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Marijuana Psychosis Stories

A Personal Look at Cannabis Induced Psychosis and Getting Help

Harmless. That’s what a lot of folks out there want you to believe when it comes to marijuana. If there’s one thing I learned at Icarus Behavioral Health in New Mexico, it’s that marijuana isn’t the harmless substance that it’s cracked up to be. Beyond the laziness and potential gateway aspect of marijuana, there are distinct links between marijuana use and serious mental health issues.

Cannabis use is slowly becoming more and more legal and socially acceptable across the country. Does that bother me? In some ways, it doesn’t. The fact that alcohol is legal makes it difficult to argue that marijuana shouldn’t be. I get that argument, but it’s very important for people to know the risks associated with cannabis. In the hopes of offering support to anyone who got as low as I did, the following are a few of my marijuana psychosis stories.

For me, I found a way out of the toxic relationship I had with ‘the herb,’ when I finally got support for both my mental health and weed dependence at Icarus! Keep reading to see if my story sounds a bit familiar, and to find out how low I went before getting help.

Can Marijuana Cause Psychosis?

Marijuana Cause Psychosis

I began smoking cannabis in middle school. Alcohol and marijuana consumption was fairly common in my family, so I didn’t have any fear of it. I used to steal it from my parents and go out in the woods and smoke it with my friends. It was all fun and games at first, but I slowly started developing anxiety and depression as a result.

Before I knew it, my brain and body were wired to need THC all the time. Rather than spending time on my studies and personal development, I spent all my time smoking weed or trying to get more weed. If it didn’t involve pot, I wanted nothing to do with it. Several years later, I had my first psychotic episode.

I had no idea at the time that my mental health issues were a result of my marijuana use. I didn’t abuse other drugs and only drank occasionally. I looked at every other possible cause and refused to acknowledge the fact that my marijuana use might be a problem.

Yes, cannabis-induced psychosis is a real thing, and in this particular piece I will lay out all the negativity it caused me, and how Icarus helped me to finally recognize it.

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The Dangers Of Cannabis Use In Teens

Recent studies have shown that marijuana use in adolescence can contribute to the development of mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Even if I was told that before I started using it, I probably would have shrugged off the warning. When you’re young, you often don’t think about consequences. I certainly didn’t.

All my friends smoked weed, and all the “cool” people that I wanted to associate with did as well. My entire social life was based around pot. The perceived value of popularity is huge when you are in high school, and peer pressure can create a lot of problems. I truly envy the kids that didn’t concern themselves with trying to be cool. They went a lot further than I did.

The Warning Signs Creep In

Before my cannabis induced psychosis began, there were signs. I can vividly remember being at a party and getting way too high. Higher than I had ever been, and I didn’t like it. I started getting light-headed. I had cold sweats and chills. I sat there silently while everyone around me chatted. Eventually, a friend noticed that I didn’t look good.

All I could think about was getting myself out of the situation and being alone.

I shot my head straight up and announced that I had to go to the bathroom. We were in an upstairs bedroom, and the bathroom was downstairs. As I began navigating the stairs, everything went black. I woke up at the bottom of the stairs a few seconds later, with concerned people surrounding me.

It immediately hit me that I had blacked out and fell down the stairs. I had what is known as a syncope, which is a loss of consciousness as a result of a drop in blood pressure.

The Symptoms Of Psychosis Become Noticeable

Symptoms Of Psychosis

After this occurrence, I was nervous to smoke around other people or in big gatherings. I was super embarrassed, and my friends teased me for it endlessly. Rather than critically think about it and stop my marijuana use, it continued uninterrupted. Slowly but surely, my anxiety got worse.

Family members began to notice a change in my behavior. I slowly began to retreat into myself. I didn’t socialize as much.

I began suffering from paranoia on a regular basis. My family caught me talking to myself. I started to hear voices. Ultimately, I ended up in the hospital after another syncope. This time, my parents were there and witnessed it. After a battery of tests, the family doctor informed us that I was showing early signs of schizophrenia. I was put on medication and told that I had to abstain from cannabis use.

Of course, this was a hard sell for me as a youth, and I went right back to it.

A New Normal is Anything But

Once I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, everything changed. My friends didn’t want a whole lot to do with me anymore. I found myself alone. This worsened my mood, and I felt like my brain was no longer mine. It was a unique period.

I did everything I could to get my friends back, but I just came off desperate. Looking back now, it is clear that these people were not true friends.

Adjusting to this new normal was very tough. I felt like a total loser. I could no longer go out to parties and be seen around the “cool” people. My anger increased. It wasn’t long before my first relapse. I began smoking weed again and drinking heavily. I didn’t care about my physical or mental health. I stopped taking my meds. This is when things got very rough.

