Marijuana Addictions


My son when initially diagnosed the psych doc said the pot did play a part in the sz. He was not sure which came first the sz or the pot addiction. 50% of the mental health people self medicate with street drugs as they want relieve from the mental health issues. I have also read in other books that pot and sz are linked.

My son has done so much better when he was able to work on the psych meds and the addition ( pot & other things) at the same time. He has been clean and appropriately medicated for 3 1/2 years and is doing very well. He struggled for a while ( few years) until he decided to do what ever it takes to get his life back.

He was also living in assisted living out of state and I did not have a solution to get money and cigarettes to him easily, so he moved to evapor. I could mail the juice once a month.That has worked well as he has decreased his nicotine content over time. I decided to fight the drug addiction issue ( and won) and how am working on the stop smoking issue.

He now lives semi-independently with his sister.

Good luck!


I am really happy that things have worked out that well for your son. I can only hope that mine makes that decision along the way. Unfortunately, I have done all that I can and now I must wait for him to have had enough.


My 65 year old dad w/ paranoid SZ still smokes MJ. It’s his comfort and has become his was to cope with life. His hallucinations are untreatable now because of all the dope and LSD he took in the 70’s in attempts to self-medicate. his choice to smoke MJ defineitly exacerbates his epeisodes and is the cause of most of his medication non-compliance. He smokes 1 -2 packs of reg cigs a day. He had a thyroid cancer scare 4 years back and a stroke this October. Long-term, regular MJ use messes with brain chemistry. But addiction in SZ is sooooooo dificult. You seriosuly have to take it day by day because when the brain of someone with SZ goes through withdrawal, it’s like a crapshoot sometimes. - you never know what’s going to happen!

Maybe try vaping to replace cigs and weight lifting for the feel good effect.


I’ve tried it all and they are great idea’s as it may work on some. Bought the whole vaping kit, a good one and he did use that for a bit, but then right back to the smokes. To keep him busy, once he got stable enough, we started going to our local gym. He is obsessed with going (have not missed a day in 7 months), and since he rarely drives, I take him. I started noticing his biggest mental improvements shortly after starting working out and is great that we are doing it but it did not slow down the MJ as I had hoped. The addictions become almost impossible to fight with SZ and are difficult for anyone, Mentally ill or not. I haven’t given up but have realized that he is the same as anyone, he has to want to quit for it to stop and someone like him is way less motivated to do that, when to them, it is the only thing that “helps”. He just can’t understand what it is really doing to him. I’m sorry about your Dad. Difficult for all of us.


You are absolutely right.


My son has been dual diagnoses SZ and drug addiction, mostly to marijuana. He has not smoked for the past 9 months only because he is staying in a very expensive rehab facility that specializes in SZ. They drug test him often and he has been evicted from the family home. We are currently discussing his return home but I fear that he will start smoking again., Especially now that marijuana is legal in our state I want to know your thoughts on continuing the drug testing once he is home. And what should the repercussions be if he test positive?


He should probably continue some sort of outpatient rehab program or dual diagnosis group/individual therapy once he gets out of inpatient. The inpatient rehab facility should have recommendations of what would be most effective for him; talk to his counselor(s) directly. Try the city/county mental health services or the local psych hospitals to see if they provide the dual diagnosis rehab/therapy.

Consider making it a requirement of living at home to attend outpatient rehab and/or dual diagnosis therapy with drug testing on a regular basis, e.g. weekly. Draw up a list of house rules and discuss it, along with consequences of noncompliance, with your son. For my son I’ve found that for initial noncompliance with house rules, taking things he likes away works better than adding chores or work. Somewhere along the line of consequences is eviction. Consider a temporary eviction initially, such as 7 days in a shelter. Perhaps back to inpatient rehab at some point.

This stuff is tough. Have you attended an Alanon group for parents of addicts? It can help. I used to drive a '68 Volkswagon semiautomatic Beetle. Good memories. Good luck.


Thank you that is useful info. We re in the process of setting rules for returning home. I will make routine drug testing part of it and attending SMART meetings. I haven’t thought of Alanon meetings.


See if they have family support counseling and how they stay connected after they leave rehab. Most have programs and some are online over the Internet. Good luck.
I think you will have to have clear boundaries and be consistent. Easier said than done.


hello i am new here and i have the same problem with my son he is 20 years old and for me the mayor problem is the laws we can not make any desicions about him he need find help for himself and he does not want any help i need some advice i am deseperate!!


