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The Current

The Student News Site of Brookdale Community College

The Current

The Student News Site of Brookdale Community College

The Current

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Student: Marijuana Caused My Psychosis

In the fall semester of 2019, I went into a psychosis brought on by marijuana. The psychosis lasted for three years.
I was your average stoner before the onset of my schizophrenia, but my onset happened when I smoked kief, the dust that comes off marijuana, which is pure THC, every day for about a week and a half straight.
Psychosis is a symptom of schizophrenia, but anyone can experience psychosis. A psychosis lasting more than 6 months could result in a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

A while before my onset, someone told me they knew someone who self-medicated for schizophrenia with marijuana. For me, it was just the opposite. And learning I had schizophrenia only caused me to want to smoke more.

Throughout my journey, I had doubts the psychosis was brought on by marijuana. In fact, I wanted to believe that it wasn’t the marijuana.

The truth is, for me, marijuana made my psychosis increasingly worse. I went from hearing just voices to feeling things called tactile hallucinations. If there is any comparison I could give that would paint the picture of what psychosis is like, I would say it’s literal hell, with demons and hellfire. This is no joke. It’s terrifying, and nothing anyone ever wants to experience.

The voices I’d hear were comparable to demons. They would taunt me and try to make pacts with me that were very scary. Outcomes included things like getting into a car crash and even a “deal” that the demons would take me when I die.

At times I would get these feelings out of nowhere where I’d feel extreme adrenaline like the kind you get when you’re in an extreme fight-or-flight situation. This was a part of the tactile hallucinations. I’d also feel things crawling in my head and things going into my brain. I had the delusion these sensations were demons trying to possess me. I only stopped marijuana when things got this bad.

But that was just the worst of it.

My psychosis began with me thinking I was a medium, and I heard angels, ghosts and God. This is what I fully believed, but actually, none of it was true. Things never added up to convince me that I was actually a medium in the end. I stress this point because if you do drugs and start hearing voices thinking that you’re a psychic, know that it’s a dangerous path and get help.
At one point, I went from hearing spiritual things to hearing people talk to me “psychically.” In a part of my psychosis, someone who went missing was in the news, and I thought I was able to communicate with this person’s captor. The captor (in my mind) was making me read street signs and even going as far as talking to me when I was trying to sleep. During those moments, I was afraid he’d make me say my address in my sleep, so I just tried not to sleep.
Sometimes things would happen — I believe people would call them synchronicities — that would assure my delusions. But looking back, it was all just my brain trying to seek out patterns and reassure my beliefs in whatever was happening.

Know that getting help can be difficult. For me, it felt as if no one tried to convince me out of it, not my psychiatrists, not my parents, not my friends. There’s this song by Twenty-one Pilots called “The Plantaloon” and the verse goes “And all your friends, they fertilize the ground you walk, So lose your mind.” … That’s exactly what happened.

Thank God, I’m cynical by nature. Otherwise, I believe I’d still be in the nightmare/daydream of it all. Fast forward five years, and I’m now an atheist with a hope of religion being real. But, all of that is just from me being skeptical of everything that ever happened in a psychosis. I feel for the people who are stuck in their own delusions as that in itself is hell.

It took three years of changing meds and finally sticking to one called Ziprasidone for my voices and tactile hallucinations to go away. I have recovered completely besides hallucinating the occasional sparkle here and there and feeling pressure on my head in the later hours of the night before I take my meds. I have excelled in my grades and finally feel back to normal as if none of it ever happened.

But it did. If you want to experiment, know this is among the risks. If you are suffering from psychosis, get help. If you need to, change doctors and support systems.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides information on mental health hotlines here:

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  • L

    LizApr 16, 2024 at 9:46 AM

    My husband was hospitalized with Marijuana induced psychosis a few years ago at the age of 40. At that time he was finally diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder. He was a heavy Marijuana smoker back in his early 20s as a way to manage his depression. After that he had a long period of not smoking but depression and anxiety were always there. We got married in his mid30s and he was struggling with life balance and decided to self medicate again with Marijuana. He even got his medical license for it. In a matter of a year he went smoking from a couple times a week to multiple times a day. Him mental state was very getting more and more fragile and strange comments started to get me worried, for example he thought he was being watched by government through cell phone and communicated through police cars. Eventually the situation got critical and he drove himself to the local hospital. He was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder with Marijuana induced psychosis. He did not believe his diagnosis and after being discharged he was put on an antidepressant by a psychiatrist. Things got a bit more stable and he decided to quit the antidepressant and just stopped taking it as was recommended by a psychiatrist. Two and half months in he went into another psycotic episode and got hospitalized again. His second hospital visit was about a month long and was traumatic experience for the whole family. Today, he is monitored by psychiatric nurse practitioner, he not in denial and is on mood stabilizer and an anti psychosis medication and is doing much better.
    There are studies that show how use of Marijuana can promote onset of psychosis later in life in susceptible individuals.
    I would strongly strongly suggest to seek professional help for mental health than self medicate with Marijuana, it may feel good now but you maybe damaging your mental health in a long run.
    Our therapist told me once that mental wounds are like any other wound, it needs to be treated and healed properly. And I’m talking about abnormalities in brain chemistry.
    Thanks to the author for bringing awareness to this important subject.

  • I

    IsabelApr 12, 2024 at 10:27 AM

    This is a thoughtful, beautifully written piece. How brave and kind to share it with everyone. Thank you.