Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

If you could choose pot instead of pills for your loved one, would you?


#21

Mom2,

Your note is very helpful. Unfortunately I live in Southern California and we don’t have any of those farms here. It’s a great idea and I’m happy that your son is able to get outside and work. I’ll just have to keep digging in on resources and find some creative way to get him outdoors and working somewhere :slight_smile: Hugs and love to you and your loved ones.


#22

My son says stuff like that too! I usually say wow this that would be addicting. I have been looking for therapeutic communities for some time. I heard about them through an NPR radio piece on the town in Belgium that accept people with mental illness and they live around families. This farm came up as an example of places in the US. I thought my son would love to learn some new skills like goat keeping and cheese making and being some of those ideas home or not. So I went to their website and called them.

They are a member of http://www.artausa.org/ and there are several other facilities I have researched in the past and almost had admitted, Westbridge being one of them. They are incredibly expensive but I want to take my son to evaluate so more to come. Gould actually recommended Cooper Riis which they said was closer. Many don’t allow tobacco on campus and that is a big turnoff for my son as well as others in this site.


#23

Thank you. He was going to a doctor of his choice for awhile and his doctor said he would prescribe them if he agreed to take his antipsychotics. It didn’t work and he quickly wanted just the Klonopin. Correct me if I am wrong but I think this is a Benzo.

At any rate I really don’t want him on anything that can be addictive but he is now turning to street drugs and we have to hold money from him. I am now reconsidering sending him to a community where he is kept busy and might have a better chance. Every day is different but if he walks off from rehab like he did last time, he is very vulnerable.


#24

We live on acreage but are just now able to involve him in some work. His meds are helping him and the physical exertion is great. Today we are hiking with friends. If he had his way he would be doing something else but since it is planned, he will participate. Thank God.


#25

Thank you for posting this.


#26

Yes - I’ve heard the Cooper Riis is an excellent facility - of course - at a very high price per month - I think something like $20,000 + per month:

http://www.cooperriis.org/


#27

I have the same experience with my son. Including him trying to kill my husband when he was alive and I. He too, is obsessed with smoking pot and in a weird way,
it connects me to him when he hands me a pipe to share.

He’s sharing and friendly, and I always turn it down because of my profession,

I connect to him.

Thank-you for sharing your struggles. It’s a great comfort to hear what others go through coping with paranoid schiziophrenia in a family member.


#28

It seems most of the therapeutic communities require residents who accept their illness, accept treatment, and want to get better. Unfortunately, I feel it is the case that the reason most of us find ourselves here on this board is our loved ones do not have insight to their illness and do not willingly seek treatment on their own.


#29

Exactly, the ultra-expensive therapeutic communities are voluntary with unsecured facilities. All base their scholarships on how well a person is doing in the program.

Or if a family is rich enough to pay the monthly twenty grand or more, I guess they’d probably try to work something out.


#30

Or if a family could afford to pay about ten grand a month plus housing and doctors, there is the Windhorse model, which I wish we could do.


#31

Intellectually, I don’t understand how it would help them, since it supposedly makes you paranoid. But then again, they give kids with ADD speed to calm them down. So… My son is like yours. He says he helps calm him down. Our state just legalized medical marijuana but it will take 18 months to be able to actually take advantage of it. I would do it in a heart beat. It would be cheaper than his going to dealers.


#32

The risk of developing psychosis is more than tripled for those who abuse cannabis, according to results from a new twin study.

Researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), together with colleagues from Virginia Commonwealth University, examined the relationship between cannabis and psychosis using psychiatric interviews of Norwegian twins. The interviews reveal whether the twins had symptoms of psychosis and cannabis abuse.

Genetic factors influence both cannabis abuse and psychosis and the same genes may lead to an increased risk for both problems.

The researchers therefore tested both the hypotheses that cannabis use causes psychotic symptoms and that psychotic symptoms lead to cannabis abuse.

Abuse increased the risk by 3.5

The hypothesis best suited to the data was that cannabis abuse caused symptoms of psychosis. Within a twin pair, the twin with symptoms of cannabis abuse had a 3.5 times higher risk of developing symptoms of psychosis compared with the twin who did not have symptoms of cannabis abuse.


#33

It’s such a gut-wrenching decision we parents have to tackle. Do we want our child to suffer or can we look the other way to their drug use. We looked the other way for a few years and we learned that addicts never can regain that initial high so we won’t fund it anymore. We watch every dime he has with a debit card on his account and he’s been sober/clean for a few months.

I understand a different decision that another parent will make - just don’t kid yourself that they’re not an addict. And, I haven’t seen where other parents that have made this decision, as we did, don’t have an escalated situation. I was in a parent support group last night where a mother was saying that her son is not an addict and can take it or leave it — marijuana that is. But this week he was hospitalized based on a cocaine overdose. I get it though — I was in denial for several years.

My hope is for each of you that if your child is an addict (of their drug of choice) that they find a path that gets them on their medication (the one not prescribed by a drug dealer) and stabilized.


#34

My son is in jail right now for possession of marijuana. It is devastating, he is addicted to synthetic marijuana. He says he’s not addicted but I know he is. He will spend his disability money on drugs instead of food. Marijuana makes him violent, hallucinations are out of control and paranoia is extreme. I would definitely advise against it.