@Leiann How did you manage to get your son to take Clozaril? Did he have insight?


@yeni32 - Is he smoking regular pot or synthetic pot? Do you know?


Regular but i try to find help but the addiction centers do not consider cannabis as an adiccion!!


It happened on his last hospital stay. His 6 or 7th, I can’t remember now. They knew he had hit a point that he was either going to end his life, or possibly mine. They did it then, and it was the best thing that ever happened. It was forced on him, basically a court order. He was not happy about it but would do anything to not have to be hospitalized again. That saved him. Nothing is quick with this disease, that’s for sure, but two years after starting that med, I feel like I have 75 percent of my son back, and there are improvements still everyday. He is a hopeful story after living a nightmare with him. He is still smoking lots of pot but finally gave up alcohol about two weeks ago. So much clearer now. Praying that lasts, then can start working on helping him give up the pot. As far as insight goes.,he had none then. At all. Now I suspect he has some but he doesn’t like to talk about it. The voices are still there, some delusions, but very quiet now I think.


@Leiann Thank you for letting me know. Mine has no insight and he doesn’t leave the house, only rarely. Quiet honestly I rather he didn’t leave until he stop hallucinating.


I’ve been around here a bit lately again, but much less than when my son was first diagnosed. This time, reading other people’s experiences, I started to ask myself if my son really DOES have sz, because we seem to be having a much easier time of it and he’s almost
completely recovered with a fairly low dose of meds. He lives on his own, gets benefits, and manages his money well. He’s about to go back to uni. Then I read this thread and I’m sure. He’s recovering because he doesn’t touch alcohol or dope ever. And never has. Also I have two friends with BPD who are also fully recovered and also never touch narcotics. It seems to me it’s the socio-cultural environment that’s preventing your children’s recovery. That’s very sad because it’s hard to change.


Mine rarely leaves the house either, unless he is with me. He will come to the gym with me though, daily now, but once home from there, he doesn’t leave. When he was in psychosis, did not leave at all. I believe like you that it is better to not leave when hallucinating. Who knows what could happen!


I remember reading about research in (I think) Finland that said people with sz DO get addicted to marijuana.


From personal experience with my son, I can say that my son is definitely addicted. You cannot stop easily, he feels that he has to have it every day and many times a day. He doesn’t “feel better” until he does. That is without a doubt and addiction. If he or others that are addicted try to stop, which my son did at one point, they can barely sleep, horrible dreams, sweaty, felt sick to his stomach. Not a good thing for anyone, never mind someone with sz. Sad to watch but I am not giving up on trying to get him to stop,. I found a way with the beer, so feeling more motivated then ever. Just waiting my time :slight_smile:


Yes, it sounds awful. I think I’m oddly lucky. Even the smell of dope makes me nauseous (I have even vomited after being at a gig where the air was thick with it) and morphine/heroin derived drugs (like post-op painkillers) also make them throw up so I’ve never been tempted to get into ‘recreational’ drugs. I actually gave up all booze myself about twenty-five years ago when I woke up with a really strong hangover after ONEgin and tonic. I’d had a period of long work hours where I didn’t drink at all, then I went out with a friend, had one drink and woke with a terrible headache. I thought, “Booze is inTOXICating. It’s toxic. Why am I voluntarily drinking a toxin when I am furious if manufacturers and farmers put toxins in my food?” And I just completely stopped drinking alcohol. I did miss the false confidence in social situations at first but then I just improved my social skills and got some real confidence! I was shocked the first time I went dry at a party and realized how much I had relied on my first drink or two to “break the ice”! Anyway, I noted that after I explained my thoughts about toxins in alcohol, my health freak sister looked a bit startled and has dramatically reigned in her own and her whole family’s consumption of booze so maybe try that argument on your son. Go “health food” first, start on the “organic and pesticide free” food for a few months, then if he gets into it, point out that he doesn’t know what’s in his dope. It might motivate him. If he uses it for stress and anxiety relief, you might need a substitute like herbal teas and yoga, though! In fact, it is often the ‘ritual’ elements of habits that relieve our stress and make us relax. It’s giving ourselves the permission to relax for 15 minutes with a nice smell, a pretty teapot or cups etc, or pleasant company, that helps.