The Dangerous Truth About Today’s Marijuana

This is the poignant life-and-death story of Johnny Stack, whose young and vibrant life ended by suicide after his descent into addiction to high-potency marijuana and cannabis-induced psychosis. You’ll laugh and cry with his mother, Laura Stack, as she retells the story of Johnny’s joyful childhood and then takes you through the unthinkable tragedy of his loss. It’s every parent’s nightmare. But this book is much more than Johnny’s story. Today Laura, who is a nationally recognized speaker and best-selling author, leads a national effort of parents, impacted family members, healthcare professionals, teachers, and trusted adults who are concerned about the harmful effects of marijuana on our children, teenagers, and emerging adults. This book is a clarion call for parents across America to educate themselves about the risks of today’s high-THC marijuana products and to better understand the potentially devastating effects on youth mental health. Laura’s real-life story is backed by recent scientific-based research on how today’s potent THC products lead to mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, paranoia, psychosis, and sadly, suicidal ideation. This book is her vision to dramatically decrease adolescent marijuana usage, mental illness, and suicide, to allow our youth to live productive, happy lives

By Laura Stack
With Foreword by Kevin Sabet

The Dangerous Truth About Today’s Marijuana
Johnny Stack’s Life & Death Story

Laura Stack's new book, The Dangerous Truth About Today's Marijuana: Johnny Stack's Life and Death Story, is on pre-sale now on Amazon (publication date July 10). Bonus goodies available at!

"High-potency cannabis appears to be associated with a greater risk of psychotic symptoms, depression, anxiety, & cannabis dependence" from @laurastack in The Dangerous Truth About Today's Marijuana: Johnny Stack's Life and Death Story. #StopDabbing

“The danger is today’s high-potency pot is extremely hazardous to the developing mind. It’s highly addictive.” from @laurastack in The Dangerous Truth About Today's Marijuana: Johnny Stack's Life and Death Story. #StopDabbing

“Teens who start using marijuana before their brains are fully developed will have permanent changes in their brain’s structure and functioning.” from @laurastack in The Dangerous Truth About Today's Marijuana: Johnny Stack's Life and Death Story. 

“If Johnny hadn’t started using marijuana, I know he would still be alive today.” from @laurastack in The Dangerous Truth About Today's Marijuana: Johnny Stack's Life and Death Story. #StopDabbing

 “There is no scenario in which cannabis is guaranteed to be harmless for anybody.” from @laurastack in The Dangerous Truth About Today's Marijuana: Johnny Stack's Life and Death Story. #StopDabbing

"Dab is to marijuana what crack is to cocaine. Depending on potency, one dab is like smoking three to five joints at once." from @laurastack in The Dangerous Truth About Today's Marijuana: Johnny Stack's Life and Death Story. #StopDabbing

 “People can feel suicidal after using marijuana, especially when they are young and use high-potency products with high frequency.” from @laurastack in The Dangerous Truth About Today's Marijuana: Johnny Stack's Life and Death Story. #StopDabbing

 “Use of marijuana with a THC content over 10% increases the risk of a psychotic disorder four-to five-fold.” from @laurastack in The Dangerous Truth About Today's Marijuana: Johnny Stack's Life and Death Story. #StopDabbing

 “Long-term cannabis use can result in thoughts of suicide and suicide itself.” from @laurastack in The Dangerous Truth About Today's Marijuana: Johnny Stack's Life and Death Story. #StopDabbing

 "Today’s more potent marijuana plants contain 28% THC or higher, while the weed we rolled in the ’70’s and ’80’s was 2-5% THC." from @laurastack in The Dangerous Truth About Today's Marijuana: Johnny Stack's Life and Death Story. #StopDabbing

“I work in a busy emergency department. Almost every shift I work, I see yet another family in crisis. Children and teens are especially vulnerable to the new and highly potent marijuana products. Laura’s tribute to her son and willingness to speak up and out should be applauded. What happened to her son, Johnny, could happen to any child/teen/youth who uses today’s high potency marijuana.”

