been a two sided personality. One moment she was the most charismatic, loving kind person but a couple of days later she would be angry and aggressive. I now realise the latter were her depressed times. She has two sisters who find this really hard to deal with and I understand this fully so I feel I am suffering for them also.
My thoughts are with you and I pray you find some comfort somewhere although I don't know where. Kathy van Dyk

Posted by: Kathy van Dyk at August 5, 2005 10:49 PM

Your story was truly tradgic and my deepest condolences for the loss of your son. That story reminds me much of a boy i know now. He used to be bright, handsome and cheery but he now battles with depression every day. Coincidently enough, his name is Liam too. I know that his family is trying to get him help and I hope only that he same fate will not befall him.

Posted by: Celeste at August 22, 2005 05:38 PM

Hey, my names Brad i've been smoking cannabis since grade nine. In about grade 10 I have started doing it almost everyday. I'm now going into grade 12 and have done shrooms coke and every type of drug from the cannabis family. I havn't sufferd any phsycological effects like people on this message board have been explaining all i feel that ive slowed down just a little bit.

Posted by: Brad at September 3, 2005 07:46 PM

I smoked the skunk form of cannabis daily for a few years and now my brain has completely turned to mush and the mental illness I suffer is intolerable. Every day is living torture and every day I wish I was dead, I can not concentrate my memory feels non existent, I can not interact with people, intense anxiety/fear to the extent it can feel painful, social phobia, paranoia, traumatized by horrific thoughts,depression, I could go on and on, lets just say life really is not worth living any more. When Tony Blair down graded cannabis to class C it encouraged me it was relatively safe. Now I wish the would reclassify skunk as class A as I feel it should be. I have learnt from experience the hard way and now my life is over, yet unfortunately I am still alive, I am only 26. I feel I have gone totally mad and my brain is totally damaged. Thanks to skunk I wish I was no more.

Posted by: Richard at September 7, 2005 10:40 AM

I am a junoir in college and experienced the same problems during high school due to smoking marijuana and taking mushrooms and ecstacy. My schizophrenia developed fully two years ago, but has become lessened thanks to the medications. This my returning year to college after taking a year off to get myself together. Hopefully I dont relapse although it is difficult seeing that I am at the number one party school in America. Nevertheless, the voice are down and I am trying to fill all my time with work and school. I am planning on becoming a psychologist so I can help others who experience mental illnesses. I am sorry about your son but hope that my life can prevent others from dying so tragically.

Posted by: Dean Ugboajah at September 13, 2005 07:11 PM

I have been smoking the most potent cannabis in British Columbia on a frequent basis for over 30 years. Not only have I never experienced any mental illness, but I truely believe cannabis has contributed greatly to my quality of life as well as motivation and success.

Despite hours of searching, I have yet to find any scientific evidence that links skunk or large amounts of THC in cannabis or any form to schitzophrenia. I was only able to find a few stories of parents who suspect cannabis among other drugs to be the cause of their childs mental health problems. Through research I was only able to conclude the opposite. Cannabis use has increased greatly over the last decade, but the percentage of people who are being diagnosed with the illness has not increased.

Throughout the years I have encountered many people who are schitzophrenic or have been diagnosed with bi-poplar who do not smoke cannabis. I have close relationships with many chronic pot smokers, but none who have experienced mental illness. Cannabis is extremely common. The majority of people smoke cannabis at some point in their life. It is obvious that at least some pot smokers will be diagnosed with schitzophrenia. After all the herb does not prevent the illness, as far as we know. There is no reason to believe use of cannabis was a contributing factor. Cannabis can be a symptom of schitzophrenia. It can be one of many things the individual may begin doing which their loved ones may feel is out of character. The person may also be smoking it in attempt to feel better.

It is irresponsible for anyone to claim cannabis causes any type of mental illness. The scientific evidence is simply not present and the statistical evidence supports the opposite. Classifying a drug which has no scientific or statistical data showing harm in the same group of drugs as meth, ecstasy and herion is very dangerous. People who have used cannabis and know it is not harmful may be more vulnerable to dangerous drugs when they are widely introduced like crack, meth or ecstasy if they assume the hysteria surrounding those drugs nonsense because they are categorized with cannabis.

My heart goes out to everyone on this forum who has been affected by mental illness, whether it be themselves or a loved one. I ask that you all be compassionate as well as keep an open mind rather than taking coinsidences which are bound to happen out of proportion and blaming cannabis, a herb used by a loving culture of millions of people throughout the world.

Posted by: James Kalls at September 26, 2005 01:46 AM

It is scary to think that there is still a debate over the harshness of cannibis. I am a college student who has experimented with cannibis at different times in my life. I am also surrounded by people who use cannibis as a regular activity in their day. It is so sad the crisis which has arisen around cannibis. Regardless of the scientific proof, the stories are there, the experiences exist! When someone is able to loose their sense of reality, their confidence in life and the real world diminishes. Anxiety and stress consume your mind and you loose touch with the real world.

Who ever wished for that? Who knew that it had such a severe effect? People are going out of their minds, while weed is becoming more abundant. Motivational rates are hopeless and the general stardards of living are getting lower.

I know young young children at the age of 11 using weed, as a fun thing to do on their weekend. But they dont know what the real implications of this drug are, and that THC levels are increasing. It is no longer a herbal remedy. It is a destroyer of the brain, its mechanisms and real thought. If you want to escape reality dont numb yourself to it, escape it by reaching new natural extremes. Fall in love, reach your pain threshold, do something frightening.

Please dont give in anymore

Posted by: Hannah at November 14, 2005 05:23 AM

I am so sorry to hear about your sons terrible and violent death I never have and never will do drugs, but my daughter's father who is my ex boyfriend did and still does drugs. Sorry is never enough to say to someone who has lost a loved one I know, but I hope in helping other people including teens to save them before it's too late my slowly help you in your recovery and thank you for taking the time, though I know it's hard in sharing your story. May God watch over you and your family and help you in your grieving period. I am a young mother of 2 little girls, and I hope I never have to go through what you had to. But if I do I hope that I can find the strength that you have and my kids out of it. Thank you and good luck to all of you and I know a mother never forgets or family for that matter.

Posted by: Holly Dodson at December 5, 2005 09:06 PM

hello everyone i am alex.i smoke every day cananbis for 4 years .i am 19 years old.
since two months i started hearing voices they cry istericly.whats happening with me i need help.
i cant tell my mom but i have a hope to contact people who knows things like this.i eat mushrooms a couple of times.i think that they affect me seriosly damaged brain.i often think about things strange for people everybody thinks i am not well.sory for my english i am from Bulgaria.i am getting lessons wood flute-kaval(BGfolk music instrument)but it doesnt help just more depressed and a lots of sad melodies

Posted by: alex at December 10, 2005 07:33 AM

I empathize with the young man who killed himself in australia, it is certainly a tragedy, I first used cannabis when I was 12 I think, I quickly became a regular user and a heavy one too smoking many joints a day (of the hard resin sort mainly) for 11 years till 2000 when I quit, I also used Ecstacy many times and LSD and anphetamines(and cigs and alcohol).
I have been clean of all that for about 5 and a half years.
I have been diagnosed with schizophrenia since 1998 but first noticed something going wrong with my mood and motivation at about the same time I started cannabis, I should also mention I first tried cigarettes at age 10 or 11.
My illness has been hell for me with long bouts of depression and once tried to kill myself because I thought I was the son of the devil.

Posted by: Neill at December 28, 2005 10:18 PM


to finnish my story I am now 29 married for a year and have a baby son, My illness continues to reek havok in my live and I have managed to alienate and infuriate all my inlaws and bring our short marriage to the point of divorce. I dont know what the future holds but I guess it is always worth hanging on, I wish the lady in the above story all the best in what she wants to accomplish and having read the reports I suspect cannabis played a big role in my illness too.

I think that cannibis should be stopped, and those that deal in it deal in misery pain and death.

I got my first joint(and almost all thereafter) from my best mate who's older brother was a dealer and probably still is.

Alex talk to your mother she loves you.

Posted by: Neill at December 28, 2005 10:31 PM

I can empathize with your story. Marajuana has had a detrimental affect on me as well - producing, after being hospitalized - schizophrenic symptoms. The only thing I can tell you is the result led to a split with my significant other as well as other losses leaving me with nowhere to go but up. I now believe complete cessetation is this answer - I am also taking prescribed antidepressents to deal with depression associated with loss. I never realized cannabis use would lead to such lows and delusions or I would have never started using it again (I was also using it with alcohol). In retrospect it did nothing but lead me farther and farther into an increased distorted perception of reality - including hallucinations, delusions of granduer, depression, exaggerated fear and paranoia. The same stuff led to audio/visual hallucinations from radio and tv where I thought the messages were partaining to me. All I can say is with determination, cessation and some help, it is possible to get yourself back on track to find a way out - just don't give up - there is a better way - and if you are determined to find a solution - you will.

