A mother who lost her son to suicide says she believes his marijuana use contributed to his mental breakdown as new National Institutes of Health research suggests the drug is linked to a higher risk of schizophrenia.
Heather Bacchus says her son Randy began using marijuana at 15-years-old and quickly had a cannabis use disorder within a year. He attended wilderness therapy and became a regular user after later moving to Colorado. By the time he was 21, his usage increased, and he experienced delusions and paranoia prior to his full psychotic break months before he took his life in July 2021.
“He believed that it was helping him, assisting him with anxiety and depression, which he didn’t ever have until he started using marijuana,” Bacchus told “America Reports” on Monday. “He knew that he would manage and function fairly well in life, but he was paranoid. He thought his roommates were out to get him. He thought that people at work were out to get him. He would quit a job quickly. He accused one of his employers of being in the mob. When he had a full-blown attack in March of 2021, he called us and said the mob was coming after him, that they were coming after us, and he just was out of sorts.”
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Randy was also “hearing things that didn’t exist” and believed people were tracking his technology. His mother explained there was no sign of his mental struggles prior to usage.
“Randy had ADHD and we had him psychologically assessed four times between the ages of, say, 6 to 17 and it was always just that he had ADHD, was mildly dyslexic,” she said. “He had high verbal acuity and written acuity. He had great memorization skills. So, no, there was no indication of anything.”
Bacchus, who started “Be Extraordinary, Be You” in honor of her son, urges parents to educate themselves on the dangers of marijuana usage.
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“It is not benign,” she explained. “It’s a different drug than it used to be. The potencies are much greater. It is extremely dangerous for the developing brain. There are scientific facts that prove that, scientific studies.”
Bacchus said her son is “not alone” in suffering from psychosis.
“Every week, I would say 2 to 3 parents reach out to me telling me that their child is suffering either addiction or psychosis,” she said. “So, it is not benign. It’s unsafe, especially for that developing brain.”