Our athletic, personable, highly intelligent son graduated from a well renowned Virginia University magna cum laude in May of 2022. He landed his dream job in data analysis with a national corporation in June. He moved to DC to live with 4 other fraternity brothers and to work virtually from his downtown apartment in August. We knew that he used marijuana during the latter part of his college days (against our advice); however, his marijuana use spiraled out of control once he moved. The legalized recreational use allowed him to have marijuana of any THC level delivered right to his front doorstep. His anxiety was through the roof, and he was trying diligently to self-medicate, smoking sometimes 3 times a day. The “medication” he chose only worsened his anxieties. To make a long story short, we went to DC the first week of October to bring our son home. His friends were concerned. Our son was having delusional thoughts in regard to being watched by the CIA, being monitored through his work computer, and trying to “prove” to those that were following him that he was not a threat. We knew marijuana was at the heart of these thoughts, but we were not entirely aware of psychosis and the link with marijuana … yet. When we brought him home from DC that day in October, we had stipulations. He could not bring the drugs and he had to go to a forum scheduled by our local school system the following week with Laura Stack as the spokesperson. He agreed to both. We went to the hear Laura. My son sat there and took notes, and he wanted his own copy of Laura’s book. He was very touched by her story and shared with us after we left her presentation that he was willing to talk with us about his use of marijuana but wanted to make it clear, he never dabbed. He only smoked the bud. What a relief, I thought! Twelve days after attending Laura’s forum, we had to commit our son to our local hospital because he was in full psychosis. Also note he was THC free with no other drugs in his system. Looking back, I now realize our son was in psychosis from September until the time we took him to the hospital October the 30th. Our son was transported to an acute crisis hospital 3 hours away and because he was 22, our access to information was null and void. Eventually he agreed to allow us to have access to his doctors and treatment. Trying to learn the mental health system for an adult, educate ourselves about the various diagnosis they spit out at us, and trying to maintain a relationship with our son who was incredibly angry at us for putting him in the situation he was in, all while under duress, was more than I thought I could handle. I could not believe this was our story. When our son was released after a 10 day stay because he was no longer labeled as being in an acute crisis (but unbeknownst to us, still in psychosis), our real journey began. It took several weeks of repeating and many confrontations to convince him that we did not put him in the hospital: the state mandated his stay as a result of the use of marijuana and his psychosis. Eventually, my son came out of his psychosis. He has slowly remembered everything he said and did while under the influence of this horrible drug, including quitting his dream job at said national corporation because his brain was telling him he needed to concentrate his efforts towards halting World War 3. He is devastated that his brain could ever betray him the way that it has. He has been med compliant since returning to us after his mandated stay. We are incredibly grateful that he is doing everything he possibly can to return to a new normal. He goes to therapy, takes his meds on a schedule, and is trying to gain employment again in his field of work. But he is different. He is terrified of the unknown. He questions what his timeline is for recovery because he struggles daily with memory recall, concentration, and feeling any type of emotion. He also worries about a reoccurrence of psychosis. He worries the labels the doctors have stuck to him are true. He wonders if he really does have a mental illness. He mourns the life he had before, and it is heartbreaking for us to watch him struggle with that loss. And that’s it. I think that is why he is so determined to do everything in his power to gain some semblance of his former life. He can remember what his life was like before the weed took it all away. These kids that are affected by marijuana in their youth have no idea what they’ve lost because they have yet to experience what they could be, what they could have. But we as parents know exactly what they’ve lost and what could happen if they do not end their marijuana use. I’m so sorry for all of our struggles. I’m sorry for us as parents trying to help our children (even if they are adults) in a system that does not allow us access to their well being once they turn 18, I’m sorry for our children that are inundated with information that is false, and I’m so sorry for the parents who have lost their children to this horrible drug that is being pushed on our society. At what point will someone who can make a difference listen?
One Reply to “Laura D – January 19, 2023”
Thank you for sharing your experience…my parents and I are going through this with my brother (20 y.o.) right now. He was just released from the hospital but he is very angry and still seems to be under some psychotic condition.
We are doing what we can in terms of therapy, medication, psychiatrist, PHP/IOP but right now the journey feels long and overwhelming. Hearing your story is really helpful and makes us feel hopeful.