Posted by: Steve at January 15, 2006 01:51 PM

Hi my name is Alexander and I want to take this chance to tell my story of Marijuana. Whoever sais that Marijuana can not lead to depression or mental illnesses is bullshitting himself. I can promise you that sooner or later it will affect you. Although, saying that, it does vary from person to person. Some people do not really get affected, some do. I sparked my first joint at 14 with my mates, and started smoking regularly with 15 years of age. I have been smoking for around 4 years regularly and have recently stopped due to developing depression and a very slight mental illness. It all started at around 18 and a half when I started getting paranoid when I smoked. I would have intense paranoia, but laugh about it later with my friends, admitting how rediculous it was. Due to all my friends smoking, I continued as well, even though I had bad experiences most of the time. I did not want to quit, because I wanted it to be like it was in the old times when i first started, fun and great. Instead, it was a horrible paranoid experience every time. When I was in this state, I believed that the people around me could read my mind and all my secrets and i was terrified. Of course, when I got sober it was all fine again. However, I kept on smoking and smoking becuase I thought it would be a one-off when i was high, but it wasn't. It made me depressed and paranoid, and I still suffer from those intense paraoid trips. I have quit for 6 months now, and I am feeling a lot better. I have a girlfriend again and am on my up way again, although those dreadful experiences can never be forgotten. I herefore want to tell EVERYONE, and I mean absolutely EVERYONE, that smoking pot is not bad for you as long as you have a good time. When your having a good time, you can smoke as much as you want to. However, once you start having a paranoid time when your high, stop, and i mean STOP. Don't keep on smoking because you think its gonna get better, it wont. If u are continously paranoid when high its no fun anyways, so quit. Don't make the mistake I did, but quit when its paranoia on a regular basis. Do it, and you'll be fine. DOn't, and u'll get depressed and could become shizophrenic.
Be careful with marijuana, although it can be amazing, it can also be very dangerous as I have had to experience myself....
I also feel very sorry for your son Liam and wish you the best to conquer such an experience. If I had continued along that path, I might have ended up the same way....

Posted by: Luigi at January 31, 2006 11:43 AM

I know I'm a little late - I wish I had read these responses months ago. I have read every comment in response to Liam's death. First, let me offer to the family, my condolences and heartfelt sorrow for the loss of your son. I too have suffered a profound loss - my son Brendan, 19, died almost 4 months ago, diagnosed with Bipolar/Schizoaffective disorder in September 2004; it appears (took a walk while out to dinner with friends) that he went from manic to psychotic. He found a chain and hanged himself. We got a knock on the door from the coronor at 1:00am - we thought Brendan was home. Those were the darkest hours.

This was a shock to us; he had been diagnosed a year earlier because of an acute pyschosis - he had never been depressed but hypomanic... looking back, the week before he had his first severe manic episode/psychosis, he had been smoking an enormous amount of weed. I do agree marijuana does not cause a mental illness; I know many, many people who have smoked weed for years that have not suffered any ill effects. However, I believe my son had an underlying mental illness that was not only unleashed but exacerbated by pot.

Looking further back, Brendan did not start smoking pot until his 17th birthday. When he took his first puff, he loved it - I'm sure he found a wonder drug to self medicate his racing mind. But before he began using weed, he exhibited manic behavior...thinking he had secret knowledge or power about the world (I didn't identify this until I looked back and reflected on his behavior...before weed). As a freshman and sophomore, he also thought people could read his thoughts and were talking about him...he experienced this a few years before he ever smoked pot. He also experienced the social anxiety that's normal with most teens. My point, people who have a history or overt symptoms that can be detected early as a mental illness are the last people who should be smoking pot. For my son, I believe it was fatal. I am certain, that if he had not experimented with weed he would be alive today. He not only self medicated but became addicted and with addiction comes tolerance, more use, more augmentation of the already diseased brain and so on.

Pot did not "kill" my son, but was instrumental in his death, and I think anyone who has a predisposition (how would you know this) or a family history of addiction or mental illness should stay away from...any drug.

dodie mcdonald California

Posted by: Dodie McDonald at February 1, 2006 08:01 PM

Sorry to hear about your son Liam -

Posted by: Dodie McDonald at February 1, 2006 08:05 PM

My comments finally posted...the good luck was for Luigi and I'm sorry to hear about your son Liam was to be continued...above that. Anyway, I struggle every day...and have been trying to post my message. It posted.
Peace to all.

Posted by: Dodie McDonald at February 2, 2006 07:49 PM

This story is difficult for me to read. My little, who used to be my best friend, and who was also the gorgeous, over-acheiving, bright child, as you Liam is described began using drugs at the terifyingly young age of 14. This past year has been a downward spiral of depression, drug use (prescription, ecstasy, marajuana), and psychotic episodes. Nothing is more awful than seeing my beautiful, 18-year-old brother run around the house claiming that people are watching us or someone is living in the woods in our backyard. He has called the police 3 times. He took 32 aderol pills 2 weeks ago, and yesterday after leaving drub rehab because of paranoia, he slit his own wrists in my sister's apartment (w/o being high). He is now is the mental ward recovering and still suffering from delusion and paranoia. It is so scary to see him and even scarier to know that we have tried everything to help him get well. All we can so is keep searching for the answer.

Posted by: Melissa Buckshaw at February 9, 2006 07:30 AM

I just received an e-mail from my daughter Melissa and I was so overwhelmed with joy and happiness I began to cry and cry I did for several minutes. Her e-mail included your Web Site that I consider a gift from God. While I was scrolling through the many posts, I found her post. The comfort, joy and tears where a direct result of Melissa’s Post. Melissa and I have always been close. The intimacy we share is the by-product of the unconditional love and respect we have toward one another.

Unfortunately several of our six-children inherited the “addictive disorder decease” and (7) years ago it came to our family like a “thief-in-the-night”. Although there were earlier “red flags”, we (our family) were completely without resources and knowledge to understand the decease and how it would eventually affect our family and our relationships with one another.

My wife, Melissa’s mother Terri was our early pioneer who sought to acquire the necessary knowledge to understand this dreaded decease and what would be required of our family and to also seek the necessary treatment programs for our children that were “severely affected by the decease”.

Dealing with addiction disorders requires complete understanding and cooperation, especially between the Parents. On the opposite side of this decease is another decease that is even more difficult to understand. It is labeled co-dependency and I am a
co-dependent. In the simplest terms; a co-dependent actually believes that he will be able to fix the addict and when the addict is your own child you can become an “addict-fixing zealot”. This can really divide a family. A co-dependent can become so skilled at his “labor of love” he finds ways of hiding it until he wakes up one day to a “divided family”.

I refused to acknowledge my co-dependency and I did not seek treatment until a year ago.
It becomes a difficult to almost an impossible task to convince the other members of your community that you are no longer ignoring your co-dependency and that you are making an honest commitment to battle it daily.

About three-weeks ago and after considerable research on post addiction mental deceases, I was convinced that Matthew’s “extended and continuous drug use” had finally caused more serious mental health problems.

Our family grew accustomed to my co-dependent and often-irrational defense of Matthew’s behavior problems caused by his “addiction disorder decease”; I was likened to the “little boy that cried wolf.”

Believing with a high degree of certainty that Matthew’s drug use caused other mental health problems that became the source of his psychotic episodes, his intense paranoia (which he kept hidden) and his schizophrenic behavior, I embarked on yet another journey to have him admitted into a new drug rehabilitation program. This program provided Psychiatric Evaluation during the intake process to search for other mental health conditions caused from drug usage. Once again, Matthew kept his mental health problems hidden preventing the “mental health experts” from providing adequate treatment.

Matthew confided in me and exposed his darkest secrets to me but based on my past improper defenses of his addiction disorder trying to find allies and believers was impossible including the “mental health experts” at the hospital that is currently treating him.

Considering that his latest attempted suicide was his second try in (3) weeks, I sensed that time was running out on me. Feeling all alone and ignoring the possibility of ridicule, criticism and or further allegations of mental disorders and instability, I aggressively challenged the “mental health experts” with threats of litigation for another misdiagnosis of his disorders and improper treatment.

After much conflict and regrettable harsh conversations, Melissa knowing that I have always been truthful with her, decided to get involved, her own research confirms that her brother could very well have developed the “post drug use mental illness’s” that I have been barking about.

Yesterday the “mental health experts” confirmed that Matthew in fact has been experiencing psychotic episodes, intense paranoia and schizophrenic behavior.

Today, Matthew is finally receiving the necessary and proper medical treatment to begin has final journey on his road to recovery.

