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Marijuana-induced psychotic episodes
triple in Germany since 2000
 
The number of patients admitted to hospitals with psychotic episodes after consuming marijuana in Germany has tripled since 2000, from 3,392 then to 11,708 in 2013. More than half were younger than age 25.
 
Andreas Bechdolf, chief of medicine for psychiatry and psychotherapy at the Berlin Urban Hospital, heads the Center for Early Intervention and Therapy, which focuses on adolescents. “The truly awful thing is that it often takes years before young adults with psychoses receive treatment, and many feel stigmatized," he says. "It often takes another year from the point they start hearing voices before they finally take the step to open up to a doctor.”
 
His center works with several hundred patients ages 18 to 25 and the vast majority—from 80% to 90%—smoked marijuana regularly before their treatment began. Most were addicted.
 
Adolescents who smoke marijuana on a regular basis before age 15 are six time more likely to suffer from psychosis in later years. At first, they are unable to concentrate or put thoughts together. The meaning of once-familiar words is obscured. “Perceptions begin to change. Colors become more intense. A car that is 10 meters away might seem to be right in front of you.”
 
These early symptoms develop over three or four years, Bechdolf says. Then “acoustic hallucinations” appear, voices that unveil secrets or continuously comment on a person’s shortcomings. They feel they are being followed or spied on.
 
“Those who stop smoking pot have a very good chance of being healed," Bechdolf says. But continued therapy on an outpatient basis after release from the hospital is key, he points out. 

Read article here.
Open letter to the person
who called me "failed parent"

Editor's note: We print in full this open letter from a mother who lost her son to marijuana. Her letter appears on the website, Parents Opposed to Pot.  
 
By Sally Schindel
 
I belong to the club no one wants to join. My son died by suicide in March 2014 at age 31. I have since met other mothers enduring this life change and trying to heal as I am. I find we mothers feel and behave like all mothers – trying desperately to protect our young. We protect children we still have and others threatened by the same harm that took our children. Some of us behave like badgers – we are serious and a force to be reckoned with. Like disturbing a bees’ nest – we go to work to rebuild our lives honoring our children that left us far too young.  
 
My son left a note that included these words “Marijuana killed my soul and ruined my brain.” My son desperately tried to break his marijuana addiction in his last days. Whenever I hear and read the words that marijuana has never killed anyone, is harmless, is not addictive, my heart hurts.

My new friends in the club no one wants to join and I work to educate others, especially other young people and the medical profession. There is a strong relationship between marijuana use and psychosis and suicide. But a terrible thing happens when we speak out. When we publish our stories, offered in efforts to protect and educate others, the comments that ensue in social media are brutal.

We have been called liars. I have been named #FailedParent. Commenters diagnose our children, usually with PTSD and mental illness and claim marijuana should not be blamed. Since he was a veteran, I have been told George Bush killed my son. I have been told I killed my son.

I volunteer with an organization that fights to educate young people about substance abuse. My organization has been criticized for taking advantage of me and my son and told they should be ashamed of doing that.

Who attacks well-meaning parents and community service organizations working for public health? I am never approached personally, thank goodness. You attackers make it clear you support legalizing drugs, claiming that will be safer for our children. I cannot understand that. Especially now that I look at that from the perspective of a mother missing her wonderful son who should still be here today.

Visit Parents Opposed to Pot website here.

To Our Subscribers
 
With this issue, we welcome many new subscribers. We hope you find our e-newsletter will keep you up to date on the marijuana story. More than 23,500 readers have clicked through to read the health report from Colorado featured in the February 4th issue of The Marijuana Report. Many of you shared that issue with others and apparently so did they. More than 10,500 readers have clicked through to the Colorado public safety report featured in our February 11th issue. Thank you for being such effective, committed networkers. For those who missed the Colorado health report, click here (note new link); the public safety report, click here.
National Families in Action and partners, Project SAM and the Treatment Research Institute, welcome our new readers. We hope you enjoy this weekly e-newsletter to keep up-to-date with all aspects of the marijuana story. Visit our website, The Marijuana Report.Org, and subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter The Marijuana Report to learn more.

National Families in Action is a group of families, scientists, business leaders, physicians, addiction specialists, policymakers, and others committed to protecting children from addictive drugs. We advocate for:
  • Healthy, drug-free kids
  • Nurturing, addiction-free families
  • Scientifically accurate information and education
  • A nation free of Big Marijuana
  • Smart, safe, FDA-approved medicines developed from the cannabis plant (and other plants) 
  • Expanded access to medicines in FDA clinical trials for children with epilepsy
What is our call to action?
  • Ask your leaders to establish FDA expanded access to Epidiolex® for children with epilepsy.
  • Ask your leaders to find a middle road between incarceration and legalization of addictive drugs.
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