My long distance boyfriend has schizophrenia and over the past few months has been doing a /lot/ of weed. He has always done weed, but from what I’ve learned from his friends, not to this degree. He claims it helps, however his schizophrenia symptoms and depression have also been getting significantly worse over the past few months.
I’m wondering if anyone here has any experience with schizophrenia and weed use and if there could possibly be a correlation between the two?
I’ve been doing a bit of research, and from what I can tell THC/weed/edibles can make psychosis symptoms worse, and otherwise doesn’t seem to have any positive effects beyond calming someone down for a little while. However there are not many studies on this yet and it can be hard to figure out the credibility of a study.
As a follow up question, if there definitely does seem to be a negative correlation between weed use and schizophrenia, how would I approach my boyfriend about this? Unfortunately, there is a possibility he already knows about this and doesn’t want to stop. In general, on top of his depression seeming to get worse, he is very bored and very stressed right now and doesn’t seem to want to help himself, so I’m not really sure what I could say to convince him to at least slow down, and I can’t be there in person to talk to him either. I’ve tossed around the idea of asking his friends to try doing things with him that don’t involve weed for his sake, but I don’t want to overstep, and he is a (young) adult able to make his own decisions, even if they aren’t good ones.
Any information/ advice I can get on this would be greatly appreciated!
I am afraid that might be true.
So many people try to “self medicate” their problems. The main page of this site has information about marijuana and schizophrenia. Cannabis Users Have 500% Increased Risk for Schizophrenia, Increased Risk from Alcohol and Other illegal Drugs Too | Schizophrenia.com You can also search this forum for others’ experiences with loved ones using weed or other drugs or alcohol to self medicate.
Thank you so much for the feedback and the link, I really appreciate the help.
This is definitely something I will need to talk to him about, I just need to figure out how/ when to approach the conversation when he isn’t in one of his moods due to his bipolar. I’m mostly worried if I do talk to him about it he will stop telling me things, which is the opposite of what I want.
Heavy weed use (heavy!) contributed to my 19 YO’s downward spiral into his first major episode. The approach I’ve tried is to use a clinical diagnosis reality. “Son, I know weed is legal almost everywhere. I know a lot of kids do it. Heck, a lot of my friends do it. But you have a genetic variant that causes you to metabolize THC in a far more harmful way than most. Unfortunately, you simply can’t do it. If you choose to (a) go off your meds, or (b) add marijuana to your regimen, then we’ll have to separate ourselves from you.”
Love. But clear lines. Doesn’t always work. He’s screwed up 3 times and realized he’d be ‘cut off’ (banished as he calls it).
I explain that our position is not one of anger or judgement- but of love and desiring the best and safest life he can lead.
Some days are easier than others!!!
Thank you for sharing your experience! I will definitely keep this in mind as I try to figure out how to talk to him about it.
I guess the main difference with this is we are both adults and he is my boyfriend, so I can’t really hold anything over him aside from our relationship, which I don’t want to do. With how he is currently struggling and with us being long distance, it is likely either he will say he’s trying to stop but eventually continue as he was, which he has already done once, or he will choose weed over me since I am not there. As of right now, at least to me, it seems I am one of the few things/people keeping him from further self destructive behavior. That would have to be a last resort, if I’d consider it at all.
Out of curiosity, based on your knowledge and experience, could poor decision making/ self-destructive behavior and unwillingness to get necessary further help possibly be related to lesser anosognosia symptoms? I’ve been looking into it a bit but have mainly heard about the extreme symptoms of someone not thinking they are ill or are entirely unwilling to receive treatment. With my BF, aside from the weed, he absolutely knows he is ill and wants to be on medication, but otherwise seems unwilling to do any therapy, further treatment, or really do anything aside from be on meds.
It could be a whole number of things, however his parents do not know about his weed use and his siblings and friends who use with him don’t seem to know how bad it is for him. Because of this I am not sure he will fully be able to receive help for this unless he brings it up with them, which he isn’t showing any inclinations towards at the moment.
Understood. Thanks for expanding discussion.
Yes re anagnosia effects. My son acknowledges that he has SZ but then fights like crazy to avoid lab work, and often cites pharma is satanic. So it seems anagnosia likely has levels. Total denial. Or Total Acceptance. And every combo in between! Ie, accepts official diagnosis. But disagrees that delusions are related. accepts meds but wont get labs so they stop prescribing. Constant battle.
This will sound harsh but with your situation, I’d run away as fast as I could. We have a child, and the lifetime commitment that goes with loving them. And I still have times where I wish I could ship him to schizophrenia island and get my life back.
I have been trying for weeks to get my son’s lab work done and he is avoiding it like the plague! I was hoping he was just being lazy but maybe there’s something more…
Exactly, in Nami’s Family to Family they said the symptoms like anosognosia can all be in flux just like the psychosis. Better days and worse days.
@Cat_Nip OMG. It’s like the Lab is evil. It sends my son into his mania about Covid (masks, taking temp). Plus, he’s gotten really big on these drugs so his veins are ‘buried deep’! Usually takes a few sticks.
On last 3 lab visits over last few months, here’s our record:
Cancelled last minute. ‘Not doing it’. Rescheduled.