Melissa, I lovingly thank you for believing in me and as I mentioned yesterday; when you take the time to communicate with me, I always walk away from our meeting a much wiser and a more spiritual man.

Matthew and I know that the two of us each experienced Divine Intervention and we Praise and thank God for his Grace during this time of trouble and sorrow.

To my Wife Terri, my vows were “For better or for worse in sickness and in health…..until…” I will always remain devoted to you and our wonderful family.

My message to others, get on the same page with your spouse, seek proper counseling, follow the advise of the professionals counselors, take nothing for granted and of utmost importance, don’t ever give up.

Posted by: Dennis Buckshaw at February 9, 2006 01:59 PM

I read your Story about Liam. I understand your pain. It reminds me of my own pain of my son Eric. Eric was 20 years old and on Spring Break from the University Of Cincinnati last year in Cancun Mexico. He died there.
He had excellent grads up to and including his freshman year in college. Like Liam though, he had smoke pot and drank in high school and it continued on in college, however, in college he added drugs from the internet. This his father and I did not know, until it was pretty much to late to help him. He was 20 years old and considered an adult. WE begged him, and his sisters begged him to stop to no avail. He also had friends doing the smoking and getting the drugs from the internet too.
To make a long story short Eric decided he wanted to go on spring break last year to cancun, his father and I said no way. We would not fund that. I had a very bad feeling about this trip in my heat. Eric's freinds mother funded it for Eric. It was set that he was going.
Before Eric left Eric was stealing my prescribed xanax, and told us that the olny reason he went to see a therapist for depression was to get the drugs. The therapist gave him a very low dose of anti-depression pills. That made Eric very mad. Eric was my only son and always made me laugh when I didn't feel like it. Not anymore tho. He was not the son I watched grow up, his mood changed all the time. At one point he got so angry I was actually scared of him. I later read about the drugs that was found in his body and it all made sense. I was so stressed out with worrying for his safety and his health. We had threated to take him out of college for a semester and bring him home to just rest or to get a job just to get him away from his friends down in cincinnati. The cancun trip was coming up fast though. The day came when Eric left for Cancun.........that was the last time I saw my son. when he got to cancun he went to one of there "corner drugstores" and got some drugs. You see there ( in cancun) you do not need a prescription to get drugs, you just ask for the drug you want and you get it. It is not FDA approved so there is no wat to tell what you are getting. So Eric and his friends were all set.
It was March 22nd that we got the phone call from the hospital @10:20 pm the Dr asking us if "we wanted our son creamated or emballmed" and did he ever have seizures? Our 20 year old....Our only son..... and thats how we found out he died.
Cancun medical Dr's said Eric died of broncil asperation, trama to the head.
We had a second autopsy done in the united states becaus ewhen Eric 's body came back from mexico, it was very clear that no autopsy was done, oh they cut him to make it look like they did one, but they did not do the actual autopsy. So we had a second autopsy and toxicology report done in the United States. Eric offically died of what the Mexican goverment said he died of since he died in Mexico, however he really died of an accidental overdose, which simply put means Eric did not know that taking all those drugs over a certain amount of time would kill him.
Listen up PARENTS : This could be you at anytime. PLEASE watch your kids carefully.
A mother who cries everyday for the loss of her son.

Posted by: Judy at February 24, 2006 03:26 PM

Julia, I am sorry for the loss of your dear son, Liam. His circumstances are very similar to my son, who we lost 9/1/01. Second year at college, psychotic break, heavy pot smoking, no family history of mental illness in our family. Our son was a great athlete in football, baseball, basketball, bicycle racing and snowboarding. Started showing signs of problems April 2001, came home the end of May 2001 in a total psycotic break. Our mental health facility worked with him for 4 weeks until the psychosis was somewhat under control. We continued on an outpatient basis to keep this under control. Through the summer he showed improvement, but by the end of August he was beginning to show the depression part of this disorder. On the afternoon of Sept. 1, 2001 he could no longer bear the pain and ended it.

I know in my heart that his illness began and ended because of marijuana. It is not a gateway drug, it is a killer in itself.

We will grieve his death for the rest of our lives, but with loving memory and knowing that he is with our Lord and has no mental or physical pain.
Debbie A in California, USA

Posted by: Debbie at April 3, 2006 03:48 PM

Debbie A in California - please email me and we could talk. I posted earlier about my son Brendan...second year of college, heavy pot smoking, diagnosed with Bipolar, four psychotic episodes in one year and then ended his life (pain). I know the pot unleashed an already diseased brain - he died 6 months ago and I am so torn between sadness, wondering what his life would have been like, his suffering and where he is now - free from pain. Please write. dodiem in California

Posted by: dodiemcdonald at April 10, 2006 08:57 PM

My own partner has a problem with weed & has done for sometime. At the age of thirty-eight, he has no structure to his life, no job, no insentive to sort himself out, because of the drug. Sadly most Cannibis users don't stop to think what it is does to their families. Sadly i find it abit of a cop out really, weak people who can't cope with the struggles of day to day life. It would be a sad world if we all thought having a "Spliff" would make it better, nobody would make an effort. I have found living with my partner & surrounded by others smoking weed, that they are very easly led individuals. With underlining problems that the are incapable of dealing with, or choose to ingnore. Well, i like to say to every weed smoker out there "get to grips with your lifes, stop using it as a crutch!"

Posted by: june at April 20, 2006 03:31 AM

Here, i'm a student of quebec, i read this story in case of an english project, I hope you'll feel better one day if it's not done yet. I have been afraid of the fartest the thing goes I hope I'll touch drugs in my life, I swear for you also you don't know me, I'll don't wanna touch drugs !

Posted by: Anne-Marie at April 28, 2006 07:01 AM

Most of the marijuana users I work with believe most of the information given to them is propaganda from the government.They themselves are suffering form some of these disorders and still denie the negative consequences.

Posted by: willard gragg at May 12, 2006 05:54 AM

Tomorrow, my 21 year old son will be released from the psychiatric hospital after his first psychotic episode. He had been using for many years, but his use was more intense after he went to college. He had to leave school after his sophomore year. He has been sober for a few months, but he is denying the reality of his disease. The postings here have helped me so much. Many of them read like the story of our lives. Our family has been devastated by what has been happening.

Posted by: Elizabeth Taylor at May 16, 2006 09:14 AM

I am a junior in high school right now and for the last 6-8 months i have convinced myself that i have schizophrenia. I think that all of my thoughts are being said aloud. It is very hard for me to concentrate on things and i dont know what is real and what is not. I have asked my mom if i am crazy and she says no, but is it just a delusion? I am going to see a specialist for schizophrenia but am i going to hear what he is really telling me or well i hear what i want to hear (that i am not crazy). Does it sound like i have schizophrenia.

I csn relate to many of the feelings that your son felt. I have smoked weed scence freshmen year everyday i have popped probally over 200 pills and was addicted to coke untill about 2 months ago. so if anybody could tell me if this just sounds like drug induced psychosis or if it sounds like schizophrenia it would be grately apprecieated. I am very sorry for what happened to Liam.

Posted by: nick huffman at May 17, 2006 07:04 PM

Good luck Mark, I hope you got this far...I will post my sons story in the future, have been very moved, discouraged but also incouraged by the comments here. A whole lot of sympathy and love to all involved in these situations.

Posted by: aitch at June 5, 2006 01:14 AM

I have read the thread with mixed emotions. I am a 45 year old who has a long history of drug-taking. Despite my age I was a regular taker of cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis and LSD. I kept myself very fit however, held down a well-paid job in advertising and was outwardly full of life, healthy and looked ten years younger than my age. I have recently had to totally re-evaluate my attitude to drugs. Last year I had an episode of psychosis a week after taking a dose of lsd. I had paranoid delusions, was convicned the neighbours were talking to me through the floorboards and then my clothes began to relay their thoughts and conversations. I had a spell in rehab and am now on antipsychotic drugs.

For years I felt invincible and now I am left pondering my future. It worries me that in the UK drug taking is now a way of life for many young people- like it was for me. I hope I serve as an example that it doesn't matter how many times you roll the dice and survive - the possibility of psychosis is always just around the corner. I was particularly interested in Edwards thread. After years of exploring spirituality I am left pondering answers that have both a scientific and spiritual quality. The experiences are so similar for many of us that there has to be mutual benefit in comparing them but I have yet to find suitable support groups to discuss my situation.

Posted by: Ant at July 26, 2006 03:07 AM

I can relate to the story. It is almost a carbon copy of what happened to my only brother. He died 4 years ago under terrible circumstances that shook my family very hard. My parents had to endure the torment for years until the end finally came for Colin. He was just 30 years old.
We all firmly believe that his mental state was due to the drug taking. It too started with cannabis but gradually worked onto much harder and addictive drugs.
He obviously had some addictive traits but had he never taken cannabis then he would be here now, doing well I am sure.