#35

I relate to your question - I’ve been down this road with my son. Uncertainties about cannabis are common because of the misconceptions about “medical marijuana.” The key is the vast differences in the proportions of cannabinoids/chemicals in any particular breed of marijuana.

A THC-dominant strain can be a virtual cure (medical) for someone who has Tourette syndrome, but it’s a nightmare for someone with bp/sz (not medical at all). But a strain such as ACDC which is CBD (cannabidiol)-dominant is very calming for bp/sz and reduces anxiety. AC/DC commonly has a ratio of 20:1 CBD-to-THC. Hemp (commonly used for making CBD oil) is closer to 26:1 CBD-to-THC (even better).

AC/DC is an excellent breed (smoked or liquid extract) to stem the power struggle of someone who thinks pot is cool, while we observe bad results when someone uses street pot (or the WRONG “medical” marijuana).

Integrating a hemp extract tincture is a very helpful mood stabilizer because CBD is a known anticonvulsant. It’s as good or better than lamictal, in my experience. 125 mg of CBD/day is a helpful start, and 650-750 mg CBD/day is amazing. Some is better than none. Here’s a site with lots of helpful insights and links to Pubmed clinical studies/reviews showing CBD as an antipsychotic, antianxiety, focus-increasing (and US patented) neuroprotectant.

An excellent article on that site is the one about helping your loved one accept medication. Anosognosia (when your loved one has NO CLUE that there is anything wrong with them) is a major stumbling block (i found out about on this site). Dr. Amador’s book, “I am not sick, I don’t need help” is a must-read. Be SURE to read that article on that site!!! It changed my understanding 180 degrees, which is helping me and my son emotionally.

Benzodiazepines are pure poison and are dangerous and can cause horrible withdrawal symptoms. Always reduce psych meds very very very slowly to reduce the possibility of bad reactions. You can google “going beyond benzodiazepines meds” and read more.

CBD is available online, and so long as it is derived from hemp (0.3% or less THC dry weight) it is a legally shipped in US as a dietary supplement and requires no doctor. Pure CBD remedies are available with no THC, too. CBD is not like an antibiotic where you take it for a week and you’re done. It’s more like mood insulin!

It’s non-addictive (helps relieve anxiety in rehab) and has NO side effects. None. Cannabis cannot cause any overdose (heart stopping, breathing stopping) because there are no cannabinoid receptors in the heart or lungs. But it’s not a substitute for pdoc meds. Add CBD into the wellbeing routine and definitely avoid THC. My sz son discovered in his own that street pot made him a mess, and he chose (on his own) to stop smoking the bad stuff. Best wishes!! :slight_smile:


#36

I think that would be an accurate assumption.


#37

Very helpful input and information! Thank you!


#38

You’re welcome! Also I use CBD oil and pure CBD in capsules to hold back my own anxiety and depression. 50 mg/ day of CBD helps, 100 mg/day is even better than lexapro for me. Everyone’s dosage varies a bit. CBD is clinically shown/reviewed to be safe up to 1,500 mg/day.

I felt better with CBD, then very slowly reduced the lexapro under doctors guidance. Add-in CBD, don’t use it to replace prescribed meds until you’ve had enough time to see what dose is helpful, and to get Dr. guidance for reducing meds. It’s very important to never reduce or go off any SSRI med suddenly.

Also when I know I’m up against a bad day, the vitamin store has help: I add a low dose of either 5-HTP (50 mg makes some people drowsy, but not me) or SAMe (gives me a tiny energy boost, 200 mg, but no caffeine-like buzz, just happier, more resilient).

Here’s 38 reviews on Pubmed on cannabidiol and sz:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/?term=((“cannabidiol”[MeSH+Terms]+OR+“cannabidiol”[All+Fields])+AND+(“schizophrenia”[MeSH+Terms]+OR+“schizophrenia”[All+Fields]))+AND+Review[ptyp]

May we ALL feel better! :slight_smile:


#39

I would never in a billion years try an unregulated marijuana product for sz.

Putting my family member with sz at a higher risk for psychosis is the opposite of my goal.


#40

CBD is a very interesting area - but its still unproven (in early tests so far).

More importantly, the amount that is being tested to produce therapeutic responses is so high (compared to existing formulations being sold) that it would cost a ton of money on a monthly basis to get the response they are seeing in clinical trials - so unfortunately its not much of an option right now unless you are wealthy. Plus, or course, there is no knowing what the concentration truly is in stuff you purchase from random companies on the internet.

A company called GW Pharmaceuticals is working on a new drug that provides consistent levels of CBD in a pill form - so that you know what you’re getting, and you’re getting a high enough dose. We’ll see how that drug performs in testing over the coming year.

As it says below in the review:

The first small-scale clinical studies with CBD treatment of patients with psychotic symptoms further confirm the potential of CBD as an effective, safe and well-tolerated antipsychotic compound, although large randomised clinical trials will be needed before this novel therapy can be introduced into clinical practice.

I’ve included the full research paper at the bottom of this post for your review.

Here is the search on Pubmed for Cannabidiol and Schizophrenia:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=cannabidiol+schizophrenia

FULL RESEARCH SUMMARY PAPER BELOW:

AntipsychoticProperties_Cannabidiol2015.pdf (417.7 KB)