Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Adult son and wanting to smoke pot


Generally the medical/ psychiatric literature says this is not a good idea w schizoaffective disorder. But my son says it is his medicine. I do not like illegal activities and he lives w me. People are different but wondered if other parents have had to deal with this issue?

Thanks !


Not sure that I am the best person to comment on this as I lost the battle when it came to pot but, I will advise you to do anything you can to discourage it. It is not good for their illness. My son has continued to improve over time on the meds, but I have no doubt that he would be further along than he is if he had of gotten off of it. He has been smoking it since he was 15 though, and so now he does it daily. He really believes that it make’s him better, and the truth is, it does keep him calmer but has the unfortunate effect of altering his mind and making his hallucinations worse. If you can figure out a way to stop him, do your best but sadly it is a decision that they will make, and will find a way if their determined. Good luck to you, I wish you the best.


My son smoked non stop before he was diagnosed and started smoking when he was about 14 or 15. I had him in 3 rehab programs before he was 17 and they all failed. I believe the sheer amount of smoking he did along with how young he was when he started had a lot to do with the onset of his schizophrenia. Once he was diagnosed and I had his guardianship, I had to basically make it impossible for him to get the pot in order to get him off of it because it did nothing to help his illness and only made his illness so much worse. Once I had control over all of his money and we moved away from his “so called friends” --we actually moved to a much safer -smaller and lower crime area where you would have to work very hard to even find a person who used pot…it worked for me in my effort to get him away from the drug. Personally I don’t have an issue with an informed fully grown adult using marijuana medicinally BUT in the case of people with mental illness like schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, I do not think it adds anything positive to their efforts to recover or to calm effects like paranoia or delusions. My son has been off of pot for at least 7 or 8 years now, and I still believe if he controlled his own money and he did not have me to contend with (he lives with me). He would find a way to go back to smoking daily and likely lose the recovery he has gained. It is a hard thing for a mom to deal with, I wish you the best.


I agree with your analysis and I could see guardianship in the future if things continue on poorly. It’s enough to have this mental health issue and one needs as best functioning mind available as possible.

The problem is free will and poor choices. It’s a pain to watch and see it.

All I can do is not be part of the problem by supporting it. It is a challenge that I didn’t see coming as I look at retiring.
So many of us face the same parent issues and there is no easy answer.
God bless your life in all your endeavors !


My daughter is schizophrenic but prior to diagnosis was a heavy drug user, pot, heroin and anything she could get her hands on. She takes saboxin for her heroin addiction, which I believe is a crutch because as soon as she got money she “hung out” with a friend then 24 hours later came home with no money - blew 300.00 on heroin and gambling. She refuses to believe smoking pot is not helping her. I argue with her all the time to get help for addiction - she lives with me- but what can I Or you really do to stop them? I go to work everyday, she is 27 yrs old. I have chosen to look the other way to keep the piece. On a good note she takes her meds everyday.


Maybe the only answer if you really want to stop her is to not let her have access to money? These issues are so hard for all of us.


We have the same issue and we honestly are at a crossroads. We told our son he was not allowed to live in our house if he tests positive for marijuana. Pot really is detrimental to his mental health and we do firmly believe his schizophrenia was brought forward and made worse by his cannabis use - not that he would not be schizophrenic if he had never used it - but it very much exasperates his symptoms. He sees nothing wrong with it, but is it ridiculous for us to believe that if you live in our house, you have to follow the rules? What have other parents done in this situation? And, when inevitably he tests positive, what do we do than? We outlined the consequences, but do we really have any options?? Feeling frustrated! Any advice is appreciated~!


Marijuana can be good medicine, however I’m not sure how good it is for someone w m.i.

When my sz husband smoked pot, he was calm, slept well and was generally in a good mood. But when the pot ran out, all of his symptoms of anger, paranoia, etc., came back ten-fold. It was a horrible rebound effect when he no longer had pot. The agitation would last a few days, then he’d be back to his usual Sz state.

So, I think for his mental stability, pot is probably not recommended.

I strongly discourage using the synthetic marijuana that you could buy legally. It’s potentially really dangerous for anyone, especially someone who has a m.i.


Maggie, My son is like yours with pot, when he smokes, he gets more paranoid and ends up in a full blown psychotic episode. I do wonder if maybe smoking worked for him in the earlier years before his scz worsened. I know it only makes his symptoms worse now.

How did you parent him before he became mentally ill? Did you make rules and consequences and were you able to always follow through on the consequences?


For our son, it definitely makes things much worse. That’s a good question. Yes, we did have rules and consequences. Our sons are older now so it’s seemingly more difficult now. And, he was a relatively good kid and hardly ever got in trouble. I didn’t have to do much discipline to be honest. I think I’m just wrestling with how to parent an adult son who is making some poor choices. Complicated by his mental illness.


I asked because I think how you handled ultimatums and consequences when he was a child will help you handle ultimatums now.

I believe ultimatums work best when you have a history of being consistent with the consequences. We should never issue ultimatums until we are actually going to follow through with the consequences. Some of the ultimatums parents of adults with scz have to hand out, the consequences of failure will be the hardest parenting you have ever done.


My daughter starting smoking pot again. All we did was argue about it. So I stopped because I was getting no where. I can tell it impedes her meds from working 100%. She gets aggregated easier then she used too off pot.


How does she pay for it?


She gets disability money.


My son has been diagnosed with schizophrenia 4 years ago and is now 25 years old. It has been one heck of a roller coaster ride. He smoked pot and believes that it helps him when in fact it makes his paranoia and hallucinations worse. He has been in and out of hospitals due to non compliance with medication. Currently he’s in a state hospital and swears he has finally realized he has to take medication in order to get better and to void doing dumb stuff like getting into a vehicle that was not his…drive it 25 feet and get out of it then get arrested for driving without consent. All this could have been avoided if he had been compliant with medication. I’m praying that when he gets home next month he stays away from marijuana and continues to take his meds.


I personal think pot helps them…


I’m pro legalization all the way, but pot is like alcohol - some people can handle it, some can’t.

It helps my husband a lot. Evens his mood, helps his chronic pain, etc.

For my son, I’ve seen him go from having very mild symptoms to hiding behind a chair with a butcher knife thinking his dad was going to walk in the room & shoot him dead - all within just a few minutes of smoking.

I really wish it helped my son - I’d make sure he had a steady supply, legal or not, if it did.


I think there was a time, early in my son’s illness that pot did help him. When he became more ill it was the opposite.


Pot is the WORST thing for my family member with sz.


Been there w my son regarding car stuff. Crazy behavior when psychotic that really casts a long shadow w parole / restitution. Our society and courts just don’t want to deal e mental illness realistically.

Peace of Christ.