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When A Psychotic Break Occurs

My self medication with cannabis, coupled with my newfound mental illness led to an eventual break with reality. I began to hear and see things that weren’t there. I fell into delusional thinking. My parents noticed that I wasn’t making much sense when I responded to basic questions. I fell deeper and deeper into psychosis.

Before I knew it, my separation from reality became complete.

After another hospital stay, it became clear that I had issues that I could no longer try to fix myself. I began seeing a psychiatrist regularly, and abstained from marijuana for nearly two years. I was in college at this point and was able to maintain my sobriety by keeping busy with my studies. The importance of staying away from marijuana was clear. I knew that my brain couldn’t handle it anymore.

How Schizophrenia Shapes You

Maintaining my mental health became a huge priority. There’s nothing scarier than losing touch with reality. All the delusions and hallucinations seemed so real. There’s no way to live any kind of normal life. For a long time, I assumed that I was alone in this. I had no idea there were so many others who were dealing with mental health issues as a result of cannabis use.

Another relapse not only led me back to cannabis, but I also began drinking heavily. It wasn’t long before I began to suffer the effects of my mental illness. Mixing drugs and alcohol with my medication led to more psychotic episodes. I had to leave college. I could no longer cope with the regular grind of classes and work. My issues were all-consuming. It was clear that I needed rehab.

Making Mental Health A Priority

Mental Health Treatment

When I got to Icarus in New Mexico, I was still suffering from a certain level of psychosis. Trying to help someone with this kind of problem is very difficult, but the counselors of Icarus knew exactly how to approach me. They didn’t make me feel crazy like so many other people did. Most ordinary people don’t know how to deal with someone with mental illness. A lot of people can’t comprehend what it’s like to have these issues.

Speaking to other patients at Icarus gave me hope. There were people there who had way worse issues than me. My mental health issues were serious, but through medication, I had been able to maintain some form of normalcy. There are people out there with severe mental illness, and maintaining it is a full time job. Through my treatment at Icarus, they developed a plan for me which set me up for success. I took it all as seriously as I possibly could, knowing that my sanity was on the line.

Finding a Sense Of Community In Recovery

Having the right people around you is key to lasting recovery. I still have a lot of fears about my condition, but I am able to keep that fear at bay by talking to others and engaging with those who have similar experiences. It’s tough to explain what a psychotic break is like to someone who hasn’t experienced one. It’s hard to find a comparison.

I try hard these days to warn others about the links between cannabis use and mental illness. No, not everyone who uses marijuana is going to have these issues. A lot of marijuana users are responsible and don’t bother anybody. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be a problem for some, especially teenagers whose brains aren’t fully developed.

Learning From Experience at the School of Hard Knocks

There are still times when I feel the urge to use cannabis, but I know that I’m not cut out for it. Does this mean I am weak? Not at all. I can’t help that my brain is the way that it is. It’s something that was difficult for me to move past. For a long time, I felt like something was wrong with me. I beat myself up for not being able to do things that others could. This did nothing for me other than worsen my depression.

I have learned a lot about myself from my experience with marijuana and needing treatment. I have other things that fulfill that urge these days. I exercise a lot and play sports. This gives me a natural high that is healthy and productive. I do still have urges to use, especially with cannabis becoming more and more legal. Luckily, I am content enough with myself now to combat those urges and not fall into my old ways.

Getting Through To Young People: Telling My Marijuana Psychosis Story

Getting Through To Young People

Trying to convince a young person of the dangers of drugs is always going to be a tough sell. There are plenty of young people who don’t engage in substance use, but unfortunately, it is still rampant. As I mentioned earlier, being seen as cool is very important when you are in high school. Like a lot of other teenagers, I struggled with insecurity. It led to a lot of issues that I still deal with to this day.

I speak to young people as much as I can about the dangers of drugs. Marijuana isn’t the only thing that teenagers are getting into nowadays. When I was still in school, there were kids my age who had already graduated from cannabis to drugs like opiates and cocaine. Alcohol is still a big problem among young people. The only thing we can do as adults is warn them of the dangers and allow them to make their own decisions.

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Getting Support for Marijuana and Mental Health at Icarus

When I talk to young people about drugs, I try not to fall into scare tactics. I simply tell my story and give facts. I relay how I achieved long-lasting recovery through the programs made available to me at Icarus. I don’t try to be overly preachy when I tell my story. I stress safety.

Because of my time at Icarus, I have the tools to navigate my own life, and help others try and make the right decisions for themselves.

Drug and alcohol use doesn’t make you a criminal or bad person. People aren’t perfect, and I know that just as well as anybody. If you or someone you love is struggling with marijuana psychosis or any of the mental health issues associated with it, give Icarus a call and see what they can do for you.

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