Went to rescheduled, begrudgingly, and nurse stuck him a few times. Got up and said “I’m out”. No blood draw.
Rescheduled again… he went. But got up to leave twice. I followed him into parking lot. Got him back in. Had to convince nurse that (a) he didn’t have to wear mask (could have poison in it), and (b) they couldn’t check his temperature (the device might block his pineal gland). She agreed, against policy (thank you for merciful angels!!). Got stuck once. Dry hole. Got another nurse. He’s ready to run out. But I’m silently praying and second nurse got a good draw.
Halle-fng-lujah!!! Love. It’s not for the feint of heart….
I will definitely talk to him about it then, thank you. And I appreciate your honesty.
Honestly, I’m pretty overwhelmed and just trying to process this all, since I’ve mainly started researching all of this around 5 days ago and basically had no prior knowledge of schizophrenia. Breaking up with him isn’t out of the question, but right now I want to give him a chance and see if I can help him at the very least. When he isn’t relapsing he can truly function normally and is a really great guy, you wouldn’t even know he has it at all. In the almost 3 years I’ve known him he only started showing major symptoms a few months ago, and there are a lot of factors around why he started experiencing them. I think an anosognosia diagnosis and treatment could be really helpful towards getting him on the right track. Beyond that, we’ll just have to see how he does. Assuming we stay together, we would be doing LD for at least the next 2 years so that should be plenty of time for me to figure out if this is something I want for the rest of my life, as relapse is likely inevitable. However, I really like this guy. He’s so sweet, kind, and in general a really good person. He’s one of the few people I’ve felt comfortable around in my life, and its breaking my heart to see him struggling how he is.
I’ve recently reached out to his friends about not doing weed around him, and they were very much so on board with it. However, I’m fairly certain his siblings are still completely unaware of how weed effects him, and his parents have no idea about his weed use. I’m hoping one of his friends will say something to his sister, who is a major influence for this, but his parents also have no idea we are dating so it might not be ideal for me to say something to them and I am not sure his friends are willing to go that far.
I wish I could say that a diagnosis of anosognosia for your boyfriend is likely, however, most of the time, in my experience, the doctors don’t even recognize that term. It is good for YOU to know however, as it IS a real condition that often prevents a person from being able to help himself or herself with the illness. Keep educating yourself, keep trying to help, sometimes being a friend is the best you can do. If you haven’t read “I’m not Sick, I Don’t Need Help” by Dr. Amador, I recommend it highly. I used the LEAP method (from that book) of communicating with my daughter to gain improvement in things like eating, and exercise, perhaps it could help you to help him to know marijuana is bad for him. That book helped me realize that I had to force medication on her or she would never find REAL improvement due to her complete anosognosia. However, she is 3 years now on a med that works, and has a new life without psychosis, and can now talk to me about her “crazy days” as she puts it. She still hears voices, but they no longer control her. It IS a lifelong battle/duty/struggle to help someone with severe mental illness like schizophrenia or bipolar.
I have ZERO doubt that weed was the contributing factor in my son developing Schizophrenia . My other son became neurotic when he used weed also. There is a great documentary called “the down side of high” you can google and watch it for free, explains it ALL.
@jade Wow. Watched the documentary. Powerful and scary. The balance of THC vs CBD is enlightening. The new strains are nearly 100% THC which makes it worse for those few with genetic variants that make them vulnerable. I also have zero doubt that my son’s condition was made worse (if not caused) by mega weed use. Sucks.
Yes, I believe the pot that was around when I was in High School was nothing compared to the THC in pot these days, I personally could never tolerate pot as it made me paranoid -perhaps the onslaught of what neuroses is? I blame myself now for allowing my sons to smoke pot, I had no idea it was so potent, I also understand they could have smoked it at a friends house but our new garden shed became a populate spot for the guys and I thought “what is the worse that can happen”?? Little did I know. It is so heart breaking to watch my son miss out on all the things a healthy young man would normally experience, the worst is wondering who will care for him once I am gone… Milo was just currently placed in a new group home and it is absolutely horrible, I am spending everyday trying to get him out of there but “the system” is of little help, my only hope is that he is well enough to live at home one day, we tried last year and he did not feel safe here, we have a gorgeous home and lots of love, but I have to allow him the secure feeling he gets from a group home… Are you on Facebook Sando?
I’m not a Facebooker. Too damn depressing! And don’t beat yourself on weed. I’ve got close friends, doctors, who still claim weed much safer than alcohol. We did the best we could based on what we knew.
Hell, quinoa may eventually prove to shorten our life span…
When my sons condition hit the fan (21 yr old at the time) he was first diagnosed with cannabis abuse. I guess he felt being high beats the voices anytime. Less is definitely better. He’s 28 yr old now and very rarely uses. (he lives with us). I can tell. After 7 yrs I’m learning about his symptoms. He’s opened up to us a lot because he’s afraid of the consequences. He takes a shot every three months and meds at night time to help him sleep. Otherwise he is only with us and his brother sometimes (hence the weed intake).
Hang in there. It’s such a long process and it’s different for everyone.