Posted by: Steve Platt at July 27, 2006 07:46 PM

At the core the problem really isn't marijuana itself, but the compulsive need to take drugs to feel "better." The default state of human beings is actually happiness and contentment, and when we go out into the world and do different things to make ourselves happy we get into a lot of trouble. We feel this need to fill a gaping hole that doesn't exist and is only a product of compulsive over-thinking which runs rampant in the world today. People fail to realize that thoughts aren't real and that you are not your thoughts, the space between your thoughts is who you really are. Stop taking your thoughts to be an accurate map of what reality is, because thoughts can't do it, they inevitably fall flat when describing the totality of existence. If your thoughts are making your life hell, stop believing them, because thoughts aren't real. When it comes to your thoughts try this for example:

The Work of Byron Katie
Four Questions

1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?
3. How do you react when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought?

[edited by schizophrenia.com editors because we don't allow commercial posts in the comments section of the web site].

Posted by: Brenden at August 7, 2006 11:12 AM


Posted by: EMMANUEL at August 7, 2006 12:52 PM

I am hoping to contact Elizabeth Taylor whose son was discharged in May, I think, after first psychotic break. Would like to know how he is doing now and if he was put on medications in the hospital. My son had his first psychosis in 2001 after using drugs and alcohol. Psychiatrists tend to label as bipolar or schizophrenia without considering drug-induced psychosis first. Any comments?

Posted by: Cheryl at August 15, 2006 11:06 PM

My son had a psychosis without any drugs in his system. He was diagnosed with bipolar first, then schizoaffective disorder (Oct. 04, then Sept. 05)

A good site to visit and get feedback is www.nami.org in the discussion group section under Living with Bipolar, Living with Schizophrenia...take your pick.


Posted by: dodiemcdonald at August 25, 2006 08:41 PM

I found this site doing some research on my nephew who is a heroin addict, tried committing suicide, now they think schizophrenia.

I was a heavy pot smoker started at approx age 12 and continued for 28 years. I drank and did various other drugs, but mostly pot. In the last year of my using I began to have several bouts of paranoid delusions, I would speak rapidly sometimes incoherently (always while high on pot).

I many times tried to diagnose myself, believing I must have had some sort of mental illness...I did not want to admit it could be the drugs causing my symptoms. I found that my symptoms were very close to those a person in a manic episode (bi-polar) would have. I sought treatment from two different pychiatrists...both diagnosed me with bipolar.

I quit smoking pot, and taking any drugs including alcohol after learning that use of these drugs could mimic bi-polar, Post-tramatic stress disorder and several other illnesses

I have never had the delusions, paranoia, weird talk, etc. since I quit using and was not under the influence. I did however continue to have mood disturbances for several months (probably withdrawl). I got on a mood stabilizer (depakote) for almost 1 year and got into a 12 step program. I continued to take depakote for 1 year while I learned some tools how to live without drugs in the 12 step program.

Today I have been clean for almost 4 years. I do not take any mood stabalizers and I am very content and serene. I know today for sure that it was the drugs (mainly the pot) that caused the psychotic behavior.

Best wishes to anyone currently suffering, it truly affects everyone, the person afflicted as well as the family and friends.

Posted by: cspiegel at December 28, 2006 08:37 PM

Well we all see hard days in our life and only some of us can talk it over with people we know or love, and the others forget it by taking drugs. Myself for instance have been smoking "pot" for 9 years and I am 18. I was addicted to Extacy for 13 months and to this day I have been clean for 8 months. I never stepped foot in a rehab center or a special doctors office. I pulled my socks up after over dosing 8 times in 3 months on Extacy putting myself on the flat line 3 times. I did it myself you just have to put a goal in front of you or your loved one you have talked about. It doesn't take money or doctors to heal someone it take them to realize what they are doing to them selfs and the people they love. They have had a hard life, like everyone else but we need to as a community help them see the brighter day, take them by the hand and show them that the easy way out is not worth the repercussions, that will soon come and make the only way out even harder to achieve. The only way out is the honest way. Help your friends, brothers, sisters mothers, fathers, cousins, anyone if you know they have a drug abuse problem help them see past it. I just wished I had someone to help me through mine, but I did it myself. Let your troubled person know there is always hope at the end of the day. Because we live on a day to day basis and and new day brings a new beginning.

Posted by: matt at January 14, 2007 07:16 PM

I lived with my husband for 23 yrs. i did not smoke dope but he does and still continues to do so. in my opinion, the observations of sober witnesses should be considered. i have watched cannibis destroy his personality, his motivation, his appearance, take his self esteem, take his friends and family, take his job, put him into jail several times, ive seen him beaten up over drug debts, and today at 46yrs his is but a shadow of who he used to be.... i saw him collecting cigarette butts from rubbish bins recently after not seeing his face for only 2 yrs, i almost didnt recognise him.... he will tell u that there is nothing wrong with cannabis, he will tell u, all these things which have happened in his life have had nothing to do with dope.... marijuana becomes their god, and they become a slave to it.
our daughter who is now 21, began smoking dope at 12. she used to steal it from her father. by the time she was 14 they were daily smoking it together. for all her younger years he took very little interset in her, so i believe she began to smoke so she would have something of him close to her./ once they began smoking together, they were always scoring for eachother, sharing their lives like never before.
she has been smoking "ice", and other forms of street drugs which i dont know much about their names, but she admits she has serious addictions to these drugs nowadays. she is showing rapid deteriation. physically she looks like she is about 8-10yrs old, she weighs approx 40kgs. her skin is an absolute mess, with hugh scabs and pussing, weeping sores. she is prostituting herself, sometimes just for a packet of cigarettes.
constantly she calls me for help. i feed her, pay her bills, buy her cigarettes etc because if i dont she abuses me, threatens me, etc etc. only today my parner had to physically remove her from our house because she had become agressive and violent.
i can not live this way with her anymore. i have decided the next time i see her she will be in hospital or jail, until then i cannot take anymore. she refuses to believe there is anything wrong with her and that its everyone elses fault she is screwed up.... what else is a parent to do??? I have asked Drs and Mental Health for guidence but unless she wants help there is nothing we can do, so until she is caught breaking the law, hurts herself or someone else, i guess i just have to pull back... seeing her this way, watching her self destruct, and abuse us with such evil actions which cut so deep i have little choice but pray for her and hope she gets help before it is too late....

Posted by: jean johnston at January 21, 2007 02:15 AM

my name is Phil, and I am a cannabis user. Although I have not used ecstacy in my life, my weed has been on occasion laced with other chemicals. I do remember one horrific moment last year when I have experienced a drug induced phsycosis, lasting about a week. It felt like a nightmare, I was totally delusional and paranoid at times and had very rapid and unsettling mood swings. At one point I was happy and energetic and the next moment I felt heavily depressed and ready to kill myself. I felt as if I knew something was wrong with me, but nobody could help me. I tried going outside often, skiing, and spending more time with family to releive the emotional stress and pain. It did not seem to help much, but after about a week I felt as if my mind was coming back to normal. I continued to smoke weed but was more aware of it being laced with other crap like speed and angel dust. Most likely my phsycosis had been linked to the drugs other then the weed, and with Liams case, I do want to mention that ecstacy pills do contain many chemicals that vary from pill to pill, apart from the MDMA. I do smoke weed occasionally now, but have learned to control myself and limit the use. I am a full time student right now, and play competative sports, so I do not let it take over my life. I guess some people just are vulnerable and not intended to be doing drugs while others minds and bodies can tolerate them, sort of how chocolate is bad for diabetics, marijuana can be a great risk for certain individuals.

Posted by: Phil at January 21, 2007 10:29 PM

Dodie M (or anyone else who can help),
My name is Melissa. I posted last year and my father after me. My brother is now worse. He was discharged after one day against our will. He has overdosed on prescriptions drugs twice since. He was taking antipsychotics for a while and doing a bit better. However, at some point he convinced himself that it was all a plot to get him and refuses to take medications again. In fact, he thinks nothing mentally is wrong and that he instead has a pyshical ailment that the doctor cannot pinpoint. He refuses to go for treatment and discussing it with him makes things worse. For the past 5 mos he hasn't really left the couch, not even on the holidays. He is 19 and no longer a minor under MI law. I don't know what to do. I desperately need advice or help.

Posted by: Melissa at January 31, 2007 10:51 AM

My email is lisbuck07@yahoo.com

Posted by: Melissa at January 31, 2007 10:52 AM

My name is Ash, I am 18 and have smoked marijuana for two years, extreamly heavily. I stopped six months ago though. I only ever when using marijuana had one single massive paranoia attack. It was easy to stop smokin' weed. I just one day stopped have not done any since. I have recently though started hallucinating and hearing voices. I actually talked to Satan last thursday night, that was scary.

