Jim D. — May 25, 2021

We live in a small town in Massachusetts. I am married with three boys. One of my sons started using marijuana at age 13. At first he had a casual fascination with marijuana. By age 14 his use had progressed to daily and by age 16 it became evident that he now suffered from Cannabis Use Disorder. Clearly addicted to what we all thought was a non-addictive substance, he began increasing the potency of the cannabis he was using.  “Dabs, “Wax” and “Shatter” were the terms he used to describe this new highly potent form of cannabis. With THC levels up to 80%, his use of this dangerous high potency marijuana increased to two to three times per day with disastrous consequences. One day (at age 18) he suddenly became paranoid and delusional. He lost touch with reality and had to be hospitalized in a psychiatric ward.  Since that first episode he has been hospitalized 9 times including 4 psychiatric hospital stays.  Police have been called to his residence 5 times to defuse a potentially violent episode of behavior.  He has a record which includes Assault and Battery with  a dangerous weapon and possession of a Class E Substance. Psychosis and paranoid delusions led him to self medicate using stronger drugs including Benzodiazipines, Opioids Cocaine and Ecstasy (Molly). Today I worry that it is too late for him to recover; that his mind is a lost cause. It may be easy for some, to judge us as parents; to blame us for not seeing the signs and symptoms.  I think about this often and worry that I let my son down by not doing more. However, until you have lived this type of experience it is impossible to judge.  And today, with odorless vaping cartridges delivering high potency THC and with the surge in edibles, parents have an obligation to become informed and to assist your child/loved one in gathering the facts on marijuana. This along with common sense legislation that will put significant consumer protection measures in place, will help mitigate the disastrous consequences of chronic and/or high potency cannabis use in our young adults.

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