LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A new report by USA Today is raising concerns about mental health issues and their link to high-potency marijuana products. 8 News Now spoke to experts and one local family, to find out how prevalent this problem could be.
“Our kid’s brain was gone,” said Rob McIntosh, when talking about his son. “He’s been talking gibberish, he’s been telling people that he tried to commit suicide, he’s been saying all sorts of weird things.”
That was Rob and Marie McIntosh’s reaction when they spoke to their son, Madison, in March. The 24-year-old, who lives in Phoenix, was acting strange.
“It was like the light is on, but no one’s home,” said Madison’s stepsister Madison McIntosh. “It was the strangest thing to recognize somebody, I know that, that’s my son, but you don’t recognize him.”
They learned Madison was vaping multiple times a day. At the hospital, doctor’s diagnosed Madison with “cannabis-induced psychosis.”
“What the heck is that,” said Rob. “We’d never heard of that.”
Las Vegas psychiatrist Reza Kazemi has seen first-hand, the link between high-potency THC products and psychosis. A study out of Colorado found a 77% increase in suicide deaths among 10 to 19-year-olds with marijuana in their systems.
“Over the past four or five years, I have seen plenty of patients,” said Dr. Reza Kazemi. “Some people are more susceptible to it, versus others. There are some genetic factors that go into it, but overall, it can cause psychosis.”
But Kazemi says more research needs to be done.
“It is difficult to make that diagnosis because a lot of times, you can’t tell which came first, the psychosis or the cannabis use,” he said.
Rob says Madison stopped vaping and is doing much better. They’re sharing their story in the hopes of creating change.
“We’re a redemption story, we’re a lucky story,” said Rob. “What we’re hoping is that we can help one kid. If it’s even one kid.”
8 News Now reached to multiple dispensaries across the valley to get their thoughts on this, but they declined to comment.