Thought i'd just say that.

Have fun.

- Ash

Posted by: Ash at March 10, 2007 04:31 PM

I'm suffering with marajuana induced problems; most likely rooted in schizophrenia. Like a light switch I changed with the effects of marajuana; now going on 30 years, unresolved.
I don't feel much of anything, I can only act in ways that I think are appropriate. With this in mind; I'm sorry; I'm sorry that sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we can not help the one's we love, even ourselves.

Posted by: Russell at April 7, 2007 01:55 PM

I am a 23 yr old male from canada, and in some instances i definately agree with, unfortunately i have a very bad history with drug usethank god i have been clean for four n half years, yes i do agree marijuana is usually if not always the first "drug" that kids do, did you ever wonder that if we didn't outlaw it children wouldn't find it as fun because they would not feel like there doing anything bad. anyways, i don't believe marijuana led me to other drugs, i believe it was my personality and friends that led me to it. i started smoking marijuana in junior high school and in grade eleven started to expirement with exctasy pills at the afterhours clubs, i never really got hooked on exctasy for some odd reason, i did it soley by bad choice, but i do believe that the worst decision i have ever made and ever will make in my life was saying "yes" to a friend of mine when he asked me if i wanted to try crystal methamphetamine, instantly i was addicted from that day onward for the next year n a half i constantly tried to keep getting more meth, whilst living a regular life of a teenager, going to school, meth was one of the major things on my mind constantly and know one around me even knew it, unfortunately the meth user can hide it extremely well, over the cours of the year my use of meth got worse and worse and worse and eventually came to the point when it was no longer having the effects on me it was supposed to(not eating, not sleeping, tons of energy and motivation) it was now bringing me down, instead of not eating i would have breakfast then smoke some meth, eat dinner then smoke some meth, instead of not sleeping my brain would start to litterally shut off while i was concious(no idea what thats like untill you feel it, quite scary, instead of tons of energy and motivation i became paranoid, and depressed and began to build up with angst) after many confrontations with law enforcement high as a kite, my girlfriend leaving me, losing my friends, something started to settle into my brain, so i called my mother and i told her i had a problem, luck for me my mother took me back home and helped me get better, unfortunately the drug is sooo addictive my body would have went into severe shot had i just stoppedi knew it, i was smoking a lethal amount everyday, little did my mother know that i had to weeen myself off of it, which i did, graduall yusing less and less and less until mom went out of town one weekend and i decided to have a party at her house, we stayed up all night dj ing and doing meth, by the time 7 in the morning came i literrally felt nothing but stiffness and pain so i said tyo all my friends f*$& this i am never doing meth again you guys and of course they all laughed at me but it was the truth i haven't.
Now as i said i had to ween myself off of meth wich was not just done with willpower. Being that i have always used marijuana i found that i stopped during the whole meth phase, so i started smoking it again as i was restricting my use of meth, and what it did for me mentally and physically was phenominal, although marijuana has some negative side effects of its own, that fact that it reversed every negative thing that meth did to me was worth it, now the unfortunate thing is that no matter what you do, when you have given yourself a chemical imbalance there is really no way to fix it, your either going to deal with it or need medication,i have continue to use marijuana without chemical drugs today, i have talked with my doctor and tried a few drugs to help with my mental issues and unfortunately prescribed medication has the opposite effects its supposed to on me until i have been taking it for like three or four days, as i am very forgetfull and taking pill isnt fun, i had a habbit of forgetting my pills and found that it made me feel just like being on meth all over again, i would much rather smoke marijuana, i already am forgetfull so i can deal with that side effect from marijuana, i find it really enjoyable to do, i don't drink alchohol so when i smoke a joint i see it as a couple beers, and actually a couple of beers would make me more disorientated than a marijuana joint. every day i wake up and there is something there to remind me that u used meth, so as i get the chance to have some marijuana those reminders are gone.
now i am not saying that all you others are wrong or that i know everything, i just thought i would post my story to help educate you all , my belief is that drugs affect everyone differently because we all are our own unique person and we all percieve things differently, no two humans are the same, so how are drugs supposed to affect everyone the same.there will obviously be similarities as we are all of the same human race, but some of us are big some small some tal some short, some of us are missing organs some of us have all of them, some of us have lived and learnt and some of us have not, we are all different but euqal my friends.

Posted by: Chad at May 14, 2007 11:16 AM

My boyfriend has smoked weed and skunk for about 14 years, i am convinced that the cause of his moods now are due to the smoking. I have tried to approach the subject a few times, but now communicating with him regarding any subject is becoming harder and harder. His moods are up and down like a yo yo and sometimes the trigger to a mood is such a minor incident, that i even doubt my own mental health over it as in i must have imagined it as in how could that incident make someone in a mood. I am so worried about him and he never seems to smile or laugh anymore, however, in front of his friend and family he is this happy wonderfull person, I feel i am the only one who notices it. He is paranoid when i sigh, pull a face, every thing i say is misinterpreted, he shouts at me, accuses me off all sorts and i am at the end of my tether. I am convinced he is manic depressive, or something is wrong. i would appreciate any help or advice on this

Posted by: amanda beaumont at May 27, 2007 04:11 AM

I have heard from others that the following two articles, when taken together, has actually convinced some smokers to not smoke anymore because they explain WHY smoking cannabis can be dangerous.

I suggest you print these as well as the above article that got your attention (True Story of Cannabis-Induced SZ) out to give your boyfriened, or just e-mail the links to him.

Scientists Show How Cannabis / Marijuana May Trigger Schizophrenia

Cannabis Chemical Studied as Schizophrenia Treatment

I also suggest that if he will not seek help, you may consider counselling for yourself to help you cope.

Posted by: Jeanie at May 27, 2007 08:03 AM

Tears are running down my face. I pray everyday, that my son will recover from his schizophrenia. He wants pot everyday to feel better. He won't take medication that is prescribed to him for his condition, it makes him very ill. He has his own apartment now, and he lives one mile away from me. He realizes he can't drive anymore, and doesn't have concentration to take a driver's test. What can I do? How do I help him motivate himself? He has been isolating himself. When he does come over he's very disoriented, and delusional. He's not acting dangerous, or suicidal, but everyday I worry about his well being. I don't think locking him up in a hospital it the answer either. He was in a mental inst. for about six months, he was so drugged, he was slobbering on himself, and couldn't stand up. As I read your story, I could feel your pain. As Mothers all we can do is be there for them. Ultimately, I know I can't make decisions for him, or make him want to live his life. My heart goes out to you.

Posted by: Sandy orfanos at June 16, 2007 05:40 AM

Keep searching for a psychiatrist until you find one that is successful with your son. Don't give up. If he has to be hospitalized to get the right medication level/combination then so be it - atleast he'll be alive. He shouldn't be a zombie as this means his meds need to be regulated. Like I said, don't stop until you find a psychiatrist that you feel confident with.

Get you son hooked up with NAMI online and in your community - Nami.org. Call you local chapter and see if they have a "peer to peer" workshop for him and a "family to family" for you.

Don't give up and good luck to you,

Dodie dodiemcdonald@yahoo.com

Posted by: Dodie McDonald at June 22, 2007 11:52 PM

I am so sorry for the loss of your son. As I read your story, tears ran down my face and at the same time I wondered if my son would ever be the same. My son is 25 years old. He lived with his father for seven years, this is when I found out that my son was using crystal meth. My son would talk to me or come to see me only when he was not high so I had no idea how serious this drug was. Until, his father died five years ago. My son came to live with me and his younger sister. This is when the horror began. Stealing money from my purse, stealing different kinds of appliances to trade for the drug. It took me a little while to figure things out. I started doing research on the drug and its symptoms. I have had my son arrested three times. I have been evicted one time because of his strange behavior with neighbors. Asking for money, cosistently begging them for money. I have been contacted by my present landlord regarding his behavior. About two years ago his psychosis became worse. He finally agreed to see a doctor at our mental health clinic. His doctor has diagnosed my son with drug induced schizophrenia and borderline mild mental retardation. He has been denied three times for SSI. And the worst part of this is that he drinks (he no longer does the drug). He says he drinks because it makes him feel better. He become sociable, and very child like. When he does not drink he is withdrawn, hides in his room and does not like to go out in public. I do not know what to do. I am a 51 year old woman. And there is not a day that goes by that I am constantly worried about him. This has affected my life so much that I find myself calling him @ least 3x per day to make certain he is ok. Can anyone give me some advice?

