Category Archives: Mental Health

Father’s Testimony Explains the Weaponized Marijuana of Today

Ron Coppola’s testimony gives insight into how today’s marijuana changes brains and becomes a factor in the development of schizophrenia.   “It’s not what I smoked, ” he explained.

“Marijuana flipped a switch in his son. ”  he said.    Of this dilemma, he warned, “Anyone who deals with mental illness realizes it’s a black hole.”

(Editor’s Note: British journalist Patrick Cockburn shared the story of how his son’s son heavy pot use resulted in schizophrenia. Henry’s Demons opens offers insight into schizophrenia, from the view of both father and son.  We wrote another article exploring the possible genetic pathways marijuana-induced schizophrenia.)

What’s the Marijuana Mania of Today?

The cockpit after man disrupted a flight from Seattle to Beijing. AP Photo

Man on pot edibles disrupts flight to Beijing

The turbo-charged, high-THC marijuana of today brings out lots of marijuana mania. Jimmy Kimmel’s pot jokes at the Oscars fell flat, but Kimmel could try using these stories on his nightly comedy show.  Or maybe they aren’t so funny, just a reflection of how marijuana does a number on the human brain.

suicide-rates-Colorado-Marijuana

High Percentage of Youth Suicides in Colorado involve Marijuana

Statistics and Toxicology Reports Reveal Marijuana – Suicide Link

The increasing number of youth suicides seems to be tied to two factors, bullying and marijuana.  Although bullying may be a reason that youth turn to marijuana, in doesn’t resolve the underlying issues making them depressed or upset.  The outcomes for trying to resolve such issues using marijuana are very poor, and in fact marijuana usually makes problems much worse.

Colorado has tracked suicides before and after legalization, and policy makers should be alarmed by the results.

The numbers show an increasing number of suicides by year and by age group.  The youngest group (10 – 14 yo) have increased nearly 270% from 2005-08 to 2013-16.  The next age group (15 – 19 years)  increased by 133% over the same period. The 20-24 years group increased by 128% over the same time period. All of these jumps are very significant.

Total Number of CO Suicides by 4 Yr Blocks and Age
Total 10-14 yo 15-19 yo 20-24 yo
2005-2008 (4 yrs) 3108 23 169 273
2009-2012 (4 yrs) 3674 45 171 294
2013-2016 (4 yrs) 4265 62 225 350
2009 = Yr Med MJ Commercialization (legal sales) started
2013 = Yr Recreational MJ sales started

 

This Graph Demonstrates Clear Relationship Between Cannabis Legalization and Suicide Rates

Note in the below graph that suicide rates were falling in Colorado prior to medical marijuana legalization. Then they started to rise. They fell off slightly but then skyrocketed when Colorado voters decided to green light the recreational marijuana industry.

suicide-rates-Colorado-Marijuana
All Age Groups Suicide Rate Colorado

The percent of marijuana found in bodies of all suicide victims DOUBLED (from 8.1% prior to legal mj sale, 8.7% during the years of medical mj sales, TO 16% in recreational mj sales years) since recreational sales of marijuana started in 2013 from the preceding two time frames.  THIS should be extremely concerning….  Yet legislators are plowing ahead ….

Increase in suicide for all ages seems tied to availability of the drug.

Toxicology on kids with completed suicide from Colorado 2004-2015 (no data for ’16, ’17).

One scientific study shows the  teens who are daily marijuana users are 7x more likely to attempt suicide than non-users.

Another theory as to why marijuana is prevalent is that marijuana can decrease the vomiting reflex. If a person ingests a lethal dose of chemicals that can kill them, the body will try to expel them by vomiting. If a person takes an anti-nausea substance, it may allow those chemicals to stay in their system, therefore allowing the chemicals to kill them.

Ten- to Nineteen-Year-Olds are the Most Vulnerable to Marijuana Related Suicide

teen-suicide-Colorado-marijuana
State of Colorado, Suicide Toxicology, 10-19 year olds

 

Programs to prevent youth suicides need to also be concerned with preventing youth marijuana usage. Nine out of eleven teens who committed suicide in one Colorado community had marijuana in their system.  It is pathetic. To learn how one teen used marijuana to deal with bullying and then committed suicide, please listen to the following You Tube.

Marijuana Cessation

If your child quits using marijuana, please be sure to give them counseling and support as much as possible.  Since the heavy use of this drug can deplete 20% of your natural dopamine, it takes time for the brain to recover and regain the natural occurring chemicals.

There’s a risk for suicide after marijuana cessation. The greatest risk comes six months after beginning abstention, according to Dr. Drew Pinsky. In these cases toxicology won’t show the connection with the drug, and yet, it is well known by researchers that marijuana causes mood disorders like depression which in the most serious cases lead to suicide. Learn more about suicide risk and marijuana on the MomsStrong.org website.  We previously wrote a three-part series on marijuana and suicide.

Part 1: Tragic Tale of Two Families Named Kirk

Men killed wives after using marijuana “medically”

Shane Kirk, veteran from Oklahoma, served three tours of duty.  Suffering from PTSD, he was trying to replace his anti-depressant with marijuana,  On November 29, 2017, Shane Kirk shot his wife and stepfather, according to his mother.

For those who follow the marijuana issue, this story strikes a familiar chord.  Another man named Kirk, Richard Kirk, shot his wife after eating marijuana candy. The tragic situation unfolded in 2014, a few months after Colorado’s dispensaries opened.

Each man had three sons, and each man killed his wife in front of the children.  Richard Kirk was from Colorado.  Shane Kirk was from Oklahoma, but recently returned from Colorado.  There’s no evidence the men were related. Continue reading