The pro-marijuana lobby and much of the media have been silent about the fact that the killer student in Red Lake, Minnesota, Jeff Weise, was a pothead, and that scientific studies link marijuana to mental illness. This is an inconvenient fact because we have been led to believe there is such a thing as “medical marijuana” and that dope has medical benefits. Let’s face it: some journalists may not want to discuss it because they use pot themselves as a “recreational” drug.
An AP Story that ran in USA Today said that Weise posted information about his own mental state in the months before he killed nine people and himself. But the story failed to note that his comments included favorable references to using marijuana or MJ. Weise said, “MJ is my gal of choice.” A March 25 Washington Post article by Blaine Harden and Dana Hedgpeth said Weise had serious mental problems but ignored the pot connection. A March 24 Post article by Ceci Connolly and Dana Hedgpeth described “a deeply disturbed youth who had been treated for depression in a psychiatric ward,” was taking the antidepressant Prozac, and had been hospitalized for suicidal tendencies. But the Post story didn’t mention his marijuana addiction. The story did wonder “what triggered Jeff Weise’s deadly outburst.”
Antidepressants have to be studied as a factor. But the Weise rampage may also be linked to marijuana. Indeed, there’s evidence that pot can trigger mental illness and heavy users say that it can provoke thoughts of rage, fear and violence.
The BBC recently reported on how scientists at New Zealand’s University of Otago had concluded that marijuana smokers are almost twice as likely to suffer schizophrenia and psychosis. The BBC said that the study of potheads suggested this was probably due to chemical changes in the brain which resulted from smoking the drug.
The Newscientist.com recently ran an article http://www.newscientist.com/channel/health/mg18524921.300 by Graham Lawton on the evidence that “for some teenagers, smoking cannabis leads to serious mental health problems in later life, including schizophrenia.”
As part of its Four Corners investigative program, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation ran a story titled “Messing With Heads,” about young marijuana users in treatment for psychosis. Reporter Janine Cohen reported that, “For years, people thought cannabis was a benign drug. But now those working in the field know better. They are seeing the withdrawal symptoms-the cravings, anxiety and mood swings.” She said that “One in five young Australians smoke cannabis every week. And 10 per cent of those become addicted. Worse still, some end up in psychiatric hospitals with long-term chronic illnesses.”
Young potheads described what the drug did to them. A boy named Danny said, “I really had bad paranoia. You know, used to think I had to sleep with a knife under my bed ’cause I used to think people were going to come in and bash me during the night or something, just for me mull or something, yeah.” A boy named Jake said, “You start going psycho and abusing people, it just, you change into a totally different person and it’s just not good.” A young woman, Jolan Tobias, was described as one of the most severe cases ever. She had auditory and visual hallucinations, paranoia, and entertained conspiracy theories and religious delusions.
Cohen referred to the view that if marijuana or cannabis was inducing psychosis, we would see an increasing amount of psychosis with the intake of cannabis in the community. Some experts, she said, claimed we are not seeing those increasing numbers. But Dr. Andrew Campbell said the evidence was starting to emerge. He explained, “Where people are counting the evidence is now coming out that there is an increasing risk of psychosis in increasing rates-particularly in young men. That’s coming out of the Netherlands, it’s coming out of Italy, there’s some reports, I’ve heard about anecdotally from America which has the same problem.”
Professor Wayne Hall said that there is no question that the marijuana is directly linked to mental problems. He said there are plenty of cases of individuals “who had no preceding history of psychosis before the cannabis use, who did develop marked psychotic symptoms with very high dose of cannabis?” Then he went on to say that, in some of these cases, the people had been given marijuana “for medicinal or other reasons.”
This is more proof that so-called “medical marijuana” is a scam. People who have been led to believe that marijuana can alleviate their physical problems may come down with mental problems that can threaten the rest of us.