Posted by: sandra at August 28, 2007 04:21 PM

hi i need some help from someone or some advice , i have been with my husband for 11 years and as im only 26 i dont think that is bad going, i love him so much but living with someone who is always smoking splif and is stoned every night when i come home from work is gettin to me.
my husband has told me about his childhood and it wasnt a bed of roses but wasnt really bad and he says he got into smoking cannabis to get away from all the stress, hes now 31 yr old and works very hard and is a great husband in so many ways but 4 years ago we found out we would have to have fertility treatmant for a baby which was the worst thing i think we had ever heard, we got to the top of the list for are treatment and he still hadnt stoped the cannabis so we had to call it off, i couldnt belive that something so important didnt make him stop, he has said its want he wants you know the family but he still smokes this s**t all the time,
and now after 4 yrs we are still not any further to getting a baby cause the smoking continues and he cant see why im falling apart and completly heartbroken, if he loves me so much why cant he let it go.
ive got to the point now where im thinking if i get to 60 and im in are house washing up daydreaming out of are window ill think why did i stay with someone who never was strong enough to give us a life of happeness.
and i know you might be thinking but him stopping cannabis may of never of made any diffrence but at least i know he tryed and give it everything he had to make us happy.
the guilt trips he puts me on too god the list is endless the old reliable "ok ill stop smoking it but ill be a nasty b*****d all the time" makes you feel like, "should i have the quite sleepy husband or the one thats like hes sen his bum"
and yes he gives me his wage every week when he gets paid and dose not take a penny out of it and takes great pleasure in telling his friends thats what should happen in a marriage but forgets that he nags and nags for money back through the week sometimes amounting up to £70 thats not including the 20 fags and rizla every day too and when i say no money funds are low thats when the drug addicted side of him comes out you know the nasty one say awful thing and as soon as that first drag is taken from the splif all is forgotten and the nice one comes out agine. he has never hurt me with his hands just words or looks or worst of all silence.
it just becomes a bad habbit to just give in and give him the cash for the quite life and a smiley face instead of one like thunder,
well ive had my winge about him now but i felt like i needed to cause i think are marriage is as close to the rocks as it could be so please someone if you had or have problems like this it would be great to talk to someone as i feel im stuck in a big hole its hard work living with a drug addict x x x x

Posted by: riha at August 29, 2007 03:13 PM

Hello. Im 13 years old, my friends pressured me into takeing 9 hits of weed, some from a bong, and a pipe, i regret it, because my family has a past of depression and OCD, i have minor OCD and i am worrying that i am a schizophrenic, Here ill list out some symptoms that i worry about-on the rarest occasion i think parents poisend food, i have weird thoughts i will become a psycho killer and i do not hear voices see shit or anything, but inside my minds its like kill somebody do that, but i don't want to, I have a [panic attack when i get those thoughts this may be OCD, Oh wait, ive got one more thing, sometimes in crowds i hear my name being called, but it usually isn't, am i a SZ Please somebody respond to this, I'm going through depression and thinking about killing myself, im not sure if i am or if im not. Another thing, is there medicasion, is there such thing as catching skits early and stopping the growth of it, or am i just screwed for life?

Posted by: Graeme at September 17, 2007 08:43 PM

My first name is Shelby, my last is German and I was named after one of the most well known American cars ever produced (for the uninformed, the Shelby Mustang). On paper, people would most likely perceive me to be a white girl...with the classic baby blues and blond goldy locks. Quite the contrary, I am half Japanese and half Irish...with seven brothers, divorced parents, and no real culture. If you're lost, confused, or just utterly uninterested it's because I've been leaving out the connecting link-- I was adopted, or I am adopted.

I was adopted, or put up for adoption, because my biological mother was schizophrenic. I say "was" because she passed away when I was a senior in high school; it has been four years since her passing. Her funeral was the first time I had met her. Quite a trip...

I have gone through phases in my life where I feel as if I lived as a schzophrenic ...one that was easily tamed. Once a week I would pack up anything and everything and move it from one house to the next. My parents decided that having joint custody meant having their children moving around like nomads. With one household came a particular personality of mine, with the other household another particular personality of mine would shine through. I was switching between two people on a weekly basis because one parent lived life one way, and the other parent lived life in a completely different fashion from the other.

I was a highly anxious person, always a worrier, never satisfied. It seems as if the universe was setting me up for beautiful decay, creating a wonderful foundation of chaos. I felt as if I was going to be diagnosed clinically schizophrenic anytime soon...I felt doomed. Stress is one of the triggers, in fact it's one of the leading causes, of schizophrenia. I could power the entire United States with the amount of stress I was exerting on a daily basis...hell on an hourly basis. But I did have a saving grace, so to speak, and that was herb...marijuana...the sticky green shit.

I understand that pot has varying effects, but in my case it calmed me. There was a point in my life where i thought I was going to go crazy...nuts. I was frightened that one day I would wake up and have absolutely no control over my own psyche. What a terrifying thought. But with the influence of some extremely positive friends, holistic health, yoga, and marijuana I have succeeded in creating a quite, inner peace. The type of peace that creates a composed individual who can deal with the punches as they roll. Marijuana did not bring mental illness for me, in fact I strongly believe that it prevented it.

Most of the stories, though I didn't read all in depth, seem to be largely based on a stressed individual...mostly the college student. While partaking in a drug can influence mental illness, it seems that the finger should not solely be pointing at the drugs. What about the up bringing? What about the friends? What about relationships? What about school...projects...endless studying...countless papers...I am surprised that most people working their asses off in college aren't going crazy. But my point is not that, it is this: instead of using drugs as an easy scapegoat (or explanation, or excuse), why not look at ALL the contributing factors of your loved ones life? They all add up...

Posted by: Shelby at October 13, 2007 10:26 AM

i am 23 years old and have rcently been diagonesed with psychosis my heart broke when i read liams story,can understsnd though that life was too much to bear. have a three year old son and my biggesst fear is leaving him behind.i also believr however that cannibis plays a role in mental illnesss as my illnesss kicked off after giving it up. i have fears that peple r commming 4 me and me and my boy will dir a painful deaty its so tyring being this scared all the time.

Posted by: katie at October 20, 2007 01:07 PM

my names ronan i have been smoking weed for 3 years or so. I am 16 i have never really had strange mental illnesses because of it . I came to the conclusion that i should take a break for my own health but instead i have started smoking herbal mixes called smoke by organic worx . it is very strong and gets you pretty high even after a tiny amount. will this prevent phycosis or make it worse does anybody know?????

Posted by: ronan at November 20, 2007 02:19 AM

Oh my gosh... this story brought tears to my eyes. Not because I have a drug addicted son or somebody in my family has drug-induced Schizophrenia... but it's because I have drug-induced Schizophrenia. I never once thought of suicide but frequently take drugs to "feel better". I really need help quitting. It's basically stimulants and marijuana that I take along with dextromethorphan. I too was a bright student with my whole life ahead of me... but got too heavy into marijuana and alcohol my freshman year of college. now 4 years later, i'm in my fifth year of college after changing majors to music because of my creative mind (hopefully not drug induced but i think it had something to do with it) (you can listen to some of my songs on my two websites if you want. but anyways...now i'm on the verge of a mental breakdown and i actually thought of running away from home and being a bum yesterday. that is if i don't stop taking these stimulants. anyways sorry for the rambling letter my head isn't straight right now. i'll see yall

Posted by: Brandon at November 20, 2007 07:34 AM

All I can say is I am very, very sorry about your son liams death. I never thought I could be in that same place too. Although my son had a feeling of being out of place, having behavior problems, or just not believing in him self around the age of 12 as this was probably the first signs of mental illness that myself and the school did not recognize. My son had been having some behavior changes that we wrote off as hormone changes around the age of 17. I found out there was some marijuana use going on prior to his leaving. He left home at the age of 18 and moved five hours away to live with his grandparents.
About a year and a half later he calls wanting to come home. My mother confirmed continued use of marijuana. I had visited my son several times prior to him coming home and seen some sever changes. When he came home he was not the same person. He would tell me he was working undercover for the government and that he was also gods right had man. He also said he has a curse that was put on him. He was cutting his arms to get the bad blood out. He had lost at least 40lbs. He would eat and within 15 min be sick. The difficult part was trying to get him help as he did not think he had a problem it was everyone around him. Finally one day he came home and he was on fire inside he felt like he was burning and he could hardly walk to the car. I took him to the emergency room. He was admitted to the psych ward and held for a week and was transferred to another facility. He has been in foster care since then. He gets out on December 1 and he still thinks he has no problem but you can tell he is not on top of things. Unfortunetly his Dr's are not conversing with me or his foster parents on his condition so he is leaving there with no direction and going back to the place & people where the drug use and illness all started.
To make an even longer story short I think he has always felt little of him self or out of place like he did not belong on the earth. He actually told me that one day as a young man. Those are the first signs. Knowing what I know now and thinking back I think my son has always had some illness. The marijuana is the catalyst to the hot coals that were no quite a fire.
I can say that the last six months of my life have been a roller coaster ride. But a very painful one that whips you and jerks you as you go around turns and just when you think you see some light you head into a tunnel. My final word is my heart goes out to everyone with a mental illness and their family. As mental illness hurts the whole family.