Karen Randall, MD, FAAEM
VP Case Management, SCEMA
Certified in Cannabis Science and Medicine, University of Vermont School of Medicine
Pueblo, CO

“As an enduring tribute to her son, Laura Stack has pulled together an invaluable analysis of the common misconceptions surrounding marijuana which led to his eventual downfall. Marijuana is a large part of the minefield that all teens must navigate in today's world before they reach adulthood, a sobering reality that parents need to see clearly in order to help their children survive and thrive. This book provides a solid framework to assist in that process while making ample use of references to the best and most relevant scientific literature out there.”

Christine L. Miller, PhD
Baltimore, Maryland

“Laura and John Stack are brave enough to write about the loss of their son, Johnny. This is something every parent should read, whether or not they know of a young person battling issues related to today’s dangerous marijuana. Please share Johnny’s message.”

Kenneth Finn, MD
Springs Rehabilitation, PC
Volunteer Clinical Instructor at the University of Colorado Medical School, Colorado Springs Branch
Colorado Springs, CO

“Laura Stack has constructed a beautiful legacy for her son, allowing Johnny's story to help guide the actions and decisions of other teenagers and families. Laura has long had an unmistakable passion and gift for writing; it's no mistake that she has created such a seamless blend of personal narrative and empirical science. If you do your family the favor of reading this book, you'll come away with all the tools and information you'll need to protect your children from the ever-increasing social pressures of marijuana normalization. Your time could not be better spent.”

Aaron Weiner, PhD, ABPP
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Board-Certified in Counseling Psychology (ABPP) and Master Addiction Counselor (MAC)
Lake Forest, IL

“Thank you to Laura Stack for her courage to share her family’s story. Today’s marijuana may be packaged as medicine but can be deadly poison for teenagers. The developing brain is one of the world’s greatest resources. So, the message in this book is crucial to disseminate.”

Christian Thurstone, MD
Child and Addiction Psychiatrist
Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine
Denver, CO

“This is a remarkable book with a powerful message for parents about the devastating and unpredictable negative consequences of marijuana use for some youth. It is also a passionate story of the painful struggles families often have trying to help youth who are addicted to marijuana and other drugs. A wake-up call in the face of widespread denial of the serious adverse consequences many people suffer from marijuana use, this book sends a powerful message to parents about the importance of helping youth grow into adulthood drug-free because of the unique vulnerability of the adolescent brain to the chemical seduction of drug use.”

Robert L. DuPont, MD
President, Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc.
First Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse; Second White House Drug Chief

“I am full of admiration for Laura Stack who has turned the tragedy of her son’s death into a mission to educate other parents about the harms associated with cannabis use. We need parents to tell their stories. It is the most powerful testimony. Laura Stack has created a beautiful legacy for her son Johnny and has given parents a voice in this sad, yet ultimately hopeful book written in his memory.”

Mary Cannon
Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Youth Mental Health
RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences
Dublin, Ireland

“Laura and John's brave account of their son's devastating tragedy serves as a warning sign and a critical call to action for all who love and care for young people. Their story illustrates how the foe we face rides on the wheels of capitalism and runs over our children. When regulation and consumer protection are absent, we need ambassadors to arm our children with neurodevelopmental science and empower parents' voices. Thank you, Laura, for sharing your story and for starting Johnny’s Ambassadors.”

Crystal Collier, PhD, LPC-S
Therapist, Researcher, Educator,
BrainAbouts Prevention Program Creator & Director
Houston, Texas

“Laura Stack has been able to turn a tragedy no parent should ever have to experience into something so powerful and helpful to all people who may be struggling with the normalization of very potent versions of marijuana that is no longer the healing plant many people thought it was. The messages in this book are important and so needed at this time to help protect generations to come from the devastating impacts of high potency THC marijuana.”

Libby Stuyt, MD
Addiction Psychiatrist

“This is a powerful book for everyone; parents, grandparents, and young people should read it. Written from the heart of a mother, Laura Stack, who has transformed her immense pain from losing a son into something extremely valuable for everyone. The message is clear: strong cannabis risks mental well-being and can even lead to fatality, as it sadly did in her son Johnny’s case.”