Posted by: Kathy at November 24, 2007 04:05 PM

There is absolutely no doubt that marijuana use is linked to mental illness. None. Period.
Those who are here (on a schizophrenia website???) going on about how they have done all kinds of drugs yet are fine, seem to be incapable of critical thinking. I think most of the articles say it depends on many factors.
My brother is severely schizophrenic. He began smoking pot in junior high (surprise!) My first boyfriend suddenly started smoking it in his 20's, and his entire personality changed. He started to display behavior eerily similar to my brother's. There is no doubt that the drug induced mental illness in him that may never have surfaced otherwise.
My mother has always buried her head in the sand when it came to my brother. Because he still smokes dope she now thinks it should be legalized. Thinking people (those whose brains have not been stunted by adolescent drug use) must ensure that this never happens, and MUST make sure everyone understands the dire risk of marijuana use.

Posted by: Jennifer at January 5, 2008 09:01 PM

I am a 16 year old boy who started smoking cannabis just last year (2007), at 1st it was just myself nd my friend who wud get a bag dat wud last a few weeks...as we just smoked it tru a pipe...it was usually all good nd then i wouldnt smoke any for a few weeks nd was fine.

Then in March i decided to stop completely because my parents started noticing a change in me and almost caught me with cannabis a few times...basically i always snappin at them wen they asked wer i was or were i was going...
but then in the summer of 2007 thats wen it all started nd i began hanging around with people who smoked everyday and so i began smokin often too...i was never a heavy smoker...but since there wud alway be a group of around 5 of us...sum1 wud alway have at least a joint on them so i wud usually ave smoked a small amount everytime i wud be with the group. At the time i did not notices the damage i wud later realise it was doing to me.
then about halfway tru august i decided right, i was going to stop smoking now for when i get back to school and simply because i didnt find it all that great anyway. and so i stoped smoking...in school all was fine nd outside skul...i had never felt better in my life and has also had a girlfriend for a short while, i hadnt smoked anytin since the summer.

but then in october it hit me, mainly i felt completely emotionless nd tired all the time nd couldnt tink clearly at all, along with many other sypmtoms.

now its january 27th nd im still experiencing these "WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS", however the tiredness has lifted nd so ave other sypmtoms but new ones have came about too...such as low mood, hard to form thoughts, mind feels empty, blurred vision wen reading etc. sometime i dnt even knw wat day o time it is, i have very bad memory now, its just lik my brain is not working!!!!

since december it seems its slowly gettin better and the worst is over, but lately i feel im gettin panick attacks...feeling worried, nd scard that am goin to die...sumtimes i feel lik im going to be stuck lik dis forever, but i belieave their is hope as i am gettin better...and time will tell.

i wrote this because when i read about liam's story nd how he was a bright student ns cannabis destroyed his life....it was a reflection of exactly how i feel.

i still have not smoked any cannabis at all since the summer nd once or twice in september. and tank God, i have never used any other drugs ever nd only drink ocassionally but have stopped drinkin since i started experiencing these withdrawal syptoms nd depresion.

i hope i can hang in here and get tru this, im lucky im a strong person inside or else i wud easily of killeed myself by now like liam, but dont worry liam am not gonna make it two of us, when i get better i cant wait to tell people of the reality of the dangers of cannabis nowadays. with the help of God i knw their is lots of hope in the furure, i will let you all knw wen i get better.

Posted by: Cathal at January 27, 2008 07:50 AM

All of your claims of research pointing towards a correlation between marijuana use and psychosis are bunk if you do not CITE YOUR SOURCES. As a regular cannabis user, I've done a substantial amount of secondary research, and while there is strong evidence supporting a connection between marijuana and depression, the link between marijuana and schizophrenia is correlational at best. This means that in this epidemiological cohort study no causal relationship can be determined (BMJ.2003). The problems many of you and your loved ones have experienced are likely due to factors other than marijuana alone, i.e. genetic predisposition for mental illness, or using many mind-altering drugs concurrently. I'm not suggesting that no risk is associated with using cannabis, and am absolutely not condoning the use of it, but to suggest that marijuana is the sole impetus of these cases of schizophrenia is utterly erroneous. Best of luck to you all in your pursuit of happiness.

Posted by: tyler at February 1, 2008 10:22 AM

Okay Tyler and all the other's who say that Cannabis does not induce psychosis or can not trigger schizophrenia in people you are idiots. Everybody is different brains are very complex some people can do as much drugs as they want everyday or ocassionally and will not even experience one of the symptoms listed above, However I have myself experienced a psychotic epsiode that I expereienced after doing ecstasy and weed a few times within the same year (That I am just recovering from now). Yes maybe smoking weed and doing drugs does not effect you but there is a small percentage of people that will not be able to handle the drugs and harmful damage will be done to them, Doing drugs is potentially harmful to someone's well being why argue that? Just because you can do them all the time does not mean everybody can think about it. Would u gurantee to anyone that wants to do drugs with you that nothing bad will happen to them or do u want to warn them of the possible risks first even if it is slim.

Posted by: Tobias Mathewson at February 12, 2008 07:57 PM

Hey Graeme,

There is no need to feel like there aren't people out there who care. Even ones who don't know you would be willing to help you out. So if you are worreid about you mental health, just go see someone about it like a doctor. The main thing is to get yourself checked out,as you can only solve a problem once you know whats wrong. The best thing is that after this you can live a full and productive life after being diagnosed. you may find that you fears are unfounded. I myself have suffered from psychosis and now live a productive happy life.

As to if cannabis leads to psychosis, i do believe it can contribute to long term mental health problems. I previously smoked cannabis and believe that stopping has helped me a great deal with my recovery.

My greatest sympathies go out to the mother of Liam. Anybody out there having troubles just believe me when I say if you hit rock bottom the only way is up.

Posted by: Boudylan at February 23, 2008 01:20 PM

In reading about Liam and all of the others that posted to the site...my heart hurts. My 16 year old son had a bad year last year (doing drugs - pot, zanax, cocaine, pain killers, ecstasy). While he doesn't do the drugs anymore, he is now paying the price. He hears voices every night that he goes to sleep and can't sleep. He is seeing a Pschotherapist and is on anxiety medicine. He fears he has done this to himself; that the voices won't ever go away. One word of advise that I didn't see on the site is to pray! Pray for your children like you have never prayed - even for those of you without faith. The devil wants to own our children, make them miserable and to kill themselves. Fight for your children as they can't always fight for themselves -especially when involved in drugs. My son asks me to pray with him before bed (he used to historically not believe in God) and it gives him comfort knowing he's not in this battle alone. While the voices haven't gone away - he hasn't gotten worse. Have hope - have faith. God Bless you all....

Posted by: Ann at February 27, 2008 09:20 AM

does anyone know if cannabis induced psychosis can be treated and how, because i am going insane here, i cant concentrate on anything and it feels like my memory nd sense of time have been completely destroyed. im so confused, can someone please gve me re asurrance.

cuz i really think im going to kill myself soon, it feels like my brain has turned to mush, by the way i stopped smokin cannabis 6 months ago.

Posted by: Cathal at March 9, 2008 08:32 AM

My 25-year old son has been on marijuana for close to 11 years. He has now joined the police force. He bcomes paranoid sometimes. My main worry is his unexplained anger out of the blue sometimes. He only attacks his father then. He has even threatened to kill him 2x although he does not own a gun. Any similar expeerience anyone out there?

Posted by: Mumsy at March 20, 2008 03:24 PM

Hi there, found this site and thought I'd share my own personal experience. I am 32 years old, a qualified social worker, and at this point am looking at going back to work soon after a year of hell. I have had 2 debilitating, soul destroying and terryfing episodes of Major Depression in the last four years (one in 2003 and one April 2007) I am a recovering alcoholic with three months of sobriety. (I was previously alcohol free for 6 years). I have smoked cannabis on a daily basis for the last 6 years (the really strong hydroponic skunk variety) I stopped in april last year, after the aforementioned second episode of Major Depression. As a result, I have spent the last few weeks researching the effects of cannabis on mental health, with particular reference to those users with an underlying mental health issue (myself included). The research I have perused is mixed, however one thing that is abundantly clear to me is that people with a genetic predisposition to scizophreina or any mental health disorder should avoid weed like the plague. I was once a staunch advocate of the legalisation of marijuana, however my own personal experience in regards to using the drug has certainly changed that position, I can tell you. Marijuana ruined my mental health. I am now on three SSRI's for depression, and the fact is that I became so depressed, I ended up drinking again and had to go to rehab to clean myself up again. Marijuana is not the benign, relatively harmless drug that it was in the 60's anymore. It has accounted for a huge increase in the number of admissions to mental health wards, with particular reference to young people, and exacerbates symptoms of mental illness in long term users. I offer my sincere condolences to the parents of Liam. I too have seen the cost of drug abuse in the lives of young people as a daily part of my work with them.

Posted by: Justin at March 22, 2008 04:04 AM

I am a mother of a 23 yr old son with psychotic episodes. I know when he was younger something was very wrong. But teachers, doctors, etc did not agree. In high school he got involved with all kinds of drugs. That was back in 2003.
Since 2004 he has been straight. He sees a doctor and takes meds. He goes to college but his grades are poor. Recently, he had an episode and scares himself to death. I took him to the doctors to make sure he stays on his meds. But I know he goes on and off them. My other son is 19 and doesn't understand. He gets very angry. I'm a teacher myself and so in control with my students. But, not with my son. I feel so bad for him. He's afraid to sleep in his bed because of bad things he saw in his room. He is now living with my mom where he feels safe. Help me to understand this awful disease. I need support for myself

Posted by: leni at April 5, 2008 05:46 AM

REPOST: "Hi my name is Alexander...Some people do not really get affected, some do. ... have recently stopped due to developing depression and a very slight mental illness. It all started at around 18 and a half when I started getting paranoid when I smoked. I would have intense paranoia, but laugh about it later with my friends, admitting how rediculous it was. Due to all my friends smoking, I continued as well, even though I had bad experiences most of the time. I did not want to quit, because I wanted it to be like it was in the old times when i first started, fun and great. Instead, it was a horrible paranoid experience every time. When I was in this state, I believed that the people around me could read my mind and all my secrets and i was terrified. Of course, when I got sober it was all fine again. However, I kept on smoking and smoking becuase I thought it would be a one-off when i was high, but it wasn't. It made me depressed and paranoid, and I still suffer from those intense paraoid trips. I have quit for 6 months now, and I am feeling a lot better. I have a girlfriend again and am on my up way again, although those dreadful experiences can never be forgotten. I herefore want to tell EVERYONE, and I mean absolutely EVERYONE, that smoking pot is not bad for you as long as you have a good time. When your having a good time, you can smoke as much as you want to. However, once you start having a paranoid time when your high, stop, and i mean STOP. Don't keep on smoking because you think its gonna get better, it wont. If u are continously paranoid when high its no fun anyways, so quit. Don't make the mistake I did, but quit when its paranoia on a regular basis. Do it, and you'll be fine. DOn't, and u'll get depressed and could become schizophrenic.
Be careful with marijuana, although it can be amazing, it can also be very dangerous as I have had to experience myself....
I also feel very sorry for your son Liam and wish you the best to conquer such an experience. If I had continued along that path, I might have ended up the same way....

Hi!! Let me say firstly I am so sorry for Liam and everybody else's losses and traumas on here. I hope to God that it gets better for you all.
I reposted Alexander's post as I can relate to it and I'm a bit lost for word really.

I started smoking cannabis (or weed as I loved to call it in those days!) when I was around 17 and had just started college. (Am 21 now).
As Alexander said, as first it was great fun, I felt giggly, light-headed and care-free.
I did find that "pot" or hash let me feel more in control, but preferred weed (as the whole point for me was to get totally off my head!!).
I think the trigger point for my paranoia was a bad experience I had whilst I was on high on ecstacy and weed. It wasn't the actual drugs but my slow judgement of a dangerous situation. Luckily, my gut feeling managed to over-ride the drugs and I escaped unscathed, or so I thought! (This was only the 3rd time I tried ecstacy and thankfully it frightened me enough to stop that there and then).
I suppose it made me realise that there are bad people out there (yes I was extremely naive as I had grown up in a small town). But this was the suspicion trigger.
From then on, everytime I got stoned I felt on-edge, waiting for a bad thing to happen. When I was sober I managed to convince myself that it wasn't as bad as I remembered, and repeated the same stupid mistake over and over and over!!

Due to my paranoia, I actually manufactured situations and made them bad experiences, even though at the time they were fine, until I started spinning out and accusing everyone - that makes things turn sour and get a whole lot worse!

I was (mentally) addicted to cannabis though, and thought it would make me feel better eventually. If I kept on smoking, I would eventually feel like I used to.

I hit an all point low. I suffered from extreme depression, felt like commiting suicide, had paranoid attacks, voices in my head and basically suffered from schizophrenia.

I started drinking heavily to try and block it all out, sometimes I would get through 2 bottles of wine and 1/8th in 1 night (kind of expensive), and would lie in bed listening to the voices and the humming in my ears.

I thought everyone was out to get me. I didn't trust my friends, some of whom I had known for my whole life. I even started to doubt my family.

I had serious questions about life and stuff, what am I doing here? Why are these people being nice to me? What do they want? I was looking for motives all the time (and still do).

Luckily, for me and my friends and family, my story is a generally happy one!
I started by telling myself I would not smoke weed during the day as I couldn't remember any of the stuff from my lectures.
I got smart, realised I didn't suffer from attacks as much when sober and started to cut back!
It took me about 1 year to stop completely, following bad experience after bad experience.
Thankfully during this time I met my boyfriend and this has helped a great deal. If you can find 1 person you trust completely who you can confide in, then do it. Talking helps so much! My boyfriend despises drugs, but thankfully doesn't hold it against me (I think he quite likes the idea of being my knight in shining armour!).

I am not fully healthy now. I still suffer from slight paranoia, especially when I am around people I don't know.
I don't trust new people and am very wary still about who I trust as friends. (In fact the only people I trust 100% are my family, friends I have known all my life and boyfriend).
I still look for people's motive when befriending me, and cannabis has ruined my life. I've known my work colleagues for 3 years nearly, and I still don't trust them!

All I can say is if you are starting to get paranoid whilst smoking, please stop. It won't get better, honestly.

I used to be the life and soul of the party and had loads of friends, now I shrink to the bar and hope I don't look at someone the wrong way (in case they decide they don't like me blah blah blah!)
I was predicted super grades, and came out with something average!

The thing is, I am one of the lucky ones. I know I'm paranoid and I can over-ride it now. The very, very sad thing about paranoia is it is so real to the person, nobody can tell you it's not real. You have to believe it's not real for yourself to be able to overcome it.

Long-term my goal is to try and pick out when my gut instinct is right and when it isn't. I'm trying to go by the fact that 95% time it is not real: no my friends were not bitching about me, I'm a nice person, a good person and I have not hurt them, so they have no reason to hurt me.

I know I've gone on, but if it helps even 1 confused person, it'll be worth it!

Love to all, Paranoid Lana

Posted by: Lana at April 7, 2008 11:56 AM

hi my 24yr old son is addicted to hash. alcohol cocaine when hes drinking and e tablets. he also has a gambling prob.at the moment i am trying to pay his bills to keep him from prison.i need help and advise from anybody out their.i seem to be living his life with him

Posted by: sandy at April 27, 2008 06:55 PM

I am 20 years old and I was diagnosed with schizophrenia about a year and a half ago. To this day I believe it is a result of marijuana use as well as use of a perfectly legal hallucinogen known as Saliva Divinorium.If you care about your future what so ever, do not use either one of these drugs. My mental condition has caused me endless pain and agony, all because I made a stupid mistake.
It is amazing that there is still debate on whether hallucinogenic drugs can cause schizophrenia (Yes, marijunana can be classified as a hallucinogen). Just because everyone who smokes marijuana does not develop schizophrenia does not mean that the drug can not significantly lead to a higher chance of developing schizophrenia.If you smoke marijuana and do not have schizophrenia than I am glad.But be warned, it could happen to you. It is also a misconception that most people who have schizophrenia continue to use marijuana. Most people are not that stupid. If you honestly believe the CIA is after you and the people on tv are watching you, it is highly unlikely that you would do anything illegal. This just makes sense.
If you think it is cool to believe that you are the devil, have 24 hour anxiety and depression, a horrible memory, poor concentration, and be on the verge of suicide, than by all means try to develop schizophrenia. Otherwise, stay away from all illegal as well as legal hallucinogenic drugs.
If you have schizophrenia be warned, there is no hope, unless we create it for ourselves. Hang in there, try to survive and succeed, and remember what doesn't kill you somehow makes you stronger. Best of luck.

Posted by: Steven at June 3, 2008 10:03 PM

I think that this is a really neat place even though I am trying to find some pages for my reasearch paper for art.

Posted by: bbs lolita at June 19, 2008 09:12 AM

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