Zerrin Atakan, MD
Senior Cannabis Researcher
King’s College
London, UK

“I wish I could say that this is the first time I have read or heard the story of a bright, happy, gifted child and beloved son‘s downwards spiral into depression, psychosis, despair, and suicide after becoming addicted to cannabis. As a researcher and clinician who has been treating adolescents with substance and mental health problems for nearly 30 years, it is not the first time. I would strongly urge clinicians and parents to read this book with the hope that together, we can make Johnny’s story uncommonly rare.”

Paula Riggs, MD, Professor
Director, Division of Addiction Science, Prevention & Treatment
Vice Chair, Faculty Affairs, Department of Psychiatry
University of Colorado School of Medicine

“Laura Stack is a new and powerful voice on this important subject. She is knowledgeable, passionate, and sensible—a rare combination in this space. Laura has taken the time to be educated, and she is using what she knows to impact lives. While many will focus on the tragedy of her story, I see her words and actions as a beacon of light, shining to help others find their way through the dark. Laura and her family’s true legacy is sharing Johnny’s story to keep them from following his path.”

Ben Cort
CEO, the Foundry
Author, Weed, Inc.
Steamboat Springs, CO

Values I believe are the most important

Bertha K. Madras, PhD
Professor of Psychobiology, Department of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital
Belmont, MA

Laura Stack is Johnny Stack’s mom. In the business world, she is better known by her professional moniker, The Productivity Pro®. She is a Hall-of-Fame Speaker and corporate spokesperson for many major brands. Laura is a bestselling author of eight books on productivity and performance topics with a large social media following, and she has given keynote speeches and training seminars to major corporate, association, and government audiences for nearly 30 years.

On November 20, 2019, Laura suddenly acquired the undesired wisdom of knowing what it’s like to lose one’s child, when her 19-year-old son, Johnny, died by suicide. He suffered from delusion from marijuana-induced psychosis and thought the mob was after him.

Laura’s world took a 180. She filed for and received 501c3 nonprofit status for Johnny’s Ambassadors, Inc., with a mission to educate parents and teens about the dangers of today’s high-THC marijuana on adolescent brain development, mental illness, and suicide. Described as a woman with unstoppable drive and unwavering purpose, Laura hopes to help other parents, grandparents, teachers (and frankly all adults with teens in their lives) by honestly and boldly sharing Johnny’s story of his high-potency marijuana use, psychosis, and suicide.

Laura’s platform now brings education, awareness, and prevention curriculum to parents, organizations, healthcare conferences, community groups, and schools to raise awareness of THC use, mental illness, and suicide. By sharing Johnny’s own warning about marijuana, Laura helps parents understand and talk to their children about the potential harms of today’s marijuana. She is determined to start a movement to bring teen marijuana use, mental illness, and suicide into the spotlight and get adolescents to #StopDabbing.

Laura lives with her husband near Denver, Colorado and has two surviving adult children, ages 28 and 22.

Have Laura speak virtually or in person! Laura shares Johnny’s story and brings marijuana awareness and prevention education to parents, teens, schools, coalitions, civic organizations, healthcare professionals, drug prevention conferences, and corporate wellness programs.

“Forge ahead despite your pain and give meaning to your loss.”
– Laura Stack

      • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Freiling Publishing (July 10, 2021)
      • Language ‏ : ‎ English
      • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 245 pages
      • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 195094879X
      • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1950948796

Chapter Outline:

      3. THE DESCENT
      4. THE BREAK
      7. THE DEMISE
      9. THE MISSION
      10. THE RESEARCH

If you have purchased Laura’s book, please enter your information below, and you’ll receive these digital goodies in advance:

  • The Foreword by Kevin Sabet
  • The Afterword by Laura Stack
  • Chapter 1
  • An audio of Laura reading the Introduction

    To order autographed copies by Laura Stack, a minimum order of 22 books is required. (Books come in boxes of 22). We will send you an invoice to pay online with a credit card. Books are discounted to $15 each, plus shipping of $25 per box ($355 total for 22). Email [email protected] to check on availability of inventory.

    Share a link to this book trailer on your social media

    ** ALL PROCEEDS ON THE SALE OF THIS BOOK GO TO THE 501C3, Johnny’s Ambassadors. **

    Watch a recording of Laura as she shares and reads from her book!